Thanksgiving recipes: Experts give their picks for BEST store-bought Thanksgiving foods

For some people, Thanksgiving means hours in the kitchen preparing that perfect family dinner. But before you make a shopping list, hear what our chef taste testers had to say about some popular store-bought Thanksgiving foods.

Betty Crocker, Sara Lee and Stove Top are household names this time of year. From stuffing to mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course pumpkin pie, it can be overwhelming, even for the most experienced cooks.

ON THE MENU: Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie

We purchased several different brands of each food to pit against each other in the ultimate taste test.

Mashed Potatoes
Betty Crocker
Hormel Country Crock
Bob Evans

Pioneer Brand Brown Gravy

Betty Crocker
Stove Top
Pepperidge Farms

Pumpkin pie
The Bakery (Walmart bakery section)
Marie Callender's
Sara Lee
Mrs. Smiths

Mashed Potatoes

With each product and plate numbered, we served up the first course -- mashed potatoes -- and let our chefs sample each brand and pick their favorite.

One chef said he could immediately tell the difference between the microwave potatoes and the whipped potatoes, while another said the Hormel Country Crock potatoes looked like piped butter.

Each chef picked their favorite and the Hormel Country Crock and Bob Evans were voted the best. Both of the brands were the microwave heat-and-serve potatoes.


Next, we had our chefs sample the four different brands of gravy. All of our chefs agreed -- McCormicks was the best.

None of our chefs liked the Pioneer Brand brown gravy; in fact, one chef said it was "flat out gross."


Stuffing is the next course up for battle.

One chef quickly noticed that the Pepperidge Farm had the best base. Another chef liked the taste of sage in the Stove Top.

Once again our chefs all agreed that Stove Top stuffing was the best.


One of the chefs said the Sara Lee pie had a nice silky flavor. Another chef liked the Sara Lee pie as well because of the crust.

Overall, in our taste test, it was a tie between Marie Callender's and Sara Lee.

So whether you're stocked and ready, or preparing at the last minute, keep an eye out for these top-tasting picks!

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