BIG list of best value Christmas food: Mince pies, Christmas cake & alternatives
It’s that time again, and as the festive season approaches I’ve been eyeing up some of the best value Christmas food and drink for 2019. Oh me oh my, all that taste testing has been exhausting (yes, yes, I know nobody feels sorry for me and neither do I, it’s been glorious), but I’ve tracked down some delicious mince pies, Christmas cake, panettone, stollen, yule logs and other sweet treats for you to try this year.
While it’s nice to make your own cakes and desserts the traditional way on Stir-Up Sunday, I appreciate that not everyone has the time or the inclination to get into the kitchen, and the supermarkets often have the edge when it comes to convenience and interesting flavour combinations.
I know that some of you like to push the boat out at Christmas and treat yourself and others of you want to keep the costs down so I’ve covered the foodie treats as well as the absolute bargains. Here are my top picks for both flavour and value, mixed in with other reviews from the best known testing panels such as Which?, Good Housekeeping, the newspapers, Quality Food Awards and more.
Best flavour & value mince pies 2019
Mince pies from the supermarkets, ranked and rated. Overall best value is a box of M&S Collection mince pies, with their low price and very high all round scores from the professionals, but scroll on to see the winners from your nearest shop.
- Baking Agent mini mince pies at Ocado, £3.79 for 12, Good Housekeeping winner 90/100 – top quality but rather expensive frozen bake-at-home mini pies
- M&S Collection mince pies, £1.35 for 6 in store only, Which? Magazine winner 89/100, Olive magazine gold/winner, and Good Housekeeping 5th place 77/100 – low price, lots of plump fruit and crisp pastry << BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
- Morrisons The Best all butter mince pies, £2.00 for 6, BBC Good Food Award winner, Olive magazine silver/2nd place, and Good Housekeeping 3rd place 80/100 – a very good deep filled all-rounder, but limited stock as they’re so popular
- Aldi Specially Selected mince pies, £1.35 for 6 to buy in store, Quality Food Awards joint winner, Olive magazine bronze/3rd place, Good Housekeeping 4th place 78/100
Best of the rest:
- Asda Extra Special luxury mince pies, £1.50 for 6 (ON OFFER £1.39), Which? Magazine joint 3rd place 73/100, and Good Housekeeping joint 6th place 73/100 < PENNY’S PICK
- Iceland Luxury mince pies, £1.89 for 6 [ON OFFER £3 for 2], Which? Magazine joint 3rd place 73/100
- Waitrose 6 butter enriched shortcrust mince pies, £1.90 for 6, Good Housekeeping joint 6th place 73/100 Also at Ocado.
- Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite mince pies, £unknown for 6, in store only – topped with a small star to show off the mincemeat, these contain figs, dates and a touch of rose oil < PENNY’S PICK (my absolute favourite for flavour this year)
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference all butter mince pies, £2.00 for 6, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended
- Co-op Irresistible luxury mince pies, £2.00 for 6 in store only, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended < PENNY’S PICK
- Lidl Deluxe 6 pack mince pies, £1.79 for 6 in store only, Quality Food Awards joint winner
All worth putting into your shopping basket, depending on your nearest or favourite supermarket. Buy a few now and freeze for later.
Best gluten free mince pies 2019
- Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From mince pies, £1.55 for 4, Which? Magazine 2nd place 78/100 – the top rated gluten free and vegan option, gaining very high marks for spicy flavour and crunchy texture << BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
- M&S Made Without Gluten mince pies, £2.50 for 4 in store only, BBC Good Food Award gluten-free winner, and Which? Magazine 3rd place and ‘Worth a Look’ award 73/100 – attractive star topped design giving you a flash of the mincemeat below
- Holland & Barrett vegan friendly, gluten & wheat free mince pies, £1.99 for 4 or £0.79 per single pie, Quality Food Awards free-from winner – a huge hit with their customers
- Tesco Free From caramelised apple crumble mince pies, £1.75 for 4, BBC Good Food Awards gluten-free highly commended – an unusual version with apples, caramel and a crumbly topping if you fancy a change from the traditional version
- Morrisons Free From mince pies, £2.00 for 4, BBC Good Food Awards gluten-free highly commended
Best alternative mince pies 2019
Sometimes it’s nice to have a break from the traditional mince pie, so here are some of 2019’s best new and interesting twists.
- Co-op Irresistible Winter Eve’s Pudding Tart, £2.00 for 4 in store only, Good Housekeeping alternative mince pie flavour 2nd place 75/100 – tasty apples and custard filling for something really different < PENNY’S PICK
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference all-butter rum, pineapple and coconut mince pies, £2 for 6, Olive magazine alternative mince pie gold/winner – exotic flavours for something really out of the ordinary
- Aldi Specially Selected sloe gin mince tarts, £2.49 for 6 to buy in store, Quality Food Awards joint winner – stone fruit flavours, a boozy kick and pretty lattice top < PENNY’S PICK
- Lidl Deluxe florentine topped mince pie, £1.99 for 6 in store only, Quality Food Awards joint winner
Best tasting & value Christmas cake 2019
- Waitrose 1 Richly Fruited Christmas cake, £16.00 for 1.3kg, BBC Good Food Awards winner, and Good Housekeeping winner 82/100 – the hands-down winner for flavour, but relatively pricey
- Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite cake selection, £7.99 for 9 pieces to buy in store, Quality Food Awards winner – a box of tasty, colourful small cakes, available from 5th December < PENNY’S PICK
- Iceland Luxury Christmas cake, £8.00 for 1kg, Good Housekeeping 2nd place 76/100 < BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
- Morrisons The Best poinsettia Christmas cake, £14 for 1.5kg, Olive magazine gold/winner
Best of the rest:
- Asda Extra Special fully iced fruitcake, £9.00 for 907g, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended
- Aldi Specially Selected luxury Christmas cake, £11.99 for 1.5kg in store only, Good Housekeeping 3rd place 74/100 – a large star-topped cake with attractive pearlised finish to the icing
- Tesco Finest rich fruit cake, £10 for 907g, Good Housekeeping 6th place, 72/100
Best flavour & value alternative Xmas cakes 2019
If you aren’t a big fan of traditional Christmas cake – or you just like to have a wide selection of snacks around in the festive season – have a look at these award-winning examples of panettone, stollen and yule logs to find your ideal sweet treat.
Best flavour / value panettone 2019
- Morrisons The Best classic panettone, £7.00 for 750g, BBC Good Food Awards winner – customer favourite but low stock levels
- Co-op Irresistible panettone style cranberry boule, £unknown for 360g in store only, Quality Food Awards joint winner – definitely more of a bread than a cake, would be nice toasted on Christmas morning < PENNY’S PICK (for bread)
- M&S chocolate, cranberry & orange panettone, £12.00 in store only, but also in some of their Christmas hampers, Quality Food Awards joint winner
- Lidl Deluxe panettone classico, £3.29 for 750g in store only, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended – top pick for the cost-conscious shopper < BEST BUDGET BUY
Best flavour / value stollen 2019
- Heston From Waitrose pistachio stollen loaf, £8.00, BBC Good Food Awards winner – unusual and interesting flavours but a bit expensive for a relatively small stollen. Also at Ocado, but low stock levels.
- Lidl Deluxe luxury premium rum stollen, £3.99 for 600g in store only, Olive magazine gold/winner – a generously-sized award winner at an excellent price with the flavour of Jamaican rum < BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
- Asda chocolate & amaretto stollen loaf, £5.50 for 500g, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended – unusual chocolate almond flavour, very tasty < PENNY’S PICK
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference fruit and nut topped stollen, £7.00 for 540g, Olive magazine silver/2nd place
- Aldi Specially Selected Luxury topped stollen, £3.99 for 600g in store only – Jamaican rum, marzipan, raisins and glacé cherries, generously topped with flaked almonds < PENNY’S PICK
Best flavour / value yule log 2019
- M&S woodland yule log, £15.00 for 940g to order online, BBC Good Food Awards winner, and Quality Food Awards winner – a large round chocolatey cake shaped to look like a tree stump, covered in beautiful woodland decorations, if you want quality above all else
- Sainsbury’s (food to order) Taste the Difference clementine & chocolate yule log, £8.00 for 700g, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended – best value for a buffet, with a nice citrus twist. Collect on 22nd, 23rd or 24th December.
- Morrisons The Best hand-rolled fudge yule log, £4.00 for 505g, BBC Good Food Awards highly commended – a more traditional and small-ish yule log with lots of fudgey flavour, available from early December
That’s got my mouth watering! Which ones do you like the look of?
Other Christmas 2019 food & drink guides you might like:
- BIG list of best value Christmas drinks: Champagne, prosecco, cava & other sparkling wines
- BIG list of best value Christmas drink: Wines, spirits, liqueurs and non-alcoholic drinks – useful if you’re looking for something good to drink with your turkey
- BIG list of best value Christmas food: Smoked salmon, party food, turkey & alternatives
- BIG list of best value Christmas food: Christmas puddings, showstopper desserts & sweets
Full disclosure: I am not working with any of the above supermarkets in a professional capacity although I have worked on a collaboration with Morrisons in the past. I’ve attended a number of PR events and wine tastings during 2019 and these are my honest opinions, combined with awards from official tasting panels.