I Tried 12 Store-Bought Eggnogs—This Is the Undisputed Best

Eggnog is an interesting food item. When you ask if someone likes eggnog, the question generally results in one of two extreme reactions: one of love and the other of loathing. We didn’t grow up drinking eggnog in my household. Looking back, my only experience with it was seeing punchbowls filled to the brim in Christmas movies and someone always adding a splash or two of bourbon. And because the idea of making an egg-based drink myself gives me a bit of a pause, I always resort to the trusty store-bought carton.

So of course, this felt like the perfect opportunity for this year’s holiday Taste-Off. That’s right—we’re finding out once and for all which store-bought brand makes the best eggnog. And if you’re not an eggnog enthusiast yourself, don’t worry—there are plenty other uses for its creamy goodness. In fact, I got so inspired that I used the winner as a replacement for milk in our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. (Rumor has it that it was the best pie I had made in years.)

Taste-Off: The Best Eggnog Brand

In our search for the best eggnog, we tried it all. Versions that leaned thick and creamy, dairy-free almond and oat nogs, and of course, the classics. And when it came to the end of our tasting, one brand emerged as the clear winner.

So keep reading on for the best store-bought eggnog we could find at the grocery store—plus the one we’ll be keeping in the fridge for the holidays!

Ranking Guidelines

A little internet sleuthing about the history of eggnog told me a few things. To start, people who say they don’t like eggnog generally haven’t tried the real thing. Interestingly too, I discovered that store-bought eggnogs are sometimes referred to as milk nog because of how little egg yolk can actually be included. With that in mind, we were searching for the best possible option to replace the homemade kind.

Flavor. If you don’t like eggnog because you think it tastes like eggs, you probably haven’t had a great recipe. When I think of eggnog, my immediate description is that it’s like drinking melted ice cream. It’s sweet, with a subtle spicy flavor that feels like infusing the milk with the spices instead of being overwhelmingly spice-forward. We were looking for a sweet but not too sweet eggnog that had a complementary spice flavor. This would be balanced out by the sharpness of adding bourbon. (None of the store-bought eggnogs had alcohol in the ingredient list.)

Texture. The texture should be thick, creamy, and lean custard-like. Some people say that as you drink it, it should coat your throat. (Appetizing, right?) Regardless, the texture we were looking for from store-bought versions was thick, not watery, and extra creamy.

best store bought eggnog

The Not-So Greats

It felt slightly impossible to rank all of the eggnogs we purchased in numerical order. There were some that we just really didn’t like and couldn’t rank them against each other in a way that felt objective.

Here’s who fell to the bottom of our rankings, in no particular order. And if you’re feeling bold, try them out yourself.

Trader Joe’s Regular Eggnog and Oat Nog

While we consider ourselves Trader Joe’s stans, the two nogs had a watery texture. The oat nog version lacked any discernible flavor and the regular version tasted almost artificial with vanilla.

HEB Select Ingredients Eggnog

This eggnog, while extremely thick in texture, was “like air freshener in the mouth,” though some said it would be easily remedied with a healthy splash of bourbon.

Kroger Brand Rich and Creamy Eggnog

The Kroger eggnog was branded by our tasters as “cinnamon milk.” Enough said.

Private Selection Eggnog

This one was too thick in texture and had an artificial whiskey flavor.

Chobani Oatmilk Oat Nog

The Chobani Oat Nog tasted a lot like spices without having any spices in the ingredient list. Overall, these were the passes of our tasting.

best store bought eggnog
best store bought eggnog

The Middle-Ground

When it came to eggnogs that were branded as “drinkable” but not fan favorites, Lactaid Eggnog and Almond Breeze Nog came in the middle. They weren’t extremely thick in texture, and the flavors fell flatter than the winners. But if these were the only option at the store, we wouldn’t necessarily pass them up.

The Best of the Best Store-Bought Eggnogs

3. Simple Truth Eggnog

We were surprised by this sleeper hit. The private label Simple Truth Eggnog was my dad’s favorite. It was more nutmeg-heavy in the spice flavor, while also being very thick in texture. Some tasters thought this one had a slightly artificial aftertaste, but not enough to demote it. Overall, a good option.

2. 1836 Farms Texas Dr. Nog

A more regional and seasonal flavor from 1836 Farms, this was my personal favorite eggnog. The texture was nicely thick without being overwhelming. It didn’t taste artificial in any way and felt like one of the most drinkable options in the group. We’ll have this one on hand for the season.

1. Southern Comfort Traditional Eggnog

And the winner for our favorite store-bought eggnog comes from Southern Comfort. This eggnog had a clear spice flavor that was warming and delicious and a thick and creamy texture that merited the melted ice cream comparison. If you’re not going to make eggnog from scratch, this is a great option to have on hand.

This post was originally published on December 14, 2022, and has since been updated.

Need Crust Now? We Tried 8 Store-Bought Pizza Doughs and This Was the Clear Winner

As they say, birds of a feather flock together, and on this team, we are all self-professed obsessives when it comes to all things pizza. What’s not to love? Pizza is a love letter to the seasons, the ultimate entertaining recipe, and a warm hug on a Friday, pajama-clad movie night. And when you add the best store-bought pizza dough to the mix, well, things only get easier (and in turn, better).

While I have my favorite pizza places to order from and there’s nothing like the tactile pleasure of making your own pizza dough, a shortcut option is always welcome. Don’t get me wrong: On Saturday nights when I have all the time in the world, it’s wonderfully satisfying to pinch dough between your fingers and top swirls of sauce with all the cheese and freshly-chopped ingredients.

But when I’m in a pinch and need to cut some corners, ready-made and easy-to-prep pizza dough from the store is convenient to have on hand. Whether it’s a box of dry mix to keep in the pantry or fresh dough that you can freeze and thaw as needed, we tried ten different pizza doughs, ranked them all, and crowned the best store-bought pizza dough to keep on hand when the craving strikes.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Image by Michelle Nash

Ranking Guidelines

  • Flavor: For our taste testing team, we said a good pizza crust should have that fermented yeasty flavor that is well salted so it doesn’t just taste like bland flour.
  • Texture: Chewy over bready.
  • Ease of Use: The whole point of a ready made or easy to assemble crust should be that it’s ready in a cinch and makes our life easier.
  • Good Pizza Test: Does the crust work well when topped with sauce and toppings.

Testing Process

  1. This taste-off was slightly different from previous ones in that with pizza, we generally like fresh and hot pizza. Each crust was made fresh and tasted right away with initial notes taken, then tasted again with all finished crusts.
  2. The other callout is that most pizza crusts usually come with toppings. For this taste off, we made half of the dough topped with sauce and cheese to test the dough’s ability to stand up to additional moisture, as well as baking half of the crust plain on its own to focus on stand-alone flavor and texture.

Keep scrolling to find out the winners of this taste-off!

The Best Store-Bought Pizza Dough, Ranked

When it came to the results, one thing was clear: the fresh dough and refrigerated dough options greatly outranked the dry mixes on both texture and flavor. While dry mix gave us the chance to make a crust from scratch, there were a lot of variables that could impact the final product from a dry mixed dough.

We didn’t love the slightly oily flavor on this one, and the texture reminded us more of a roll-out pie dough than a pizza crust. Our tasters thought this might be good to make a quiche with, but not a pizza.

  • Texture: Pie dough
  • Where to buy: Walmart, Kroger, Sam’s Club
  • Average price: $3.50

This dry mix pizza dough ended up being more bready in texture than a chewy dough. The flavor was also reminiscent of white bread more than pizza. Fine if you’re making bread, but alas, that’s for another taste-off to come.

  • Texture: Bready
  • Where to buy: Amazon, Kroger, Meijer
  • Average price: $1.29

In full transparency, I grew up with the ready-made Boboli pizza crusts, so I knew what we were getting into. Most tasters didn’t enjoy the slightly tangy and savory flavor as they felt it was overpowering and too forward when you consider more delicate toppings. However, if we toasted this one in the oven and slathered butter on it, we wouldn’t complain.

  • Texture: Chewy, good air pockets
  • Where to buy: H-E-B, Walmart, Kroger, Jewel Osco
  • Average price: $3.99

While this ready-made refrigerated dough baked up fine, the texture was slightly crispy and a little chewy on the edges. The flavor felt like we were eating Pillsbury crescent rolls and bread dough rather than pizza. I mean, we love the pop tube crescent rolls, but they’re not quite pizza.

  • Texture: Slightly crispy, chewy edges
  • Where to buy: Target, Jewel Osco, Walmart, Meijer
  • Average price: $4.59

We had high hopes for this dough because of the use of beer in place of water in mixing together. While this dry mix still had more chew than some of the others and a nice flavor to it that leaned yeasty, it was still just slightly on the bready side for us. Overall good, but might want to tweak the prep method to ensure chew.

  • Texture: Chewy, but leaned bready
  • Where to buy: Whole Foods
  • Average price: $5.49

Among the dry mixes, Betty Crocker just slightly edged out the competition based on the crispy edges and chewy interiors. The dough had a few air bubbles that we liked our slices, but what kept the dry mixes like this one from reaching the top was again leaning slightly bready. We did have several tasters say they would keep a pouch of this mix in their pantry for just-in-case pizza nights though!

  • Texture: Crispy edges, chewy interiors, and good air bubbles. Slightly bready.
  • Where to buy: H-E-B, Amazon, Jewel Osco, Meijer
  • Average price: $1.54

2. Trader Joe’s

It was a close call between our winner and TJ’s fresh dough. The dough was very chewy with nice air pockets like the ones you’d get at a restaurant pizza oven. While the flavor was good, it wasn’t as yeasty and flavorful as our winner, but still a great option to have on hand for pizza night. This pizza dough held up nicely to the sauce and toppings as well.

  • Texture: Chewy, good air pockets, restaurant-quality.
  • Where to buy: Trader Joe’s
  • Average price: $4

This was a grand slam, everyone-on-the-same-page decision. While there was a little discussion between the WF and TJ’s ready-made dough, what sent Whole Foods over the edge was the flavor and texture. This dough had the most fermented pizza dough flavor that we all enjoyed while also having extra texture from the use of whole grains. You can find it in the bakery section or ready-made food area of your Whole Foods. It held up nicely to the sauce and we loved the chewy crust of each slice. If you’re going to have one pizza dough in your freezer for emergency pizza nights, make it this one.

  • Texture: Chewy, with additional crunch thanks to the use of whole grains.
  • Where to buy: Whole Foods
  • Average price: $4.99
Image by Michelle Nash

Pizza Recipes to Try

Looking for inspiration for your next pizza night? Here are a few favorites I’ll be trying with our winning store-bought pizza dough:

Peach, Pesto, and Balsamic Pizza

Bacon, Apple, and Sweet Potato Pizza

Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza

Butternut Squash and Arugula Pizza

This post was originally published on October 3, 2022, and has since been updated.

Taste-Off: The Best Pizza Crust