I ate my way through dozens of supermarket frozen pizzas to find ones that I'd be happy to eat, and found 10 of them. Some of these are "specialty" pies from Trader Joe's (a reliable purveyor of all things frozen) and Whole Foods. But most of them are available at regular supermarkets and cost less than $3 a serving. They all truly satisfy.
Artichoke Basille's Pizza Co. Signature Recipe Margherita
Artichoke Basille's Pizza Co. Signature Recipe Margherita (about $7.99 for 3 servings): The Margherita pie from Artichoke Basille's has an enviably short ingredient list -- the topping contains tomatoes, tomato juice, olive oil, salt, mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano and basil -- and it tastes fresh and authentic. The toothsome crust had the complexity of an artisanal pie. Available at Waldbaum's, King Kullen and Fairway.
Artichoke Basille's Pizza Co. Signature Pie Artichoke
Artichoke Basille's Pizza Co. Signature Pie Artichoke (about $7.99 for 3 servings): Pizza-making cousins Francis Garcia and Sal Basille opened Artichoke Basille's in Manhattan's East Village in 2008 and since then have opened five more locations. In 2011, they launched a frozen-pizza company. The signature pie is topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and fresh-tasting artichokes. It's unorthodox but delicious -- elegant even. Available at Waldbaum's, King Kullen and Fairway.
Newman's Own Thin & Crispy Four Cheese Pizza
Newman's Own Thin & Crispy Four Cheese Pizza (about $6.99 for 3 servings): Most of the four-cheese pizzas sampled had only trace elements of the three cheeses beyond mozzarella, but this one featured perceptible amounts of Cheddar, Parmesan and Asiago, all of which blended together for a nice tang. Good, crisp crust. Widely available.
Whole Foods Market Wood-Fired Pizza Stracchino and Arugula
Whole Foods Market Wood-Fired Pizza Stracchino and Arugula ($5.99 for 2 servings): An unusual and delicious pie. The stracchino cheese melted into a creamy mass, offset nicely by the peppery, fresh arugula. The wood-fired crust has a great texture and taste. I'd be happy to be served this pizza in a restaurant, where, paired with a salad, it would make a perfect light supper.
Whole Foods Market Wood-Fired Pizza Margherita with Cherry Tomatoes
Whole Foods Market Wood-Fired Pizza Margherita with Cherry Tomatoes ($5.99 for 2 servings): The combination of tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and halved cherry tomatoes made a nice counterpoint to the meltiest mozzarella we sampled. Add a wheaty, resilient crust, and this is one refined Margherita.
Amy's Margherita Pizza
Amy's Margherita Pizza (About $5.19 for 1 serving): Amy's Kitchen is a leader in minimally processed frozen foods, and fans of Amy's pot pies and burritos won't be disappointed in the pizzas. The Margherita, made with whole-milk mozzarella, and organic flour and tomatoes, got a boost from fresh-tasting garlic and basil. Crisp crust, too. Widely available.
Trader Giotto's Vegetarian Pizza
Trader Giotto's Vegetarian Pizza ($4.49 for 3 servings): Trader Joe's sells dozens of frozen pizzas. This one, imported from Italy, was a standout. The crust was crisp, and you could really taste the individual vegetables: asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, olives and artichokes.
Trader Joe's Meatless Italian Style Sausage & Cheese Flatbread
Trader Joe's Meatless Italian Style Sausage & Cheese Flatbread ($4.29 for 2 servings): The fake fennel soy-based "sausage" could have fooled me, making this meatless pie a surprise hit. Very peppery and spicy, a true boon for vegetarians tired of vegetable-topped pizzas. For an extra-crisp crust, bake it on a preheated baking sheet.
DiGiorno Thin & Crispy Pizza, Tomato Mozzarella with Pesto
DiGiorno Thin & Crispy Pizza, Tomato Mozzarella with Pesto (about $4.22 for 2 servings): DiGiorno, the country's leading frozen-pizza brand, produces a dizzying array of frozen pies -- self-rising crust, cheese-stuffed crust, garlic-bread pizza -- but this one was the best. Big points for truth in advertising: The pie looked almost identical to the photo on the box. Chopped tomatoes and little blobs of pesto gave it a zesty freshness; the crust was crisp and pleasing. Widely available.
Tree Tavern Cheese Pizza
Tree Tavern Cheese Pizza (about $4.99 for 3 servings): The Tree Tavern in Paterson, N.J., made the first frozen pizza to be sold in a supermarket back in 1955. The pie, not surprisingly, has a nostalgic appeal. With its sweet sauce and Cheddar cheese, it doesn't taste terribly Italian, but it's a harmonious blast from the culinary past. Widely available.