Consumer Reports magazine ranks frozen pizza — specifically, frozen cheese pizza — in its January 2011 issue. Here's the top three.

When it comes to pizza, there are no right answers. Who is to say whether a thin crust is better than a thick one? It boils down to preferences.


That said, Consumer Reports magazine ranks frozen pizza — specifically, frozen cheese pizza — in its January 2011 issue. It picked cheese pies because the National Frozen Pizza Institute, a trade organization, said it’s among the most popular types. After testing, the magazine came up with three that it singled out as “very good.” But first, the methodology.


Staffers bought and baked more than 100 frozen cheese pizzas. They sliced them into equal pieces and fed the samples to seven trained taste testers. The magazine said each tester “tasted each brand three times in an order designed to eliminate bias.”


In the blind tasting, with the samples number coded, testers graded the crust, cheese and sauce separately. They also offered an overall impression of each pie.


Top rated was Amy’s Cornmeal Crust 3 Cheese, also the most expensive with a suggested price of $7.99. The pizza “won points for its combination of fresh-tasting vegetables and herbs and dollops of soft goat cheese over a flavorful cornmeal crust.”


Coming in second was Home Run Inn Classic Cheese with a suggested price of $7.42, a Chicago-style pie with lots of cheese and sauce on a pastry-like crust.


Third in the ratings was DiGiorno Rising Crust Four Cheese with a suggested price of $6.47, a pizza covered with plenty of cheese and sauce and anchored by a thick, chewy crust.


Other pizzas rated “very good,” in order, were Archer Farms Four Cheese from Target, Trader Giotto’s Pizza 4 Formaggi from Trader Joe’s, Freschetta Naturally Rising 4-Cheese, Tombstone Original Extra Cheese, DiGiorno Classic Thin Crust Four Cheese, Kashi Margherita Stone-Fired Thin Crust, Red Baron Classic Crust 4 Cheese and Freschetta Brick Oven 5-Italian Cheese.


Five pizzas were called just OK, which means they had more flaws in the crust, cheese, sauce and/or spices than the ones mentioned above.


Those five, from best to worst, were Jack’s Original Cheese, Red Baron Fire Baked Thin Crust 5-Cheese, Tony’s Original Cheese, 365 Everyday Value Four Cheese from Whole Foods and Totino’s Crisp Crust Triple Cheese.


The magazine said the Totino’s had a greasy crust, sparse and a non-tomato-like sauce, nonspecific cheese and dehydrated seasonings that affected overall flavor. But, according to the Totino’s website, the company sells more than 300 million crisp crust party pizzas annually. So despite what the professional tasters said, somebody rates them No. 1.


Like I said, there are no right answers.


Food editor Kathryn Rem can be reached at 788-1520 or kathryn.rem@sj-r.com.