Huffpost Taste

In Case Of Thanksgiving Emergencies, The Best And Worst Turkey TV Dinners (TASTE TEST)

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TURKEY DINNER
Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post

We're all about the homemade Thanksgiving meal here at HuffPost Taste. We've taught you how to cook the perfect turkey, plan the perfect meal, and be the perfect hostess. But sometimes, all you end up with is the perfect storm -- you forget to defrost your turkey, your oven fails to turn on, or the fire department ends up spending some quality time at your house.

Because emergencies happen to the best of us, we all need a Plan B on Thanksgiving Day. We refuse to order takeout, because Chinese food and pizza will only dampen your soul after spending the entire month of November lusting after turkey and stuffing. So what's the best way to get your turkey fix on the quick and easy? The TV dinner.

Frozen Thanksgiving-style meals exist -- and before this taste test, that's about all we could say for them. But now we've tasted five popular brands, and we can say without hesitation that … well, they should still be your Plan B. But will they satisfy your craving for turkey and mashed potatoes? Absolutely -- but only if you buy the right one.

Check out the results of our taste test below to find out which brands to buy and which ones to leave in the freezer case.

As always, this taste test was in no way influenced or sponsored by the brands included.

  • #5: Marie Callender's (LAST PLACE: STEER CLEAR)
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    Comments: "This looked promising because of the copious mashed potatoes, but there's something wrong with the flavor. It's so heavy and sweet! And the turkey is rubbery." "The vegetables are sad and watery. The potatoes are gummy and sweet. The turkey is made of barf and plastic." "The turkey is too sweet and the vegetables are watery." "The vegetables are terrible -- spongy, flavorless."
  • #4: Smart Ones (Not Recommended)
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    Comments: "The roasted vegetables are nice, but it loses points for not having mashed potatoes." "The gravy is really dark, but tastes way too salty." "Heavy on the dried herbs, and the turkey is pretty cardboard-like." "The veggies aren't terrible, but I hated the gravy." "The turkey is really similar to deli meat." "It's pretty to look at, but the stuffing has a sawdust aftertaste."
  • #3: Lean Cuisine (Mildly Recommended)
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    Comments: "Half of this meal is applesauce! It's not horrible though, and the turkey is nice and tender." "Sad, salty gravy. Really sweet, out-of-place applesauce." "The stuffing tastes stale and almost chewy. The turkey's fine, but what's up with the disproportionate amount of applesauce?" "This is probably the best turkey of the group, has good texture." "The turkey is tender and appealing, but WTF, applesauce?"
  • #2: Stouffer's (Recommended)
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    Comments: "Very classic flavors and elements. It's the best turkey of the bunch. My only complaint is a slightly off aftertaste from the mashed potatoes, but that's to be expected with frozen food." "The potatoes taste like KFC mashed potatoes. The stuffing is serviceable. The turkey is actually okay." "The turkey's not awful, probably the best of them all." "The potatoes are actually okay."
  • #1: Hungry-Man (WINNER: Recommended)
    Damon Dahlen/The Huffington Post
    Comments: "This is the only offering that includes all the necessary Thanksgiving dishes: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce. Kudos for that." "As frozen turkey dinners go, this is the least depressing. The stuffing sucks, though." "The frozen vegetables are awful, but everything else is decent." "Most bang for your buck: Good tangy cranberry sauce the others don't have. Overall, it's like a school lunch."

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