There’s only one way to describe everyone’s favorite meal time side dish and that’s with the words of Oprah herself. Simply put, she says what we are all thinking at every meal in her iconic commercial, “I love bread. I love bread and I have bread EVERY DAY”. Though Oprah may be bread’s biggest fan, no one understands America’s love affair with it quite like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
We test plenty of things in our lab, from french fries and candy bars, to robot vacuums and dishwashers. Our office is filled with experts on every imaginable subject, so needless to say, there are plenty of opinions to go around. When we decided to test the best Pillsbury product to serve at your dinner table, there were plenty of willing volunteers who were ready to dive deep into the scientific testing process for the sake of carbohydrates. From crescent rolls to biscuits we wanted to see what truly reigned supreme in the bread basket—and the ultimate victor ended up being the buttermilk biscuit.
Let's brush away the crumbs and get into it.
The winner: Buttermilk Grands
In a competition that had many different categories, styles and tastes, buttermilk biscuits took high marks across the board. Testers especially loved the golden brown look and flakiness of the crust and thought the taste was perfect. While the buttermilk didn’t have the buttery or sweet taste like some, it did have some flavor that nudged it above the original version.
Almost all of our testers said they would serve them at a holiday dinner, noting the great taste and the fact that they seemed almost homemade as two of the biggest factors. For the few that didn’t note it as a favorite, the aftertaste was to blame, though it was not off-putting.
The runner-up: Original crescents
When one thinks of Pillsbury rolls, the image is usually of steaming original crescents fresh out of the oven that are easy to pull apart, flaky and tasty. When we made the original crescents, they held up to that image.
The original crescents received some of the highest marks in taste and fluffiness, but it was the outside crust that held them back from taking the crown. Overall though, most of our testers said they would serve these at their dinners, because most of them had before.
3. Hawaiian crescents
In a surprise Hawaiian Crescents did pretty well in the testing. Our staff liked the flaky crust and the fluffy inside, while the sweetness in the taste was different but not bad. Those who did like the taste likened it to the original ones and said they would make it for dinner, but those who gave it lower scores mentioned the taste as the reason why they wouldn’t bake them.
4. Butter crescents
The butter-flavored crescents were perhaps the most contentious rolls of the entire test, as the polarizing taste had our tasters split. All testers liked that the crescents looked tasty and had a flaky crust, but the fluffiness was not there as it seemed a bit spongier despite being cooked by the exact directions. It was the butter flavoring that did it in, as many of our testers said it was too buttery to serve.
5. Hawaiian Grands
The Hawaiian biscuit received respectable marks across the board, but like the crescents, the sweet taste was off-putting for some of the testers. The flakiness of the biscuit and how it pulled apart was a hit, but only those who liked the taste said they would serve it.
6. Original Grands
In somewhat of a surprise, the original biscuit was not a favorite. While it looked as appetizing as others to our testers, the flavor was a bit bland. Most of our testers still said they would serve it, but it seemed that there would have to be some butter, gravy or other dippings around to compliment it.
7. Big butter crescent
The butter flavor reared its head again and our testers did not enjoy it. The big crescent had more of the flavor that was not well-received and was also not as fluffy as others, despite being bigger. The testers did like the flaky crust, but most declined to serve it for dinner.
How we tested
First things first, we did not test every single one of Pillsbury’s crescent rolls and biscuits. Why? Our local grocery store had seven different varieties on the shelves, so those were the seven we tested. Yes, there are a few kinds we missed, but the tastes and the textures are comparable.
While getting paid to eat crescent rolls is essentially every person’s dream job, this wasn’t just for kicks. Everything we do here at Reviewed is backed by science, so we tested each roll in a precise, scientific manor. We baked each crescent roll and biscuit for the allotted time and over the series of two carb-heavy days, did a blind tasting with our colleagues.
All rolls and biscuits were labeled by number, so no one knew what flavor they were trying. The rolls were then rated based on appearance, fluffiness, crust/flakiness, taste/flavor and overall experience, with each product being served one time. Those scores were tallied up and divided by the number of testers, then added up and divided by the number of categories to determine the overall winner.
Notes from the bakers
- Every roll was cooked to the specifications listed on the canisters in the same ovens, with as many golden-brown outsides as possible. Some just did not measure up.
- We served butter with everything to allow our testers a chance to really dig in to whether they'd serve the roll at dinner or not.
- None of the rolls were universally hated, and none received exceedingly bad scores, but there was a wide enough margin of scores for a ranking.
- If you've never rolled a crescent before, learn how to do that before testing. It'll make it easier and less stressful.