Bake Off: Tollhouse vs. Pillsbury Cookie Dough

There is not a crumb of doubt when it comes to the fact that scratch-made chocolate chip cookies are worlds better than any store-bought cookie dough. However, there are times when you don’t have the time or ingredients to bake from scratch. Also, a lot of people just don’t like full-on baking. It’s not everybody’s thing. Well, if you insist on buying the premade dough from the grocery store, then you should at the very least buy the tastiest kind you can. So, who makes better chocolate chip cookie dough: Tollhouse or Pillsbury?

Tollhouse seems to be the obvious winner; it’s the go-to brand when you need a quick cookie fix. But how could I know for sure that it trumps Pillsbury without trying? What if I am missing out on something delicious from Pillsbury?

Ladies and gentleman, start your ovens! It’s time to put these two baking veterans to the test.

In this corner, America’s most-beloved dough-based character, it’s The Pillsbury Dough Boy!

And in this corner, it’s the veteran, the classic contender; it’s Tollhouse!

Round one: The Dough

I sampled the dough before baking because, let’s be honest, delicious cookie dough is essential to any good chocolate chip cookie. Besides, half the fun of baking cookies is eating the dough!

First up was Pillsbury. I’ve never tried Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough, but what I have tried is their sugar cookies. And you know what? The chocolate chip dough tasted very similar. Basically, it was like they added lots of chocolate chips and a microscopic amount of brown sugar to their sugar cookie base. I’d be willing to bet this was the case.

Now, that being said, Pillsbury’s sugar cookie dough is delicious, so I didn’t really mind the chocolate chip cookie dough’s reminiscent qualities. Texture-wise, it was slightly crumbly. The chocolate chips were tiny in size but extremely plentiful. I was quite satisfied with the dough-to-chocolate ratio. They weren’t quite as chocolatey tasting as I would’ve like though.

Over all, the Pillsbury dough was sweet and yummy, but it didn’t taste like what I consider to be classic chocolate chip cookie dough.

Next, I tried the Tollhouse dough. It was much softer than the Pillsbury, and a bit saltier, but in a good way. You always add salt to chocolate chip cookie dough to give it that balance of flavors, and the balance here was perfect. The chips were bigger than the ones Pillsbury used, as well as better-tasting. This makes sense when you consider that Tollhouse actually markets their chocolate chips. I found its taste also beat Pillsbury’s. It tasted more like what chocolate chip cookie dough should taste like: sweet yet slightly salty with brown sugar flavor and chocolatey chocolate chips.

Pillsbury Dough Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Tollhouse Dough Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Winner of Round 1: Tollhouse

Round 2: The Baking Begins

Some people might think taste is the only thing that matters in a cookie taste test, but that is simply not true. What is also important is the actual process of baking. How well does each cookie bake up? Do they burn easily? Do they need more or less time than suggested by the packaging? You want your cookies to taste good, yes, but you also want to be able to bake them without any disasters.

When it came time to bake, I found I had an easier time with Pillsbury. My Tollhouse cookies would start getting brown around the edges before the middle cooked through. Now, perhaps I made the Tollhouse dough bigger than I was supposed to, but I’m not sure. I mean, I wasn’t baking behemoth cookies; they were reasonably-sized. Regardless, I had no problem getting the Pillsbury cookies to bake up properly.

Pillsbury Bake-ability Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Tollhouse Bake-ability Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Winner of Round 2: Pillsbury

Round 3: Aesthetics

Looks may not be important to everyone when it comes to cookies, but I find that things often taste better if they’re aesthetically pleasing (a fact that has been scientifically proven). So, did Tollhouse tantalize my taste buds with its good looks or was Pillsbury prettier?

Pillsbury was the more put-together of the two. Each cookie was perfectly round and crackled with lightly browned edges and little dark chips dotting the cookie’s surface. I only wish they had been more golden brown in color.

Tollhouse boasted a more homemade look. The shape was more irregular, and the texture was smoother with a crackle-less surface. Now, this look may actually appeal to you more than Pillsbury. It depends if you want your cookies looking photoshopped or homemade. For me, they were a little deflated-looking.

Pillsbury Aesthetics Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tollhouse Aesthetics Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Winner of Round 3: Pillsbury

Note: Both Tollhouse & Pillsbury bake up disappointingly flat. Any kind of height your perceive while they’re baking diminishes almost immediately when you take them out of the oven. I suppose that is a price you buy when you use store-bought dough.

Round 4: Taste & Texture

This round is the most important in my book. This is what it all comes down to: which cookie is yummier?

I tested Pillsbury first. My conclusion is rather similar to the dough taste-test in that I found the cookies to be reminiscent of Pillsbury’s sugar cookies, but with slightly more chew and a hint of brown sugar flavor. There were chips in every bite, which is always a plus. They were, however, a bit drier than the Tollhouse cookies. Although they were sweet and tasty, they were not traditional chocolate chip cookies in my book.

Upon biting in, the Tollhouse cookies immediately elicited a feeling of nostalgia. These are the cookies I remember eating. They taste much more like what a chocolate chip cookie should taste like, as we might’ve predicted from tasting the dough. They are sweet, slightly salty, and bestowed with perfectly chocolatey chips. The texture is wonderfully chewy, although rather fragile. They have a slight crispness to the outside with a soft inside. Did they taste as good as homemade? No. But were they a lot closer than Pillsbury? Yes!

Pillsbury Taste & Texture Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Tollhouse Taste & Texture Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Winner of Round 4: Tollhouse

And now, ladies and gentleman, it is time to tally the final scores!

Pillsbury clocks in at a grand total of 4.15 stars out of 5.

Tollhouse totals 4.4 stars out of 5.

The winner of the Bake Off Cookie Dough Taste Test is…

Tollhouse! With a much more classic chocolate chip cookie taste, better chocolate chips, and a nice chew, Tollhouse is the clear-cut winner.

[The ratings for this Bake Off were based on 4 components: The Dough (20% of the score), Bake-ability (20%), Aesthetics (20%), and Taste and Texture (40%). The average score for each cookie dough brand was calculated based on the ratings in each of these categories.]

Note: The opinions stated in this taste test are mine alone. I was not compensated for participating in this test.

Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Judgement Time, Snacks, The Smart Cookie Cook, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Colleen Bierstine

8 Comments

  1. When it comes to store-bought cookie dough, my family has always gone crazy for Pillsbury… but it’s all we know. You make some great points here, though. I plan to try Tollhouse as I really love to taste the salt in a chocolate chip cookie.

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