12 Stouffer's Frozen Entrées, Ranked Worst To Best

If you've ever found yourself hungry, low on funds, and seeking as much convenience as possible, then there's a good chance you've forayed down a frozen dinner aisle or two in your lifetime. And, there's an even better chance that you've selected a Stouffer's frozen entrée as your quick and easy fix — at the very least, you've likely seen the abundance that popular chain grocery stores have to offer. Though it's far from the only frozen meal option, Stouffer's is certainly a big player in the game, offering relatively inexpensive entrées, a vast selection, and that promised convenience of only a quick zap in the microwave separating you and a warm meal.

No one seeks out a frozen meal in hopes of it being exceptionally delicious, but in a pinch, the frozen food aisle does offer some good options for those who are cooking-averse or just don't have the time. In case you've avoided Stouffer's for fear of so many options, our handy ranking is here to guide you towards the promised land — at least, as promised as a freezer meal can get. Our methodology includes sampling some of Stouffer's most popular offerings based on taste, visual appeal, and how nourishing the meal is. Some of the frozen meals proved themselves worthy of being a quick and easy dinner, whereas others should most definitely be avoided at all cost.

12. Baked Chicken

A baked chicken frozen meal seems innocent enough. Especially Stouffer's version, which consists of a boneless chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and gravy. A simple, no-frills meal surely couldn't miss the mark too badly ... could it? We're afraid to report that it is indeed possible to mess up a baked chicken frozen meal, so if you've ever been tempted by the basic nature of Stouffer's offering, we'd advise you to avoid it.

While our initial reaction may seem a bit harsh, it's important to consider how difficult it is to mess up chicken. Many of Stouffer's frozen entrées contain chicken, but the key is that they contain cubed or shredded chicken, which fares much better in frozen form. It took longer than expected to fully thaw this baked chicken breast in the microwave, and once it was finally warmed up, it was nearly impossible to bite through. Combine nearly breaking a tooth along with the fact that this chicken boasts no seasoning whatsoever, and you've got a recipe for a pretty disappointing meal. 

The only saving grace for this frozen meal is the gravy, though that doesn't provide a whole lot of flavor either. The mashed potatoes are grainy and bland, the chicken is nearly inedible — this baked chicken meal just isn't worth the price of admission.

11. Macaroni & Beef

While we do appreciate the heartiness that Stouffer's macaroni and beef have to offer, the meal as a whole is a sloppy mess that quite literally gets lost in the sauce. Unlike what the image on the box depicts, the macaroni noodles and sauce don't mesh together very well, and the sauce doesn't cling to the macaroni as well as it should. This results in a surprisingly disjointed bite, with the noodles swimming aimlessly in a mess of watery beef sauce. Yes, it's supposed to be a tomato sauce, but it's so watered down that any acidic, tomatoey flavor is nowhere to be found.

If there's one highlight of this meal, it's that it is more nourishing than many of the others on this list. Boasting 370 calories and 17 grams of protein, you will feel pretty full after scarfing down this macaroni and beef, especially should you eat the meal around lunchtime. So yes, this meal does get nourishment points, but the fact that you have to force yourself to choke it down takes away most of this entrêe's credibility, and it's better to skip this pasta option and opt for one of the many better ones that Stouffer's has to offer.

10. Classic Meatloaf

The problem with Stouffer's classic meatloaf entrée doesn't entirely come down to flavor — though the flavor does leave quite a bit to be desired — but rather in portion size. Meatloaf is indeed a classic meal, known for being warm, comforting, and above all else, nourishing. So long as you microwave this frozen meal per package instructions, it will be plenty warm, and maybe even a bit comforting as well. But once you finish the meal, you'll likely still feel a bit hungry, which kind of counters the point of settling for a frozen meal in the first place.

Just one glance at the meal will prove where it goes wrong, as the mashed potatoes don't make up for more than a few spoonfuls' worth, and the meatloaf is but an itty bitty little piece. The flavor is just okay, with the meatloaf and gravy providing an acceptable savoriness and the mashed potatoes being bland but otherwise palatable enough. Although nothing about Stouffer's classic meatloaf is outwardly offensive, we can't in good faith recommend this one very highly, though it's nowhere near as bad as the baked chicken.

9. Ultimate Five Cheese Mac

If there's one meal that nearly any frozen food line is going to feature, it's mac and cheese. Stouffer's version of mac and cheese alleges to boast a blend of five cheeses, including cheddar, Parmesan, and asiago. Any frozen food aficionado knows that you have to take these five cheese meals with a grain of salt. Will you be able to taste all five cheeses? Of course not. Will it even matter if there are five cheeses in the mix if the whole thing just becomes a gooey mess once it's heated up? Also a no, but hey, we appreciate the attempt at building some complexity in a dish that is notoriously pretty simple. 

The good news about Stouffer's ultimate mac and cheese is that it does taste pretty good — albeit a bit sloppy and, dare we say, a little too heavy on the cheese. It just tastes like cheddar, and like most types of frozen mac and cheese, the sauce becomes a bit grainy when you heat it up. But this mac and cheese is palatable enough, though, with no meat and no real complexity outside of an alleged blend of cheeses, we can't rank this one too high. This dish does have 24 grams of protein, which is hefty compared to others in Stouffer's lineup. 

8. Fish Filet

Fans of fish sticks, we've got some good news for you — Stouffer's fish filet tastes just like classic fish sticks, all the way down to the not-so-crispy breading. Of course, this meal boasts one giant chunk of fish instead of a handful of small little sticks, but the sentiment remains the same. As for whether we think it's a good or bad thing that Stouffer's fish tastes so much like the childhood lunchtime favorite, we're pretty neutral on the matter. If you like fish sticks, you'll like this frozen meal, and if you don't, then it's best to steer clear of this option.

We'd be remiss to not highlight that this meal was nearly $2 more expensive than the rest of the bunch, though it's unclear exactly why there's such an elevated price. The fish filet consists of inexpensive pollock, and it's paired alongside a basic mac and cheese side. It's nothing fancy, though the price might have you thinking that you're getting a super special Stouffer's meal — which you're not. You are, however, getting a meal that doesn't offer any offensive flavors, and one that does decently high on the nourishment scale, thanks to the protein boost from the fish — not bad for frozen fare. But, considering this meal is ultimately just a glorified fish stick, we think its ranking is decidedly middle-ground at best.

7. Rigatoni with Chicken and Pesto

The idea of a frozen pesto pasta entrée is definitely an intriguing one, as it offers a much-welcome change from the expected cheese or red sauce that frozen fare typically has to offer. So we do appreciate Stouffer's attempt at switching things up with this rigatoni and chicken pesto meal, but the execution just doesn't play out the way one might hope. 

In case you haven't dabbled in it before, the key to making good pesto lies in using fresh basil, which is the herb that really makes or breaks the flavor of the sauce. Stouffer's pesto obviously isn't fresh, so we can't necessarily fault it on that account; we can, however, fault it for having a very strange, almost bitter flavor, one that isn't entirely awful but ultimately had us longing for a bright, fresh pesto sauce.

The good news about this pesto rigatoni is that both the pasta and chicken are decent enough, and we do like that the sauce clings to the noodles nicely. Aside from the bitter flavor, the sauce has a slight creaminess to it, but it's a bit of a reach to call this a pesto sauce. If you're looking for something a little different than your typical tomato or cheese sauce, then this pesto meal isn't the worst option. If you're a pesto purist, however, you will be disappointed with this one.

6. Swedish Meatballs

We've officially reached the point in this ranking where none of the meals moving forward are bad options, but some simply shine more than others. Take Stouffer's Swedish meatballs entrèe, for example — it's not a bad choice, but there are others that just taste a little bit better, or provide a more well-rounded meal. 

Let's start with the positives for the Swedish meatballs: The noodles are thick and hearty, the meatballs themselves are pretty savory, and the sauce is nice and creamy. Stouffer's seems to be going for a sauce à la beef stroganoff seeing as it includes sour cream, though you can't really taste that addition, and the whole thing just tastes generally creamy and savory. Though you can see a couple specks of parsley throughout the meal, you can't really taste that either, which is a shame because some added herb complexity really could've helped this meal earn a higher ranking.

While the flavors are okay, these Swedish meatballs just leave something to be desired texture-wise. Interestingly, there isn't much textural difference between the noodles and the meatballs, which makes the whole meal come up a little too mushy for our taste. 

5. Salisbury Steak

Despite its name, Salisbury steak is much closer to a hamburger patty or slice of meatloaf then a filet mignon or sirloin, which is why it's a pretty common find in the frozen dinner aisle. Salisbury steak dates back to Civil War times, and it was concocted somewhat out of desperation to provide soldiers with adequate nutrition. Interestingly, Salisbury steak is still viewed as something of a low-brow meal, but we're happy to report that in the grand scheme of frozen meals everywhere, the beefy meal isn't bad at all.

The most disappointing part of this meal is that there really isn't a whole lot going on. You've got the Salisbury steak itself, along with brown gravy and some mac and cheese on the side. Okay, it's not the most exciting meal ever, but everything tastes good enough, and unlike the meatloaf meal, the Salisbury steak is bigger and more filling. Also, if Stouffer's is going to provide a side with one of its dishes, it's either mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, and the latter option is the more desirable one. 

4. Turkey Tetrazzini

Nothing beats a homemade turkey tetrazzini, though this Stouffer's version is proof that frozen counterparts can be pretty tasty in their own right. If this turkey tetrazzini isn't a full meal, then we don't know what is — it comes in at 510 calories, has protein, noodles, and even some vegetables in the mix. It's a full meal through and through, albeit one that perhaps relies too heavily on the creamy sauce to provide any real flavor, but we do appreciate the filling aspect of this Stouffer's offering.

Another big perk to this turkey tetrazzini is that it comes topped off with crispy breadcrumbs, which help provide some textural contrast that other creamy pasta entrées don't have. The turkey chunks are tender, the noodles pair well with the sauce, and the mushrooms and celery, though scarce, are welcome in bites that they do make it into. The biggest downfall of this dish is that it does go a bit overboard with the sauce, so even with the help of the breadcrumbs, the whole thing becomes a little too wet and mushy when you mix it all together. If you're looking for something rich and comforting, however, then you'd probably enjoy the saucy aspect of this turkey tetrazzini. 

3. Chicken À La King

Out of all the entrées on this list, we'd argue that the chicken à la King is the truest "what you see is what you get" meal. This Stouffer's offering boasts chunks of chicken, a creamy sauce, rice, and a surprising abundance of veggies: Mushrooms, red peppers, celery, and peas. Could it stand to double or even triple the amount of vegetables that it includes? Absolutely, but considering how few of these include a single vegetable at all, we'll take what we can get.

We really enjoy that this is a rice-based dish, as most of Stouffer's options include noodles or pasta of some sort. Rice offers a similarly fulfilling nature, though it blends together better with the other elements of the meal. Every bite consisted of equal parts rice, sauce, chicken, and vegetables, so the chicken à la King is remarkably balanced for a frozen meal. We do wish that the veggies had a little more impact on the overall bulk of the meal, and we also wish that the sauce had any other distinct flavor notes other than creaminess. But, for what it's worth, the chicken à la King accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish, and tastes pretty good doing so.

2. Spaghetti and Meatballs

It's pretty hard to mess up spaghetti and meatballs, and fortunately, Stouffer's managed to get the entrée mostly right. Don't get us wrong — this spaghetti and meatballs will not compare to the stuff that grandma makes, nor will it compare to the dish at your favorite restaurant. It will fill you up, however, and taste pretty good doing so. Of course, we'd recommend adding some Parmesan to your meal for the best dining experience, but even if you don't have cheese on hand, this spaghetti and meatballs will still taste pretty good.

Unlike other sauces that Stouffer's has to offer, the tomatoey spaghetti sauce has a good tang to it, and if anything, it actually leans towards a sweeter profile. This is something that we think works pretty well, as the subtle sweetness plays well with the acidity of the tomatoes and neutral savoriness of the meatballs. Not everyone likes sweetness in their spaghetti sauce, which is a big reason why this meal didn't quite reach the first place position. Boasting plenty of protein and a hearty serving of noodles, spaghetti and meatballs is a classic for a reason, and you really can't go wrong with it, even in frozen form.

1. Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

Of all the creamy kinds of pasta that exist, there's no denying that fettuccini is a tried and true favorite. Stouffer's frozen version, which also includes chicken for some added nutrition, has managed to nab the top spot for a few important reasons. First, it not only tastes good, but we think it tastes the best out of all the other meals on this list. It's ultra-creamy, rich, savory, salty, and all-around what you might want from a pasta dish. The thick noodles sop up the Alfredo sauce nicely, and the pieces of chicken and broccoli help tie the whole thing together and make it feel like a cohesive meal.

Something that sets this chicken fettuccini Alfredo apart from similar meals is that it provides a little bit of everything without going overboard. You've got noodles, you've got sauce, you've got chicken, and you've even got a vegetable. What more could you ask for in a meal, and especially a frozen one at that? We'd also argue that this dish takes the top spot in terms of being comforting — not an absolute necessity for a meal, but it's a nice perk nonetheless. 


The biggest factor in determining the ranking for these Stouffer's dinners was, unsurprisingly, the taste factor. Did the respective entrées deliver in terms of being creamy, meaty, cheesy, salty, and so forth, or did the flavors fall a little flat? Another important factor was how filling each meal was since each one is meant to serve as a main. 

The winning factor in this ranking for a Stouffer's dinner doesn't necessarily lie in calories or protein or carbs, but rather in how well-rounded the entrée is. For example, I find that a frozen meal that features noodles, meat, and vegetables is more satisfying than one that just features pasta and sauce. I also tried some of the more popular and widely available dinner options in the frozen dinner line.