You’re in a grocery store. You’re staring blankly down the aisles, in search of the perfect snacks. You’re having a Treat Yo Self night, and only the finest of products will do when the munchies creep up.
Then it hits you—a breakfast pastry sounds perfect. Pop-Tarts and Toaster Strudel immediately spring to mind, but you’re not sure which one to go for. Which of these fine breakfast pastries rank supreme?
Well, I found out. For you. And for science.
It’s important to note here that I am a lifelong preacher of the Pop-Tart gospel. The Pop-Tart is an incredible marvel of human ingenuity.
Toaster Strudel, on the other hand, I had never actually had before. But I am a scientist and a professional, so I went in with an open mind.
The only way to do this right was to create a points-based rating system. Since I’m a Strudel virgin, I asked a real-life fanatic about which flavor to get. She swore by the Strawberry, so I went with that. Most people can agree on Strawberry Pop-Tarts (though personally, I prefer Brown Sugar Cinnamon), so I went with those as well. Then I ate them back-to-back, using a very advanced system you probably wouldn’t understand — but I will try to dumb it down for you.
The Very Advanced System You Wouldn’t Understand
These are stoney baloney foods. A treat for the lazy man. Anybody as dumb as me should be able to make these relatively easy; ain’t nobody got time for a complicated, multi-step process. How many steps are needed beyond just toasting them?
1 Point for a long prep time, 2 Points for a quick prep time.
What does it have going for it?
1 Point for every pro.
What does it have going against it?
1/2 point subtracted for every con.
On the classic 1-5 scale, how do they taste? Keep in mind, this is a scale for munchies. A perfect 5 does not mean it’s as good as a Michelin star restaurant. A perfect 5 just means it’s as good as it can be for a munchie.
1 – 5 Points, depending on the taste.
Using this point system, what score did it receive?
Grab your goggles. Follow me into the lab. Let’s do this.
Strawberry Toaster Strudel
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes. You need to thaw the pastry, toast it, and then apply the icing.
- Stellar icing.
- The flaky crust makes you feel like you’re eating a real pastry.
- Moist filling.
- You only need to eat one to feel satisfied.
- The flaky crust is messy as the dickens.
- You have to be Marie Curie to understand the science required to toast it properly.
- You can’t eat it untoasted.
- Your fingers are sticky afterward.
- The box doesn’t tell you that you need to thaw the pastry before toasting.
Overall Rating: 6
At first glance, it’s instantly clear that a Toaster Strudel is a good deal smaller than a Pop-Tart. This soured me right away. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that a Strudel is about twice as thick as a Pop-Tart, so that evens things out.
Waiting three to five minutes for a Toaster Strudel is far from acceptable. It’s also quite difficult to master the entire process. My first attempt to toast one didn’t quite work out, as it was still not hot enough, and I had to re-toast it. This resulted in a molten magma hot crust, yet an Arctic tundra cold filling. This is not my toaster’s fault–everything else I toast comes out perfectly.
I consulted my Strudel-loving source, who told me that Toaster Strudels should be thawed a bit before toasting. There are two problems with this: A) The box does not tell you that, so if an insider tip is needed to make the product functional, that is a huge issue and B) WHO HAS THE TIME? I don’t have the time. Do you have the time? Of course not. We’re all so busy. We could make scrambled eggs in the time it takes to make a Toaster Strudel.
I decided, in the interest of fairness, to try again. I let this one thaw until it was room temperature. I popped it back in the toaster, and while it did work a little better, the end result still wasn’t incredible. It was again hot on the outside, and only sort of warm on the inside. Toaster Strudel seems to present itself as having an ooey-gooey inside, but I’m afraid that’s simply not the case.
Strudels are, I will say, quite tasty. The icing is top-notch. They’re mad flaky though, which is both a pro and a con. It helps the taste experience but also makes a big mess. You also can’t really even hold one without getting icing all over your fingers. Even if you apply the icing on the top without touching the sides, the heat from the pastry melts the icing, causing it to drip down the sides. Eating a toaster strudel is to take a flakey, icing-filled shower.
Prep Time: 1 minute. Toast that sucker, pull it out, and you’re ready to rock.
- Always hot on the inside, even after toasting for only one minute.
- The weird crunchy frosting is outstanding.
- You can, if you must, eat them untoasted.
- A tendency to go overboard with silly flavors that nobody wants.
- The frosting never fully covers the entire thing.
- You need to eat two to be satisfied.
Taste: 4.5 (Brown Sugar Cinnamon would get a perfect 5 for me)
Overall Rating: 8
Pop-Tarts come in packs of two, which suggests that you should be eating them in that quantity. Healthwise this isn’t ideal, but you probably won’t be satisfied after eating just one. I will give the Toaster Strudel some credit in that department.
It is undeniably easier to make a Tart than it is to make a Strudel (you can even microwave them, if need be). After exactly one minute in my toaster, it was perfect: hot on the outside, hot on the inside. If it takes only one minute to make a Pop-Tart perfectly, there is absolutely no reason you should be settling for a five minute thawing time, and then a three to five minute toasting time for a Toaster Strudel, especially when it’s not a guarantee it will even be hot all the way through.
The Strawberry tastes great and it’s not even my favorite flavor. I love the way the frosting cracks open when you take a bite. Admittedly, Pop-Tarts can go overboard with their insane flavors (S’Mores is garbage), but we are pitting the best flavors of each brand against each other here, so the bad flavors shouldn’t factor in. In other words, I’ll ignore the Boston Cream Pie Toaster Strudels as well as those whackadoo Wild Thornberrys-looking Pop Tarts.
The real issue here is that these products are stoney snacks. Even if Strudels tasted as good – which they don’t–they simply require too much effort. A Strudel lover might argue that you’re not meant to eat one late at night when you’re high, but rather you are meant to enjoy it at your leisure from the comfort of your home in the morning. I might argue that if that’s really the case, you should just make a normal breakfast like a human being.
With a final score of 8, Pop-Tarts defeat Toaster Strudels’ 6, and claim the title. Well done, Pop Tarts. Y’all deserved it.
To the victor, the spoils.