We give the $29 Kmart Anko pie maker the thumbs up. In our lab tests, our experts rated it ‘very good’ for general performance and ease of use. It’s cheap, versatile, and does the job well, creating golden snack-sized pies in under 15 minutes. While our oven-baked pies turned out more flaky and golden, the pie maker was quicker and is easy to use. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to feed hungry teenagers or use up leftovers, this is a good option.
It's the budget appliance that has sent Australians into a pie-cooking frenzy. This $29* pie maker has shot to the top of people's list of favourite Kmart buys and it's even spawned its own Facebook fan club, recipe books and a slew of online recipes for non-pie snacks like cakes, doughnuts and frittatas.
Because everyone loves a golden flaky pie, right?
We certainly do, but we also love appliances that work well and don't take up unnecessary bench space, so we put this gadget to the test to see if it delivers the goods.
We'll explain how to make pies in this budget wonder, plus share our pie maker hacks and pie maker recipes.
*Reduced to $27 at time of publishing.
CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona puts the pie maker through its paces in our kitchen labs.
Does the Kmart pie maker work better than an oven?
We cooked a few batches of pies in the Kmart pie maker using two different homemade fillings (one sweet, one savoury).
For good measure, we also baked a batch of pies the traditional way in an oven so we could compare (and also so we could eat extra pies in the name of research).
This pie maker is a really simple way to make snack pies in minutes, even if you're not a confident cook.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with an oven-baked pie. The ones we made in the oven were more flaky, golden and rustic in appearance than the pie-maker versions (if that's what you're into). Plus, we could make a bigger batch in one go.
But, the Kmart pie maker was quicker and the 'sandwich'-style of the appliance seals your filling well and gives it a pretty decorative edge. It's not too bulky to store, and it's easy to wipe clean.
We compared pies cooked in the oven with pies made in the Kmart pie maker.
What the expert says
"This is a fun little appliance," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair.
"It's easy to use and gives good results, cooking four pies fairly evenly to lightly golden in eight minutes. It takes five minutes to preheat, which is quicker than an oven, and once the pies are cooked you can simply pop them out with a spatula.
"If you have your pastry and fillings ready to go this pie maker is a really simple way to make snack pies in minutes, even if you're not a confident cook."
Pie maker recipe ideas
Recipe sites and social media groups abound with Kmart pie-maker hacks and recipe ideas, but some of the most simple fillings are often the best. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Tinned pie apple with mixed spice and a sprinkling of sugar
- Leftover casserole
- Braised meat
- Baked beans
- Tinned fruit
"You could also easily bake quiches, mini cakes, custard tarts or fried eggs and ham in this, too. There are lots of options if you'd like to get creative," Fiona says.
CHOICE tip: Fiona recommends using shortcrust pastry as the base and puff pastry for the top of your pies – this will help keep the bases firm (not soggy) and easy to handle, while giving a nice flakiness on top.
"It's not really suitable if you need to cook big batches of pies, for a party for example, but it's a great option for a simple dinner, for using up leftovers or for teenagers cooking after-school snacks," says Fiona.
In our test, the surface areas of the pie maker did get extremely hot, so it's definitely not suitable for kids to use unsupervised. And you do need to BYO timer – it doesn't have one.
You also can't 'pre-make' pies to freeze raw and cook later, but you could always cook pies, freeze, then reheat in the oven or microwave.
The pie maker comes with a plastic pastry cutter, but we found it a little tricky to use, especially if you have arthritis or limited mobility in your hands. You could use a paring knife to cut out your pastry circles instead.
You can only cook four snack-size pies at a time with this model, so it'll only feed two people at once (we think two pies with an accompanying side would be enough for a meal).
Or you could size up and buy Kmart's six-pie pie maker for $39. We haven't reviewed the larger pie maker so we can't say whether it performs as well, but if it's as good as the smaller version, then the more pies the better!
Kmart also sells a party pie maker for $19 which turns out eight mini pies. Again, we haven't tested this one so can't say whether it performs as well as the original.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.