Hot Pockets: America’s Abominable Dumplings


Sophia Yao

Scouring through Safeway’s freezers, Sam, Sophia, Karina, and Sally ponder which of the repulsive flavors to try.

Did you know that Hot Pockets are considered a type of dumpling? Well, we didn’t! But according to Wikipedia, anything that “consist[s] of pieces of dough… oftentimes wrapped around a filling” is classified as a dumpling — and Hot Pockets fall perfectly under this category. 

With this newfound knowledge, we embarked on a journey to the downtown Los Altos’s Safeway where we ravaged the frozen food aisle for Hot Pockets like four greedy vultures. The flavors we decided to purchase: Ham & Cheese, Pepperoni Pizza, and Meatballs & Mozzarella (with REDUCED FAT mozzarella cheese *gasp*). After our Safeway rendezvous, Sally drove us in her car back to Pinewood, where we tucked our Hot Pockets into the school’s microwaves for two minutes and 50 seconds with great anticipation. T’was a fine (and obscenely disgusting) adventure, so buckle your seatbelts (like we had to in Sally’s car #pun!) and prepare yourselves for four tasty opinions!


Why did we decide to do this?

SH: I don’t know. Ask one of the other children in this column. Also, I offered to pay for Sally’s gas.

KA: I’m a masochist who enjoys torturing my tastebuds. 

SK: They just told me to drive and pay for the gas. Sam did not offer to pay for gas — SHE IS LYING. 

SY: It was Karina’s idea, so blame her for this mess. I suggested ravioli.


What was the best Hot Pocket flavor? Why?

SH: The Ham & Cheese was the equivalent of rubberized cement. The Meatball & Mozzarella was the perfect amalgamation of undercooked plastic and crusty meatballs. The Pepperoni Pizza was actually not that bad — it was horrible, but not that horrible, so I’d say it was the best one.

KA: I am only picking Pepperoni Pizza as the best flavor because the other two tasted offensive. The Ham & Cheese filling seeped out of the dough envelope, leaving a greasy trail. Buying the Meatball & Mozzarella flavor was another terrible choice. The mystery meat mounds (not balls, just mounds) were coated in a vulgar smelling red sauce. If thrown on the floor, it probably would have bounced. 

SK: Between the plasticy, elastic cheese and putrid meatballs, the Pepperoni Pizza Hot Pocket was the most edible of the bunch. Even though some of the molten goo oozed out of the exploded dough wrap, parts of the cold raw dough perfectly complemented the saucy red liquid which tasted like unblended ketchup.   

SY: Although they all tasted like cat pee if it was whisked into a sort of sticky paste and then dried in the sun and then caramelized and then cut into Hot Pocket-sized edible trash, the Meatball & Mozzarella was the least rubbery and congealed so it takes the crown.

Using flimsy plastic forks, the Hot Pockets were divided into four “even” portions for Sam, Sophia, Karina, and Sally to try. (Karina Aronson)

Would you recommend Hot Pockets to others?

SH: If I strongly dislike you, then yes.

KA: Gross, no. I seriously question how the Hot Pocket company is still in business.

SK: If you ever need to make yourself throw up, have a couple steamy Hot Pockets! 

SY: No no no no no no no no.


How was this experience overall?

SH: Absolutely horrendous. Would rate Sally’s driving a 10/10, though!

KA: Traumatizing. 

SK: My hands still hurt from trying to saw the rock hard Hot Pocket dough into bites using plastic forks. 

SY: I’m scarred for life.


Do you have any last words that you’d like to leave with readers?

SH: If you’re convinced to try these out even after reading this review, please stay away from me.  

KA: I’ve also been recently informed that we were supposed to put it in the pocket which uses special technology to make the Hot Pocket crispy which would probably explain why our dough was slightly soggy on the top yet brick hard on the bottom. (Compromising our credibility as food critics, my apologies.) 

SK: This is an embarrassment to have in store freezers. I am ashamed to be in a country where these are considered an American delicacy. 

SY: Never again.