A Sweet Treat
Nothing says summertime quite like a cold ice cream sandwich in your hand. All that creamy vanilla ice cream wedged between two chewy, chocolatey sandwich cookies…. Yum! To find out which ice cream sandwich is the best, we sampled treats from well-known brands including Klondike and Blue Bunny and compared them with cheaper store brands from Walmart, Target, and Aldi. Here they are, listed from worst to best.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
Skip: Market Pantry Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream Sandwich
Price: $3 for 12 from Target
This was a mess from the moment we unwrapped it: grainy vanilla ice cream mashed between soggy chocolate biscuits that were tacky and chewy. Target’s ice cream sandwich was hands down the least fun to eat simply because it was such a mess.
Skip: Sundae Shoppe Ice Cream Sandwiches
Price: $2.19 for 12 from Aldi
Aldi’s ice cream sandwich had a pale brown biscuit that was gritty, sticky, and mushy, and quickly lost its shape. The ice cream was no more satisfying; the vanilla tasted fake to our panelists, but sugar was the dominant flavor. "It tastes like a fast-food version of an ice cream sandwich," one panelist said.
Just So-So: Blue Bell Ice Cream Sandwiches
Price: $5.47 for 12 from Walmart
The resident Texan on our tasting panel was rooting for home-state favorite Blue Bell, but he and the other reviewers were disappointed. The cardboard-like biscuit peeled away from the ice cream as we unwrapped it, and it had a slightly bitter cocoa aftertaste. The ice cream itself tasted like classic soft-serve vanilla, but lacked the smooth, creamy mouthfeel that made our top picks so yummy.
For more taste tests and grocery tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.
Best of the Store Brands: Great Value Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream Sandwiches
Price: $2.56 for 12 from Walmart
Of all the store-brand ice cream sandwiches we sampled, this one was the best. The vanilla ice cream was nowhere as smooth and creamy — if anything, it had a slightly icy, grainy texture — but the sandwich biscuit was suitably chocolatey and the treat held its shape from first bite to last.
Runner-Up: Annie’s Mini Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches
Price: $4.79 for 12 from Target
If you’re craving an ice cream sandwich but just want a small serving, this "mini" version from Annie’s is your best bet. The ice cream was less dense and notably sweeter than our top finishers, more like French vanilla than traditional soft-serve in flavor. The gummy sandwich biscuit, notably lighter in color than our other samples, had only a mild cocoa flavor. "It’s not unpleasant," said one of our taste panelists, "it’s just less impressive than our top finishers."
Winner: Klondike Sandwiches Classic Vanilla (tie)
Price: $3.27 for 6 from Walmart
These square-shaped ice cream sandwiches finished at the top of the heap, according to our tasters. The ice cream was bright white, thick, and creamy with a pronounced vanilla flavor that tasted "just like Dairy Queen," in the words of one satisfied panelist. The sandwich cookie was also pleasing to our tasters, with a rich chocolatey flavor. Unlike other ice cream sandwiches we sampled, this cookie didn’t go all mushy or stick to your fingers, either.
Winner: Blue Bunny Simply Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches (tie)
Price: $4.89 for 9 from Target
Our tasting panelists let out a collective exclamation of "ooh!" as the Blue Bunny ice cream sandwich was presented. It was notably thicker than other ice cream sandwiches (though not quite as long), with a dense slab of ice cream that was delightfully creamy, less pronounced vanilla flavor. The chocolate biscuit had a dense, brownie-like texture, but wasn’t quite as intense as the Klondike. "When I think ‘ice cream bar,’ this is what I envision," one taster said approvingly.