It’s always the right time for ice cream. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, you can easily find a flavor that brings comfort to your life. Whether scooped up out of huge tubs to a crowd after a hearty summer cookout or enjoyed alone on a Friday night while watching Netflix, ice cream suits any occasion. But which flavor is best for you? It’s not entirely subjective, and some stand out as surefire winners that will steal the attention from whatever’s on T.V.
These days, flavors go far beyond vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The list has narrowed the ice cream options down to flavors that you’re likely to run into on your next grocery store trip; so no, you won’t find Vegan Oat Milk Brown Sugar Crunch or Pineapple Upside Down Cake here, though they’re probably incredible. Without further ado, enjoy this journey from the least to the best flavors of our favorite dessert.
32. Chocolate Chip
Chocolate chip is just a sparse version of chocolate chip cookie dough, designed with simple tastes in mind. Just vanilla ice cream, plus little pebbles of chocolate chips, and no cookie dough getting in the way of that lovely domino look and taste. You can’t go wrong with any ice cream created by Blue Bell, and that includes its chocolate chip flavor, perfectly balancing the sweet vanilla base with the pronounced flavor of semisweet chips.
This particular flavor is also an easy and affordable one to make at home, with ingredients you may already have lying around the house: whole milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and your choice of chocolate chips. We recommend mini chocolate chips as a great way to maximize the little bursts of chocolate you can fit into each bite. Pro tip: Allow a few minutes to let this one sit out at room temperature before trying to serve it up via ice cream scoop, because the chips taste better when not quite as frozen solid.
31. Green Tea
One of the more trendy flavors on this list is green tea, or matcha; an ice cream commonly found in Japan, says MasterClass, that incorporates the country’s legendary beverage. Basic ice cream is mixed in with this earthy, slightly bitter, and deeply flavorful culinary-grade powder and ends up with a natural, vibrant grassy hue. It’s stunning and surprising, especially if you’ve never had it before. At first taste, it might turn some people off and immediately entice others, but if you’re a stalwart drinker of green tea, you’d be remiss not to try it in ice cream form.
If you make it yourself, be sure to pick up a high-quality matcha powder to use, or risk the ice cream being overly bitter or vaguely bland. If you decide to purchase it at the store instead of making it yourself, it’s also commonly sold in mochi form from popular brands like My Mochi. Haagen Dazs, of course, makes a delicious Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream, because what can’t that brand do? While intriguing and beautiful, the polarizing flavor puts this one a little further down on the list.
30. Waffle Cone
Straight out of left field and into your favorite bowl, introducing the new kid on the block, waffle cone ice cream. While there’s a whole history to the invention of the original ice cream cone, now there are three basic forms it takes; a sugar cone, a waffle cone, and a wafer or cake cone. The waffle cone has since made its way into the ice cream itself rather than just serving as a vehicle to eat said ice cream. The bits of cone stay pleasantly crisp but not necessarily crunchy, are well-integrated, and bring all the joy of a cone into the convenience of a cup — because, as everyone is well aware, cones are the fast track to messy floors and sticky fingers.
Breyer’s makes an exceedingly chipper waffle cone ice cream that splashes in a twirl of caramel just for the fun, and it accentuates the buttery sweetness of the cone bits. It also folds in some chocolate chips and swathes each cone bite in a protective fudge coating, which helps the waffle cones hold up against the ice cream. If this flavor was a little more timeless, it might rank higher, but because it’s more of a novelty than a modern classic, it’s a bit lower on the list. The taste and texture, however, are spot-on.
29. Rainbow Sherbet
More ice cream science is coming your way! Sherbet — and no, there’s no second "r," so don’t pronounce it like your Uncle Herbert — isn’t quite ice cream but isn’t quite sorbet, so it’s just close enough to the former to squeeze its way onto this list. It has a much smaller percentage of dairy ingredients, which gives it the signature icy, slightly grittier texture akin to Italian ice.
When it’s really hot out and even ice cream sounds too heavy, sherbet is the next best thing. Coming in refreshing fruit flavors like the cheerful rainbow or dreamy vintage ones like refreshing orange, sherbet is best purchased from an ice cream truck or a local mom-and-pop shop. But go ahead and pick up one of those massive tubs with the handles to dish out at your next pool party or barbecue, and everyone will feel just a little bit more carefree and refreshed.
28. Rocky Road
Rocky road ice cream starts with a base of chocolate, then mixes in almonds and marshmallows. It’s a brilliant idea when you break it down. Chocolate goes so well with both the classic nuts and the sweetness of marshmallows. As for textures, the gooey nature of marshmallows is the perfect contrast to the hard crunch of the scattered almonds. The name fits like a glove.
Turkey Hill whips the marshmallows and butter-roasts the almonds for even more contrast to the pleasant, mellow Dutch chocolate base. Meanwhile, Blue Bell chooses mini marshmallows and precisely chops the nuts while going for a rich, deep dark chocolate base. There’s some room for customization here, so if rocky road is your chosen path, go forth and take some roads less traveled to find the brand that will become your new beaten path. After all, with an ice cream flavor so iconic, you’re bound to find a brand’s version you love.
Not to be confused with mint chocolate chip, peppermint is a flavor that typically hides away during most of the year only to make a triumphant and jolly return when brands start hauling out the holiday flavors. You’ll have to look very closely in that freezer aisle, or just place an order online, to get a spoonful of this sweet, fresh flavor in the off-season. But it’s definitely worth the trouble.
Sometimes the color is green like its chocolate-flecked and often-spearmint cousin. Sometimes the hue is a pale pinkish color, like a candy cane after you’ve eaten half of it and the stripes all kind of melt together. Sometimes it’s white as snow. But the color doesn’t matter; It’s that magical taste of childhood, sledding in the snow, or waking up to presents. It’s those sticky, chewy bits of candy cane scattered throughout and the huge smile you’ll get when you see a tub of Friendly’s Peppermint Stick ice cream featuring a bouquet of candy canes tied up on red ribbon and nestled in pine boughs that make it wonderful. Peppermint is gimmicky, glorious joy.
The natural creaminess of fresh island coconut just begs to be partnered with ice cream. Coconut milk and coconut cream are amazingly versatile ingredients that elevate any dish with their smooth consistency and mild, unusual tasting notes. Refreshing Piña Coladas, spicy curries, and decadent cream pies all benefit from this generous fruit. Due to its hard shell, it’s a tough nut to crack, but that should never deter recipe developers from trying as hard as they can to add it to things, especially ice cream.
It can be really difficult to find a simple coconut-flavored pint or tub without any mix-ins, and one that is not gelato or sorbet. If you want that pure flavor alone, maybe give a non-dairy variation a try by choosing an "ice cream" that’s actually made with coconut milk instead. If you don’t mind a bunch of stuff boosting those textural elements, Breyer’s delivers with its Coconut Fudge Breeze. Real coconut shreds and ripples of fudge make this one both light and hearty, and laid-back and intense. And, of course, never forget the Piña Colada pints that invite pineapple to the party. When you’re craving some island vibes, search for the nearest Ben & Jerry’s on your maps app and order the maximalist Coconut Seven Layer Bar flavor — it’s coconut ice cream surrounding coconut and fudge flakes, plus some random walnuts and even more random swirls of graham cracker and butterscotch. You’ll find something different to love in every bite.
25. Mocha Almond Fudge
This flavor is an excellent combination perfect for more refined adult palettes. Children may balk at the aroma of coffee or the nuggets of nuts, preferring pure chocolate and smoother textures. But for adults, this one’s a surefire way to feel satisfied at the end of a long day. Or the beginning of the day, because coffee is for the morning, right? Talk about good ideas. Brands from Target to Dreyer’s, Baskin-Robbins, Blue Bell, and Tillamook heartily agree.
If you want both coffee and chocolate flavors blended, mocha is the solution. The flavor developers could have stopped right there with a nice mocha ice cream, but almonds add nuanced nutty notes, and, of course, a complex textural contrast. Last but not least, chunks (or ripples) of thick, rich, dark fudge bring out the subtle chocolatey undertones of the mocha. As far as ice cream science goes, mocha almond fudge proves a highly successful experiment.
Now if you look again, you’ll notice that the list does not include black cherry, cherry vanilla, or any other particular iteration of cherry-flavored ice cream. The phenomenal fruit can be enjoyed through ice cream in numerous ways, clearly, and all variations benefit from its rich color, chewy texture, and pleasing flavor. While peaches, raspberries, and strawberries win slightly higher rankings on this list, cherries earn their spot here.
The most famous cherry confection has to be Ben & Jerry’s quintessential Cherry Garcia, a tasty tribute to guitarist Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. It’s a cherry-flavored ice cream base, plus chunks of the starring fruit and added dashes of fudge flakes for good measure. The brand has since made a non-dairy version, a chocolate-based version, and a new iteration called Cherry Crumble. Clearly, the people just can’t get enough! If you like your flavor more natural and fruit-forward with no chocolate vying for your attention, Tillamook’s Oregon Dark Cherry is your jam.
You’re probably wondering why pumpkin ice cream makes the list when it’s decidedly seasonal. It’s also, admittedly, a bit of a trend, and who knows if the trend will survive for the long term. But here’s our argument: Bumpkin is a wonderful, delicious flavor in its own right regardless of the season. And it does seem that the pumpkin craze is here to stay since Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte has been wildly popular ever since it was rolled out in 2003, notes Well + Good.
Pumpkins have a very mild flavor. Think of a lightly-spiced pumpkin pie. The filling inside, creamy and cold from the fridge, isn’t all too far away from ice cream. And, really, who wants to eat a warm pumpkin pie? Just make it cold, take away the crust, blend that whipped cream element in rather than dollop it on top, and there you have it: Pleasant, hearty, welcoming pumpkin ice cream. Obviously, ice cream is a frozen dessert, but pumpkin ice cream is somehow warming at the same time. Don’t knock it ’till you try it (even if you scorn the pumpkin spice latte universe.)
Everyone likely knows what this flavor, or flavors, consists of. A winning trio of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream, Neapolitan ice cream is widely considered one of the most popular varieties readily available. Neapolitan is named after the Italian immigrants who brought their love and knowledge of frozen desserts, notes PopSugar — especially gelato — with them when they arrived in America. Now, with fancy and eyebrow-raising flavors appearing every other day (here’s looking at you, Jeni’s Everything Bagel), there’s still room in your heart for all three of these classics wrapped up in one convenient tub.
One of the best things about Neapolitan is that it’s party-ready on two important levels. One, it provides lots of variety for all tastes; Many people have strong opinions about whether vanilla or chocolate is the number one ice cream flavor, and two, everyone who abstains from that argument can enjoy their strawberry in peace. Of course, the ideal spoonful incorporates all three in a harmonious triad that plays so well together. Last but not least, the rainbow of colors is a delight and nods to the nostalgia of past summers.
21. Maple Walnut
Maple walnut is a nostalgic, classic flavor that is never in the limelight — and that’s a shame. Rich, sweet, real maple syrup is a joy to behold on your morning pancakes or waffles, so why not infuse ice cream with the woodsy goodness? But simply maple syrup ice cream could get overly sugary and cloying, so that’s where the walnuts come in. Bites of salty, roasted walnuts are the perfect foil, and they have those same wholesome, natural notes as maple.
You could be tapping your own maple trees, harvesting the sticky sap, picking walnuts off towering trees, and then roasting them over an open bonfire if you have a good imagination for homemade desserts. If you happen to live in an area with either a Wegmans or a Publix, you can pick up the versions whenever you like. For breakfast lovers and "real syrup" purists, this flavor reigns supreme.
20. Salted Caramel
Now things are getting all fancy again, aren’t they? Caramel is basically a more luxurious version of white sugar, and everyone knows that sprinkling salt on sweet foods is a mature way to take the flavors up a notch. Put those two techniques together and you get a rich, special, and sophisticated result. That dash of sea salt just brings out the best of what’s inside.
If you don’t mind committing to a seriously delicious project, it’s an excellent idea to go to the grocery shop this weekend for all the ingredients necessary to make your salted caramel ice cream, especially since the ingredient list is manageably short. Pick up some caramel sauce and whipped cream while you’re there, and maybe a pint of Magnum Double Sea Salt Caramel just in case it all goes south. But trust yourself, you’ve got this. This flavor is still one of the most decadent ice cream flavors you can buy.
Coffee is an acquired taste. Bitter, pungent, and with a weird texture — gritty but thick but watery all at the same time — it turns kids into adults way too fast. Often, kids and adults with delicate palettes get into the coffee game by diluting it with milk, sugar, flavored syrups, cold foam, warm foam, salted cold foam, and, of course, coffee creamers. But why not just skew the ratio a little and go for 99% cream and 1% coffee?
A decidedly adult flavor, coffee ice cream feels like a very seasoned choice. This ice cream is a no-brainer for affogatos, fancier brownie sundaes, and the kinds of people who wear "don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee" t-shirts. When it’s good, it’s really good, as is the Haagen Dazs one. And if you want perhaps the most delicious coffee ice cream, try Turkey Hill’s Double Dunker. Really, stop reading this, and go buy this flavor. It’s the most important piece of information you’ll read today about coffee ice cream.
Along with vanilla, chocolate is the ice cream flavor that you can pretty much always find in a freezer aisle from whatever brand you love the best. Aside from classic chocolate, plenty of flavors use chocolate as a base. Additions are also often chocolatey (chips, chunks, candy, cookies) or something complementary like pretzels. But beneath all that is the standby flavor that should ideally be good enough to stand alone.
Alas, many chocolate ice creams are sorely lacking in depth of flavor, silky texture, and decadent richness. You can never go wrong with Haagen Dazs, and sometimes choosing a "plain" flavor is the best way to really savor the sublimity of a higher-quality, higher-cost brand. This way, every choice ingredient is taken to its highest plane, and it’s important not to crowd that favored flavor (in this case, chocolate itself). If you need more ice cream for your money, Kroger’s Private Selection line offers an impressive Chocolate Ganache, and the lush texture will win you over at the first spoonful.
Strawberry ice cream is a classic. Everyone knows it well — almost as well as they know chocolate and vanilla. But, how often, when you think about it, do you actually eat strawberry ice cream? How often do you have a tub of it in your freezer, or pick the pink flavor when at the ice cream parlor (or whatever the kids these days call those places where you get ice cream)? The answer is probably not often. It just isn’t as sexy as, say, Wildberry Cheesecake or New York Super Fudge Chunk.
But when you want something lighter than rich chocolate-based ice cream, but you also crave something less vanilla than vanilla (no offense, vanilla, you are loved!) then you might turn to a fruity flavor. Strawberries can be a pleasant surprise on a hot day. A scoop of strawberry ice cream on top of a berry cobbler, warm pie, or tucked inside of a homemade ice cream cookie sandwich is a surprising and delightful sweet treat. And a bit of pink never fails to provide an instant mood boost!
16. Butter Pecan
Butter pecan ice cream is one of those flavors that just makes sense, while also making almost no sense at all. Ice cream and butter are two sides of the same coin. Both come from churning cream, but one method results in a spread while another (with milk and sugar of course) becomes a frozen dessert. A butter-flavored ice cream feels both redundant and like something from the Matrix, but there’s no denying that it just works.
Next comes the nuts. Pecans are a light, chewy, and, yes, buttery nut that reach their apex when slow roasted. Other nuts like hazelnut or almonds remain distinctly crunchy when in ice cream and you have to specifically navigate their textural contrast. Pecans, though, really do meld seamlessly with the buttery base. It’s a comforting flavor that’s easily passed by. But, every so often when you do choose to eat some of this ice cream, it just hits the spot.
15. Moose Tracks
Moose tracks has become a well-known flavor, but this tasty concoction has an interesting backstory. Moose tracks is actually a flavor of fudge developed by Denali Flavors. When the recipe developers decided to try adding chunks of that rich, salty, dark chocolate fudge as well as some peanut butter cups to classic vanilla ice cream, a movement was born that made this flavor a household name. Denali Moose Tracks owns the recipe and licenses it out to dairy partners who produce and manufacture the ice cream flavors on their own.
Nowadays, Turkey Hill makes a moose tracks tub and even Target’s Favorite Day line produces its budget-friendly take on the flavor. It’s a bit like a rocky road in the composition: A base (but vanilla, not chocolate), a swirl (but fudge, not marshmallow), and a mix-in (peanut butter cups, not almonds.) If you prefer peanut butter to almonds or vanilla to chocolate, you’ll prefer this flavor over rocky road. If you want more crunch, rocky road is probably your jam. That ripple of signature branded fudge just takes this one up a notch and positions it higher on the list.
14. Mint Chip
Is mint for dessert? Or is it for after dessert, when you’re getting ready for bed, putting on your pajamas, listening to nighttime soundscapes, and brushing your teeth? That is the question that causes lots of debate between mint lovers and haters. For some, mint chip is the best ice cream out there, because cool, sweet, bracing mint is the perfect flavor to maximize ice cream’s refreshing coldness. For others, mint is taking things a little too far due to that inescapable association with the nightly chore of toothbrushing.
Maybe that’s why almost every single tub of this ice cream involves the great equalizer: chocolate. Chips or chunks, or sometimes inexplicably whispery specs, of chocolate speckles the base flavor and add an interesting texture as well as that winning chocolate flavor. If you like sharp bites of chocolate, go for one that has chips as opposed to chunks or tracks. If you’re more there for the chocolate than the mint, when it comes down to it, go for one that’s heavy on that chocolate marbling like this Turkey Hill Choco Mint Chip. And if you couldn’t care less about the chocolate, choose something that’s only mildly peppered with the stuff. It’s pretty much up to you!
13. Chocolate Marshmallow
Obliquely referred to when discussing rocky road, chocolate marshmallow takes out the nuts and doubles down on that marshmallow ripple. This is a good decision; the marshmallow is a fun, playful texture somewhat like frosting but stickier and more melty. The white stripes against an all-chocolate backdrop are like a reverse zebra.
Are you dubious about why this one ranks higher than the rocky road when it has considerably fewer mix-ins in it? Well, this is slightly nit-picky, but the hard, crunchy nuts in rocky road actually take away from the silky texture and delightful taste of the chocolate ice cream itself. Try Turkey Hill’s chocolate marshmallow for a flavor reminiscent of frozen hot chocolate (in the best possible way). Just add some more marshmallows and plenty of whipped cream on top and you’ve got a delicious chilly dessert that rivals the toasty hot drink, perfect for a summertime treat to cool off.
What’s more summery than a juicy, perfectly ripe peach? Maybe a watermelon, but you don’t see watermelon ice cream around unless it’s in sorbet form, so peach wins this time. And, come on, there’s a whole other dessert called peaches and cream — and it doesn’t even involve ice cream. So putting peaches in ice cream is almost glaringly obvious. It’s delicious if you’re a fruit lover but still want all the sweetness of a non-fruit flavor.
Here are some other helpful hints: If you want reliably amazing fresh peaches to top off your ice cream, check out The Peach Truck. If you want luscious homemade whipped cream with a little extra special sauce that may also nod to your favorite adult beverage, this secret ingredient will bring your ice cream experience up a notch. As for the ice cream itself, go all out with a pint of Jeni’s Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam. Nuggets of buttery Southern biscuits, a tangy buttermilk-infused base, and a swirl of real Georgia peach jam are going to be your new jam. Of all the fruit flavors, peach is the sweetest deal.
Fun fact: Pistachios aren’t actually nuts, notes McGill University. Bet you didn’t think you’d learn so much from an article about ice cream, right? So, what are they, then? Pistachios are the seeds on a tree — the pistachio tree. Pistachios, along with cashews and almonds, are technically considered "drupes." If you’re allergic to tree nuts, though, still avoid pistachios as they fall under that allergy umbrella.
Here’s your next science truth bomb: If you made homemade pistachio ice cream, you’d likely find out that it’s an unappealing brown color, not the zesty green hue you find at the store. That’s because these nuts don’t look so green once they’re all ground up, says Food Crumbles. Most of that green color is artificial!
And here’s your next, and last, fun pistachio ice cream fact: Most of what you’re tasting in your bowl of pistachio ice cream is actually another nut, reports American Pistachio Growers. Yes, pistachio ice cream should be rebranded as almond ice cream with some pistachios inside. It’s thanks to the sneaky almond and its sidekick pistachio that we get the elegant ice cream flavor. But even though we’ve been duped on the contents, this flavor is delicious and therefore deserves the high rank.
10. French Vanilla
What makes French vanilla different from regular old ice cream flavored with vanilla? Well, French-style ice cream adds eggs to the mixture of milk, cream, and sugar that constitutes the blank canvas for all the fun varieties getting churned out into the world every day. While cooking and cooling eggs adds an extra step to the process that definitely could go wrong (no one wants curdled, scrambled eggs as an ice cream swirl), when done properly, it creates ice cream with a velvety mouthfeel and fewer air pockets. For that reason, French-style ice cream tends to be less prone to freezer burn.
All of that to say, it’s a bit of a red herring, because the key factor that makes French vanilla more sophisticated and flavorful than regular vanilla is the process, notes MasterClass, not the vanilla itself. Even with the exact same brand of vanilla extract, the custardy, eggy French style means that the vanilla notes are accentuated and more pronounced. While there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned tub of vanilla ice cream, pick the even-older-fashioned French vanilla to let that flavor shine.
You’re probably wondering why this flavor ranks so high on the list. You may also be wondering what this flavor even is. Spumoni ice cream is a delightful amalgamation of chocolate, cherry, and pistachio bases, scattered with almonds and mixed candied fruits. It’s very vintage and hard to find these days, but Dreyer’s/Edy’s offers one. Dreyer’s and Edy’s are actually the same company, but Dreyer’s ice creams are found in the Western U.S. while Edy’s serves the Midwest and Eastern parts of the country. That just means that wherever you’re located, you can probably pick up this flavor.
Now that all that context has been settled, let the case for spumoni begin. Remember reading about how pistachio ice cream’s nutty flavor is mostly almond? Well, now rework the idea of chocolate, cherry, and almond ice creams complementing each other in a convenient trio. Suddenly it makes a little more sense, right? As for the nuts, well, that’s how pistachio still earns its name despite the almond flavoring; the actual nuts in the ice cream are indeed pistachios. Last but not least, the candied mixed fruits will likely send some readers running for the hills, but give it a try. If you like Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, the fruits in spumoni are akin to those, just with more variety and color. A bite of nuanced pistachio, decadent chocolate, and cheerful cherry with pops of crunchy nuts and chewy, sweet fruit? It’s surprisingly heavenly.
Four fruit ice cream flavors made this list: peach, cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. Cherry can veer slightly into medicinal territory or become slightly cloying. Peach is sometimes a bit too mild-mannered to hold up as a strong, individual flavor. Strawberry is a pretty pink nostalgic delight but can get just a tad bit boring after about three spoonfuls. Therefore, the winner of the fruit playoffs is raspberry! Here are some promising reasons why.
First of all, raspberry is a true team player. When coupled with vanilla, it’s a simple, classic treat. When paired with chocolate, it becomes rich, delectable, and deviously decadent. When alongside cheesecake, it’s got full-on big-apple vibes; rich yet tart and with a pleasantly mature consistency. When pitted against other fruits, it holds its own due to that tangy, bold flavor. And it’s that boldness, tartness, and mischievous confidence that puts raspberry on top. Ice cream is a sweet dessert, and the pungency of raspberry awakens the taste buds and makes for an elegant balance. To really feel every bit of that push and pull, try it paired with white chocolate.
7. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
An utterly beloved classic cookie (chocolate chip) that’s mixed into an utterly beloved classic ice cream (vanilla) is a genius idea. Well, here’s an even better one; don’t bake the cookie dough. Those geniuses at Ben & Jerry’s can take credit for this one, and it’s a pretty good story, too.
In 1984 — yeah, can you believe the world didn’t have this flavor before then? — an unnamed fan stopped by the first scoop shop and suggested mixing chocolate chip cookie dough right into the well-received vanilla. They decided to take a risk and play out this weird, wonderful scenario, and a star was born. Since its inception, this flavor has undergone many transformations and inspired lots of other cookie doughs to have their moment — such as Ben & Jerry’s own pint of peanut butter ice cream with fudge chips, peanut butter cookies, and a no-bake cookie dough core — the original is as timeless as it’s two tandem elements.
6. Double Fudge Brownie
It’s all in the name, friends, and did you read that name? What’s not to love? There are chocolate lovers, and then there are serious chocolate aficionados. When you really need a chocolate fix and also crave some ice cream, this flavor will come through for you. While it can’t fix all your problems – taxes still must be filled out, the ice cream bowl still must be washed – it most definitely sweetens the deal. And as for that second problem, just eat it straight out of the tub — see, it does solve problems!
Edy’s/Dreyer’s Double Fudge Brownie ice cream is a great jumping-off point. With fudge pieces, chocolatey swirls, and bits of those highly important brownies, it’s rich but you don’t have to be rich to justify a grocery store run. If you’re ready to go the extra mile and pay a little extra for it, however, Van Leeuwen’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie is calling your name.
5. Cake Batter
Cake batter, birthday cake, and Funfetti are not for the faint of heart. This flavor is for the folks with a sweet tooth out there. This one is for everyone who secretly wishes that there was a slice of cake, too, whenever ice cream’s on the table. It’s for those who think a slice of cake without a scoop of ice cream is a sad sight to see. If those claims describe you, combining cake and ice cream is your ideal flavor. Yes, it’s sometimes artificial, but how do you flavor ice cream with cake naturally? Vanilla? Hmm. Then, there are almost certainly chunks of fluffy white or yellow cake dotting the base. The more the better! Ideally, rainbow sprinkles fleck the concoction, adding notes of playfulness and childlike nostalgia. And, if you’re really lucky, there’s a swirl of frosting throughout.
All you need now is some whipped cream so that you can get a big spoonful of cake, frosting, ice cream, sprinkles, and whipped cream all at the same time! Many will probably roll their eyes at this flavor ranking so high, but those who agree that this is one of the best dessert mashups of all time will feel validated. If you’re lucky enough to live near an Ample Hills Creamery or a freezer aisle that stocks its products, this high-end ice cream brand delivers a game-changing spin on cake batter with its Ooey Gooey Butter Cake — it’s truly not to be missed.
4. Cookies and Cream
Just shy of winning the bronze, this flavor is still ingenious. Honestly, it just brings out the best in ice cream. Chocolate sandwich cookies become soft and almost creamy themselves when churned into the typically vanilla-flavored base, and the crumb of the cookies infiltrate the desert until it’s impossible to have a spoonful that’s just the vanilla. The cleverest element of this flavor is that the cookies are filled with cream already, even before getting tossed into ice cream. The cookie cream filling plus the ice cream’s cream equals the height of rich, smooth perfection.
If you’re looking for the creamiest, dreamiest cookies and cream that’s readily available, try the Breyers iteration. It’s got a ridiculously large number of creme-filled chocolate cookies, and it’s a whopper of a dessert, pure delight and decadence through and through. Now if you want a version with specifically Oreos mixed in, go for Oreo’s new ice cream that proudly puts the cookie before the ice cream.
3. Peanut Butter
Ice cream can, and often should, have an element of peanut butter in it. You may begin with a base flavor of vanilla or chocolate, as most do, and add something nutty to it later because it’s somewhat difficult to dig up ice cream that has a peanut butter-flavored base. Breyer’s makes a really good chocolate peanut butter ice cream that is simply all in the title: chocolate ice cream with a swirl of real nut butter generously threading its way throughout, providing a lovely textural contrast. When swirled, peanut butter doesn’t get hard or crunchy, exactly, but it doesn’t stay sticky and soft as it does in a jar at room temperature. Instead, it becomes fudge-y, crackling, and vaguely crisp. A spoon can break up the swirl with a firm rap, but that spoonful melts nicely in your mouth.
There are so many ways to incorporate this flavor into ice cream. Add branded, fan-favorite Reese‘s products, from cups to pieces, and the people will come running. Adding actual peanuts themselves is a riskier move, but that sweet-salty combo has a good payoff. And all you serious, focused, go-big-or-go-home peanut butter lovers, well, Ben & Jerry’s has your back with its Peanut Butter Fudge Core. Not only does it involve both chocolate and peanut butter-flavored ice creams, but there are mini peanut butter cups as well as that rich, ridiculous goodness at the center.
2. Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche gives salted caramel a run for its money — and these judges call it an upset when it wins. So here’s the science moment for this entry: Caramel is composed of water and sugar, heated and stirred to perfection, while dulce de leche is composed of milk and sugar and treated the same. Have you ever tried making oatmeal with milk versus making it with water? Yeah, you know that the milk version is thicker, richer, and more comforting than the watery version. The same goes with caramel; when looking for gooey, sticky ripples of sweetness, well, got milk?
For the perfect pint of this flavor of ice cream, look no further than Haagen Dazs. Its dulce de leche is a light golden base of deeply caramelized, divinely creamy base flavor with rivers, not ripples, of silky caramel. A few bites go a long way, but you can still easily eat the whole pint while sitting. And putting dulce de leche scooped atop a fresh apple pie? You’ll never look back.
1. Vanilla Bean
Now presenting the crown jewel of the frozen world: vanilla bean. This ice cream is the third way to get that incredible vanilla flavor (alongside regular vanilla and French vanilla). This flavor is different because it involves not only vanilla extract but also the signature dark flecks of greatness that are scraped off a small and very expensive vanilla bean pod. You know the ice cream is vanilla bean when you see it thanks to those freckles that break up the pure white hue.
Some prefer the smooth, sophisticated mouthfeel of French vanilla, and others enjoy the childhood delight that is basic vanilla. But for the purest, most flavor-forward way to enjoy ice cream, your best bet is vanilla bean. There’s truly nothing like it, and a good vanilla bean ice cream easily becomes the star of the show even when surrounded by flashy fruity varieties and crunchy candy-filled concoctions. Tillamook’s Vanilla Bean may be the fairest of them all, but not if Haagen Dazs has anything to say about it.