Not too long ago, the vegan ice cream selection at the grocery store was limited, if it existed at all. You might find a soymilk-based ice cream but there was probably only one brand and one flavor. But now, vegan ice cream has gone mainstream with brands such as So Delicious conquering the shelves with a range of dairy-free flavors. Even Ben & Jerry’s has entered the race by introducing its own selection of vegan flavors. So with all of these choices, you may be wondering which vegan ice cream is best?
When I first went vegan three years ago, I remember the only vegan ice cream I could find was soy-based. At the time, I had no qualms about that since I had no idea such a wide range of non-dairy milk bases were waiting to be discovered. I ended up getting a pint of So Delicious’s Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. It was surprisingly good but in comparison with the decadence of today’s vegan ice creams, it could be considered underwhelming. The dairy-free bases for ice cream seem to be endless with coconut, soy, almond, and cashews, even rice.
Along with with input gathered from vegans and non-vegans alike, I put every type of vegan ice cream to the test for its strengths and weaknesses.
- Vegan Ice Cream Nutrition
- The Best Vegan Ice Cream Brands
- The Verdict
- Here Are the Best Vegan Ice Cream Flavors Money Can Buy
- Ben & Jerry’s P.B. & Cookies
- Häagen-Dazs Mocha Chocolate Cookie
- So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag
- Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
- Coconut Bliss Mint Galactica
- Breyers Vanilla Peanut Butter
- So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Ice Cream
- Häagen-Dazs Dark Chocolate Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Coconut Bliss Ginger Cookie Caramel
- So Delicious Chocolate Drizzled Bananas Foster
- Vegan Ice Cream List
- The Different Kinds of Vegetarians
- But what DO vegans eat?
- Vegan YES!
- ◗ Pulses: peas, beans, lentils: think dahl, falafels, mixed bean stew, hummus, bean burgers and hundreds more ways to cook this protein rich family
- tofu (assorted flavours and firmness) – plain, deep fried, smoked, basil, sundried tomato, marinated, firm, medium, silken…
- tempeh – fermented soya bean ‘cake’ used to make vegan rashers etc
- seitan – traditional ‘wheatmeat’ or gluten (used in Eastern Asia for over a thousand years) – easy to make from scratch or use tins/jars
- commercial meat analogues – Quorn Vegan Chicken Pieces; TVP-based such as soya mince or chunks, Fries or VBites Chicken-style pieces and many more
- ◗Vegan dairy: plant milks (soya, almond, rice etc); soya or coconut milk yoghurt; vegan ice cream and margarine
- ◗ Wheat protein – seitan/gluten – works well in roasts, pies, meatballs, slices, sausages…
- Vegans DON’T EAT any animal products or their by-products
- Meat, fish, seafood and poultry: eg beef, pork, lamb, duck, chicken, goose, fish (including anchovies), lobster, crab, shellfish
- Animal by-products, land and sea: eg gelatine, animal rennet, aspic, lard, crushed seashells, cochineal (insects), shellac, beeswax
- Dairy products: cheese; yoghurt; cream; milk; crème fraiche; condensed milk; butter
- Dairy by-products: eg dried milk; whey; lactose of animal origin (most lactic acid is vegan but check)
- Eggs, dried egg, albumen etc
- Meat-free alternatives that contain animal products, eg some Quorn products (look for the ‘vegan’ on the packs and avoid the rest); Some Cauldron products, again, check packets for vegan items
- Honey, royal jelly, beeswax etc
- Alcohol fined (clarified) with animal by-products, eg isinglass, albumen, milk (many beers and wines are vegan-friendly but not all. Most spirits are fine).
Vegan Ice Cream Nutrition
By choosing a vegan ice cream, you are forgoing dairy which may benefit your health and even complexion. According to Dr. Whitney P. Bowe, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist, there are possible links between dairy and acne. In the study, it is hypothesized that the “hormones and growth factors in milk might play a role.”
Licensed naturopathic doctor, Dr. Danielle Gran of Integrative Health Institutes, advises her patients suffering from acne to avoid dairy based on the results of such studies mentioned above and her own clinical experience. By ditching dairy, you may avoid the dreaded pimple that pops up after a night of indulgence in such treats as ice cream.
A common yet perhaps unfamiliar ingredient you may find when skimming the nutrition label of a pint of vegan ice cream is carrageenan. Carrageenan is an emulsifier and thickener extracted from seaweed. Claims exist that carrageenan is inflammatory to the digestive system which has sparked some controversy about the popular food additive. But when carrageenan was reviewed by the FDA in 2012, the agency deemed it safe for consumption.
So Delicious is one of the few vegan ice cream brands that has completely stopped using carrageenan in its products. Many consumers were voicing their concern over the ingredient which prompted So Delicious to reformulate its products without carrageenan as an ingredient.
Dr. Gran advises that those suffering from Crohn’s or inflammatory bowel disease may want to exercise caution by avoiding products with carrageenan. Due to the lack of conclusive evidence, Dr. Gran does not recommend strict avoidance for those without digestive-related conditions. Rather, she says, “I urge my patients to minimize processed food intake in general and eat a nutrient-dense diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.”
While dairy-free ice cream may have its advantages over dairy-based, it is still a processed product that should be viewed as a treat. Such treats are perfectly fine for consuming in moderation while maintaining a balanced whole foods diet.
The Best Vegan Ice Cream Brands
1. So Delicious
So Delicious is one of the easiest dairy-free brands to find. From Ralphs to Sprouts to Target, So Delicious is stocked at plenty of stores making vegan treats accessible. Plus, it boasts a huge range of ice cream variations. Since it offers soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, and almond milk based ice creams, each one has been reviewed separately.
Flavor: So Delicious Soymilk ice cream is very mild yet pleasing. It’s great for those who prefer lighter desserts. But since it does lack richness the sweetness is far more noticeable and tastes a bit sugary. The Neapolitan flavor is the most enjoyable flavor since it’s reminiscent of childhood trips to the ice cream shop.
Nutrition: This particular ice cream uses multiple additives including locust bean gum, gellan gum, and guar gum all as emulsifiers. So, given that it has more emulsifiers, it’s more processed than some of the other vegan ice creams on the market. The vanilla flavor has 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of sugar per serving.
Flavor: So Delicious Coconutmilk ice cream closely matches its dairy counterpart. It’s creamy, smooth, and not overly rich. The cookie dough flavor is one of the best flavors and you wouldn’t know it was gluten-free unless you read the label. The chocolate peanut butter swirl is my personal favorite. It’s reminiscent of a chocolate peanut butter cup while being a bit less indulgent. You also can’t go wrong with the classics such as vanilla bean, chocolate, mint chip, and strawberry.
Nutrition: With such a wide range of flavors, it’s hard to judge the nutrition as a whole. But for the classic flavors, the ingredient lists are pretty minimal. The vanilla bean flavor has 120 calories, 6 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of sugar per serving.
Flavor: So Delicious Cashewmilk ice cream is truly decadent. Unlike soy milk ice cream, cashew milk ice cream doesn’t lack in richness. The salted caramel cluster flavor and snickerdoodle are fun flavors that have crunchy add-ins like cookie dough and chocolate chunks. There’s also a classic vanilla and chocolate which closely match the taste and texture of dairy counterparts according to my non-vegan taste testers.
Nutrition: So Delicious Cashewmilk vanilla ice cream has 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbohydrates, and 18 grams of sugar per serving. It also has a minimal ingredient list with only eight ingredients (excluding water) and most of which are fairly clean. The more decadent flavors, on the other hand, have more ingredients and flavorings added. If you’re being health-conscious then it is best to go with the minimal flavors.
2. Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss is one of the healthiest vegan ice cream brands. It uses by far the most wholesome ingredients and is certified organic! Plus, it’s absolutely delicious and boasts unique flavors.
Flavor: Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss ice cream is smooth and creamy. It does have a hint of coconut given its base ingredient but it’s not overwhelmingly coconutty. The peanut butter chocolate flavor is a delicious choice that will satisfy chocolate lovers. The salted caramel chocolate is ideal for those who love decadent desserts.
The most unique flavors are the Cinnamon Chocolate Fusion, Mocha Maca Crunch, and Ginger Cookie Caramel. Foodies will love this brand for its eccentric yet totally tasty flavor pairings.
Nutrition: This brand is by far the healthiest one I tested. With only six ingredients and all of which are organic, it’s a wholesome pick. Given its reliance on coconut, it does have more fat. But coconut is full of healthy fat so don’t fret. Each serving of Vanilla Island has 210 calories, 16 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of sugar.
Dream makes its desserts from almonds, rice, coconut, and soy. But I only am including a review of the almond since that’s what I feel is most easy to find at the store and has the widest range of flavors.
Flavor: Almond Dream ice cream is great for those who don’t like the flavor of coconutmilk ice cream. It’s creamy while remaining light and refreshing. The vanilla almond dream ice cream was ranked as the best vegan vanilla ice cream by one of my non-vegan taste testers.
Nutrition: Almond Dream uses carrageenan, guar gum, carob bean gum, and sunflower lecithin as emulsifiers and thickeners which means it does have a longer ingredient list than some of the others. Like So Delicious, it’s sweetened with cane syrup.
But those who are allergic to dairy won’t be able to enjoy this treat because it’s produced on shared equipment and therefore may have traces of dairy. Dream vanilla ice cream has 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of sugar per serving.
Steve’s is another primarily dairy-based brand that offers a selection of dairy-free flavors. Its offerings are Burnt Sugar Vanilla, Chocolate Salty Caramel, and Speculoos Cookie Butter. All of Steve’s non-dairy ice cream flavors are based from coconut milk.
Flavor: The Chocolate Salty Caramel and Burnt Sugar Vanilla are exceptional. The Chocolate Salty Caramel is not too rich, being more of a regular chocolate rather than dark chocolate, and has sweet and salty swirls of caramel. The Burnt Sugar Vanilla has delicious crispy flakes of sugar in each bite. This brand will definitely please foodies who appreciate gourmet flavors.
Ingredients: Steve’s uses almost all organic ingredients and isn’t laden with additives or artificial ingredients. It does have a high The Burnt Sugar Vanilla flavor has eight (excluding water). Chocolate Salty Caramel has 270 calories, 18 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbs, and 24 grams of sugar.
5. Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s recently released four dairy-free flavors, all of which are certified vegan. Unfortunately, the ingredient list is not clean and has far more additives and unhealthy ingredients compared to most of its dairy-free competitors. I myself didn’t try it since I am gluten-intolerant and also don’t eat products with corn syrup. I used the opinions of taste testers to review it.
Flavor: Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice creams receive mixed reviews among vegans and non-vegans. Some said they couldn’t distinguish Ben & Jerry’s vegan flavors from the original dairy versions while others said they could definitely tell but still enjoyed it. It’s a great choice for transitioning vegans since it’s very indulgent and will satisfy cravings.
Ingredients: Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream’s major drawback is its ingredients. It has corn syrup solids as one of its main ingredients. Corn syrup is a corn-based sweetener that has been highly refined and is far more controversial than cane syrup. Each serving of Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream up to 26 grams of sugar, nearly double than that of its competitors.
- Best Overall
So Delicious wins for myself and my taste testers as best overall vegan ice cream brand. With such a wide range of flavors that are readily available at most grocery stores for under $6, So Delicious is making vegan ice cream accessible and affordable. Plus, all of the flavors we tried were truly delicious!
- Best Nutrition
Luna & Larry’s is the healthiest choice. Since it has a minimal ingredient list with the least amount of additives, it’s a great choice. In addition to being certified organic, it is also non-GMO project verified.
- Best Flavor
Steve’s is a clear winner for foodies with its gourmet flavors. The chocolate salty caramel and burnt sugar vanilla flavors are not to be missed by those who enjoy sweet and savory treats.
What’s your favorite vegan ice cream? Tweet us at @OrganicAuthorit or tag a photo of your favorite vegan ice cream with #BeOrganic @OrganicAuthority on Instagram!
Related on Organic Authority
How to Make Homemade Ice Cream Cones
Make This Raw Vegan Ice Cream Sandwich Recipe for a Healthier Trip Down Memory Lane
Processed Food Demystified: There’s Gum in Your Ice Cream
Images via Karissa Bowers
Here Are the Best Vegan Ice Cream Flavors Money Can Buy
There’s no question that vegan ice cream is more popular than ever. While some all-vegan brands have been around for years, several big names in the ice cream business have recently decided to capitalize on the growing demand for dairy-free alternatives.
And since it’s officially ice cream season, and so many incredible new options are popping up all the time, we’ve compiled a list of some of the very best vegan ice cream flavors that money can buy in 2018!
Ben & Jerry’s P.B. & Cookies
One of Ben & Jerry’s first vegan offerings is also one of its best. This flavor has delicious vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies, and peanut butter swirls.
Häagen-Dazs Mocha Chocolate Cookie
With crisp cookie crumbs, rich Belgian chocolate, and bold coffee, this Häagen-Dazs flavor is decadent AF.
So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag
Made with soy milk, this flavor is an oldie but goodie—with chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, and chocolate flakes.
Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
Made with almond milk and loaded with cherries and chocolate, this classic flavor has finally been veganized!
Coconut Bliss Mint Galactica
This flavor is out of this world! Creamy vanilla coconut ice cream is blended with exhilarating mint and chocolate flakes.
Breyers Vanilla Peanut Butter
Even Breyers is throwing its hat into the dairy-free game! This flavor is made with almond milk and real vanilla—and is loaded with creamy peanut butter.
So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Ice Cream
This decadent flavor is sweet and a little salty and made with creamy cashew milk!
Häagen-Dazs Dark Chocolate Crunchy Peanut Butter
Another impressive flavor from Häagen-Dazs—the crunchy chocolate and rich peanut butter will have you asking why you didn’t ditch dairy sooner.
Coconut Bliss Ginger Cookie Caramel
Made with coconut milk, spicy ginger cookie bites, and creamy caramel, this unique flavor is freaking delicious!
So Delicious Chocolate Drizzled Bananas Foster
One of the newest flavors from So Delicious, this banana-vanilla variety is made with cashew milk and loaded with chocolate chips.
Want more? Check out this badass vegan ice cream sandwich hack:
for 17 mouthwatering recipes for making your own vegan ice cream!
Looking for a delicious ice cream that you can enjoy in the comfort of your home that’s 100% vegan and dairy free?
If so, then we have the ultimate ice cream listing for you!
Below, you’ll discover all the best vegan, dairy-free, and lactose free ice creams that you can enjoy from some of the biggest ice cream brands across the nation.
So with that being said, let’s jump straight to the listing!
Vegan Ice Cream List
Here are all the the ice cream brands and flavors that are vegan and dairy free:
1. Ben & Jerry’s
Here are all the Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream pint choices. Best of all, they are all certified vegan meaning that they don’t include any animal products like eggs, dairy, and even honey.
- caramel almond brittle
- cherry garcia
- coconut seven layer bar
- chocolate fudge brownie
- chunky monkey
- coffee caramel fundge
- pb & cookies
Here are all the Breyers vegan ice cream choices:
- non-dairy vanilla peanut butter
- non-dairy oreo cookies & cream
Here are all the Häagen-Dazs vegan ice cream choices:
- non-dairy coconut caramel
- non-dairy chocolate salted fudge
- non-dairy mocha chocolate cookie
- non dairy peanut butter chocolate fudge
4. Halo Top
Here are all the Halo Top vegan ice cream choices:
- dairy-free caramel macchiato
- dairy free chocolate
- dairy-free chocolate covered banana
- dairy-free cinnamon roll
5. So Delicious
Here are all the So Delicious vegan ice cream choices:
- chocolate cookies n cream (cashew milk)
- very vanilla (cashew milk)
- cappuccino (cashew milk)
- creamy cashew (cashew milk)
- dark chocolate truffle (cashew milk)
- salted caramel cluster (cashew milk)
- snickerdoodle (cashew milk)
- creamy chocolate (cashew milk)
- chocolate (coconut milk)
- chocolate peanut butter swirl (coconut milk)
- coconut (coconut milk)
- mint chip (coconut milk)
- mocha almond fudge (coconut milk)
- vanilla bean (coconut milk)
- no sugar added butter pecan (coconut milk)
- no sugar added chocolate (coconut milk)
- no sugar added mint chip (coconut milk)
- no sugar added vanilla bean (coconut milk)
- cookie’s n cream gluten free (coconut milk)
- cooke dough gluten free (coconut milk)
- simply strawberry (coconut milk)
- oregon mixed berry (coconut milk)
- chocolate (almond milk)
- mint chip (almond milk)
- mocha almond fudge (almond milk)
- vanilla (almond milk)
- cookie’s n cream gluten free (almond milk)
- chocolate velvet (soy milk)
- creamy vanilla (soy milk)
- peanut butter zig zag (soy milk)
- cookie dough gluten free (soy milk)
6. Coconut Bliss
Here are all the Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream choices. Plus, these are all gluten free, soy-free, and organic!
- cinema chocolate fusion
- chocolate chip cookie
- salted caramel and chocolate
- vanilla island
- dark chocolate
- chocolate peanut butter
- chocolate walnut brownie
- naked coconut
- chocolate hazelnut fudge
- mint galactica
- mocha mama crunch
- ginger cookie caramel
- cherry amaretto
- summer berry swirl
Here are all the Talenti vegan ice cream choices:
- alphonso mango sorbetto
- blood orange sorbetto
- chocolate sorbetto
- peanut butter fudge sorbetto
- roman raspberry sorbetto
Here are all the Tofutti vegan ice cream choices:
- vanilla almond bark
- better pecan
- vanilla fudge
- wild berry supreme
9. Trader Joe’s
Here are all the Trader Joe’s vegan ice cream choices:
- frozen coconut dessert with chocolate
- frozen coconut dessert with strawberry
10. Double Rainbow
Here are all the Double Rainbow vegan ice cream choices:
- vanilla bean soy cream
- very cherry chip soy cream
- mint chocolate chip soy cream
- chocolate soy cream
- mango tangerine sorbet
- coconut sorbet
- lemon sorbet
11. Ciao Bella
Here are all the Ciao Bella vegan ice cream choices:
- mango sorbetto
- blueberry passion fruit sorbetto
- coconut sorbetto
- chocolate sorbetto
- blackberry cabernet sorbetto
- raspberry sorbetto
- limone sorbetto
- peach sangria sorbetto
- strawberry limonata sorbetto
- blood orange sorbetto
Here are all the NadaMoo vegan ice cream choices:
- chocolate peanut butter
- birthday cake cookie dough
- rockiest road
- that snickerdoodle dough
- himalayan salted caramel
- chorale cherry fudge brownie
- pistachio nut
- lotta mint chip
- vanilla ahhh
- gotta do chocolate
- cookies and cream
- mmm maple pecan
- chocolate almond chip
- creamy coconut
- java crunch
13. Van Leeuwen
Here are all the vegan Van Leeuwen flavors:
- vegan honeycomb
- vegan salted caramel
- vegan sicilian pistachio
- vegan chocolate
- vegan choc chip cookie dough
- vegan caramelized banana nut
- vegan matcha tea
- vegan mint chip
- vegan peanut butter choc chip
14. Almond Dream
Here are all the Almond Dream vegan ice cream choices:
- cappuccino swirl
- praline crunch
- mint chocolate chip
- toffee almond fudge
- vanilla dessert bites
- chocolate dessert bites
- peppermint dessert bites
15. Rice Dream
Here are all the Rice Dream vegan ice cream choices:
- cocoa marble fudge
- mint carob chip
16. Coconut Dream
Here are all the Coconut Dream vegan ice cream choices:
- coconut dream bites
17. Soy Dream
Here are all the Soy Dream vegan ice cream choices:
- butter pecan
- french vanilla
- vanilla fudge swirl
Thanks for reading and hopefully you find the best tasting vegan ice cream that’ll satisfy your tastebuds.
Cheers and dig in!
The Different Kinds of Vegetarians
There are different kinds of vegetarians, depending on what they eat. The definition of a vegetarian that’s most widely accepted by fellow vegetarians is a person who eats no meat, fish, or poultry. A vegetarian consistently avoids all flesh foods, as well as byproducts of meat, fish, and poultry.
Of course, vegetarian diets vary in the extent to which they exclude animal products:
Semi-vegetarian: Someone who’s cutting back on his or her intake of meat, in general. A pollo vegetarian avoids red meat and fish but eats chicken. A pesco pollo vegetarian avoids red meat but eats chicken and fish.
These terms stretch the true definition of a vegetarian, and only the term semi-vegetarian is actually used with much frequency.
Lacto ovo vegetarian: A lacto ovo vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry but includes dairy products and eggs. Most vegetarians in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe fall into this category. Lacto ovo vegetarians eat such foods as cheese, ice cream, yogurt, milk, and eggs, as well as foods made with these ingredients.
Lacto vegetarian: A lacto vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry, as well as eggs and any foods containing eggs. A lacto vegetarian would, however, eat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Vegan: Technically, the term vegan refers to more than just the diet alone. A vegan is a vegetarian who avoids eating or using all animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, any foods containing by-products of these ingredients, wool, silk, leather, and any nonfood items made with animal byproducts. Living a vegan lifestyle, may involve avoiding honey.
One adaptation of a vegetarian diet is a raw foods diet, in which adherents eat a diet that consists primarily of uncooked foods. The fruitarian diet consists only of fruits; vegetables botanically classified as fruits, such as tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and avocados; and seeds and nuts.
But what DO vegans eat?
An easy way to remember is:
◗ vegans eat/use nothing from living or dead animals
◗ vegetarians eat nothing from slaughtered animals
But that still leaves a lot to eat and drink!
Vegans eat a huge array of foods from many food groups – more than the average meat-eater, in fact.
◗ Vegan meats:
tempeh – fermented soya bean ‘cake’ used to make vegan rashers etc
◗ Wheat protein – seitan/gluten – works well in roasts, pies, meatballs, slices, sausages…
◗ Grains – wholegrain or white: rice; quinoa; barley; couscous; millet; bulghur: risottos, pilafs, biryanis, paellas…
◗ Sweeteners – many sugars; syrups, eg: agave, date, brown rice or maple
Vegans DON’T EAT any animal products or their by-products
Dairy products: cheese; yoghurt; cream; milk; crème fraiche; condensed milk; butter
Eggs, dried egg, albumen etc
Honey, royal jelly, beeswax etc