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Taste Test: The Best Dairy-Free Ice Creams You Can Buy

Abigail Abesamis

Ice cream season is here, and for those unable to indulge in dairy-filled treats without an upset stomach or worse, plenty of quality non-dairy options are available at grocery stores nationwide. To help you navigate the many dairy-free offerings in terms of brands, base (coconut, almond, avocado, etc.) and toppings, we took on the tasty task of trying 24 different non-dairy ice creams. 

With the help of several ice-cream loving friends (some also lactose-sensitive and others skeptical of alternative ice cream), we tasted and ranked dairy-free ice creams based on flavor, texture and how closely they mimicked regular ice cream. The best of the best are highlighted below, from tasty to truly spectacular.

10. Coolhaus Cookie Dough Lyfe 

(Photo: Coolhaus)
(Photo: Coolhaus)

The first two ingredients of this dairy-free ice cream are non-GMO yellow peas and organic whole grain brown rice, which you probably wouldn’t guess, given the cookie dough batter-flavored base, cookie dough pieces and chocolate flakes to distract you.

Tasting notes: “Two thumbs up!” “Good texture and consistency.” “Nice, crumbly cookie dough.”

Coolhaus Dairy-Free Cookie Dough Lyfe is available at Whole Foods, Co-Op Grocers, Wegmans, Kroger and other retailers nationwide, and online at cool.haus

9. Coconut Bliss Chocolate Peanut Butter

(Photo: Coconut Bliss)
(Photo: Coconut Bliss)

If you like peanut butter and chocolate, this coconut milk-based ice cream is a no-brainer. It’s loaded with generous gobs of peanut butter that, while may be overpowering in a single spoonful, can be strategically excavated to make a perfect bite.

Tasting notes: “If you like Reese’s … and who doesn’t?” “So good.” “Rich chocolate flavor and sticky peanut butter.”

Coconut Bliss Chocolate Peanut Butter is available at Whole Foods, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, and other grocery retailers nationwide, and online at CoconutBliss.com 

8. Jeni’s Cold Brew with Coconut Cream

(Photo: Jeni's)
(Photo: Jeni's)

A refreshing iced coffee in a scoop, Jeni’s cold brew sorbet made with Slingshot Coffee is twisted with sweet coconut cream. It’s a perfect blend of sharp and smooth flavors, plus (pleasantly) icy and creamy textures. Did we mention it’s also vegan?

Tasting notes: “Bright, punchy coffee flavor.” “Starbucks in a spoon.” “Perfect for a midnight pick-me-up.” “Surprisingly deep and toasted for something so cool.”

Jeni’s dairy-free ice creams are available at select grocery stores and independent retailers nationwide, and online at Jenis.com)

7. Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Almond Brittle

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(Photo: Ben & Jerry's)
(Photo: Ben & Jerry's)

This dairy-free and vegan pint has almond brittle bits and salted caramel swirls mixed into an almond milk base.

Tasting notes: “Yeah, it’s nice.” “Reminds me of the candied nuts you buy from street carts.” “A crunchy brittle treasure hunt.”

Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Caramel Almond Brittle is available at grocery stores and retailers nationwide

6. Coconut Bliss Madagascan Vanilla Bean

(Photo: Coconut Bliss)
(Photo: Coconut Bliss)

An instant classic with a hint of coconutty flavor and a creamy texture akin to dairy ice cream.

Tasting notes: “It ACTUALLY tastes like vanilla! Not the bland kind, but true vanilla bean.” “Like a really buttery French vanilla.” “Really good.

Coconut Bliss Madagascan Vanilla Bean is available at Whole Foods, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, and other grocery retailers nationwide, and online at CoconutBliss.com 

5. So Delicious Dairy Free Salted Caramel Cluster 

(Photo: So Delicious)
(Photo: So Delicious)

The caramel flavor is strong with this one, and it has just the right amount of salt to temper what can often be a cloyingly sweet flavor. The addition of delicate chocolate flakes and roasted cashews (a nod to its cashew milk base) are a nice touch.

Tasting notes: “Salty-sweet goodness.” “Oh man…” “That salty flavor keeps me coming back for more.”

So Delicious Dairy Free Salted Caramel Cluster is available at Whole Foods and other grocery retailers nationwide

4. Jeni’s Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns 

(Photo: Jeni's)
(Photo: Jeni's)

A delectable tribute to an iconic morning pastry, this coconut cream-based ice cream is packed with sticky bun pieces, salted and roasted pecans and dark caramel swirls.

Tasting notes: “Like butter pecan, but fancy.” “Mmmmm…” “A sweet, cozy treat.” “Tastes like a lazy Sunday morning.” “The perfect amount of gooeyness, sweetness and crunch.”

Jeni’s dairy-free ice creams are available at select grocery stores and independent retailers nationwide, and online at Jenis.com)

3. Cado Deep Dark Chocolate

(Photo: Cado)
(Photo: Cado)

Rich, creamy and packed with bittersweet chocolate flavor, this avocado-based ice cream is super decadent and reminds us of a fancy chocolate bar.

Tasting notes: “Wonderfully smooth full flavor and texture.” “Like taking a bite of a delicious molten lava brownie!” “Velvety chocolate flavor with a fruity note at the end.”

Cado Deep Dark Chocolate is available at Whole Foods, Safeway, Walmart, Target and other grocery stores and retailers nationwide

2. Ben & Jerry’s P.B. & Cookies

(Photo: Ben & Jerry's)
(Photo: Ben & Jerry's)

Sometimes more is more, and this vanilla almond milk-based ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookie pieces and crunchy peanut butter swirls is proof.

Tasting notes: “Cookies and cream, but better.” “Big gobs of peanut butter and cookies.” “I could definitely eat the whole pint.” “Ben & Jerry’s knows their ice cream, that’s for sure.”

Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy P.B. & Cookies is available at grocery stores and retailers nationwide

1. Coconut Bliss Sweet Cherry Amaretto

(Photo: Coconut Bliss)
(Photo: Coconut Bliss)

This dark horse of a flavor that none of us expected to like blew us away with its delicate cherry flavor balanced with a hint of bitter almond extract. It scooped like a dream and had a creamy, yet light, texture that could have fooled us into thinking it was regular ice cream.

Tasting notes: “Tastes like my childhood; ice cream sundae with a cherry on top.” “Best consistency––like real ice cream.” “The cherry really pops.” “I cannot taste the coconut!” “Better than Cherry Garcia.”

Coconut Bliss Sweet Cherry Amaretto is available at Whole Foods, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, and other grocery retailers nationwide, and online at CoconutBliss.com 

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.