Best Dairy Free Ice Cream: Top 5 Frozen Favorites Most Recommended By Experts

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! Enjoyed by people of all age groups, ice cream is one of the most popular desserts. In the past however, it may have been difficult to find a brand of dairy free ice cream (also known as plant-based/vegan) that could be enjoyed as much or even more than regular ice cream. For those with intolerances or for a healthier option, the best dairy free ice cream allows for a tasty treat without disrupting digestion.

It’s no secret that ice cream is irresistible to many. A recent survey found that nearly two in five (37%) people say they have a bigger sweet tooth now than when they were a kid. That being said, we may not have the same metabolism as when we were young. Luckily, dairy free options make satisfying your sweet tooth easy. 

Also, dairy free options are usually stocked right beside the regular tubs of creamy goodness. That way, you won’t have to change your route while grocery shopping and it’s easy to keep your supply full at home. That’s good news for most people because almost seven in 10 Americans keep ice cream in their reezer at all times, according to research from a recent study.

The market for dairy free ice cream has grown with different plant-based options. Beloved brands like Ben and Jerrys have adapted their recipes to keep a similar flavor but without dairy. While other brands have gotten their start from small locally owned ice cream shops and are now sold in major stores across the country. 

So, would you like one scoop or two? StudyFinds set out to find the scoop on these dairy free ice creams and do the research for you, visiting 10 expert websites to put together this list of the best dairy free ice cream that were recommended across these sites! If you have your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

ice cream cone with sprinkles
Ice cream cones (Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash)

The List: Best Dairy Free Ice Cream, According to Dessert Lovers

1. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream got its start out of an ice cream truck in New York City in 2008. “We started Van Leeuwen Ice Cream in a yellow truck on the streets of NYC in 2008 with a mission to make good ice cream that makes you feel good. Nowadays, people can spend so much time on what’s ‘healthy’ they don’t stop to consider what’s healthy. As far as we’re concerned, happiness is healthiness,” says Van Leeuwan.

Van Leeuwen Cookies and Cream Dairy Free Ice Cream
Van Leeuwen Cookies and Cream Dairy Free Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen grew in popularity in New York quickly. “Van Leeuwen is now a specialty ice cream shop with locations around the country and pints in grocery stores everywhere. The brand is especially known for its extensive vegan offerings,” adds USAToday.

Great quality and flavor sometimes come at a higher cost. “The company makes some of its dairy-free ice cream with cashew milk and others with oat milk, something its fans say they appreciate given the strong preferences folks have for dairy-free ice cream. While most of those who recommend Van Leeuwen note it is more expensive than other dairy-free ice-cream options, they say you get what you pay for in quality and taste,” says NY Mag.

With countless classic flavors as well as seasonal flavors, there is something for everyone’s taste palette. “Van Leeuwen has a wide range of vegan ice cream flavors to try. Popular pints include pumpkin cinnamon roll, mint chip, peanut butter brownie honeycomb, rocky road, churros and fudge, Sicilian pistachio, and salted caramel,” mentions The Spruce Eats.

2. Ben & Jerry’s

Since 1978 Ben & Jerry’s has been serving delicious ice cream. In 2014, lovers of the brand created a petition requesting non-dairy flavors. Ben & Jerry’s got to work and by 2016 began to put a spin on well-loved classic flavors by using almond milk and sunflower seed butter. “Our Non-Dairy flavor creations are made with almond milk, 100% Certified Vegan, and boldly loaded with chunks and swirls. You’ll get Ben & Jerry’s euphoria in every bite. These flavors deliver everything… but the cow. The first Non-Dairy flavors in our line up were: Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, Coffee Caramel Fudge and P.B. & Cookies,” says Ben and Jerry.

Ben & Jerry's Netflix & Chill'd Non-Dairy Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry’s Netflix & Chill’d Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Deciding which flavor sounds best may be one of the hardest parts! “Ben & Jerry’s offers two other sunflower butter-based flavors—Crème Brûlée Cookie and Mint Chocolate Cookie. Also, there are 12 almond milk flavors, including P.B. & Cookies and the millennial-inspired Netflix & Chilll’d, boasting peanut butter, sweet and salty pretzel swirls, and fudge brownies,” adds The Spruce Eats.

Ben and Jerrys has over 15 dairy free flavors to be enjoyed. Some flavors are even being created with Sunflower Butter – “Milk” and Cookies. “This flavor of Ben & Jerry’s is actually made with sunflower milk. It’s a great option for those who are allergic to nuts, since most other non-dairy ice cream is made with almond or cashew milk,” notes NY Mag.

Finding an old favorite with a new spin of dairy free is easy with this brand. “Most of Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy pint flavors are based on the most popular choices already in the Ben & Jerry’s lineup. The Coffee Caramel Fudge, on the other hand, is an exclusively dairy-free flavor. The ice cream uses an almond milk base, which lends itself to a pleasant creamy texture that coats your mouth almost exactly as dairy-based ice creams do,” writes Mashed.

3. So Delicious

So Delicious was founded in 1987 as a brand with a vision in dairy free alternatives. “So Delicious has been bringing you dairy-free deliciousness—decadent frozen desserts, melty cheese alternatives, creamy yogurt alternatives, smooth plant-based beverages and flavorful coffee creamers—for over 30 years. But being dairy-free goes beyond deliciousness. We believe people have the power to eat good, feel good, and do good, which is why we’re committed to transforming mindful ingredients into mind-blowing delicious products that do right by people and the planet,” says SO Delicious.

So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Milk Ice Cream
So Delicious Salted Caramel Cluster Cashew Milk Ice Cream

There are many different flavors of So Delicious dairy free ice cream to choose from. “The Oh-So Strawberry is an instant hit with a robust strawberry flavor and a lightly creamy texture. The strawberry flavor is so strong that we had to check the ingredients to make sure that it wasn’t fake. For the record, it’s completely real, made with organic strawberries and a touch of organic beet powder for a lovely pink finish. Not only are the strawberries organic, but so are the coconut, sugar, and tapioca. If you were to taste this ice cream blindly, you’d assume it was the real dairy-full deal, which sets it apart from most of the others,” adds Mashed.

A sweet treat that is low on sugar intake? Two scoops please! “If you are eating dairy-free and trying to limit your added sugar intake, So Delicious no sugar added coconut milk ice cream is a good option,” advises Very Well Fit.

4. Oatly

Oatly is a Swedish company that was founded in the 1990s through research at Lund University. “Our goal is to always deliver products that have maximum nutritional value and minimal environmental impact. We promise that our drive to help people enhance their lives and contribute to the long-term future of the planet will always come before the reckless pursuit of profit,” says Oatly.

Oatly Strawberry Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
Oatly Strawberry Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

Oat milk substitutions are thankfully more common thanks to brands like Oatly. “If you’ve had Oatly brand oat milk in your coffee, you may already be familiar with the thick texture of this product. You’re probably also accustomed to the distinctly oaty flavor it has, which can be a little curious at first,” says  Mashed.

Based upon reviews and comparison to other brands, Oatly has one of the best vanilla flavors for dairy free ice cream on the market. “You probably know Oatly for their trendy and deliciously creamy refrigerated oat milk, but they also make frozen, oat milk-based desserts including ice cream pints and bars. Since oats have a natural, subtly sweet flavor on their own, they taste great when made into vanilla non-dairy ice cream,” adds Very Well Fit.

What sets Oatly apart from other brands who make oatmilk based ice cream? “Oatly uses a combination of oat milk and coconut oil to make a pint of vegan vanilla ice cream that could be mistaken for the traditional ice cream. Oatly leaned a little towards the sweeter side of pints we tasted, thanks to the glucose that gives it a nice scoopable texture. Of all the brands we tested, it was the easiest to scoop into right out of the freezer,” writes Simply Recipes.

5. Cado

Cado Ice Cream is one of the first avocado based ice creams. “​​Cado is the first dairy-free, avocado-based ice cream made fresh from the tree! With each batch, avocados are picked, ripened and cold-processed for a truly fresh dessert experience. Each pint packs fresh avocado, making Cado a nutrient-dense dessert that tastes divine and leaves you feeling satisfied and nourished,” says Cado.

Cado Mint Chocolate Chip Avocado-Based Ice Cream
Cado Mint Chocolate Chip Avocado-Based Ice Cream

When choosing a dairy free ice cream it is important to take texture into consideration as well as flavor. “Cado Vanilla Bean was appreciated by the adults for its fruity avocado oil and sea salt notes. The texture was amazingly similar to gelato, super rich with a slow-melting creaminess,” adds Simply Recipes.

In case you are looking for more than just a dairy free option, Cado can be a great option for those looking for a tasty dessert without other ingredients. “This company whips avocado puree and avocado oil with other pure, natural ingredients to create a surprisingly creamy finish. All of their flavors are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, and even coconut-free and free of added proteins,” explains Go Dairy Free.

So, who said ice cream doesn’t grow on trees? “Cado might be a healthier alternative to other options—thanks to its fruit base and organic ingredients,” says USA Today. 


You might also be interested in:


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.