Vegan Life | Lifestyle

12 Brands of Vegan Ice Cream, From Best to Worst (Taste Test)

October 25, 2022

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Contents

12 pints of different vegan vanilla ice cream brands stacked 3 pints high, 4 pints wide

I think by now, most vegans have tried at least a few non-dairy ice creams. I know I have. But even I had no idea just how many options there are. There were so many options, in fact, that I had to restrict our taste test to a single flavor just to keep it manageable. In this taste test, we tested twelve brands of vegan ice cream, but we could have tested quite a few more.

I'm really happy to say that we found five excellent options in our taste test. And all of our top five choices have different ingredients and bases. So if you can't find a particular brand in your area, or if you're allergic to a certain ingredient, you can likely still find an amazing non-dairy ice cream option that works for you.

Testing Methods

Although I'm not the biggest fan of vanilla ice cream, I chose that flavor because it's a good test of the thing that's hardest to get right in non-dairy ice cream: the texture. I've definitely had vegan ice creams before with lots of flavors and add-ins that tasted amazing overall. But then when I tried a bite of the ice cream on its own, it was actually pretty bad. So by tasting plain vanilla ice creams, we were able to judge the taste and texture of each ice cream brand on its own.

Vegan Ice Cream Similarities and Differences

Of the twelve brands we taste-tested, two (Revolution and O'My) called themselves "gelato," while the other ten are labeled as a "frozen dessert." We tested brands with a wide variety of non-dairy bases, including coconut, almond, cashew, oat, macadamia, and oil/starch. Most of these ice creams are in 1-pint (16-ounce) containers, however, three of them are a bit smaller at 14 ounces (Forager, Cosmic Bliss, and Revolution Gelato).

Taste Test Results

Please keep in mind that these results are based on our own personal preferences; your opinion might vary!

1. Winner: Revolution Gelato Full Throttle Vanilla

Revolution Gelato Full Throttle Vanilla package

The name of this non-dairy ice cream seemed a bit overconfident to us at first, but it's truly creamy enough to call itself gelato. And my second taste tester Dominique even called it a "true vegan ice cream revolution." The flavor is on the milder side of vanilla, but in a nice way that feels gourmet.

The Revolution was the clear winner of our taste test for its creamy dairy-like texture. Having previously tried the chocolate, I can say that this creamy texture extends to other flavors in the brand. And so whichever flavor you choose, if you go with Revolution, you'll probably end up eating an amazing non-dairy gelato.

I have found Revolution in my local (South Florida) Whole Foods Market stores at $5.99 for a 14-ounce container. However, the brand may not be available in every area nationwide. If you can't find it locally but still want to give it a try, you can order from their website (at a higher price).

Revolution Gelato in its container, with a scoop on top, top-down view
The texture of Revolution Gelato is what earned this brand the top spot in our taste test.

Overall rating: 9.5/10 (best)

Texture: 10/10 (best)

Flavor: 8/10

Price (US): $5.99-8.49*

Package size: 14 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.43-0.61* (higher than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 250 (higher than average)

  • Fat: 10 g. (lower than average)

  • Sugar: 16 g. (lower than average)

Organic: yes

Ingredients: water, tapioca syrup, cane sugar, cashews, coconut oil, vanilla planifolia extract, gum arabic, vanilla tahitensis extract, guar gum, sea salt, vanilla beans

2. Best Flavor: Mauna Loa Vanilla Orchid Macadamia Milk Frozen Dessert

Mauna Loa Macadamia Milk Vanilla Orchid Frozen Dessert Package

I'm no vanilla stan, so it's hard to wow me with a vanilla flavor. But Mauna Loa did just that with its "vanilla orchid." In addition to vanilla, there's a note that can only be described as "floral," which you have to experience for yourself. The flavor is delicate and unique; it's something I'd expect to eat at a 5-star restaurant rather than pre-packaged from the grocery store.

While the texture wouldn't make anyone think it's dairy ice cream, it's still a good, creamy texture that takes nothing away from the taste. If we were ranking this one on texture alone, it would move down to the 5th spot, less creamy than Cosmic Bliss, and maybe a little creamier than Nada Moo.

I found the Mauna Loa pints at Sprouts Farmer's Market for $7.99. You can also check their website to find store locations near you or order pints online.

A top-down view of Mauna Loa frozen dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top.
Although the Mauna Loa frozen dessert didn't have the best texture in our tests, the texture is still creamy and delicious.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Texture: 7/10

Flavor: 10/10 (best)

Price (US): 7.99*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.50* (higher than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 200 (lower than average)

  • Fat: 10 g. (lower than average)

  • Sugar: 17 g. (lower than average)

Organic: No

Ingredients: macadamia nut milk, cane sugar, tapioca syrup solids, coconut cream, coconut oil, tapioca maltodextrin, locust bean gum, guar gum, vanilla extract, natural flavor, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, xanthan gum

3. Best for Apple Pie: So Delicious Vanilla Wondermilk Frozen Dessert

So Delicious Vanilla Wondermilk Frozen Dessert Package

So Delicious makes many vegan ice creams with a variety of bases; to date, none of their ice creams have impressed me. So when I saw this "Wondermilk" ice cream, I definitely wanted to try it. Based on the ingredient list, we were quite skeptical; there doesn't seem to be any coconut or nut milk base that would provide that dairy-like creaminess. However, we were happy to be proven wrong.

So Delicious Vanilla Wondermilk tastes very much like what I remember dairy ice cream tasting like. Instead of a gourmet vanilla flavor (like Mauna Loa or Revolution), Wondermilk goes for the classic American vanilla ice cream taste. With the texture and flavor combination of this ice cream, it would be absolutely perfect with a warm apple pie (or apple crisp). It is quite sweet (like classic American vanilla ice cream), so if you prefer a more subtle sweetness in your ice cream, you may want to try another option first.

Although this pint seems like it's not widely available yet, it will hopefully find its way to more locations soon. It's currently available at Whole Foods and Sprouts in my area (for a relatively affordable $5.99-6.29), and you can use their store locator to find it near you. (Be sure to click on the Wondermilk product you want before searching).

A top-down view of So Delicious Vanilla Wondermilk Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top.
The Wondermilk Vanilla Frozen Dessert has a classic American vanilla flavor. It even looks the part, with its slight yellow color from annatto extract.

Overall rating: 9/10

Texture: 9.5/10

Flavor: 8.5/10

Price (US): 5.99-6.29*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.37-0.39* (lower than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 200 (lower than average)

  • Fat: 11 g. (about average)

  • Sugar: 20 g. (higher than average)

Organic: some ingredients

Ingredients: filtered water, cane sugar, coconut oil, tapioca syrup, sunflower oil, rice starch, pea protein, sea salt, guar gum, natural flavor, vanilla bean specks, locust bean gum, vanilla extract, annatto extract

4. Great All-Around Option: Oatly Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

Oatly Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Package

The Oatly Vanilla Frozen Dessert delivered exactly what we've come to expect from Oatly: a rich, creamy texture and nice flavor. Unlike some of the others in our taste test, we couldn't detect any flavor from the (oat) base, just the intended flavor: vanilla. The texture is quite creamy and could probably fool most people into thinking it's dairy.

Based on the outstanding texture of this frozen dessert, I'd definitely give any of their other flavors a try.

This is one of the most affordable options at $4.69-5.49 per pint, and it's available at Target and Whole Foods Market. They don't sell pints online, but you can search for locations for any product you want on their website.

A top-down view of Oatly Vanilla Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top.
The Oatly Frozen Dessert has a really nice texture, which you could probably serve without anyone noticing the missing dairy.

Overall rating: 9/10

Texture: 9/10

Flavor: 8.5/10

Price (US): $4.69-5.49*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.29-0.34* (lower than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 210 (about average)

  • Fat: 13 g. (higher than average)

  • Sugar: 18 g. (about average)

Organic: No

Ingredients: oatmilk, coconut oil, sugar, dextrose, dried glucose syrup, rapeseed (canola) oil, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, locust bean gum, guar gum, natural flavor, sea salt, vanilla seeds

5. Great Texture: Cosmic Bliss Madagascan Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert

Cosmic Bliss Madagascan Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert package

The Cosmic Bliss frozen dessert was a tough one to rank. Its texture is outstanding, but there wasn't much vanilla flavor to speak of here. Unfortunately, the coconut base overpowered the vanilla, resulting in what tasted like coconut ice cream. My second taste tester compared the flavor to a Bounty candy bar.

I have previously tasted Cosmic Bliss in other flavors (coffee, chocolate peanut butter), and those flavors were quite good and didn't have the same coconut taste. So it may be that the vanilla is just too mild of a flavor to stand up to the coconut. Ultimately, we decided to weight the texture more heavily than the flavor in the final rankings, resulting in its 5th-spot placement.

You may have known this brand in its previous iteration: Coconut Bliss. However, the company made the decision to also start selling dairy ice cream and rebranded to Cosmic Bliss at that time. While I used to see this brand in many stores, it's become a little harder to find in recent years. So if you'd like to find it, you can try their store locator.

A top-down view of Cosmic Bliss Madagascan Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top
Although the coconut flavor is a bit overwhelming in the Cosmic Bliss, its creamy texture and great mouthfeel landed it in the top 5 of our rankings.

Overall rating: 8/10

Texture: 9.5/10

Flavor: 6/10

Price (US): 8.49*

Package size: 14 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.61* (most expensive)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 250 (higher than average)

  • Fat: 20 g. (highest)

  • Sugar: 13 g. (lower than average)

Organic: Yes

Ingredients: coconutmilk, coconut syrup, cocount cream, vanilla extract, vanilla beans

6. Good Option: Nada Moo! Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert

Nada Moo! Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert package

While the Nada Moo! didn't rise to the top of our taste test, we felt it was an ice cream we'd still buy if that's what was available to us. The texture wasn't quite as creamy as some of the best contenders, but was head and shoulders above some of the lower-ranking frozen desserts. While the flavor was pretty good, it did lose some points with us because the coconut taste was noticeable.

It is worth noting that Nada Moo! is made with agave instead of traditional sugar, resulting in a sweeter taste with fewer grams of sugar than others. However, whether agave is healthier than traditional sugar is still up for debate.

Nada Moo! is pretty widely available in national stores like Target and Whole Foods, as well as large grocery chains. They have a store locator on their website if you'd like to try it out.

A top-down view of Nada Moo! Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top.
While the Nada Moo! had a pretty good texture, there were other options that more closely resembled dairy ice cream.

Overall rating: 7/10

Texture: 7/10

Flavor: 6.5/10

Price (US): $5.99-7.49*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.37-0.47* (approximately average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 160 (lowest)

  • Fat: 9 g. (lower than average)

  • Sugar: 11 g. (lowest)

Organic: Yes

Ingredients: coconutmilk, water, agave syrup, inulin, tapioca syrup, guar gum, sea salt, locust bean gum, vanilla bean powder, natural vanilla flavor

7. Not Recommended: 365 Vanilla Bean Almondmilk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

365 Vanilla Bean Almondmilk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Pint

The 365 (Whole Foods store brand) Frozen Dessert is okay, just a bit underwhelming. The texture is somewhat creamy and dense, but has a little bit of iciness to it. My second taste tester compared the texture and taste to ice milk (a thinner version of ice cream made with milk instead of cream). The texture starts off firm and creamy, but when it melts in your mouth, it seems to just dissolve.

The flavor is nice. The vanilla is noticeable, and there aren't any undertones (such as almond flavor) competing with the vanilla. But overall, we rated this a "meh."

Although it's not related to the quality of the frozen dessert itself, it's worth noting that the packaging is a bit weird on this one. It has a plastic rim with a seal that gets pulled off. What's left is a very thin rim that can be tough to remove because you don't have much to grip.

A top-down view of the 365 vanilla bean almondmilk frozen dessert in its package, with a scoop on top.
When it's frozen, the texture of the 365 seems firm and creamy, but when it melts, it becomes quite watery.

Overall rating: 5.5/10

Texture: 4.5/10

Flavor: 7/10

Price (US): 4.79*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.30* (lower than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 210 (approximately average)

  • Fat: 10 g. (lower than average)

  • Sugar: 21 g. (higher than average)

Organic: Some ingredients

Ingredients: almondmilk, cane sugar, tapioca syrup, coconut oil, pea protein, natural flavor, carob bean gum, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, ground vanilla beans

8. Not Recommended: Forager Project Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert

Forager Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert package

The Forager Project Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert's flavor actually had some nice notes of vanilla and cashew, but they were overpowered by a ridiculous amount of sugar (it had the most sugar out of all the options we tried). I felt more like I had just put a spoonful of cold sugar directly into my mouth rather than ice cream. Our speculation is that the sugar was added to try to mask the cashew flavor, but we both thought the cashew would taste nice if there was less sugar.

Aside from the flavor, the texture wasn't so great with the Forager. When I scooped it from the container, it broke apart in icy clumps. It didn't taste as icy as it looked, but it still wasn't creamy. It's far from the worst, but also not something I'd want to spend money on again.

A top-down view of Forager Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top.
The Forager frozen dessert broke apart in clumps and had an icy texture.

Overall rating: 5/10

Texture: 4/10

Flavor: 5/10

Price (US): $7.39-7.99*

Package size: 14 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.53-0.57* (higher than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 260 (highest)

  • Fat: 16 g. (higher than average)

  • Sugar: 25 g. (highest)

Organic: Yes

Ingredients: cashewmilk, cane sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, sunflower oil, oat flour, bourbon vanilla extract, acacia, salt, locust bean gum, vanilla beans

9. Not Recommended: Favorite Day Vanilla Bean Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

Favorite Day Vanilla Bean Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Pint

Although Favorite Day's (Target brand) ingredient list looks pretty similar to the 365 ingredient list, there's a pretty big difference in taste. The flavor of this frozen dessert is extremely mild; I felt like I was eating sweetened water, but my second taste tester noticed some almond flavor. Neither one of us detected any vanilla flavor.

The texture is also pretty watery, on the scale from watery to creamy. I'd say it's edible, but both of us felt it's not worth eating since it's not enjoyable. Unfortunately, we felt it lived up to its store-brand stereotype. On the plus side, it does come with a money-back guarantee. So you can try it risk-free if you want to taste it for yourself.

A top-down view of Favorite Day Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop on top.
The Favorite Day Frozen Dessert didn't impress us with either its flavor or texture.

Overall rating: 4/10

Texture: 4.5/10

Flavor: 3.5/10

Price (US): $4.19*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.26* (lowest)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 210 (approximately average)

  • Fat: 10 g. (lower than average)

  • Sugar: 21 g. (higher than average)

Organic: One ingredient

Ingredients: almondmilk, cane sugar, tapioca syrup, coconut oil, pea protein, natural flavor, carob bean gum, gellan gum, sunflower lecithin, ground vanilla beans

10. Not Recommended: No Bull Vanilla Bean Oat-Based Frozen Dessert

No Bull Vanilla Bean Oat-Based Frozen Dessert Pint

I almost didn't include No Bull in my taste test because it's a local (Florida) brand, and I wasn't sure how widely available it is. But if you can't get it, don't worry, you're not missing out. There's no noticeable vanilla flavor in this one, probably because the flavor of oats is so strong. It's basically like eating frozen ground-up oatmeal.

The oat taste might be mitigated by a stronger flavor than vanilla (such as chocolate). But even if that were the case, I still couldn't recommend this one in any flavor because the texture is also one of the worst. It's a little icy, and not very creamy.

A top-down view of No Bull Frozen Dessert in its package, with a scoop placed on top.
The texture of the No Bull Frozen Dessert didn't impress us.

Overall rating: 3/10

Texture: 4/10

Flavor: 2/10

Price (US): $4.99*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.31*

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 180 (lower than average)

  • Fat: 6 g. (lowest)

  • Sugar: 18 g. (approximately average)

Organic: Some ingredients

Ingredients: water, cane sugar, maltodextrin, coconut oil, tapioca syrup, oat flour, pea protein, soluble corn fiber, calcium carbonate, guar gum, locust bean gum, natural flavors, cane alcohol, vanilla extractives, vanilla beans

11. Really Bad: O'My Vanilla Bean Dairy-Free Gelato

O'My Vanilla Bean Dairy Free Gelato Pint

This "dairy-free gelato" definitely made us say "O'My," but not for the right reasons. First, calling this frozen dessert a gelato is borderline offensive to actual gelato. The O'My texture is approximately like water ice, with maybe a tiny bit more creaminess than Rita's. It's so icy that I could literally chew it. And this texture just doesn't work with vanilla, in my opinion (and my other taste tester's opinion as well).

The vanilla taste is mild, and not offensive. But there's so much sugar that it left an aftertaste in our mouths. Of course, everyone's tastes are different, so it's possible there's a human out there who would enjoy this. But until I meet them myself, I'm going to categorize this one as just plain bad.

A top-down view of O'My Vanilla Bean Non-Dairy Gelato in its package, with a scoop on top.
The O'My Non-Dairy Gelato has an icy texture that breaks apart in clumps.

Overall rating: 2/10

Texture: 1/10 (worst/tie)

Flavor: 4/10

Price (US): $8.99*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.56* (higher than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 230 (higher than average)

  • Fat: 16 g. (higher than average)

  • Sugar: 21 g. (higher than average)

Organic: One ingredient

Ingredients: coconut cream, water, cane sugar, vanilla extract, acacia gum, taro gum, guar gum, vanilla beans

12. Inedible: Wildgood Vanilla Frozen Dessert

Wildgood Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert Pint

I actually wasn't planning to include Wildgood in our taste test, because I had seen one bad review of it, and it's pretty pricey. But as I was planning the taste test, Wildgood kept popping up in my social media feed offering me a free pint. I thought to myself, if they're offering a free product, they must feel pretty confident that I'm going to like it. Also, there were some positive comments under the posts from people who seemed to enjoy it. So we gave it a try.

I'm not sure what they were thinking when they came up with this one. First, the texture is basically like a slushie. There's no resemblance to ice cream whatsoever. When it melts, it doesn't melt into a cream; rather it melts into a juice that you can actually see through.

But the texture isn't the worst part. When I first put a spoonful in my mouth, there was a nice vanilla flavor for about half a second. Then I felt like my mouth was under attack from an awful taste that I couldn't identify. I swallowed it to get rid of it, but the aftertaste wouldn't be so easily defeated. From the back of my throat, this aftertaste seemed to be clawing its way back into my mouth. I have never tasted anything like this in my life.

My second taste tester summed it up: "it's just awful."

To add insult to injury, the promotional webpage to register for the free pint wasn't working (it appeared to work, but didn't actually register my information on the back end). So I was unable to upload my receipt to get my refund. I had to contact them by email, and after several weeks, finally received my refund.

Overall rating: 1/10 (worst)

Texture: 1/10 (worst/tie)

Flavor: 1/10 (worst)

Price (US): $7.49-8.99*

Package size: 16 oz.

Price per oz.: $0.47-0.56* (higher than average)

Per 2/3 cup:

  • Calories: 190 (lower than average)

  • Fat: 8 g. (lower than average)

  • Sugar: 24 g. (higher than average)

Organic: No

Ingredients: filtered water, fructose, extra virgin olive oil, chicory root fiber, pea protein, natural vanilla flavor, carob bean gum, vanilla beans, vanilla extract

Conclusion

This taste test brought great news for vegans with a sweet tooth. There are so many wonderful vegan ice creams to choose from, including budget options and frozen desserts with a variety of bases. So no matter where you live in the US, or what allergies you may have, there's probably a delicious vegan ice cream for you.

Revolution Gelato is a great all-around choice, while Mauna Loa has a unique gourmet flavor, and So Delicious Wondermilk tastes like classic American vanilla ice cream. Oatly is another overall great option. Cosmic Bliss and Nada Moo! are also good options, although the coconut flavor is noticeable in both.

Have you tried these, or other brands? Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments!

*Note: Prices are based on in-store prices in South Florida in October 2022. These prices may be different in your area or may change over time.

StephSunshine

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