Some were creamy and luscious, while others tasted like badly flavored shaved ice.

Jaime Milan
June 28, 2018

Non-dairy ice creams have earned their rightful place on freezer shelves next to traditional dairy ice creams. More than ever, home cooks are looking for plant-based dessert options because of dietary restrictions, food intolerances, or because they choose not to eat dairy.

So for this week's taste test, Chris Michel and I sampled a variety of dairy-free ice creams that meet Cooking Light's nutritional standards—as well as our own personal ice cream preferences, which are pretty standard (we're not ice cream snobs, after all). We were looking for creaminess, great flavor, and good mouthfeel. In other words? We wanted it to taste like “real” ice cream.

We bravely tasted five different varieties—including one particularly awful flavor that shall remain anonymous—before we both settled on a favorite.

Chris and I both enjoyed the Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Chunky Monkey, but after taking a closer look at the nutrition, we sought out to find other favorites: 1/2 cup is 260 calories, and has 14g of fat, 8g of sat fat, and 26g of sugar. Not exactly Cooking Light-approved, but a super delicious option if you’re looking for a once-in-a-blue-moon treat.

Chris’s second favorite flavor was So Delicious Vanilla Bean dairy-free ice cream. He appreciated the creamy texture, strong vanilla flavor, and the subtle coconut finish. We also were fans of the nutrition counts: 1/2 cup has just 120 calories, 6g of fat, 6g of saturated fat, and 13g of sugar. The sat fat was a little high for our standards, but we’re chalking that up to the coconut milk, which is naturally higher in sat fat.

I ended up preferring Outshine Tropical Blend, which reminded me of a delicious fruit smoothie or sorbet. It’s made of real banana, coconut, and pineapple, and I think it would be perfect on hot summer nights when you need something sweet, but not heavy. Bonus? 1/2 cup has just 120 calories, 4.5g of fat, 4g of sat fat, and 19g of sugar. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

Watch the video for the full story, and if you like it, be sure to check us out on YouTube or Facebook, and leave a comment (tell us what we should try next!) We'll be doing more taste tests each week.