The Frozen Treats These Professional Chefs Buy All Summer Long

updated Jul 2, 2020
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Frozen food aisle of grocery store
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Oh to be standing in a long, winding line outside a local scoop shop waiting for a heaping cone to enjoy, standing in a crowd of fellow ice cream-lovers! But with summer circumstances being what they are, we’d all be better off picking up cartons from the freezer aisle during a grocery shop and safely enjoying them at home. (That’s not to say you can’t still — safely! — support your local ice cream parlors from time to time!)

While you may already have your favorite flavors locked in, we thought we’d consult a few professional chefs for their go-to pints. We asked, they answered. And, as it turns out, restaurant chefs are just like us, with favorite flavors hailing from Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti, Jeni’s, Blue Bell, Trader Joe’s, and more! Here are the frozen treats they think are just the coolest — and that you should add to your shopping list ASAP.

Credit: Instacart

1. Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra Core

“I love the big gobs of caramel and the fact that this has both chocolate and caramel ice cream. I will eat anything from their ‘Core’ line, really. Ben & Jerry’s is the MVP.” — Nikkia Rhodes, executive chef of McAtee Community Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky

Buy: Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra Core, $5.75 for a pint

Credit: Jeni's

2. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Noir d’Ivoire

“I would easily fight someone for the last scoop of Jeni’s Noir d’Ivoire. Its licorice-infused cream combined with sea salt and dark chocolate bits. It’s torture that they only have it available at certain times of the year.” — Edward Lee, chef and owner of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky, The LEE Initiative, and Succotash in Washington, D.C.

More info: This flavor is currently unavailable, but for a full list of available flavors, visit Jeni’s website.

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3. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

“Blue Bell is the only option for me when it comes to [store-bought] ice cream! I’m a huge fan of the buttered pecan, but nothing beats the plain ol’ regular vanilla.” — Melvin Roberson, owner of Dough Boy Donuts in Fort Worth, Texas 

More info: Visit the Blue Bell Creamery website.

Credit: Van Leeuwen

4. Van Leeuwen Sicilian Pistachio

“If possible, I try to always have some homemade vanilla ice cream on hand. Fresh dairy, egg yolks, and simple flavorings can really come together to make something so much greater than the sum of its parts. But if I’m picking up a pint, I stick to pistachio.” — Greg Rales, founder and baker of Red Gate Bakery in New York City

Buy: Van Leeuwen Sicilian Pistachio, $12 per pint at Van Leeuwen

Credit: Lauren Masur

5. Trader Joe’s Ube Ice Cream

“It’s sweet, creamy, and tart. At first you might question choosing purple yam ice cream over chocolate or strawberry, but trust me — its subtle sweetness combined with a hint of citrusy flavor transports you to a land of unicorn ice cream happiness.” — Jason Goldstein of Chop Happy

Look for it in stores: Trader Joe’s Ube Ice Cream, $2.99 per pint

Credit: Goldbelly

6. La Newyorkina Mexican Sorbet

“I love Fany Gerson’s ice creams; they remind me of the hand-paddled nieves de garrafa from my childhood in Mexico.” — Barbara Sibley, chef and owner of La Palapa Cocina Mexicana in New York City

Buy: La Newyorkina Mexican Sorbet, $79 for 4 pints at Goldbelly

Credit: Instacart

7. Tillamook Cookies & Cream

“Tillamook makes some of the best, creamiest ice cream. The cookie chunks in this flavor are just right — not too small and good and chewy.” — Gabriel Rucker, executive chef and co-owner of Le Pigeon and Canard in Portland, Oregon

More info: Visit the Tillamook website.

Credit: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

8. Van Leeuwen Vegan Choc Chip Cookie Dough

“This is my go-to vegan ice cream. It’s super creamy and has the perfect balance of flavor and texture.” — Guy Vaknin, chef and owner of Beyond Sushi in New York City

Buy: Van Leeuwen Vegan Choc Chip Cookie Dough, $12 per pint at Van Leeuwen

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9. Jeni’s Brown Butter Almond Brittle

“I order from Jeni’s every couple of months to resupply my freezer and always make sure to order a few pints of their Brown Butter Almond Brittle. It’s salty, savory, and sweet, and the little brittle bits churned in give it the perfect texture. It was actually a huge inspiration for the frozen almond pudding that’s currently on our menu!” — Jacob Siwak, head chef of Forsythia in New York City

More info: Visit Jeni’s website.

Your turn! What’s your favorite store-bought ice cream?