I Tried Every Pint of Store-Bought Chocolate Ice Cream I Could Find — These Are the 2 I’ll Be Buying Again

published Apr 11, 2022
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a chocolate ice cream tasting party
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Micah Morton

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have at least three pints and/or tubs of ice cream (or ice cream-based desserts) stashed in my freezer at all times. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is (iced-coffee fans, you get it!), I’m adding scoops to bowls or cones, or just diving right into the tub, spoon in hand. My childhood favorite is, and remains, chocolate ice cream. Over the years, I’ve tried my fair share of brands out there, but could really never decide which one I liked best … until now. I sampled 19 different brands of chocolate ice cream, including seven dairy-free options, to nail down a winner in each category once and for all. Here’s how it went!

How I Taste Tested the Chocolate Ice Creams

There is no shortage of chocolate ice creams out there, between store brands, well-known name brands, and a few artisanal ones. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a wide selection of dairy-free and plant-based options available, including some very interesting dairy swaps (hello, avocado!). I, along with my fellow ice-cream-loving husband, tasted the dairy-based ice creams one day and all the non-dairy options the next. We scooped each ice cream into a bowl and sampled them on their own, using a spoon (no cones allowed).

Some of the traditional chocolate ice creams tasted a bit too artificial, while others were pleasantly chocolatey and creamy!  With the dairy-free options, some of the bases — whether oat milk, coconut milk, or something else — overpowered the chocolate; there was one though, that was surprisingly creamy, despite the absence of dairy, and delightfully chocolate-forward. These are the dairy and non-dairy picks I’d buy again.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

Best Chocolate Ice Cream: Tillamook Chocolate Ice Cream

Tillamook’s take on chocolate ice cream is everything you want from a classic chocolate ice cream, and more. According to the site, the company adds more cream than the industry standard in its ice cream — and it sure tastes like it. It’s creamy, rich, and ultra chocolatey, without being overpowering. It has the best parts of a smooth milk chocolate bar and a rich hot chocolate all in one. Tillamook is a co-op, made up of about 80 farmer-owners, and for a more artisanal brand, at around $5 for a 48-ounce tub, it’s a steal!

Buy: Tillamook Chocolate Ice Cream, $4.99 for 48 ounces at Target

Credit: Taylor Kocher

Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream: Cosmic Bliss Dark Chocolate Frozen Dessert

The Dark Chocolate Frozen Dessert from Cosmic Bliss, formerly Coconut Bliss, was by far the best dairy-free chocolate ice cream we tried. Made with coconut milk, cocoa, and vanilla extract, the milk has a subtle, almost toasted coconut, flavor to it. It’s not overly sweet, which allows the rich cocoa flavor to shine through. The texture though, is what helped it secure the top spot; it’s smooth and creamy, unmistakably similar to the texture of dairy-based ice creams.

Note: Follow the instructions inside the pint and allow the ice cream to soften for a few minutes before scooping into a bowl or cone. It’s worth it!

Find in stores: Cosmic Bliss Dark Chocolate Frozen Dessert, $5.00 for 16 ounces at Instacart

What’s your favorite chocolate ice cream brand? Tell us about it in the comments below!