7 Ice Creams You’ll Want to Stock in Your Freezer All Summer Long — And They’re All Plant-Based

published May 2, 2022
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Credit: Leela Cyd

I have written about one of my favorite plant-based ice creams before. And here I am, at it again. Only this time, I’m adding a slew of new contenders — several containers, a few bars, and even a decadent sandwich — to the mix. (The sandwich is so good, I ate one on the walk home from the store.) 

Whether you’re a purist, someone who wants more mix-ins than base, or fall somewhere in between, there is no shortage of frozen options to choose from. Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, berry-flavored, and more, these are the seven dairy-free ice creams you’ll want to stock in your freezer all summer long.

1. Coolhaus Dairy Free Cookie Dough Lyfe Frozen Dessert Sandwich

Beneath the white and pink packaging lies a hefty dairy-free ice cream sandwich that is so enticing, I ate it within minutes of purchasing it. (Nope, couldn’t wait to get home.) The cookie dough batter ice cream is creamy, luscious even, flecked with pieces of cookie dough and chocolate flakes and bookended by two of the most doughy chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted. In fact, I think they may actually be straight-up dough.

Buy: Coolhaus Dairy Free Cookie Dough Lyfe Frozen Dessert Sandwich, $5.99 for 5.8 ounces at Whole Foods

2. Brave Robot Blueberry Pie Animal-Free Ice Cream

Desserts that taste like other desserts are the kind of meta I could use a lot more of. This one tastes more à la mode than pie-flavored, which is fine with me. I’m here for the ice cream, after all, and the vanilla — made with the same whey protein as this cream cheese — does a darn good dairy impersonation. I think of the pie part (which consists of blueberry jam and graham crackers) as two delightful, already-included toppings. 

Buy: Brave Robot Blueberry Pie Animal-Free Ice Cream, Free (with rebate) for 14 ounces at Brave Robot

3. Van Leeuwen Vanilla Wildberry Swirl Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

This wildberry swirl — a combination of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries — starts off subtle. But then comes bites three, four, and five, which build, revealing the magnified sweet tart-tastic flavor throughout the vanilla base. While the ice cream itself won’t hit you over the head with its own flavor, it’s the perfect complement to both the berries and the rich, dark chocolate coating, which has just the right amount of bitterness to make bites six, seven, and … oops, it’s all gone.

Buy: Van Leeuwen Vanilla Wildberry Swirl Non-dairy Frozen Dessert, $7.49 for 9.2 ounces at Instacart

4. Mauna Loa Moloka‘i Sea Salt & Caramel Dairy-Free Ice Cream

This is the newest pint in Mauna Loa’s lineup and, fun fact, the salt sprinkled throughout is sourced from the Island of Molokaʻi and it was developed specifically for this flavor, using pure local seawater that is solar evaporated. The ice cream itself has a more muted flavor, although I did detect the macadamia nut milk in the base (it is the first ingredient). This is nice and balances the sweetness and richness of the caramel.

Buy: Mauna Loa Moloka‘i Sea Salt & Caramel Dairy-Free Ice Cream, $6.49 for 1 pint at Sprouts Farmers Market

5. Magnum Hazelnut Crunch Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars

Similar to Mauna Loa, this bar is nutty and caramel-y and, also, on a stick. Although hazelnut is further down on the ingredients list, the ice cream is packed with a creamy, nutty flavor and has a richness and texture that is indistinguishable from its dairy-laden counterparts; the sweet caramel ribbon only adds to the fun. And caramelized nut bits are studded throughout the Belgian chocolate shell, which gives each bite a nice crunch. 

Buy: Magnum Hazelnut Crunch Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars, $4.60 for 9.12 ounces at H-E-B

6. Noona’s Black Sesame Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

But for a few seeds sprinkled across top, this container is packed to the brim with straight black sesame ice cream. No additional mix-ins necessary! Made with coconut milk, it has a nutty, sweet, somewhat savory flavor of the ice cream (is that you, dark chocolate?) — and it’s not the least bit coconut-y. Personally, I like to let it sit out on the counter for seven minutes (10 is too many!); I find the just-starting-to-melt consistency heightens the flavor even more.

Buy: Noona’s Black Sesame Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, $7.99 for 14 ounces at Instacart

7. Eclipse Dark Side of the Spoon Non-Dairy Ice Cream

By now, you might know how I feel about chocolate and peanut butter (I’m a foam finger-level fan). So I was delighted to see actual gobs of peanut butter cookie dough and chunks of fudge mixed throughout this container of non-dairy chocolate ice cream. It gave each bite an extra bit of flavor and texture — without having to dig around for it. The ice cream, for me, isn’t as creamy as some of the other members of this list, but it isn’t watery either. And the chocolate-ness is spot-on. 

Buy: Eclipse Dark Side of the Spoon Non-Dairy Ice Cream, $7.99 for 14 ounces at Good Eggs

What’s your favorite plant-based ice cream flavor? Tell us in the comments below.