Ice cream — that luscious, creamy treat for which a craving hits every summer and only intensifies with the heat — is always on our minds. In its most-classic form, you need only a few ingredients to churn up the chilling possibilities: cow’s milk (or cream), sugar and egg yolks. So what happens when you remove the milk and replace it with nut-based “milks,” like cashew and coconut? We taste-tested dozens of pints from around the nation and these are our picks for the best dairy-free ice cream America’s churning out today. (Note: Since these ice creams contain zero dairy milkfat, they’re technically classified as frozen desserts.)
We used our typical rating scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) for this taste test. Each brand was evaluated based on taste, texture and nutrition, paying special attention to calories, fat, sodium and ingredient quality. All nutrition information is based on a 1/2-cup serving size of vanilla flavor wherever possible.
Per serving: Calories 260; Fat 15 g (Saturated 2.5 g); Sodium 30 mg; Fiber 1 g; Sugars 22 g
This organic, Oakland, Calif.-based cashew ice cream company was built on necessity — often the key incentive for developing the best version of anything — by brothers Ari and Andrew Cohen, whose family couldn’t eat dairy. While there are other brands on the market that are free of stabilizers, emulsifiers or gums, theirs is the first I’ve tasted that has that satisfying chew that usually only premium dairy-full ice creams deliver. Their flavors are incredibly creative, too. Chocolate Orange Chip was my personal favorite, with Salted Pecan coming in a close second.