I do appreciate flavor creativity, I really do. But like many of you, I often just want simple dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Fortunately, there are dozens of dairy-free vanilla ice cream brands available for your simple cravings and à la mode needs. And we’re here to help you find the best one for you! We bought every vegan and dairy-free vanilla ice cream variety that we could find our local area and had a taste test with members of our household – two dairy-free and two dairy consumers. Here are the results!
And the Best Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream You Can Buy Is …
We were genuinely surprised by how different each brand tasted. Even pints made with the same base had their own distinct flavor and mouthfeel. That means there really is something for everyone. But this was the hands-down winner in our taste tests.
It really was no contest. We all agreed that Ripple had nailed dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Our resident teen said it tasted like custard, and we all agreed it had a French vanilla vibe. The flavor was sweet, but very well rounded and balanced with the right amount of vanilla. It also had a smooth, creamy, lightly whipped, and easy-to-scoop consistency that rivaled dairy ice cream. Everyone went back for seconds, and agreed it was delicious with nothing added, but also perfect for a la mode. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
How the Other Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream Brands Ranked
I’ve listed them in order, from our top runner up, down to the pint we’ll definitely pass on. But I’ve also included tasting notes. Because, what didn’t suit us, might be your perfect plain Jane vanilla!
All of the adults agreed that this flavor really was delicious. But despite the name, it doesn’t taste like vanilla ice cream. They pretty much nailed the rich, sweet flavor of butter pecan. The teen in our group thought it tasted like peanut butter and chocolate together, which she isn’t a fan of (yes, it’s true). Nonetheless, she agreed that the consistency was quite good and the sweetness was right. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
Our resident teen and her mom said it tasted a little fruity, almost like Fruit Loops. It is a “fruitier” vanilla that gives way to a sweet, purely dessert aftertaste. It seemed cooler and more refreshing than many of the others, and had a lightly creamy consistency. We all thought it would work very well à la mode, with toppings, or in dairy-free ice cream sandwiches. As a stand-alone vanilla, we agreed it needed a little something to round out the flavor (a pinch of salt, perhaps?). Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
We were a bit divided on this brand at first. The dairy consumers immediately liked this brand and gave it a thumbs up. (A dairy consumer that wasn’t in our taste tests even snuck this pint from the freezer and finished it!) The dairy-free consumers said it was a bit sugary, unrefined, and not as smooth as we would like. But it was still a decent contender that we would consider repurchasing. Everyone agreed it had a notable light almond flavor, and was definitely a little “dairy free” in taste. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
“It tastes like the milk leftover after cereal,” said our teen taster. She totally nailed it. Perhaps it’s the oat base, but this really does have that comforting, sweet taste of milk saturated with sweet grains. It works much better as soft serve than churned and hard packed (we tried both), and has a light, frosty-like mouthfeel. I recommend keeping this one on hand along with a Zoku bowl in the freezer for single-serve needs. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
We found the flavor of this pint a little more difficult to pinpoint. Our resident teen thought it tasted a bit like Oreo filling, but without the shortening aftertaste. Her mom thought it was just creamy enough and had a good general flavor, but she could definitely taste the oat base. Tony thought it was flat in flavor and wasn’t impressed. I thought it was a bit too “oaty” and agreed with Tony that it was flat in flavor. We all agreed that it lacked vanilla flavor and had an underwhelming, rather nonexistent aftertaste. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
I honestly expected this brand to be a top pick, but it was a little overwhelming in a few ways. The flavor was very coconut forward with hints of vanilla that only a couple of us could detect. The consistency was quite creamy, but to our dairy eaters, it was so whipped that it was almost like whipped topping. I had to agree, the latest So Delicious formula is beginning to taste more like CocoWhip. All of this is okay for coconut fans, which some of us are. But the aftertaste leaves a shortening-like residue that was quite unappealing. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
This brand confused us, which was easy to see by all of the puzzled looks. I thought it tasted like coffee, which I don’t like. There were votes that it was very almond-y, but a little disjointed. One comment was that it was “vanilla in parts.” Another said it starts out vanilla, but then melts into “some other flavor.” We couldn’t say it was a strong dislike, but Whole Foods brand wasn’t met with a great deal of love, either. We all agreed not to buy it again. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
(Note: In our stores, the package was pink – see my photo above.) Raw foodists might like this coconut ice cream, but it wasn’t for any of us. Tony said it tasted like young Thai coconut, and nothing else. It was very coconut-heavy in taste and texture. The consistency was dense, more buttery than creamy, and slightly gritty. The flavor was slightly fruity and only a little sweet. Our resident teen even said it was a bit tangy. To our taste buds, this didn’t quite qualify as dessert, and it was quite a detour from vanilla ice cream. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
No, just no. We all took a hard pass on a second bite of this ice cream. This used to be a fan favorite for dairy-free, sugar-free ice cream. But the new formula just isn’t it. It flaked like coconut, tasted like coconut, was a bit gritty, and had an unpleasant sweetener after taste. It received a strong thumbs down from our whole tasting team. Get the: Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, and More Consumer Reviews.
More Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Creams
I’ve included this list of other dairy-free vanilla ice cream brands sold nationwide in the U.S. that we didn’t have available. You can click on each for Ingredients, Nutrition Facts, Availability, and Reviews from other people like you.
Dairy-Free Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes
Yes, you can easily churn your own dairy-free vanilla ice cream at home! Here are a couple of our favorite recipes.