Updated in 2023!
In the 80s and 90s, fat was considered the enemy, but in the 2000s, sugar became the dietary nemesis. Many Americans embraced the keto craze, while millions more made genuine efforts to reduce their sugar intake. As a result, several low-sugar dairy-free ice cream brands entered the market in the past decade. While some options have faded away, a few brands have managed to remain popular.
Low-Sugar Dairy-Free Ice Cream Brands and Rankings
This article covers the mainstream brands available at grocery stores nationwide or for online order. First, we’ll address a few common questions, and then we’ll dive into the low-sugar dairy-free ice cream brands!
Are These Really “Ice Cream?”
Because these brands are dairy-free, they are often referred to as “frozen desserts” or “frozen treats.” However, they are churned blends that are frozen and packed into pints as an alternative to ice cream. For simplicity, we’ll stick to calling them low-sugar dairy-free ice cream.
Why is Low-Sugar Dairy-Free Ice Cream More Dense?
Sugar not only adds sweetness but also contributes to the body and texture of ice cream. It also lowers the freezing point, resulting in a softer consistency. With less sugar, the ice cream becomes harder. To compensate, low-sugar dairy-free ice cream makers add more fat, processed ingredients, or natural sugars from whole foods like fruit. Achieving a creamy consistency without sugar and dairy is a challenge, but these brands have made commendable efforts according to consumers like you.
Different Serving Sizes: What’s the Reason?
Some low-sugar dairy-free ice cream brands have a 1/2 cup serving size, while others have a 2/3 cup serving size. To facilitate comparison, we have adjusted all serving sizes to 1/2 cup. As a result, a few brands may appear to have lower calories and sugars than indicated on the pint.
Are These Brands Safe for Allergies?
All the brands listed below are free from dairy ingredients. However, please note that ingredients can change, and the risk of allergen cross-contamination remains, regardless of whether there is a “may contain” statement. Always read the label and be aware of any potential allergens. Only you can determine what is safe for your dietary needs.
#1 Fronen Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert
Fronen is the top-ranking banana-sweetened, low-sugar dairy-free ice cream brand on the market today. It uses simple, pure ingredients for natural sweetness and offers a deliciously creamy consistency.
- Sweeteners: banana, organic honey
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 80 to 110 (except Peanut Butter Fudge, which has 200 calories)
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 10 to 13 grams (5 to 8 grams of added sugar)
#2 Arctic Zero Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert
Arctic Zero recently made the transition from being a lactose-free brand to becoming dairy-free. This change may have lost them some customers, but they have gained a new loyal following. Although these ice creams have a lower sugar taste and a denser texture, many people still enjoy them.
- Sweeteners: organic cane sugar, acacia gum, monk fruit concentrate
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 40 to 80
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 5 to 10 grams
#3 Rebel Dairy Free Sorbet
Although not an “ice cream” brand, Rebel’s sorbet line is included here as a great option for those seeking low-sugar, fruity, dairy-free frozen desserts. Many customers praise its “creamy” texture, thanks to a well-churned recipe.
- Sweeteners: erythritol, allulose, vegetable glycerin, monk fruit extract
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 15 to 27
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 0 to 2 grams (0 grams of added sugars + 12 to 16 grams of sugar alcohol)
#4 MUD Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert
MUD is a newcomer that is gradually expanding its distribution. Although it is currently only available for online order, it stands out with its unique rich texture and slightly less sweetness due to its purely date-sweetened recipe. Some may find it less indulgent, but others appreciate its subtler sweetness.
- Sweeteners: dates, acacia gum
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 113
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 10 to 11 grams (0 grams of added sugar)
#5 Must Love Bananas Frozen Dessert
While Must Love Bananas’ soft serve in Hawaii is creamy and delicious, their packed pints may not be as creamy. However, these fruit-sweetened frozen desserts are loved by banana enthusiasts. With no added sweeteners, the banana flavor shines through in every flavor.
- Sweeteners: banana, dates
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 100 to 120
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 17 to 19 grams (0 grams of added sugar)
#6 So Delicious No Sugar Added Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert
So Delicious was a favorite among sugar-conscious consumers for many years. However, recent changes to the recipe have received mixed reviews. Some consumers found the taste different from what they remembered, and the consistency became harder.
- Sweeteners: acacia gum, erythritol, monk fruit extract, stevia
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 120 to 156
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: <1 to 2 grams (<1 gram of added sugars + 3 to 6 grams of sugar alcohol)
Rate Them Yourself in our Dairy-Free Ice Cream Reviews!
The rankings above are based on our in-house testers and reviews from unbiased consumers. Visit our Dairy-Free Ice Cream Reviews to leave your own review and rating for the brands you’ve tried. (Please note that affiliation with any brand is not allowed for unbiased reviews.) No login is required!