Top 9 Plant-Based Ice Cream Brands To Stock Your Freezer

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It’s no secret that just about everyone loves ice cream — but when you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or have a milk allergy — a delicious plant-based ice cream that holds up against dairy-based ice cream can feel out of reach. But if you’re avoiding dairy, you don’t have to get left behind. With coconut, oat, soy, and cashew milk varieties of ice cream flooding many of today’s supermarket shelves, there are more plant-based ice cream options than ever. The number of choices, however, may lead to confusion over which ice cream meets the same marks as traditional ice cream. It’s important to note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines ice cream as a frozen, pasteurized product made from dairy that contains at least 10% milkfat. As a result, most plant-based ice cream gets labeled a “non-dairy frozen dessert” (1). Luckily, there are so many plant-based ice cream options on the market that you won’t even miss the dairy. Here are a few things to look for when choosing plant-based ice cream and our selection of the 9 best brands to get you your ice cream fix.

How to choose plant-based ice cream

When looking for plant-based ice cream, there are a couple things you want to look out for:

  • Added sugar. Like most ice cream, plant-based options containadded sugar. In some cases, plant-based ice cream contains the same amount or more added sugar than regular ice cream. Some brands contain at least 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving. That means just one serving of plant-based ice cream can account for half of the American Heart Association (AHA)’s recommended daily added sugar intake of 6-9 teaspoons. Other frozen desserts like sorbet also contain a lot of added sugar — typically even more than those with a milk-alternative base (2, 3).
  • Added flavors and preservatives. Plant-based ice cream is highly processed to replicate its dairy-containing counterparts. That can result in excess preservatives, flavors, refined oils, and thickeners like guar gum. If you’re looking to avoid added flavors and preservatives, check the ingredient list to ensure a plant-based ice cream doesn’t contain unwanted ingredients.
  • Saturated fat. While you may think plant-based ice cream brands lack the saturated fat common to dairy-containing ice cream, that isn’t always the case. Coconut milk, while great for adding creaminess to plant-based ice cream, is high in saturated fat — in some cases, making frozen dessert’s saturated fat content even greater than dairy. In general, saturated fat is a nutrient to limit. It’s linked to higher levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the blood, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Consume in moderation, and remember the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from saturated fats to less than 10% of the total calories you consume each day — or around 22 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet (4, 5).

1. Arctic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Arctic Zero Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream is made with fava bean concentrate instead of eggs and milk. This certified vegan ice cream contains 0g of saturated fat, 3g of fiber (11% of DV) and 8g of added sugars (16% of DV) per serving. Also, it’s certified gluten-free.

2. Talenti Sorbetto Dairy-Free Roman Raspberry

Also read: No Egg Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe – Bites with Bri

Talenti Raspberry Sorbetto is filled with real raspberries which are high in antioxidants. It also contains 0g of saturated fats. However, keep in mind that this plant-based sorbet contains 30g of added sugars per ⅔ cup serving.

3. Ciao Bella Sicilian Blood Orange Sorbet

Ciao Bella Sicilian Blood Orange Sorbet has 3 different blood orange juice and concentrates packed into its ingredients. Like other sorbets, it does contain a high amount of added sugars (24 grams in each ⅔ cup serving). However, this flavorful plant-based sorbet offers 0g of saturated fats and is rich in vitamin C, with 50% of the DV in a single serving.

4. Sambazon Acai Sorbet

Sambazon Acai Berry Sorbet contains acai berry puree and tapioca syrup in its ingredients. You can enjoy this plant-based sorbet as a dessert or a breakfast option with a variety of toppings. It offers only 0.5g of saturated fat (3% of DV) and 2g of fiber (8% of DV). It also contains 15g of sugars per serving, which is relatively low compared to others on the list. Plus, this sorbet is organic.

5. New Barn Organic Non-Dairy Banana Chip Ice Cream

New Barn Organic Banana Chip Ice Cream is made with bananas, almonds, cane sugar, and chocolate chips. This plant-based frozen dessert includes 4g of protein, 1g of saturated fat (5% of DV), and 14g of sugars half-cup per serving.

6. Halo Top Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Dairy-Free

Also read: 9 Best Low Sugar Ice Creams, According to Dietitians

Halo Top Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream is filled with coconut milk and fava bean protein concentrate. Aside from being vegan certified, this frozen dessert provides a whopping 7g of fiber, or25% of the DV. It also contains 4g of plant-based protein per serving. What’s more, it’s certified gluten-free and only contains 5g of added sugars per serving.

7. Oatly Vanilla Frozen Dessert

Oatly Vanilla Frozen Dessert is made with ground vanilla beans, oat milk, and a hint of sea salt. This ice cream is certified vegan and gluten-free. However, since coconut oil is the main ingredient, this product is high in saturated fat with 8g per ⅔ cup serving.

8. Haagen-Dazs Nondairy Coconut Caramel Frozen Dessert

Haagen-Dazs Nondairy Coconut Caramel Frozen Dessert is contains coconut cream and is blended with caramel. This product is certified vegan and made with gluten-free ingredients. On the other hand, it’s high in saturated fat due to its high coconut cream content. It contains 11g of saturated fat (55% of DV) and 20g of sugars per serving.

9. So Delicious Chocolate Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

Also read: Why You Should Stop Eating ‘Healthy’ Ice Cream – Insider

This plant-based frozen dessert contains cashew milk, fudge sauce, and coconut oil. Also, it’s certified vegan and gluten-free. However, it’s good to note that this sweet treat is high in saturated fat and added sugar with its 12g of saturated fat (60% of DV) and 23g of added sugars (46% of DV) content per 2/3 cups serving.

Key takeaways for buying plant-based ice cream

When you’re looking for a quick frozen treat, the last thing you want is to worry about is whether it will aggravate a lactose intolerance, milk allergy, or compromise a vegan diet. Luckily, finding a plant-based ice cream is simple when you know what to look for.Plant-based ice cream is often exceptionally high in added sugar – especially when it comes to sorbet. ​​To cut down on excess sugar, read the ingredient label and consume in moderation to stay within the American Heart Association (AHA)’s recommended daily added sugar intake of 6-9 teaspoons.Added flavors and preservatives are also often in plant-based ice cream to replicate the texture and taste of dairy-containing ice cream. If you’re looking to avoid added flavors and preservatives, check its nutritional information to ensure your prospective plant-based ice cream doesn’t contain unwanted ingredients.Lastly, it’s important to be wary of saturated fat. While dairy-containing ice cream is high in saturated fat, some plant-based alternatives – like coconut milk-based frozen desserts – can contain more saturated fat than traditional ice cream. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend less than 10% of the total calories you consume each day be from saturated fat, so consume in moderation.We hope our list of our top 9 plant-based ice creams and our tips on how to choose them helps guide you straight to your next ice cream favorite.

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GreenChoice, PBC has evaluated and rated more than 340,000 food & beverage products across hundreds of attributes related to diet, health, and sustainability. Easily find the best products for you, the planet, & your budget. Sign up to access the GreenChoice marketplace, the first carbon-neutral online grocery marketplace for healthy, climate-friendly shopping.

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