All right, all right: We give in. We'll sacrifice our bodies to science and taste-test a bunch of different vanilla ice cream flavors (with a side of brownies) for YOU. We can't have you picking up just any old pint at the grocery store, can we?
Now, before you get all up in arms about your favorite variety being left off our list entirely, let us first explain the rules. We blind-tested a variety of brands that were readily available at grocery stores: brands that are most likely available to ice cream lovers across the U.S. (Note: We love Talenti as much as the next cone addict, but as it's technically gelato, we felt we couldn't include it here.) Additionally, we tried to stick with each brand's original vanilla flavor, leaving vanilla bean and French vanilla varieties for another beautiful, beautiful round of testing.
For now, grab your spoons and your rainbow sprinkles; these are the best of the best.
Disagree with our choices? Let us know in the comments.
Our Top Picks
① Häagen-Dazs Vanilla, $5.50
Never has a taste test had such a clear winner. The moment our spoons touched this creamy, dense pint of ice cream goodness, our editors knew. Before even tasting the sweet cream, many declared that this ice cream must be Häagen-Dazs based on texture alone, and the spectacular taste lived up to that expectation. (Does this immediate recognition point to the fact that we all eat WAY too much ice cream? Probably.) It's soft, melts slowly on the tongue and has just the right amount of vanilla flavor. All in all, the runaway favorite.
② Turkey Hill Homemade Vanilla, $4.50
Immediately, the light yellow/orange color of this ice cream stood out in our blind taste taste next to more stark-white options, leaving our editors skeptical. However, upon tasting the Turkey Hill vanilla, our testers were pleasantly surprised. Although it doesn't have as much heavy vanilla flavor as some of the others, resembling more of a sweet cream ice cream, the editors praised its denser, richer texture, preferring it over some of the fluffier options. Plus, at just $4.50 for 16 fluid ounces, it's definitely the best bang for one's buck.
③ Edy's Classic Vanilla, $6.50
Our tasters described this brand as light, airy and fluffy, with a good general mouthfeel. However, some editors wished the texture were denser. They did appreciate the strength of the vanilla flavor, but also noted that it tasted a tad artificial. It reminded one editor of a nostalgic ice cream party from childhood, which is never a bad thing.
We were a little surprised that Breyer's didn't make it into our top three—it being one of the better-known brands out there. However, the decision again fell to texture: As a group of ice cream lovers who want their frozen treats rich and creamy, Breyers' whipped, almost-foamy texture wasn't exactly what we were looking for. However, if you're after a pint of light ice cream that could easily be taken down in one sitting, this fluffy option is perfect.
Although Yuengling isn't one of the most recognizable brands out there, we were excited to see how it stood up to more well-known options. We liked the vanilla flavor in this ice cream but found the texture to be particularly icy. It didn't melt as smoothly in our mouths as some of the other brands we tried, resulting in a less desirable texture. However, we must note that Yuengling's also produces a butterbeer-flavored ice cream, which we highly recommend springing for instead.
So, we had to throw one in there for the lactose intolerant among you. This "frozen dessert" can't technically be considered ice cream because of its lack of dairy, but we have to admit: We were pleasantly surprised. So Delicious has an incredibly creamy texture for an ice cream made from cashew milk. However, it looks and tastes more like coffee or toffee ice cream than vanilla, taking on a slight beige hue because of its cashew contents. All in all, although it couldn't stand up to the classics, it's a great alternative for those who can't or don't want to consume dairy.
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.