If you’ve yet to try vegan ice cream, you may be surprised at just how creamy it is. Although it’s made without dairy, brands are using popular milk substitutes to replicate that rich and fluffy texture – including coconut, almond and soya milk.
With more and more people following a vegan diet and others finding that they’re lactose intolerant, we’ve made it our mission to find the very best dairy-free ice cream to indulge in this summer. As there’s so much variety out there, we’ve tasted a wide range to bring you our best vegan ice creams.
Best vegan ice cream to buy
Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter & cookies non-dairy ice cream
Vegan ice cream with best overall flavour
Despite conducting our taste test entirely blind, our tasters recognised this brand straight away. With a number of decadent flavour combinations in their dairy-free range, Ben & Jerry’s are one of the only brands who have successfully replicated some of their original varieties in vegan form without losing any tastiness. We went back for seconds (and thirds) of this creamy frozen treat, with swirls of peanut butter and a generous helping of cookie chunks. Warning: this stuff is addictive.
Blue Skies chocolate & orange ice cream
Best coconut milk ice creamBlue Skies have recently launched a new range of vegan ice creams which are not only dairy-free but are made with fresh fruit too. The chocolate and orange flavour was another coconut contender which topped our list of favourites – it’s delightfully creamy and rich in chocolate, with just a subtle addition of orange flavour that isn’t too overpowering. For anyone who enjoys the flavour combination, this is practically Terry’s Chocolate Orange in an ice cream.
Alpro hazelnut chocolate ice cream
Best soya-based ice cream
This soya-based ice cream could easily double up as a chocolate mousse – it’s just so light and fluffy. Not only that, there’s a beautiful flavour balance between the ground hazelnuts and the chocolate inside, giving it a subtle praline taste. It’s also relatively low in sugar.
Swedish Glace smooth vanilla ice cream
Best soft-serve vegan ice cream
Some people think of the classic cone with a flake when they hear the words “ice cream”. That’s why we were delighted to stumble across a dairy-free variety with all the soft, creamy qualities of the classic soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Made with soy, this sweet treat has subtle vanilla seeds hidden inside, making it look (and taste) all the more authentic. Next time the sun is shining, scoop some Swedish Glace on top of wafer cones, and we guarantee no one will guess it’s vegan.
What we looked for when testing vegan ice cream
Dairy-free: All entries were strictly free from dairy.
Taste: Although taste can be subjective when it comes to ice cream flavours, we looked for a good balance of flavours and inventive combinations. We allowed the ice creams to sit at a comfortable room temperature for a few minutes to thaw, but began tasting instantly to avoid them melting. How did an ice cream pass our test? By simply tasting as good as dairy ice cream – if not better.
The perfect cream replacement: Just because the dairy has been ditched, that doesn’t mean the ice cream should taste any less creamy. We looked out for smooth and creamy varieties which could easily be mistaken for dairy ice cream.
Presentation: We tested tubs and ice lollies (with a milk-alternative centre). Although presentation was important to an extent, our focus was on flavour.
How we tested: A range of nationally available vegan ice creams were tested by various members of our BBC Good Food editorial team. The ice creams were all served blind, so that no brand prejudice could play a part in the judging. The ice creams were served at a cold room temperature, and tasters were encouraged to cleanse their palate between tastings.
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This review was last updated in September 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at email@example.com.
Have you found a dairy-free ice cream that you love? Leave a comment below…