Taste of Home
When your sweet tooth strikes, you may find yourself aimlessly scanning the frozen food aisle of the grocery store, each carton of ice cream vying for your attention with the promise of creamy, dreamy satisfaction. But with dozens of brands from which to choose, how do you know if you’re buying the right pint? After all, there’s no way to take a sample scoop.
Our sister brand Taste of Home wanted to help. The team took on the challenge to find the best-tasting chocolate ice cream among common supermarket brands. (Selfless, of course.)
How to determine the best of the best? Start by scooping up ten of the most popular brands of ice cream. Then compare brands by testing them by the quality of the most classic ice cream flavor: chocolate. Yep, plain-Jane chocolate. No swirls, cookie chunks, fluffy mallows, or extra mix-ins. Just pure cocoa flavor. But did you know that chocolate actually isn’t America’s favorite ice cream flavor? The actual winner might surprise you!
Here’s the lineup:
- Target Market Pantry Chocolate Ice Cream: $2.99
- Meijer Purple Cow Chocolate Ice Cream: $2.99
- Kemps Old Fashioned Chocolate Ice Cream:$3.39
- Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream: $3.49
- Blue Bunny Chocolate Ice Cream: $4.19
- Dean’s Country Fresh Classic Chocolate Ice Cream: $4.39
- Edy’s Chocolate Ice Cream: $4.39
- Cedar Crest Chocolate Ice Cream: $4.79
- Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream: $4.75 (per pint, ½ quart) $11 per tub
- Halo Top Chocolate Ice Cream: $5.99 (per pint) $15 per tub
(Prices based on Milwaukee stores. They might be higher or lower by you.)
Taste of Home
Setting up the test
So how to choose the best ice cream? By taste, of course! To gather a non-biased opinion, a blind taste test was in order. As an ice cream lover, you might also be interested in these fascinating ice cream traditions from around the world.
The scoops were lined up side-by-side, without any indication of branding, packaging, or price. (Upscale brands or cool packaging can unfairly sway people’s opinion, even though they don’t have a thing to do with flavor.) On trial? The ice creams themselves.
Taste of Home
The judges considered two major characteristics: flavor and texture. The winning ice cream had to have a rich, chocolate flavor and smooth, balanced texture. You should be able to spoon it straight from the tub or mix it into a milkshake. Each taste tester gave each scoop a rough score out of 10 (The higher the score, the better the scoop.) Here’s how to make your favorite ice cream into a delicious milkshake.
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The local choice: Cedar Crest
Average rating: 8
This scoop definitely packed that creamy flavor, leaping bounds above the rest of the pack.
- Flavor: It had a rich, milk-chocolate taste. The judges pointed out that there was a slight caramel note, too. For some, this flavor was a good thing, but others were less enthused.
- Texture: Cedar Crest stayed firm in its scoop. It had a dense texture, which melted slowly in your mouth.
- Comments: “Definitely milk chocolate.” “Had some caramel undertones…I’m not a fan of caramel.” “Not enough chocolate flavor.” Think you’re a chocolate expert? Find out the real difference between chocolate cake and devil’s food cake.
A store-brand stunner: Blue Bunny
Average rating: 8.8
This extra-rich ice cream definitely impressed the judges. Each spoonful was more delicious than the last. Blue Bunny was almost the top pick.
- Flavor: After comparing with other ice creams, this scoop had a deep chocolate flavor with a slight chalky aftertaste. It likely came from the cocoa powder.
- Texture: The ice cream was smooth and creamy, just like good ice cream should be. Despite sitting out of the freezer for a few minutes, the scoop held up firmly.
- Comments: “It’s like an old time-y Dutch chocolate ice cream.” “Rich!”
Taste of Home
Best in show: Edy’s
Average rating: 8.9
The winner here was clear. Edy’s chocolate delight was a standout among the bunch. The flavor and texture were so good that a few judges went back for seconds.
- Flavor: This ice cream was rich, creamy, and packed with strong, dark-chocolate notes. The intense flavor hit all the marks on the cocoa radar.
- Texture: The scoop stayed firm on the spoon but melted ever-so-softly in your mouth. Some called it the smoothest ice cream by far.
- Comments: “Super rich with dark chocolate notes.” “I ate it ALL.” “Really creamy.”
What you should take away
Price doesn’t necessitate quality
Shockingly, an expensive ice cream like Haagen-Dazs didn’t make the top three (it finished fifth). Ahead of it were more economical brands such as Breyers, which is almost a quarter of the cost. Think twice before spending big bucks on a name brand again, especially since you can get plenty of delicious ice cream at local shops like the top ice cream shops in every state.
When it comes to flavor, low-calorie ice cream doesn’t hold up
That a “healthy” ice cream like Halo Top came in last place wasn’t a huge surprise. Because it’s low-fat, there’s simply no chance that it’ll have that same creamy, delicious flavor as, say, Blue Bunny or Edy’s. It’s worth noting, though, that Halo Top clocks in at just 280 calories per pint. (That’s nearly half the calories of Edy’s!) You might not want to serve this ice cream to a crowd, but knowing its guilt-free nutrition facts, you might just sneak a scoop or two for yourself.
Everyone’s best is different
Flavor is super subjective. Some judges didn’t care for caramel, while others adored it. Some preferred a soft scoop, while others liked their ice cream firm and frozen. The only way to know your favorite is to try it yourself.
Want the ultimate ice cream? Make it from scratch! This way you can customize it to your personal preferences. Here’s an easy way to make your own great-tasting ice cream. No ice cream machine necessary. And consider sprinkling your ice cream pick with the best peanut butter cup, according to another taste test.