The study stuck with classic vanilla ice cream and excluded both French vanilla and vanilla bean varieties in an attempt to have the truest comparison. The results showed that not all vanilla ice cream is equal in quality. Taste, appearance and consistency all varied greatly amongst the brands tasted.
The editors had several criteria when checking out pints of vanilla. They wanted a scoop that looked natural, froze well and could be enjoyed in a bowl, cone or à la mode.
The big shocker was that Ben & Jerry’s vanilla was not the winner, despite the brand dubbing it “the world’s best vanilla.”
Whole Foods Market Vanilla Ice Cream was the big winner. It received four out of four forks. Editors loved its snow-white color, milky taste and whipped consistency. The fact that it only contains six ingredients was a big plus. It is only available at Whole Foods and sells for around $3.59.
Breyers Natural Vanilla was the first-runner up. Tasters praised this ice cream for being the perfect amount of sweet and creamy. Judges felt it lacked the deep, sweet signature vanilla scent, which cost it in the points tally. It still received 3.5 of 4 works. It retails for around $4.99.
Ben & Jerry’s made the list, but it was as the second runner-up. Editors found it to have a thick and cream consistency with the perfect amount of vanilla flavor. It received three out of four forks. It lost points for having the highest fat content out of all 13 brands sampled.
Some brands didn’t do very well in the taste test. SoCo Creamery has an icy consistency and tasted more like fruity pineapple than vanilla. 365 Organic was found to be bland, too thick and an unappetizing shade of yellow. Blue Marble was said to taste like “bad vanilla frosting.” One judge said a big helping of hot fudge would be needed to get through it.
The 13 types of vanilla ice cream tested are all available either in supermarkets nationwide or online. Here is the full list from highest score to lowest:
- Whole Foods Market Vanilla Ice Cream
- Breyers Natural Vanilla
- Ben & Jerry's Vanilla
- La Salle
- Turkey Hill Original Vanilla
- Stonyfield Farm Gotta Have Vanilla
- Ronnybrook Farm
- Edy's Slow Churned Classic Vanilla
- SoCo Creamery
- 365 Organic
- Blue Marble
What do you think is the best brand of vanilla ice cream?