When summertime rolls around, ice cream seems to be the only cure to beat the heat. Not only is it refreshing, but it is also packed full of your favorite flavors.
You can go for your tried-and-true ice cream flavor, or have something new to expand your ice cream repertoire
There are thousands of flavors to choose from, so selecting a new one to choose from is a difficult decision. It’s made even harder by the amount of ice cream brands you can choose from.
Every ice cream brand is different and you have to decide what is important to you. You can consider the flavors available, what ingredients they use, and what their company history is.
There are many reasons why one brand may be a better choice than another.
So, we have compiled our list of the top 15 brands of ice cream available. That way you can walk into the store with confidence about what ice cream to buy.
Of course, it is perfectly okay if you disagree with our list. Everyone has their own personal preference about what they look for in good ice cream (see also ‘25 Ice Cream Sundae Recipes That Make The Best Treat‘).
15. Turkey Hill
Turkey Hill ice cream was started in 1931 during the great depression. Armor Frey started selling milk out of the back of his Sedan in order to make more money.
Eventually, this became his only source of income as his services grew in popularity.
Frey sold the business to his 3 sons in 1947 and they continued to make a decent income.
Then in 1954, Turkey Hill started to make ice cream. It started small only being sold locally, but over time the brand spread across the whole of the United States.
In total, Turkey Hill produces around 72 flavors of ice cream, sherbet, and yogurt. They also produce light and no sugar added varieties of their products.
One of their products is a layered sundae which provides all the toppings and additions that are commonly found in ice cream sundaes.
Similar to how the brand started, Turkey Hill still uses farm-fresh milk in its recipes. This provides a fresh and creamy taste to their products which enhances their flavor.
Turkey Hill prides itself on making premium ice cream, and this shows in its quality.
Some of their most notable flavors are their Choco Mint Chip and Caramel, Chocolate & Vanilla Trio’politan.
Their Trio’politan range offers different flavors of the classic Neopolitan, so that way you don’t have to worry about one flavor being left behind.
14. Blue Bunny
In 1913, Fred H. Wells Jr. started a milk round. This was after he bought a wagon, horse, and a few cans and jars from a local dairy farmer for $250.
This simple beginning would spur him to start creating ice cream 12 years later with his sons.
For the first few years of trading, the ice cream was being sold under the name Wells. Then in 1935, they held a ‘Name That Ice Cream’ contest with the winner getting $25.
The winning name was Blue Bunny which was provided by a father who noticed his son was fascinated by the blue bunnies which appeared on shop fronts during easter.
Since then, Blue Bunny has become one of the more accessible brands of ice cream across the United States.
In total, they have about 49 flavors of their tub ice cream to choose from including their infamous Bunny Tracks flavor which includes chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel.
While other ice creams had to be labeled as ‘Frozen Dairy Desserts’ due to their ingredient list falling out of FDA standardization of ice cream, Blue Bunny labeled their products as ‘Real Ice Cream’ to show their high-quality ingredients.
A feature that makes Blue Bunny stand out on shelves is its see-through containers. This means that the customer is able to see exactly what the ice cream looks like and how much care goes into creating each tub.
This woman-owned brand was started in 2009 by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller. It began as an ice cream truck at Coachella which acted as a sort of art project with the ice creams being named after famous architects.
After debuting at Coachella, the brand went viral. Not only was Coolhaus inspirational as a brand founded by women, but LGBTQ+ women. This led them to be able to create an ice cream that was not only delicious but also diverse.
Since its inception, Coolhaus has continued to use ice cream trucks to sell its famous ice cream sandwiches.
12. Halo Top
The newest brand on our list, Halo Top was founded in 2012 by Justin Woolverton. His goal was to create an ice cream that had fewer carbohydrates and sugars.
After much trial and error, he was able to create his iconic ice cream. One of the main reasons for this reduced sugar was the use of sweeteners like stevia and erythritol.
With each pint being between 280 and 380 calories, Halo Top is a great alternative for those looking for a healthier choice. Not only was Halo Top popular, but it inspired other brands to create their own low-sugar varieties.
Halo Top has continued to innovate with the brand releasing 25 flavors and a non-dairy and keto-friendly series of ice creams.
Dreyer’s is a brand that was created from the harmonious relationship between ice cream and candy (see also ‘33 Simple Candy Recipes That You Can Make At Home’). It was started in 1928 by ice cream maker William Dreyer and candy maker Joseph Edy.
Together they used their expertise to not only make delicious ice cream but also unique flavors. Instead of the typical vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors, they created the iconic rocky road flavor.
The combination of chocolate, marshmallow, and nut was something that Edy had previously invented, and it would set a trend for ice cream with flavor combinations (see also our favorite Cold Stone Creamery ice cream flavors).
In 1981 the brand adopted both Dreyer’s and Edy’s as names in order to honor both founders. Dreyer’s was available in the west and Texas, whereas Edy’s was in the east and midwest.
As well as their iconic flavors, Dreyer’s offers light and slow-churned versions of their ice cream for a healthier alternative.
10. Baskin Robbins
In 1948, brothers-in-law Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins combined their ice cream shops in order to create one of the most recognizable names in ice cream history.
With their flavors combined they had an unprecedented 31 available flavors, one for every day of the month.
Since then their flavor repertoire has expanded to over 1,000 different flavors, some being seasonal or regional. Baskin Robbins (see also ‘20 Amazing Ice Cream Flavors To Try At Baskin Robbins‘) has also spread globally with more than 8,000 locations being available.
This spread of stores has made the brand a part of many people’s childhood.
This nostalgia is one of the reasons that Baskin Robbins is so iconic. Each bite can bring back memories and while it’s not the same as visiting a store, you are able to buy some of their most famous flavors in pints.
On top of their massive amount of flavors, Baskin Robbins also offers dairy-free and vegan options.
9. Blue Bell
Opened in Texas in 1907, the Brenham Creamery Company began buying excess cream from local farmers in order to make butter to sell to a local town. Four years later in 1911, the creamery expanded to making ice cream as well.
After almost going bankrupt in 1919, the then board of directors decided to expand the ice cream business in order to make more profit. It worked and the creamery was renamed Blue Bell Creameries after the Texas bluebell flower.
In 1958, the creamery decided to solely focus on the production of ice cream and stopped making butter. With this decision, they started to expand their business throughout Texas instead of just Brenham.
When the cookies n’ cream flavor was invented, Blue Bell was the first one to mass produce it in 1969. Since then they have acquired around 66 different flavors.
While competitors reduced the size of their ice cream tubs in order to cut costs, Blue Bell didn’t and proudly displays ‘Still a ½ Gal’ on every tub.
While the business wouldn’t be incorporated until 1908, Breyers has been sold since 1866. This was by William A. Breyer who initially sold ice cream out of his home before expanding to horse and wagon.
His original recipe involved cream, pure cane sugar, and nuts. This simple recipe gave Breyers the standard of using all-natural ingredients for years to come.
For many people, Breyers was the ice cream you would have at home. This brand became a part of our childhoods and a staple of summer.
In 2015, Breyers pledged to only use high-quality ingredients from natural sources in order to honor its founder. Over the years they have come out with gluten-free, dairy-free, and reduced-calorie versions of their famous flavors.
Founded in 1870 by Louis C. Graeter, Graeter’s ice cream began appealing to the masses as ice cream was considered a novelty at the time. It was created in small batches, and this idea has stuck around until today.
The small batches are created in a French pot process which provides a denser ice cream that a lot of care has gone into.
While other ice cream brands may have only started out as a family business, Graeter’s continues to be with the current owners being the 4th generation to do so.
Incredibly, the company was led by Regina Graeter during the 2 World Wars. She was able to surpass the expectations of women at the time and expand the company during times of rations and sugar shortages.
She passed away in 1955 leaving the business to her 2 sons who continued on her legacy.
Graeter’s is known for its iconic chocolate chips in their ice cream, included in the very popular flavor Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.
When it comes to an underdog story, Jeni’s is one of the best. Founder Jeni Britton wanted to open a stall at the North Market but was denied multiple times.
That was until 1996 when she was finally able to open a stall called Scream Ice Creams. Even when just starting, Britton offered unique flavors such as Hot Chocolate and Wildberry Lavender.
Then in 2002, Jeni opened Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, more commonly known as Jeni’s. She offered a variety of different flavors, each of them crafted to be unique and memorable.
Some of the most popular flavors are Darkest Chocolate, Brown Butter Almond Brittle, and Brambleberry Crisp.
While Jeni’s is a bit harder to find when compared to the other brands on this list, you are able to order them online or join the subscription service Pint Club which gives you 4 flavors every month.
Developed in Demark, Magnum ice cream bars began production in 1988. They are recognizable for their thick layer of chocolate surrounding the ice cream.
The ice cream is rich in flavor, and while Magnum initially only made bars, they started making tubs in 2012. These tubs also had their signature chocolate shell on top that you had to crack through to get to the ice cream.
In 2018, Magnum started producing vegan varieties with 2 flavors, Magnum Vegan Classic and Magnum Vegan Almond.
This is the only gelato brand on this list but we believe it gets a pass, solely because it is so good.
Founded in 2003 by Josh Hochschuler, Talenti is named after the inventor of Italian ice cream Bernardo Buontalenti.
It uses good quality ingredients to make its gelato (see also ‘20 Delicious Talenti Gelato Flavors To Try‘). You are able to get layered versions with all the toppings or single flavors. Talenti makes egg-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free versions so everyone can enjoy this amazing gelato.
While many people know Tillamook for their cheese, they make incredible ice cream too.
The Tillamook creameries first came around in 1909, these were used to make a variety of dairy products such as cheese and butter. It wouldn’t be until 1947 that they started to produce ice cream.
Their most famous flavor is Vanilla Bean, which is the perfect blend of creamy and sweet. It is also the base for many of Tillamook’s other popular flavors.
Häagen-Dazs was created in 1960 by Reuben Mattus. Mattus was born to Jewish parents and migrated to Brooklyn from Poland in 1921. After migrating the family started producing ice pops and ice cream.
After deciding to create his own high-end ice cream brand, Mattus decided to name his product Häagen-Dazs. This Danish-sounding name was done as a tribute to Denmark, which treated the Jewish people well during WW2.
The brand started off only selling 3 flavors, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. However, they have expanded to around 46 flavors, each of which is very luxurious with some being unique to the brand.
1. Ben & Jerry’s
In our opinion, Ben & Jerry’s is the cream of the crop when it comes to ice cream brands. It was started in 1978 by childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
Together they started an ice cream brand that focused not only on flavor but the texture of the ice cream.
One of the things that set Ben & Jerry’s apart, is its use of comical names for their ice cream. Some examples are Half Baked, Minter Wonderland, and Karamel Sutra.
One of their most popular flavors is Cherry Garcia which combines cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge pieces. They also make flavors with celebrities including Chance the Rapper, Jimmy Fallon, and Phish.
While their ice cream is incredible, one of the main reasons why Ben & Jerry’s tops this list is because of their activism. It’s not every day you get a delicious tub of ice cream and know that your purchase is going towards helping others.
Since its inception, Ben & Jerry’s has been focusing on supporting different values. This is either through raising money or by changing their products.
One show of their belief in helping the world is through their completely bio-degradable pint tubs. Their company cares about climate issues, refugees, and LGBTQ+ rights.
Let it be known, that while these are some of the best ice cream brands, all ice cream is good. It is a delicious treat that can cool you down on a hot day, or make any movie night perfect.
One of the joys of ice cream is its abundance of flavors, and with new ones coming out all the time, it is the perfect opportunity to try new flavor combinations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are You Able To Get Dairy-Free Ice Cream?
Yes, you can. In fact, most of the brands on this list offer dairy-free and vegan varieties of their most popular flavors.
What Is The Difference Between Ice Cream And Gelato?
As the name suggests, ice cream has more cream than milk. Whereas gelato has more milk than cream.