March 24, 2023
From Vegnews
1,221 views

It’s a wondrous and slightly anxiety-inducing experience to behold 19 different ice cream pints open before you—all perfectly thawed and ready to be sampled. This was the situation I found myself in when I visited the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters during a rare, sunny summer day in Burlington, VT. Along with other members of the media, I scooped and savored each flavor to my raging dopamine delight. Since that sugar-induced day, I’ve continued to enjoy a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy every so often in order to hone my humble yet very strong opinion of each flavor. Most people will never be confronted with 19 different flavor options (the brand only carries one or two non-dairy varieties in its scoop shops and retailers never carry the full line), but nevertheless, it helps to know what’s good, and what’s really good. Because let’s be honest, there are no bad flavors here. From just fine to eat-the-whole-pint, here are all the Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy flavors ranked from fine to best. 

Chunks, swirls, and inventing cookie dough ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s is an iconic ice cream brand for more than just its decades-long staying power. This brand does things differently, and because of that, it has many firsts to its name. It launched its first scoop shop in Burlington, VT in 1978 with eight dairy-based flavors—Oreo Mint, French Vanilla, Wild Blueberry, Mocha Walnut, Chocolate Fudge, Honey Coffee, and Honey Orange. 

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None of the original flavors have survived today, but they stood out amongst consumers at the time for their bold taste and sizable mix-ins. The chunks and swirls the brand has become known for were a result of Ben’s impaired ability to smell and taste. When Ben could actually taste it, they knew the flavor was pronounced enough. 

Ben & Jerry’s was also the first brand to commercially produce cookie dough ice cream. Following a customer suggestion, the team dedicated time to recipe development and launched cookie dough ice cream pints in 1991. The idea of baked goods and ice cream have clearly worked out for the brand—you’ll see below that a significant number of flavors involve cookies, brownies, dough, or some combination of all three. 

19 Non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors, ranked

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19 Cherry Garcia

I have never truly understood the craze surrounding this cult flavor. I’ve sampled both the dairy version (pre-vegan) and the non-dairy version, and while I was pleased to note that they taste the same, the flavor itself never really excited my palate. If this chocolate-cherry combination makes you do backflips, this pint may be higher on your list. 

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18 Americone Dream

Sorry, Stephen Colbert, but this didn’t quite hit the mark. Fans had been imploring Ben & Jerry’s for a dairy-free option for years, and the brand finally churned it out. The flavor works in theory: a vanilla base swirled with a vegan caramel ribbon and dotted with chocolate-covered waffle cone pieces. Perhaps my sample was a dud, but the waffle cone pieces were soggy and I found myself avoiding the chunks, rather than seeking them out. 

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17 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

I welcome the controversy over this ranking, as I know this classic flavor is a favorite among millions. There’s a reason why the company launched its vegan cookie dough chunks, after all. Although this ice cream is tasty, the product is just shy of hitting that childhood nostalgia note for me. Yes, Ben & Jerry’s does claim to be the first to mass-produce Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but others have run with the idea and made it better. 

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16 Lights! Caramel! Action!

Developed in collaboration with film director Ava DuVernay, this flavor made its grocery store debut in early 2023. Made to DuVernay’s specifications (plus some creative liberties taken by Flavor Gurus), this pint includes salted caramel swirls, graham cracker swirls, and chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough suspended in a vanilla ice cream base. Despite all those chunks and swirls, the flavors don’t grab you. It’s sweet, and there’s plenty of texture, but the depth of flavor is lacking. After a few spoonfuls, I was content to let my partner finish the pint.

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15Chocolate Fudge Brownie

As one of the first non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s flavors launched in 2016, this pint made my heart pitter-patter with delight seven years ago. However, that was before I realized what those Flavor Gurus (yes, that’s what they’re called) can really do. The Chocolate Fudge Brownie is a lot of … chocolate. Yes, it’s redundant, but when I pop open a pint, I expect a bit more variation in flavor. 

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14 Oatmeal Dream Pie

As my palate has matured to its 30-year-old self, I’ve discovered that I immensely enjoy a balanced cinnamon-flavored ice cream. I was excited when I heard the news of this new flavor, but then I realized cinnamon is missing from the ingredient deck. The result is a bit lacking—the marshmallow swirls and oatmeal cookie pieces need a bit more flavor dimension. That being said, I am curious to see how this flavor would turn out in a milkshake with a generous dash of cinnamon added. 

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13Karamel Sutra Core

The first non-dairy flavor in Ben & Jerry’s Core line, this pint features chocolate and caramel ice cream dotted with fudge chips and filled with a gooey, caramel core. It’s perfectly fine, but Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base could use an upgrade. Perhaps it needs more cacao, perhaps it just gets in the way of other tasting notes. Either way, you’ll notice most of the brand’s chocolate flavors don’t rank as high for me.  

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12The Tonight Dough

Inspired by the Jimmy Fallon-endorsed dairy version, this pint is created with a marbling of caramel and chocolate almond milk ice creams ribboned with chocolate cookie swirls wrapped around gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter cookie dough. Did I lose you with that description? Because that’s what happens to these flavors—they get lost. While delicious on their own, each component muddles the rest. Jimmy, I’m sorry to say, but you can’t have it all. 

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11Boom! Chocolatta

Another pint within the Non-Dairy Core selection, this flavor is Ben & Jerry’s first go at a vegan and gluten-free option. It’s fantastic for those with gluten sensitivities, but in full transparency, it tastes gluten-free. It’s the slight graininess of chocolate cookie chunks and internal chocolate cookie core that give it away. Further, the mixing of mocha and caramel ice creams doesn’t work. It’s not bad—not at all—but this is Ben & Jerry’s, and I hold them to impossibly high standards. 

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Ben and Jerry’s

10 Peanut Butter Half Baked

The name of this ice cream certainly does not reflect the innovation behind it—the complexity of its components is not half-baked at all (sorry, bad pun). Peanut butter and chocolate ice creams are marbled together and studded with fudge brownies and peanut butter cookie dough. If the Chocolate Fudge Brownie is too one-note, this might be just a smidge too much. 

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9Mint Chocolate Chance

Available in both non-dairy and dairy versions, Chance the Rapper made one thing very clear when he partnered with Ben & Jerry’s: the chunks have to be enormous. Given this direction, the Flavor Gurus came up with a mint-flavored sunflower butter-based ice cream dotted with boulders of vegan brownies. It’s a solid combination, but I do think a few other brands have done mint better (hello, NadaoMoo! Mint Chip). 

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8Bananas Foster

This flavor grows on you, even if you don’t love bananas. It rounds out the trio of Non-Dairy Core pints, featuring a cinnamon-spiked banana ice cream, almond toffee pieces, and a luscious salted caramel core. No one will judge if you eat the core first. When perfectly thawed, it’s nearly impossible to stop eating. 

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7P.B. & Cookies

If you’re a fan of Oreos dipped in peanut butter, you need to try this flavor. It had its run in scoop shops and has since been retired to pint-only. I enjoyed this vanilla ice cream swirled with chunky peanut butter and studded with chocolate sandwich cookies, but if hard-pressed, I slightly prefer Oreos slathered with peanut butter and dipped in cashew milk.

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6Coconut Seven Layer Bar

While Jerry informed us that he could never get through a pint of this flavor, I thought it was outstanding. Just like the dessert, there’s a lot going on here, but it works. Coconut ice cream acts as the glue between the ample fudge chunks, walnuts, and streaks of graham cracker and caramel swirls. It’s a refreshing outlier to the dominant chocolate and cookie-based flavors. 

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Colin Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled

The graham cracker swirls in this flavor are the star of the show. Made with caramel-flavored ice cream, it also features chocolate cookie swirls and fudge chips. The best part? Portions of sales are donated to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp to help advance the well-being and liberation of Black and Brown communities. Note: it’s definitely on the sweeter side, even for Ben & Jerry’s. 

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4Mint Chocolate Cookie

Just shy of my top three is this marvelously minty sunflower butter-based pint. Relatively simple by Ben & Jerry’s standards, mint ice cream is dolloped with huge chocolate sandwich cookies. Yep, that’s it, and it doesn’t need anything more.  

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3“Milk” & Cookies

Think cookies and cream, but exponentially superior in every conceivable way. Simple vanilla sunflower butter-based ice cream acts as the blank canvas for chocolate chip cookies, chocolate sandwich cookies, and chocolate cookie swirls. It’s essentially a sundae in a pint—just add vegan whip and a cherry.  

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2 Netflix & Chill’d

I’ve nagged on flavors that try to incorporate too many ingredients, yet this over-the-top flavor somehow does not exceed the “too much” barrier and delivers on the ultimate indulgence. I will forever be enamored with this peanut butter ice cream that is decked with fudge brownies and a salted pretzel swirl. How do they even create a swirl out of salted pretzels? My mind is blown, and my senses are overloaded with delight whenever I treat myself to this flavor. Hat’s off to you, Ben and Jerry, for continually pushing the boundaries of what vegan ice cream can be. 

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1 Phish Food

Like Cherry Garcia, I wasn’t a fan of this flavor in the pre-vegan days. I held my sample spoonful with low expectations, knowing that I had no nostalgia for this option and also knowing that Ben & Jerry’s chocolate base wasn’t my favorite. I was so wrong. Phish Food is the flavor to beat. The chocolate is rich, the fudge phish mouthwateringly decadent and tender, and the marshmallow swirl isn’t too sweet. When it’s all put together with a ribbon of caramel, this flavor is simply enchanting. You’ll stand at your kitchen countertop, digging through the pint to carve out your perfect bite, lost in your own pleasurable world until suddenly you realize half the carton is gone. It’s dangerous, but if you’re looking for a sweet escape, this is it.  




Source: Vegnews.com