Best Vegan Ice Cream 2021
I am a full-time food journalist and eat more ice cream than anyone I know. Over the years, I've published stories about the best ice cream parlors in the United States, gourmet soft serve, ice cream sandwiches and artisan ice cream makers that began shipping their ice cream nationally during the pandemic. I've even been invited to judge gelato festivals and weighed in on new flavors by cult favorite ice cream makers at company headquarters. Last summer, I received 60 pints of ice cream from nearly a dozen different brands delivered on the same day and all the liquid nitrogen fog permeated my entire house.
Recently, I've discovered more and more great plant-based ice creams popping up. I've tasted through flavors from more than 20 different vegan ice cream brands and have learned that vegan ice cream can be just as delightful and delicious as dairy ice cream. Even if you're not vegan, trying plant-based ice creams offer unique flavor combinations you won't find in dairy ice cream.
Sure, I've tried the usual vegan ice cream suspects you find in grocery stores, but I've been truly delighted by the small-batch artisanal brands, many of which are charting new territory in the world of plant-based ice cream. Below you'll find six bespoke vegan ice cream brands that I love; many you probably haven't heard of before. If you're interested in vegan supermarket ice cream, we've also done a few taste tests.
The first and only macadamia milk ice cream
Mauna Loa Macadamia Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, $9.99 per pint, available on Instacart and Mauna Loa
Most vegan ice creams are made with coconut, cashew, soy or almond milk bases, but Hawaii's most famous producer of macadamia nuts, Mauna Loa, has upped the ante, debuting the first and only macadamia milk-based frozen dessert this summer.
Higher in monounsaturated fat and lower in carbs than other popular nuts, macadamia makes for an ultra creamy base that's also friendly. Flavors like Kona Coffee, Vanilla Orchid and Mango Liliko'i showcase more of Hawaii's natural bounty and there's even the cheeky Rocky Road to Hana, named for the famous winding drive on Maui. This is the most decadent flavor of all — a fudgy chocolate base studded with soft marshmallows and crunchy macadamias instead of almonds.
While you can purchase pints online, they're also available at Sprouts in 23 states and Albertsons and Safeway locations in California, Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii and Seattle.
-INSIDER, Amber Gibson