We Tried 10 Kinds of Non-Dairy Chocolate Ice Cream and These Are Our Favorites

Lactose intolerants, rejoice.

non-dairy chocolate ice cream taste test
Photo: Allrecipes Image

A few months ago, I decided to quit dairy-based ice cream. I finally reached a place where my body completely rejected it, so I took that curse as an opportunity to fully explore the world of non-dairy ice cream (or frozen dessert if you're a stickler).

Whatever reason you have for giving up or moving away from dairy, know this: We have entered a golden age of non-dairy ice cream, with various nut and plant-based milks to choose from — and these pints can totally hang with their lactose-rich predecessors.

Although I've tried other flavors, I've mostly gone for chocolate non-dairy ice cream because it's a hard flavor to mess up. In most cases, the chocolate will overpower or at least complement the base alternative milk. Using that logic, we tried 10 non-dairy chocolate ice creams, either available in stores or online, to determine which reigned supreme.

Best Non-Dairy Chocolate Ice Cream at a Glance

Best Overall: Talenti Dairy-Free Sorbetto, Dark Chocolate
Best Texture: Cado Avocado Frozen Dessert, Non-Dairy, Deep Dark Chocolate
Best Dark Chocolate: Revolution Plant-Based Gelato, Dark Chocolate
Best Almond Milk: Breyers Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Chocolate Chocolate Chip
Best Cashew Milk: Forager Project Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert, Bittersweet Chocolate
Best Coconut Milk: NadaMoo! Organic Chocolate Frozen Dessert
Best Oat Milk: Oatly Chocolate Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert

What We Looked For When Ranking Non-Dairy Chocolate Ice Cream

Availability: You likely will have to carefully scan the ice cream selection until you see "non-dairy" or "plant-based." We didn't want to make the search harder and suggest elusive ice creams, so I visited a Publix in search of general brands and a Whole Foods to look for smaller, but still beloved brands and chose what I could find there. For that reaso, some non-dairy gourmet pints, like Jeni's or Ample Hills, didn't make the cut. I also didn't try any store brands.

Flavor: I searched to find non-dairy ice creams with pure chocolate flavor. That means no chocolate-peanut better, no chocolate with caramel, and as few ice creams with altered forms of chocolate, such as fudge or chips, as possible. I'm sure those ice creams are all great, but they're not what I'm looking for in a true chocolate flavor.

Texture: Technology has advanced so dairy-free ice cream can actually be creamy now, but nobody wants something that's more ice than cream.

Price: Anyone who strays away from dairy products knows that plant-based products are more expensive. That higher cost may be inevitable, but shoppers can at least know if any of the less expensive brands are good, as well as whether the more expensive brands are worth the money.

How We Tested Each Non-Dairy Chocolate Ice Cream

Since this taste test involved a lot of sugar, I tried the ice creams in small groups rather than all at once. This helped me deliberate with super similar products: For example, all of the coconut milk ice creams were in the same group. To level out my bias towards dairy-free ice cream, I enlisted the help of my dairy-loving boyfriend, who is super receptive to trying new things. There were a few times I had to intervene so he wouldn't down the entire pint in one sitting, which is proof that even a dairy diehard can fall for a dairy-free ice cream.

Best Overall: Talenti Dairy-Free Sorbetto, Dark Chocolate

talenti dark chocolate sorbet

I've been searching for this for a long time, and I'm glad to confirm it's even better than I'd hoped. It's super smooth with a rich dark chocolate flavor, and it leans towards the lower side of the price spectrum. There's just one hangup: it's not vegan. Turns out this sorbet's incredible texture comes from egg whites and yolks, among other things. For my purposes, this is a perfect dessert, but anyone who can't or doesn't eat eggs will need to keep scrolling.

Buy it: $5.31; Instacart

Best Texture: Cado Avocado Frozen Dessert, Non-Dairy, Deep Dark Chocolate

cado avocado chocolate dessert

Honestly, when I pulled this out of the freezer, I expected it would land at the bottom of the pack. I was so very wrong. The use of avocado in this ice cream grants a buttery, velvety consistency that no other contender achieved and pairs incredibly with its dark chocolate notes. Cado may be a little more on the expensive side, but it's absolutely worth the money.

Buy it: $6.63; Instacart

Best Dark Chocolate: Revolution Plant-Based Gelato, Dark Chocolate

revolution dark chocolate gelato
Revolution Gelato

There's chocolate, and then there's dark chocolate, and then there's Revolution Gelato's dark chocolate. This pint boasts a delightful bitterness and a silky texture that's close behind Cado. I found this in the flesh at Whole Foods at a much lower price (two whole dollars less!) than anywhere it's listed online, so you might want to venture into stores for this one.

Buy it: $8.49; Revolution Gelato

Best Almond Milk: Breyers Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert, Chocolate Chocolate Chip

breyers non dairy chocolate

In a major upset against Ben & Jerry's, Breyers won me over with its fluffy texture and chocolate milk taste — in other words, it's the almond milk ice cream that's most like the regular chocolate ice cream I ate as a kid. The almond milk taste is slightly detectable, but here it didn't overpower — or completely erase — the chocolate flavor.

Buy it; $6.97, Instacart

Best Cashew Milk: Forager Project Cashewmilk Frozen Dessert, Bittersweet Chocolate

forager project chocolate frozen dessert

Forager Project has a solid roster of non-dairy ice creams (the mint chip and cookies & cream flavors are incredible as well), and the bitter elements in their chocolate flavor are hard to ignore. It tastes like brownie batter and its cashew milk base allows the dessert to melt slowly so you end up with something smooth instead of soupy.

Buy it: $6.49; Amazon

Best Coconut Milk: NadaMoo! Organic Chocolate Frozen Dessert

nadamoo organic chocolate

I had high expectations for NadaMoo!, since my colleague Melanie gave the brand high praises in her mint chocolate chip ice cream taste test. Those expectations delivered. Coconut milk ice creams can often taste like sunscreen, but my first bite couldn't tell this was dairy-free thanks to its light trace of coconut taste. Its creaminess rivals dairy-based ice cream's, but this has the added bonus of not making me sick. NadaMoo! prioritizes texture over a strong chocolate flavor, though, so if you're looking for a bitter no-dairy chocolate ice cream, I recommend Revelation or Forager.

Buy it: $6.63; Instacart

Best Oat Milk: Oatly Non-Dairy Chocolate Frozen Dessert

oatly chocolate oat milk ice cream

I've tried other oat milk ice creams, and they've been pretty disappointing. They tend to be icy and have very little flavor. While you can absolutely tell that this ice cream contains oat milk, Oatly has a reliable texture and a sweet taste. Additionally, at just under $5, Oatly is one of the more affordable options.

Buy it: $4.99; Target


Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love