Get ready for the ultimate chocolate ice cream showdown.

By Zoe Denenberg
September 23, 2019
Sezeryadigar/Getty Images

Unlike vanilla ice cream, which often serves as the supporting act to fresh peach cobbler or melty lava cake, chocolate ice cream requires little dress-up. Those partial to chocolate will argue that it exudes all the flavor and excitement that vanilla lacks. While we’d argue that there is a place for both vanilla and chocolate in our dairy-loving hearts, the battle over which popular chocolate ice cream brand reigns supreme remains quite heated.

To settle the debate once and for all, we blind tested nine grocery-store chocolate ice creams to see which pint packed the best flavor and texture. We tasted chocolate ice creams from Edy’s, Breyer’s, Halo Top, So Delicious, Haagen Dazs, Mayfield, Publix, Blue Bell, and Jeni’s. And the results of our blind taste test may just surprise you…

The Contenders

Halo Top Chocolate

At 320 calories per pint (yes, you read that right), Halo Top is tough to beat as a healthier ice cream alternative. Testers did not notice any difference in flavor or texture between this ice cream and the others, noting that the Halo Top tastes very rich. Sounds like a win to me.

Edy’s Chocolate

This tried-and-true pint has made an appearance at more childhood birthday parties than we can count. Testers rated this as a great middle-of-the-road chocolate: nothing too fancy, just plain and simple chocolate. It gives way to the scooper without resistance and serves a crowd.

So Delicious Coconut Milk Chocolate

From oat milk creamer to cashew cheese, lactose-free alternatives to your favorite dairy products have recently made a roaring invasion into grocery store aisles everywhere. So Delicious’s Coconut Milk Ice Cream brings the joy of a nice cold scoop of chocolate ice cream to your lactose-intolerant freezer. The ice cream is super-dark in color and flaky in texture, making for a very attractive scoop. Testers immediately recognized the sweeter coconut taste of this pint. It may not rival a lusciously creamy scoop of full-cream chocolate ice cream, but it’s a great option for those with dietary restrictions (especially when topped with chocolate chips).

Häagen Dazs Chocolate

Häagen Dazs usually impresses with the quality of its ice cream, and this pint is a great, simple household staple. Testers noted flavors akin to your favorite chocolate candy bar and a smooth, almost stretchy texture. It’s creamy, it’s classic, and it’d taste great sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies.

The Favorites

Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate

One tester commented that she could eat an entire pint of this milky chocolate ice cream. Blue Bell’s Dutch Chocolate packs the right amount of chocolate flavor without overwhelming your palate, and it has that silky mouthfeel that we covet in ice cream. Some testers noted that this ice cream was a bit sweet and almost reminiscent of coconut, but most enjoyed the ice cream’s balanced flavor.

Jeni’s Darkest Chocolate

This one is for the extra-dark chocolate lovers. True to its name, this pint of Jeni’s is packed with Fair Trade cocoa, as evidenced by its rich, super-dark color. Testers couldn’t quite pin down the flavor of this darkest chocolate pint—while there are no special ingredients infused in this ice cream besides super-rich cocoa, testers grasped at notes of almond, cayenne pepper, and even bacon. We’re not quite sure where those ideas came from, but overall this ice cream is slightly bitter, like your favorite bar of 75% dark chocolate, and creamy-smooth.

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Breyer’s Extra Creamy Chocolate

This ice cream tastes like home. Testers loved the classic, creamy milk chocolate flavor of this Breyer’s staple. Most testers didn’t have much to say besides “so good,” so we’ll just leave it at that.

Mayfield Chocolate

When I unloaded my nine pints of chocolate ice cream onto the grocery store conveyor belt, the cashier smiled at me and said, “Mayfield’s my favorite.” I concur. This ice cream is creamy and subtle—the standard milk chocolate ice cream of your dreams. Testers described this ice cream as “marshmallow-y,” “frothy,” and “light,” observing that it would make a great chocolate shake.

The All-Star

Publix Chocolate

And the winner of the chocolate ice cream taste test is… Publix Brand Chocolate Ice Cream. This dark horse captivated the testers with its creamy texture and balanced chocolate flavor, and its larger size makes it a great party staple. Testers noted that the ice cream is “very chocolatey and rich,” with a fluffy, spoon-worthy consistency. It’s good, it’s straightforward, and it’d be great scooped on top of decadent desserts or eaten all on its own. Come to Publix for the chicken tender sub, stay for the chocolate ice cream.

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