Ice cream is a universal treat, but not all brands are worth trying.
Amidst the sweet allure, some of the worst ice cream brands hide behind tempting packaging, much like how some honey brands fall short despite their golden appearance.
As an ice cream enthusiast who has tasted several ice cream flavors, I’ve compiled a list of which brands might just be the culprits of your next ice cream letdown.
Settle in as we embark on a journey to unveil the cold, hard truths lurking beneath those alluring labels.
We’ll also suggest their top alternative with the finest flavors and taste. So, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 13 Worst Ice Cream Brands to Avoid
- 1. Nick’s
- 2. Baskin Robbins
- 3. Halo Top
- 4. Edy’s/Dreyer’s
- 5. Blue Ribbon Classics
- 6. Blue Bunny
- 7. Rebel
- 8. Turkey Hill
- 9. Kemps
- 10. Breyers
- 11. Blue Bell
- 12. Good Humor Ice Cream
- 13. Umpqua
- 3 Best Ice Cream Brands to Try
- Tillamook: Creamy Perfection
- Jeni’s: A Symphony of Flavors
- Van Leeuwen’s: Elegance in a Tub
- Final Thoughts
- Erica Steven
13 Worst Ice Cream Brands to Avoid
Due to unfavorable ingredients, taste, and deviations from authentic flavors, the worst ice cream brands include Nick’s, Baskin Robbins, Blue Bunny, Rebel, and a few others.
I remember grabbing a pint of Nick’s, expecting Swedish delights, but I got a frosty disappointment instead.
While being calorie-conscious is admirable, using erythritol and guar gum has drawbacks.
Eating a whole pint (which is tempting due to its lighter profile) could cause bloating or even worse.
2. Baskin Robbins
Once a beacon of joy in our childhoods, Baskin Robbins seems to have lost its magic touch in the frozen aisle.
Remember running to their store, hoping to taste one of their more than 30 flavors?
Those days might be golden memories, but when it comes to their grocery store pints, it’s a different tale.
Featuring thickening agents like cellulose gum, it’s no surprise that many label them among the bad ice cream brands to pick.
Their tubs often remind me of the stark difference between a crisp, carbonated fountain soda and its flat, canned counterpart.
While nostalgia holds a special place in our hearts, the palate doesn’t lie.
3. Halo Top
Halo Top parades are the healthier alternative, but behind the halo hides a few demons.
Although they’ve reduced sugar and fat, the lurking thickening agents are a caveat.
It’s a balancing act between wanting to indulge and questioning if it’s worth the potential digestive drama.
For those seeking healthier ice cream options, it’s definitely an ice cream brand to avoid if you want a genuine, uncompromised ice cream experience.
Historically significant for pioneering iconic flavors, Edy’s/Dreyer’s doesn’t consistently hit the mark. The lack of creamy richness coupled with a seemingly identity crisis in naming is puzzling.
Their contribution to the ice cream world is undeniable, but they tread a fine line in the modern least favorite ice cream brands.
5. Blue Ribbon Classics
Here’s the plot twist: Blue Ribbon Classics might not even be in the ice cream league but rather a “frozen dairy dessert” player.
Their reliance on artificial flavors and many thickening agents makes one long for the simplicity of traditional ice cream’s trifecta: milk, cream, and sugar.
It’s a classic case of a bad ice cream brand disguising itself under a captivating banner.
6. Blue Bunny
Hopping into the Blue Bunny realm, one might be puzzled.
While their mascot is cute, their ice cream ingredient list isn’t. The omission of “ice cream” on many product labels is telling.
Throw in artificial flavors and descriptions that beat around the bush, and you’re left yearning for genuine, unadulterated flavors.
This brand might be the darling of the keto world, but it’s also rebelling against traditional ice cream standards.
It’s much like discovering that some yogurt brands don’t live up to their health hype.
Rebel is loaded with erythritol and our not-so-favorite guar gum; sensitive stomachs might want to stage a counter-rebellion.
For those looking for pure, creamy indulgence, this one is the worst flavor ice cream to avoid.
8. Turkey Hill
Having tasted Turkey Hill, it’s undeniable that they’ve carved out a niche for themselves over the years.
But when I looked at their ingredient list, it left me a tad disappointed. Their use of artificial dyes and thickening agents gives the brand the worst ice cream ingredients.
While they certainly have flavors that resonate with fond memories, the lingering aftertaste of some unpalatable ingredients makes me wonder about the brand’s direction.
Kemps often evoke memories of creamy scoops and delightful frozen moments.
However, the brand’s heavy reliance on guar gum has raised some eyebrows among ice cream fanatics.
More alarmingly, including high fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes pushes it toward the contentious list of poor-taste ice cream brands.
For those who cherish the authentic essence of ice cream, you might want to skip Kemps.
Stepping into the Breyers territory, one can’t help but notice the striking resemblance in the challenges faced by its counterpart, Kemps.
Although familiar and cherished by many, the brand leans considerably on guar gum.
This deviation from the traditional creaminess of ice cream makes it inch closer to the bad flavor of the ice cream category for many purists.
While its legacy in the frozen section remains, the current formulations might make one pine for the days of simple, undiluted flavors.
11. Blue Bell
Taking a spoonful of Blue Bell brings back nostalgic memories.
However, after understanding the composition of their ice cream, my perception shifted slightly.
The brand, while boasting a variety of unique flavors, unfortunately, leans on additives like artificial dyes.
Coupled with an array of thickening agents, it made me question if the treat in my bowl was genuinely representative of the ice cream I once cherished.
They might have a dedicated following, but staying true to genuine ingredients can make all the difference in the ever-evolving world of ice cream.
12. Good Humor Ice Cream
Good Humor might evoke nostalgia, but a closer look at the ingredient list paints a different picture.
From artificial dyes to guar gum, it’s a reminder that not all childhood favorites withstand the test of time. A sentiment I also felt when I explored some of the kombuchas out there.
I once tried Umpqua on a whim, drawn by its distinctive name and packaging. The experience was a mixed bag.
While the brand brings some unique flavors to the table, it struggles a bit with consistency in texture.
Umpqua might feel a tad off-course for someone who values the creamy essence of traditional ice creams.
While it’s worth a try for the adventurous palate, you might want to weigh your options if you’re seeking that classic ice cream experience.
3 Best Ice Cream Brands to Try
After detailing some of the worst ice cream brands in a previous post, it’s only fair we spotlight those who truly delight our taste buds.
These top ice cream brands elevate ice cream to an art form, reminding us why this frozen dessert is a universal favorite.
Tillamook: Creamy Perfection
One scoop into Tillamook, and it’s clear they have the magic touch. Hailing from Oregon, this brand has perfected the fine balance between rich creaminess and authentic flavor.
The variety is another feather in its cap, with the likes of ‘Marionberry Pie’ and ‘Brown Butter Bourbon Truffle’. It’s a go-to for those moments when only the creamiest ice cream will do.
Personal experience: I’ve often found myself gravitating towards Tillamook when in search of an ice cream that feels both luxurious and wholesome. It never disappoints.
Jeni’s: A Symphony of Flavors
Jeni’s takes the phrase “thinking outside the box” quite seriously. Their flavors are not just innovative; they’re groundbreaking. Each pint promises an adventure for your taste buds.
A Bite with Jeni’s: The first time I indulged in Jeni’s, it felt like unearthing hidden gems. The intricate flavor profiles and smooth texture are nothing short of a culinary masterpiece.
Van Leeuwen’s: Elegance in a Tub
Van Leeuwen’s is the embodiment of gourmet ice cream. Their approach to flavor is rooted in simplicity and high-quality ingredients.
Whether you’re diving into ‘Honeycomb’ or ‘Buttermilk Berry Cornbread’, every bite has undeniable sophistication.
And yes, they do have a ‘Kraft Macaroni & Cheese’ flavor – because why not?
My Van Leeuwen’s Voyage: On tasting Van Leeuwen’s, I felt like I indulged in a dessert crafted for royalty. It’s rich, velvety, and leaves you craving another spoonful. I would definitely recommend you to try this finest ice cream brand.
In the vast universe of frozen treats, every brand tells a story. Some whisk us away to moments of pure bliss with their rich flavors, while others leave us with a lingering taste of disappointment.
Remember, while there’s a charm in trying something new, sometimes the old classics and trustworthy brands deliver the genuine ice cream experience we all yearn for.
And as for those worst ice cream brands, consider them a learning curve in your creamy journey.
Each bite and every flavor is a chapter in your delightful dessert journey. So, indulge your senses, and let the scoops paint their tales on your palate.
Erica Steven is the founder and lead writer of WorstBrands, a site dedicated to providing honest and trustworthy reviews about outdoor gear and fashion products.
With a passion for exploring the great outdoors and staying up to date on the latest fashion trends, Erica uses her expertise to provide valuable insights into the products that matter most to her readers.
Whether you're looking for camping equipment or the latest fashion accessories, Erica's articles are the perfect resource for finding the best products that fit your lifestyle.