Life

Grocery Store Chocolate Ice Creams — Blind Tasted And Power Ranked

It’s summertime! That means pool parties, backyard BBQs, and sweating from doing absolutely nothing. Most importantly, it’s the season to indulge in all the ice cream you can stomach. We’ve already given you a rundown of the best vanilla ice creams currently on the market, this week — just in time for the 4th of July — we’re taking on ice cream’s other classic flavor.

That’s right, we’re blind-testing chocolate, baby! (Don’t panic, strawberry is coming next.)

For whatever reason, there aren’t quite as many chocolate ice creams on the market as there are vanilla. Chocolate fudge brownie, chocolate cherry chip, chocolate chocolate chip, sure — but plain ‘ol chocolate? Not the plethora of options that I expected.

For this blind taste test, I picked 10 different varieties of plain chocolate ice cream, blind tasted them, then ranked them based on flavor, texture, and consistency. Each of the brands selected should be easy enough to find at your local grocery store, but we also included links for online ordering.

Now let’s get to tasting!

Part 1: The Taste

Taste 1:

Dane Rivera

I’m getting rich notes of milk chocolate with an airy and soft texture. Once this ice cream hits your tongue it instantly starts to melt into milky goodness. On the backend, I’m getting the tiniest bit of bitter earthy cocoa flavor, but it doesn’t stay on the tongue in an obtrusive way.

Overall, a great start!

Taste 2:

Dane Rivera

Visually, this ice cream is a much lighter shade of brown. The consistency here is chalky and the overall flavor is much lighter on the cocoa, leaning heavily into milk chocolate territory. This sort of tastes like an ice cream form of a chocolate shake. It’s very smooth, but it has a lingering flavor that isn’t as pleasing as Taste 1.

Ultimately, that staining of the palate hurts it in comparison.

Taste 3:

Dane Rivera

Rich, incredibly dense, and wonderfully creamy. The chocolate here hits you right away, and while it doesn’t have that natural earthy quality that Taste 1 had, this is definitely a step up. It presents a nice balance of milk and chocolate with a confidently focused flavor and a texture that truly lives up to the name “ice cream.”

Taste 4:

Dane Rivera

Oh, Jesus, this has got to be the worst consistency of any ice cream ever! It’s slushy and gravely, like if you dropped a piece of chocolate on the freeway and it melted on the ground, and then someone scooped that up and then froze it.

It also doesn’t really taste like chocolate, there is a flat after taste that ruins the whole experience.

Taste 5:

Dane Rivera

Just when I thought the consistency of an ice cream couldn’t get any worse, Taste 4 was instantly followed up by another ice cream with consistency so bad it should be a crime. In the flavor department, this is leagues better though, with an earthy Mexican chocolate flavor that I find really appealing. The consistency is definitely going to hurt this one’s ranking — I can tell this must be one of the dairy-free varieties — but flavor-wise this is akin to an ice cream version of Abuelita. I dig it.

Taste 6:

Dane Rivera

This one has a great flavor, chocolatey and a bit nutty, with granules of chocolate in it that remind me a bit of the texture of vanilla bean ice cream. There is an almost brownie-like consistency to this one.

I don’t see it being the best, but its definitely interesting.

Taste 7:

Dane Rivera

This one is… weird. There is a cheese-y sourness to it that is akin to chocolate cheesecake ice cream. The consistency is soft and slightly icy with a flavor that lingers on the tongue in a really gross way. I think this one is the worst.

Taste 8:

Dane Rivera

After hitting a series of flavors that certainly weren’t the best, we’re finally in delicious territory again. This one is really nice, it has a sweet chocolate flavor with a creamy consistency. It’s just a little more icy and watery than I want it to be.

Had I not had this alongside 7 other flavors, I’d eat this without question.

Taste 9:

Dane Rivera

This one has a lot in common with the previous Taste. It’s focused and simple, offering a balanced milk chocolate flavor, but the consistency is even icier and the flavor disappears too quickly. This isn’t something you can savor, it tastes very standard.

Taste 10:

Dane Rivera

Very interesting way to end the taste test. This one has a gourmet-quality to it, it has a chocolate flavor that is distinctly different from the nine other tastings, like something you’d buy from a high-end bakery. It’s rich with a velvety consistency and a slight bitter coffee-like aftertaste that continues to dance on the palate, suggesting you dive in for another bite.

A really good one, but I don’t think I can say it’s my favorite.

Part 2: The Ranking

10. Kroger Deluxe Chocolate Paradise (Taste 7)

Kroger

Average Price: $2.49

The Ice Cream:

I’m always dunking on Kroger anytime I shop for groceries, so I’m pleased to see that even with the blind taste test treatment, I continue to despise this brand of ice cream. Honestly, stay away from this stuff, it’s bad!

This ice cream probably has to have the most ironic name of any of the flavors. Chocolate Paradise? More like Chocolate ****. Milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup, are the first four ingredients before we get to any cocoa.

The Bottom Line:

Not even fit for your enemy. Eating this stuff is cruel and unusual punishment.

9. Halo Top — Chocolate (Taste 4)

Halo Top

Average Price: $4.49

The Ice Cream:

Halo Top advertises itself as having 63% less sugar than regular ice cream and packs 19g of protein per pint. Who asked for that? This was my first experience with Halo Top, and I was shocked when it was revealed to me that this was Taste 4 as I’ve heard nothing but good things about this brand.

This… just isn’t good. But hey it’s packed with protein!

The Bottom Line:

If you’re watching your calories and really want a light ice cream, this isn’t the one. The consistency is awful and the flavor is bad.

8. Nubocha — Chocolate Arriba (Taste 5)

Nubocha

Average Price: $12

The Ice Cream:

Nubocha is a vegan plant-based gelato brand and is made using less sugar, and at only 250 calories per pint (!!!) it’s the lightest ice cream on this list. Despite its health-conscious recipe, it’s a significant step up from Halo Top in terms of flavor. The consistency is easily the worst though, which shouldn’t surprise anyone — dairy-free gonna dairy-free, as they say.

The Bottom Line:

Similar to Abuelita Mexican chocolate. Earthy and slightly bitter. Overall a good plant-based ice cream, but the consistency leaves a lot to be desired.

7. 365 Everyday Value (Taste 9)

Whole Foods

Average Price: $3.77

The Ice Cream:

Whole Foods’ 365 Everday Value brand generally produces mediocre-to-solid products, so I’m not surprised to find that their ice cream is no different. While this one leans closer to good than mediocre, its flavor is ultimately forgettable. If you’re not afraid of high sugar content and you can stomach dairy, there are many better options than this one.

The Bottom Line:

Forgettable, if you buy a carton of this you’ll never buy another one. Unless you forgot that you’ve already tried it. Nothing but disappointment.

6. So Delicious — Dark Chocolate Truffle Cashewmilk (Taste 6)

So Delicious

Average Price: $7.99

The Ice Cream:

Made with cashew milk, So Delicious is another dairy-free brand but this one nails the consistency of ice cream so well that you wouldn’t even know it without looking at the pint. You can definitely taste the nuttiness of the cashew milk, but overall this is very creamy ice cream with great consistency and flavor.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at a brand called “So Delicious” but unlike Kroger’s Chocolate Paradise, this one isn’t lying to you.

The Bottom Line:

Probably the best dairy-free chocolate ice cream flavor on the market. The consistency is smooth, creamy, and convincing. So Delicious knocked it out of the park by using cashew milk instead of whatever the hell other non-dairy brands use (my hunch is that they use oil? Gross).

5. Dreyers/ Edy’s (Taste 8)

Dreyers

Average Price: $3.48

The Ice Cream:

Dreyers — known as Edy’s on the East Coast — has a recipe of skim milk, cream, sugar, and cocoa, which is a nice change over the brands that put corn syrup in the lineup as the main sweetener, as you can really taste strong cocoa flavors here.

Unfortunately, the slightly icy consistency really holds this one back. It’s not quite as creamy as you want it to be.

The Bottom Line:

A good chocolate ice cream flavor, but there are a few brands that deliver a better, creamier consistency.

4. Favorite Day Chocolate Ice Cream (Taste 2)

Target

Average Price: $2.79

The Ice Cream:

Favorite Day is Target’s store brand and I was pleasantly surprised that this brand can compete with some of the bigger names in the ice cream world. The value brands tend to claim they’re just as good as the big-name brands at a more agreeable price, but I’ve never seen one actually deliver on that promise the way Favorite Day does.

For the price, I think this is an easy pick-up if you’re shopping on a budget but still want a sweet indulgence.

The Bottom Line:

A value brand that actually delivers.

3. Turkey Hill Belgian Style Chocolate

Turkey Hill

Average Price: $5.99

The Ice Cream:

I’ve gone back and forth on whether Turkey Hill deserved the number two or three spot but ultimately I’ve decided to award this one with the bronze medal. The flavor is refreshingly distinct, and the sourcing is solid, hailing from Turkey Hill’s Conestoga, PA facility where they use milk from local cows within a 75-mile distance from their dairy, but it doesn’t quite deliver what I think most people want from a chocolate ice cream. That’s not a bad thing, but you definitely won’t be able to serve this without someone saying, “Where is this chocolate ice cream from?”

That’ll sometimes be said in a positive tone, but not always! I can see people not liking this variety.

The Bottom Line:

Get this if you’re in a situation where you need chocolate ice cream, but want something a little different from the norm. Might serve you well as the base of a chocolate shake.

2. Breyers Chocolate Ice Cream

Breyers

Average Price: $4.49

The Ice Cream:

For the money, Breyers — which won our vanilla test in a bit of a shocker — offers one of the best chocolate ice creams you can find. It’s affordable, readily available, and made using real cocoa. From the quality ingredients to the rich and focused flavor, to the creamy consistency, Breyers just delivers on all fronts. There is a reason this stuff is stocked in every market!

I’m not surprised to see this brand rank highly. In fact, I had guessed this would top the list before the blind tasting, so I was surprised this ended pretty much as a pick ’em with Turkey Hill.

The Bottom Line:

Breyers lives up to its reputation. Like all of its flavors, the Chocolate really delivers.

1. Häagen-Dazs — Chocolate

Haagen-Dazs

Average Price: $3.79

The Ice Cream:

I’ve never really bought the hype surrounding Häagen-Dazs so I’m glad I gave it the blind taste test treatment as separating the brand from the flavor really put into focus just how good this chocolate ice cream is. While a like the slightly bitter and earthy quality of Breyer’s, the sweeter Häagen-Dazs really nails the consistency. For that reason, it’s getting the number one spot.

The Bottom Line:

A great milk chocolate-flavor with a dense consistency that almost always scoops into a perfect ball. The top three on this list are all worth your time, but if you’re going to pick just one chocolate ice cream, this is the one!

×