10 Healthiest and Unhealthiest Vanilla Ice Creams

Be conscientious when you treat yourself to a frozen dessert

Best & Worst Ice Cream
Not all vanilla ice creams are created equal.

Vanilla ice cream is the perfect standard dessert. Creamy texture: check. Simple flavor: check. Ability to complement any delicious topping: check. If you are into vanilla ice cream, you clearly have a sweet side.

Click here for the 10 Healthiest and Unhealthiest Vanilla Ice Creams (Slideshow)

While you may not be the most adventurous in your flavor palate, you are an extremely loyal individual. You’re probably your friends’ most reliable ally, and absolutely everyone can count on you. As a vanilla lover, you enjoy the simple pleasures in life and do not need anything but the little things to make you happy. So what if you aren’t wild and crazy, you’re a classic that will never fade out!

And sure, subtle nuanced differences are evident when you take a bite into different brands, but it is all made up generally of the same stuff in the same way. Right? Well we hate to break it to you, but this is completely not true — especially when it comes to the nutritional facts surrounding vanilla ice cream.

For essentially being comprised of the same ingredients, vanilla ice cream can vary widely when it comes to calories, fat, sugar, sodium, and even cholesterol. To help you make a more conscientious decision about your vanilla ice cream, we rounded up the healthiest and the unhealthiest brands out there. From classic favorites like Blue Bunny to the beloved pint of Ben & Jerry’s, you’ll be shocked to find out where each brand ranks.

Turkey Hill

A favorite ice cream of Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, this beloved and familiar brand came out on top in terms of nutritional value. While its sodium content is on the higher side of its competitors sugar, cholesterol, and calories, are all lower than the other brands.

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 130 per ½ cup
  • Sodium: 50 milligrams
  • Cholesterol: 25 milligrams
  • Total Fat: 7 grams
  • Sugar: 12 grams

Blue Bunny
vanilla ice cream

Comparatively, Blue bunny only narrowly escaped being the healthiest vanilla ice cream brand because of its slightly higher sugar content.

Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 130 per ½ cup
  • Sodium: 40 milligrams
  • Cholesterol: 25 milligrams
  • Total Fat: 7 grams
  • Sugar: 14 grams

Click here to see the full list of vanilla ice creams. 

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I agree with the above post. What is your definition of healthy? Being lower in fat, calories, or sodium doesn't' necessarily mean it is healthier. If it has artificial flavors, preservatives, and other chemical additives - it is far less healthy than something all natural yet his in fat and or sodium.
Not to mention all natural sugar is bette for you than high fructose corn syrup.


I would like to know who makes Ice Cream called Private Selection, bought in Kroger stores?


This study is a bit misleading. As an earlier writer commented, different brands of ice cream incorporate different amounts of air. The result is less real ingredients and more air per 1/2 Cup of ice cream for some brands. Adding more air means there is less fat, sugar, salt, etc. per 1/2 Cup, at least in part because there is less ice cream per 1/2 Cup. Next time you shop, compare the weight per 1/2 Cup for the brands ranked in this article. You may be surprised to see that Hagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry's weigh much MORE than Turkey Hill, Blue Bunny, etc. You may still prefer brands with lots of air in them, just realize that you are getting less ice cream for your money.


It's ice cream!


What many people don't understand about ice cream is...over run. The less expensive ice creams, like the ones in the big part tubs...can have equal amounts of ice cream and air pumped into them. That's known as 100% overrun. Trader Joe's Ice Cream that is considered a "Super Premium" has only about 10-15% over run. It's a much heavier ice cream by weight. The Turkey Hill may weigh 3 ounces for a 1/2 cup and the TJ's may weigh 6 ounces for a 1/2 cup serving. So essentially by weight they are all the same. When you buy cheaper ice creams, you are paying for air. Get the good stuff and just eat less of it.


You are Absolutely Right!! The density of the better ice creams makes the rankings here totally misleading, if not just plan wrong! If you are OK with comparing 1/2 Cup of dense ice cream with 1/2 Cup of ice cream that is 1/3 to 1/2 air, then this is the ranking for you. But, if you want to really understand what you are getting for your money and your nutrition, next time you buy ice cream, compare the weight in a 1/2 cup on the diffrent brands and you may get a huge surprise! Don't be mislead into spending more to get less.


What is the corn syrup content of each. That is most important!


All of which goes to illustrate the point tha people don't eat ice cream because it's a health food. My favorite on the list is Trader Joe's French Vanilla. Tastes like my grandmother's Vanilla custard ice cream- we churned it on the back porch in a hand crank freezer.


I would have like to see a list of ingredients, Breyer's used to be my favorite for years, the only ice cream I would buy. Until now, they have adulterated it with gums, just like the cheapest brand out there. The taste has deteriorated along with the mouth feel unless you love a gummy coating left in your mouth. I'll never buy them again.


this is tremendously useful information - now you can see why these
"top-rated" healthier brands taste so dreadful. Although I would give
Trader Joe's the top (bottom) marks for taste, Haagen Dazs is very good
too. Ice cream is not a health food, it's a treat and "cheaper" nutritionally than, for instance, cake. Diabetics get much less of a
sugar hit from ice creams with a high fat content - in fact, almost
none at all. If you want to obsess about salt and cholesterol, fine -
make your own ice cream out of something totally tasteless. The concern of the moment is sugar, and ice cream does very well by sugar
as treats go....


Interesting to see what your criteria for healthy. Most of your "healthy" choices are sweetened with highly processed HFCS rather than sugar and contain a list of ingredients that take a chemistry degree to decipher.

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