The Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwich Taste Test
July 29, 2016
We put this classic treat to the test, and the results might surprise you
The Ultimate Ice Cream Sandwich Taste Test
An ice cream sandwich is one of the ultimate childhood treats. Honestly, what’s not to like? You unwrap it, try to eat the whole thing before it melts (usually unsuccessfully), and it’s a bar of vanilla ice cream goodness in between two thin cakey cookies. We put 12 leading brands to the test.
#12 Tofutti Cuties
Tofu might be better than the real thing in some applications, but not in this one. A near-unanimous least favorite, tasters agreed that there was something "very artificial-tasting" about it, and that the ice cream portion had an icy, strange consistency. Even the cookie tasted like cardboard, according to more than a few of our tasters. Not a single panelist thought that it tasted good, and the fact that it was tofu certainly didn’t help it along.
#11 So Delicious Minis
"Was this supposed to be vanilla?" asked one of our panelists, and another noted that the cookie was "really doughy and soft, but not in a good way." It fell nearly completely apart in our hands, and all the tasters agreed that the ice cream had a strange artificial flavor.
We’ll start with the positive: The cookie portion had a decent chocolate flavor. Unfortunately, this lower-calorie, lower-sugar sandwich only went downhill from there. The cookie was so sticky that it stuck directly to the plate, our hands, and our teeth. As for the ice cream, it lacked any creaminess (going directly from solid to liquid as it began to melt), tasted more like almond milk than vanilla, and the artificial sweetener made it too sweet and gave it an odd chemical aftertaste. Just stick with the real thing.
#9 Trader Joe’s
Our tasters found the ice cream to be a bit too sweet, icy, and artificial-tasting, and the cookie on the bland side. Some thought that it was filled with frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, and more than one panelist thought that it tasted like maple syrup. They’re certainly inexpensive, though!
#8 Blue Bunny
While the flavor was deemed good if a bit "meh" and chemical-flavored, the cookie was very soft, but with good chocolate flavor that was nearly universally liked. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering, but the cookie was, "in a good way," according to a panelist. This would have ranked higher if the ice cream was as good as the cookie.
Just about all the panelists agreed that the cookie tasted a bit stale and cardboard-y, and that overall it was a bit generic. The ice cream didn’t taste like much other than sugar, and the ratio of ice cream to cookie size was off. This sandwich is squarely in the middle of the road, and a good choice for those who like their cookies firmer than usual.
#6 Whole Foods
The cookie was soft and doughy with a good chocolate flavor, if a bit mushy, and most agreed that the ice cream in this one was pretty good. Some found it overly sweet, but also creamy, if "generic." Not a bad choice, but nothing special.
#5 Julie's Organic
Most panelists agreed that the ice cream flavor in this one was classic and creamy, and that the texture of the cookie as a whole was very soft, which some liked and some didn’t. The cookie didn’t live up to expectations, however, and the chocolate taste was a bit dull.
#4 Weight Watchers
Both the taste and texture were well-liked by our panel, who largely had no major complaints about this brand’s offering. "It tastes like a cookie filled with Cool Whip," said one taster. "It’s obviously fake, but I love it." It was clear that this was a low-fat sandwich, but that didn’t affect the flavor at all. The texture of the ice cream was a bit of an issue, though, with one taster calling it "slimy." These were also the most expensive of the lot.
#3 Skinny Cow
These low-fat ice cream sandwiches have a major fan following, and with good reason: they taste good. The cookies on these round sandwiches are firm, if a bit dry and crunchy, and the whole thing doesn’t fall apart as you eat it, and barely melted over the course of the tasting. "Finally, an actual cookie!" exclaimed one panelist, and most agreed that the crunchiness was a good thing. As for the ice cream, it was clear that it was low in fat (it also had a Cool Whip thing going), but that didn’t detract from the overall flavor, as it combined nicely with the cookie into a perfectly pleasing frozen treat. If you’re looking for a lower-fat ice cream sandwich, Skinny Cow is the way to go.
#2 Perry’s Ice Cream
These ice cream sandwiches were about as classic as it gets. The cookie had good chocolate flavor, and the ice cream, while very light, tasted like real ice cream. Our only complaint was that the actual vanilla flavor was a bit lacking. But Perry’s version is all-around a near-perfect ice cream sandwich.
#1 Foodtown Store Brand
In an upset that isn’t too surprising when you think about it, the store brand won the day. Just about every supermarket chain has their own house brand of ice cream sandwich, and these are the classic ones that we grew up eating. "This is what most people think of when they think of an ice cream sandwich," one panelist wrote. "The chocolate tastes like chocolate, the vanilla ice cream tastes like vanilla ice cream, and the whole thing tastes like childhood," wrote another. This was a near-universal favorite, and not just because it reminded us of our younger days. The cookie held up without falling apart, and the only complaint was that it tasted a little too sweet and melted a little too quickly. We’re not sure if there’s one company that makes all the store brands’ ice cream sandwiches, but in this case, the classic is the best.