25 Best Frozen Yogurt Shops Across the US (Slideshow)
March 14, 2016
#25 Farr’s Fresh
Utah-based Farr’s Fresh is known mostly for its ice cream, but is beginning to make a name for itself in the fro-yo industry as well. They currently offer about a dozen flavors (the most unusual being apricot/mango and cookies and cream) and over 20 toppings, and hardcore frozen yogurt connoisseurs might be offended by the limited options (especially with only three fruit choices). But the biggest gripe with Farr’s might be the nutritional content. Although not posted on the company’s website, a half-cup serving of vanilla may contain as much as 200 calories — more than twice the usual amount. Of course, this doesn’t matter too much for the dedicated locals, who still flock to the yellow-and-blue, retro-looking restaurants (which resemble old-school soda fountains) and will swear by the sweet treats that Farr’s has been serving for over 80 years.
This Southern-based self-serve yogurt chain has about 15 locations (almost all of them in Texas) and only 12 flavors and 30 toppings (fewer than most competitors) yet there’s still a lot to be said about Yumilicious. The yogurts contain live active cultures (S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. lactis, L. acidophilus, and Bifidobaterium) and come in a variety of unique flavors: avocado, chamoyada, pink guava, cereal rainbow, maple bacon donut, and peach habanero, to name a few. The country vanilla has only 100 calories per four-ounce serving, but also has 20 grams of sugar. The toppings are heavy on syrup selections (eight) and fruit (10), but the dozen dry options aren’t especially imaginative. One of the strengths? The stores’ appearance. Unlike most fro-yo chains that rely on neon colors and plastic seats, Yumilicious has silver and orange-accented furniture and décor, with plush booth-like seats, making everything appear sleek, polished, and clean.
Yogorino is an Italian chain with something approaching 200 stores worldwide (116 in Italy alone), and now has five in the United States, exclusively in the New York and Philadelphia areas. Although the shop’s frozen yogurt has been hailed as some of the best tasting around, up until recently it only had one flavor. However, the chain has since expanded to 16 (mostly standard, though), which can be combined with over 50 toppings, including a variety of fruit, nuts, cereals, and crumbles. In addition to all-natural toppings and probiotics, Yogorino’s frozen yogurt only contains 100 calories and a single gram of fat per 100-gram serving. Not in the mood for fro-yo? (Blasphemy!) Yogorino also serves ice cream, parfaits, crêpes, waffles, pancakes, frappes, smoothies, and shakes, among other items.
#22 Tasti D-Lite
Tasti D-Lite has been around since 1987, and was one of the first fro-yo shops to open in New York. Unfortunately, what it serves doesn’t technically qualify as frozen yogurt; it’s "a dairy-based product that has lower calories, lower carbs, and lower sugars than the average frozen yogurt competitor." According to the company website, most four-ounce servings contain only 70 calories, including the classic French vanilla, which has 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 12 grams of sugar — which is much less than the competition. That's great — but the big drawback at Tasti D-Lite is the selection: There are generally only six flavors on tap (though these include delicious varieties like Peanut Butter Squared, birthday cake, double-stuffed Oreo, and salted caramel), as well as the usual toppings, though not as many as other stores offer. Tasti D-Lite just doesn’t offer enough to score higher here.
#21 YoLo Frozen Yogurt
YoLo is a popular rozen yogurt shop based in the Tennessee/North Carolina region boasting over 33 flavors — from standards like vanilla, cookies and cream, and espresso, to banana pudding, birthday cake, rocky road, and bubble gum — and almost 50 toppings. Its locations are a limited in number currently, but the individual stores are classy, charming, and the exteriors look a lot more like they sell fro-yo than most of the generic, neon, big name chains, which makes for an inviting atmosphere. The basic vanilla contains only 100 calories per 3.14-ounce serving, is made with milk from local farmers in the North Carolina area, and is served in 100 percent compostable cups.
As the name suggests, U-Swirl is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, and one that boasts almost 100 different rotating flavors, like barista blend coffee, chocolate caramel turtle, fudge brownie batter, mountain blackberry, strawberry shortcake, and root beer float. The alpine vanilla contains 100 calories, no fat, and 18 grams of sugar in each half-cup serving. It’s worth noting that the toppings (a variety of candies, sprinkles, and fruits) are somewhat limited compared to those at other shops, but that could change, especially considering that in 2013, U-Swirl acquired Aspen Leaf Yogurt, which is a subsidiary of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and proudly features the handmade toppings of its former parent company.
Covering the states of Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, New York, and Nebraska, Yogurtini (owned by the previously mentioned U-Swirl) features 10-16 flavors in-store every day, like butter brickle, cereal magic, Hawaiian Bikini Martini sorbet, Kiss Me I’m Irish Mint, and new favorites like mango, green tea tart, açaí tart, and blueberry tart. The alpine vanilla has 100 calories, no fat, and 18 grams of sugar per half-cup, just like the alpine vanilla at U-Swirl. Yogurtini also offers over 65 toppings at the bar, with candy, fresh fruit, and granola on tap, and even far out items like Nerds, espresso beans, and sriracha hot sauce. The shop has modern furniture like small stools and round, white tables to go with a classy, inviting, light green color scheme, which is bright but not blinding (unlike numerous other yogurt shops).
#18 Spoon Me Frozen Yogurt
Yelp / James L
Spoon Me’s mission statement is “the body we live in, the people we live with, the planet we live on,” and the company takes that seriously. For the body: All of the frozen yogurt flavors are fat-free, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, and contain few calories, no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colors. For the people: The stores offer 30 flavors of fro-yo (in varieties like açaí, pistachio, banana nut bread, and New York cheesecake) and 40 toppings (the usual candy and fruit suspects, plus a few odd ones like candy corn), in order to please everyone. For the planet: The company has a strong belief in giving back to the community, and maintains an eco-friendly stance on the environment, including the use of edible spoons made of corn starch in order to reduce waste. The official website appears to be down and numerous locations appear to have closed or are closing (but there’s an app too), so customers will have to roll the dice regarding which flavors are available at each location and which locations are still open, but can count on being greeted by loud music and trendy décor meant to appeal to customers in the 16-30 years old range, and friendly employees who are encouraged to be themselves and speak naturally. Spoon Me’s natural frozen yogurt has 83 calories per half-cup serving, with no fat and 15 grams of sugar.
#17 Golden Spoon
Golden Spoon has been around since 1983, and isn’t letting any of the new trends cramp its old-school style. Unlike most franchises, which require customers to pay based on the weight of their dessert, Golden Spoon still charges based on the size of the cup, offers self-serve and “concierge” styles (in which a server prepares the cup and delivers it to the customer’s table), and toppings are included in the price. Plus, refills are only about $2! Don’t let the classic mindset and less flashy décor (handsomely decked out in red and gold) fool you though. Golden Spoon offers 50 innovative flavors that vary by location, like guava pear tart, lemon tea sorbet, devil’s food cake, Tiger’s Blood (watermelon-strawberry with a hint of coconut), and mai tai. Those who opt for the classic vanilla will find 110 calories, no fat, and 18 grams of sugar in a half-cup serving packed with live and active yogurt cultures, calcium, and protein.
The first thing that stands out about Yogurtology is the amount of fun the company has with the brand, which is immediately apparent when entering the shops. In addition to flavors like strawberry milkshake, mint truffle, and mango sorbet (and almost 100 others, with 12 or so per location), the stores also offer “premiyum” flavors that are unique to their chain (like Nutter Butter, horchata gelato, and golden cupcake batter); “bottomings,” which are add-ons created for the bottom of the cup; and “sloppings,” which is the name for the diverse syrup bars. Yogurtology also has probiotics in all of its frozen yogurt products. Its classic vanilla has 110 calories, three grams of fat, and 14 grams of sugar per four-ounce serving.
#15 Yogurt Mountain
Yogurt Mountain is an up-and-comer (founded in 2009), with over 40 stories currently, mostly in the Southeast. The stores offer 16 rotating flavors (in low-fat, nonfat, gluten-free, no sugar added, and dairy-free varieties like blue cotton candy, caramel pretzel, cherry limeade, MoonPie, and sour green apple candy sorbet) and over 50 unique toppings (like gummy Angry Birds, Butterfinger, candied sunflower seeds, caramel wafers, PB&J bites, several cereals, and Ghirardelli syrups). Although Yogurt Mountain might not be as well-known as some of the bigger-name stores, we were actually quite impressed with its imaginative and diverse topping selections. The bright green and purple colors should lure in customers of all ages, as should the old-school, clear plastic, self-serve treat dispensers reminiscent of candy shops and supermarkets.
The classic vanilla bean flavor has 100 calories, no fat, and 16 grams of sugar in every 3.14-ounce serving, and boasts yogurt cultures like L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, S. thermophiles, and B. lactis.
#14 Yogen Früz
Yogen Früz may only have about 50 locations in the United States, but the 30-year-old company has over 1,400 total in 46 countries, and was recently named it one of the top 100 global franchises (of any kind) in the world. When two brothers opened their first shop in Toronto in 1986, they wanted to focus on the health benefits of this ice cream alternative, and make sure to point out that each serving is low in fat and high in fiber, and contains vitamins (like B6 and B12), probiotics, and/or antioxidants. Unfortunately, the flavor selection leaves a lot to be desired (as does the not-so-flashy décor), and other than the 10 fruit varieties, the only other options are cookies and cream and chocolate — unless of course you opt for a “Ü-Sensation,” which includes preselected fro-yo and topping pairs like apple pie, strawberry cheesecake, lychee green tea, and red velvet. The topping choices include candies and treats like Andes Mints, brownie bites, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and dark raspberry truffle cups, with a healthy selection of fruit too. The low-fat vanilla contains 121 calories, 2.2 grams of fat, and 21 grams of sugar for the small size.
#13 Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt
Although it has only been eight years since Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt first debuted in Southern California, it has since become one of the largest self-serve frozen yogurt brands in the world, boasting 700 stories in 25 countries around the world. Offering 100 flavors in total, with a rotating group at each store, Tutti Frutti has unique options like blueberry muffin, chocolate PB cup, Frosted Flakes, milk tea, and even odder ones like pumpkin patch and creamed corn. No sugar-added selections are available, but the standard vanilla contains 120 calories, no fat, and 20 grams of sugar per 112-gram serving. The company website notes that lactospore probiotics are included in most flavors. The décor is similar to other frozen yogurt shops: bright colors, modern furniture, lots of light, and flat-screen TVs.
#12 Orange Leaf
Orange Leaf is an Oklahoma-based frozen-yogurt chain that started in 2008 and has expanded quickly; it now has over 300 locations around the world, as well as franchises in Australia and Asia. Orange Leaf stays true to its name with its décor: The color orange features prominently throughout each store. The flavor variety at Orange Leaf is a little disappointing, with the most creative flavors being salted caramel, wedding cake, red velvet, brownie batter, and pink lemonade. We were also disappointed by the fact that the offerings don’t have live active cultures, and instead contain sweeteners, milk solids, yogurt powder, and thickeners. The yogurt is also higher in fat and sugar than its counterparts: A four-ounce serving of vanilla frozen yogurt here contains 160 calories, four gram of fat, and 24 grams of sugar.
The décor at YogurBerry, which has locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, and is expected to open in soon New York, is a little tacky and unoriginal, and its options are limited. The stores have plenty of fresh fruit for toppings, but none of those toppings are particularly unusual. Nutritionally the product is excellent, however, with the 100-percent-natural fro-yo containing “vast quantities” of Lactobacillus bifidus, according to the chain’s website. In a four-ounce serving, YogurBerry’s frozen yogurt contains 100 calories, no fat, and 16 grams of sugar.
#10 Red Mango
Red Mango has an extraordinarily wide and original variety of flavors, including pomegranate, cinnamon apple pie, white peach, cake batter, blackberry, summer melon, Irish cream, and chai. The chain really triumphs when it comes to fruit options, but the dry topping choices are slim and rather unexciting. Red Mango offer smoothies, parfaits, and many other options for those watching their weight, which helps the brand stand out from the competition. In a small, 93-gram serving, its original version contains 80 calories, no fat, and 19 grams of sugar. Red Mango claims to have started the frozen yogurt trend back in 2007 when its first U.S. location opened (it originated in South Korea in 2003), and now there are more than 200 units. Zagat ranked the chain No. 1 in 2011 for its smoothies, frozen yogurt, and healthy options. The frozen yogurt at Red Mango has protein, calcium, and live and active cultures that it calls "Super Biotics:" It claims these withstand stomach acid longer than regular probiotics so that more cultures disseminate in your body than with regular yogurt. The Red Mango base is also all-natural, nonfat or low-fat, and gluten-free. It is free of artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors.
The husband-and-wife team of Danna and Adam Caldwell opened the first Menchie's location in California in 2007. Now with over 500 stores worldwide, Menchie’s has certainly made a name for itself in the frozen yogurt market. The walls of its stores are lined with dispensers that contain its large variety of flavors, including several that partner with other companies, like Marshmallow Mania with Peeps, Andes Mints, Crunch Bar, Heath Bar, Butterfinger, Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Creamy Cocoa Hazelnut with Nutella, and a variety of Dole sorbets. There is no lack of toppings at Menchie’s, with a wide assortment of fruit, candy (like gummy bears, frosted animal cookies, Sour Patch Kids, boba tea bubbles, and chocolate rocks), cookie crumbs, and syrups available. Menchie’s vanilla contains 100 calories per serving (half a cup). It has no fat and 18 grams of sugar. Low-carb and no-sugar-added varieties are also available.
Pinkberry’s toppings are truly different than those at any of the other chains; they have been known to include pomegranate seeds, basil, sea salt, honeydew, carob chips, and even grape tomatoes. Fro-yo flavors at Pinkberry are also quite creative, and include lychee, blood orange, chocolate churro, strawberry margarita, coconut milk salted caramel, tangerine, and passionfruit. In about a half-cup serving (100 grams), Pinkberry’s vanilla bean contains 100 calories, no fat, and 21 grams of sugar. Pinkberry offers frozen yogurt, frozen Greek yogurt, shakes, cookie sandwiches, and smoothies. The frozen yogurt is European-inspired, kosher, has live and active cultures, and earned a seal of approval from the National Yogurt Association, according to the website.
Peachwave offers a surprisingly wide variety of self-serve fro-yo flavors, including banana nut, bubble gum, caramel apple, chocolate turtle, Kahlúa, mud pie, peppermint bark, and two Girl Scout cookie varieties, with gelato, non-dairy, and reduced sugar offerings are available as well. The assortment of toppings is fairly standard, however, with items like brownie bites, granola, gummy worms, and plenty of fresh fruit.A standard serving for Peachwave is three ounces, or 84 grams; the vanilla contains 105 calories, zero grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar. The chain’s frozen yogurt is high in calcium and protein, and contains real cultured skim milk and yogurt cultures, with nearly 28 million live and active cultures per ounce. All of Peachwave’s yogurt products are 100 percent Kosher certified.
#6 16 Handles
Founded in 2008, 16 Handles is big on expression, encouraging people to "flaunt their flavor" and personality, all while keeping it eco-friendly. The flavors are kosher-certified, fat-free, and packed with protein and calcium. The shops use cornstarch spoons and biodegradable cups, and partner with Trees for the Future, planting 16 trees a day. The chain offers more than 75 flavors, with 16 rotating onto the menu daily, along with more than 50 toppings, including Cap’n Crunch, crushed Snickers, cheesecake bites, and crumb cake crumbs. 16 Handles always works to introduce new gourmet ideas too, like the Artisan collection with yogurts such as Tahitian vanilla and toppings like bananas Foster chips. Other flavors include American apple pie, caramel popcorn, cinnamon doughnut, cotton candy, Euro tart, Nutella, milk and cereal, two peanut butter varieties, and salted chocolate chip cookie dough. In a four-ounce serving, the vanilla contains 136 calories and no fat, but a whopping 25 grams of sugar.
TCBY, whose story goes all the way back to 1981, might not actually be this country’s best yogurt, but it has still managed to stay plenty competitive in its 35 years of business. The stores have a big selection of toppings, from nuts to fruit, cookie dough, other cookies, brownies, and even marshmallow syrup. Creative flavors include bananas Foster, caramel supreme, Greek honey vanilla, Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie, and ruby red grapefruit sorbet. While it’s nice to see that there’s a variety of GMO-, dairy-, and gluten-free options, a surprising amount of flavors aren’t fat-free. The old-fashioned vanilla is, though, and a four-ounce serving has 110 calories, no fat, and 17 grams of sugar. TCBY has a really fun environment thanks to the colors and lights that decorate the walls, but it isn’t as overwhelming as a place like Cups. In 2011, TCBY introduced Super Fro-Yo, which are frozen yogurt varieties that contain at least three grams of fiber, four grams of protein, seven types of live and active cultures, and less than 120 calories, while also being a good source of calcium and vitamin D.
Going into Cups is always an experience, with loud music, bright colors, and television screens showing people dancing like they’re playing Dance Dance Revolution. Toppings include a wide array of fruits, candy, and chocolate pieces like caramel turtles and candy-coated peanuts, and creative fro-yo varieties like fudge brownie batter, pistachio gelato, pumpkin, snickerdoodle, cotton candy, and Hawaiian pineapple. A less aggressive environment would be preferable, but Cups’ target market seems to be tweens, who don't mind it much. In an 83-gram serving, the vanilla contains 10 calories, zero grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar. Cups’ frozen yogurt undergoes a culturing process that gives it high levels of live and active cultures, but also results in less acidity, so the flavor is sweeter and less tart. The shops offer 24 flavors that vary by location, and more than 50 toppings.
Yogurtland, which opened in 2006 and now has outposts worldwide, has a very good selection of flavors on tap, including some incredibly creative varieties like salted caramel hazelnut, peanut nougat with almond butter and honey gelato, churro, cinnamon roll, birthday cupcake batter, and strawberry lemonade sorbet — and a ton of toppings. The yogurt’s health aspects are stellar, too, while offering a great frozen yogurt selection and experience. The yogurt is made with a base of milk and “authentically sourced ingredients,” and it’s packed with calcium and vitamins C and D, as well as live and active cultures in its probiotics. On offer are seasonal fruit and tons of other toppings, from carob chips to Cap’N Crunch cereal. The environment is really bright and welcoming, too, which makes the experience there that much more enjoyable. In a half-cup (133-gram) serving, Yogurtland’s vanilla bean contains 150 calories, zero grams of fat, and 26 grams of sugar. Plus, there are several healthier, no-sugar-added options.
#2 Let’s YO!
It’s easy to go overboard at Let’s YO!, because the cups are practically bucket-sized, and there’s a haul of toppings — ranging from the usual suspects like cookie dough and fruit, to cereal and a huge variety of sprinkles and syrups. The combinations that you can concoct are endless. Honestly, these toppings blow the competition's out of the water. The frozen yogurt here has just about the same amount of calories and sugar as those at other places, but this serving size is a little bit larger. Founded by Eric Casaburi, the man who launched Retro Fitness gyms at the age of 29, Let’s YO! is Casaburi’s idea of a fresh and all-natural way to get a treat even if you’re trying to stay fit, all done in a modern way. He stresses that "Let’s YO’s products are rich and robust with taste, low in fat, stacked with live cultures, and good for the body." The frozen yogurt uses fresh milk, high amounts of live and active cultures, and real fruit. The shops also offer coffee drinks like cappuccino, caffè latte, and hot cocoa in a café-like environment. Some wackier flavors include snickerdoodle cookie dough, blue daiquiri ice sorbet, and ooey-gooey cinnamon bun. In an 89-gram serving, the Tahitian vanilla contains 100 calories, zero grams of fat, and 16 grams of sugar.
SweetFrog, which began in 2009, has a family-friendly environment with bright colors and paintings on the walls promoting the company’s mascots, Scoop and Cookie. In an interesting twist, "Frog" actually is an acronym for "Fully Rely on God," a mission carried out by partnering with organizations near each location to become involved in the local community, according to the company website. The flavors here are definitely creative: They include creamy mint cookie, eggnog, French toast, maple bacon donut, root beer float, and toasted marshmallow (all nonfat), as well as no-sugar-added varieties like cake batter and blueberry. Toppings include a wide variety of fruits, nuts, sauces, and candies like gummy frogs, cheesecake bites, caramel cups, lemon cake, and Twix. As opposed to many other shops, which keep a relatively small variety available, the selection here is almost overwhelming. The stores also offer items beyond standard fro-yo in a cup, too, like waffle bowls, parfaits, and banana boats. SweetFrog has the whole package: a huge selection of flavors and a wide array of toppings, a friendly and not-overbearing atmosphere, little to no fat in all the yogurts, and sugar content around 17 or 18 grams in a serving. In a four-ounce serving, the alpine vanilla contains 100 calories, zero grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar.