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12 Ice Cream Brands That Use the Highest-Quality Ingredients

Want delicious ice cream with a list of ingredients you can actually pronounce? An RD says these are the brands to trust.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman
The product recommendations in this post are recommendations by the writer and/or expert(s) interviewed and do not contain affiliate links. Meaning: If you use these links to buy something, we will not earn a commission.

It has been said that ice cream is happiness condensed into a cone. And we have to agree with these wise words. Whether you're reaching for a classic vanilla bean (with sprinkles, please) or a more avant-garde flavor found only in specialty shops, ice cream runs the gamut of taste, texture, and overall quality. There's something out there for everyone these days—even those who are lactose intolerant or following a plant-based diet.

As with other food items on grocery store shelves, some ice cream brands care more about quality than others and produce their treats with higher-quality ingredients.

For all the ice cream lovers out there (and who doesn't like ice cream?), we scoured the ice cream aisle to find the brands that stand out for using the best-quality ingredients. We focused on brands that steer clear of ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and certain fillers. We also appreciate when brands use ingredients like cream from pasture-raised cows.

It can seem like there's an awful lot of label reading required to ensure that you're choosing the highest-quality ice cream brands. And, well, there is! But we went ahead and did the hard work for you, sourcing 12 different ice cream brands that use quality, wholesome ingredients without any unwanted fillers or unnatural binders that will leave you wondering what you just ate.

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

McConnell's Sweet Cream Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Sweet Cream:
Calories: 290
Fat: 19 g (Saturated fat: 12 g)
Sodium: 65 mg
Carbs: 27 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 20 g)
Protein: 6 g

McConnell's is one of America's oldest artisanal ice cream brands, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2024. No matter the flavor, its ice creams are all-natural, sustainably sourced, and utilize organic ingredients without unwanted preservatives or stabilizers. Additionally, McConnell uses dairy from its family dairy, so there's no guesswork regarding where exactly the milk is sourced.

For example, McConnell's vintage Sweet Cream flavor features dairy made from grass-fed cows, cage-free eggs, and pure cane sugar. This gluten-free, nut-free ice cream flavor contains easy-to-read ingredients, with the first three being cream, milk, and cane sugar. That kind of ingredient list shouldn't be hard to find in the ice cream industry, but it is. Other ingredients include milk solids, egg yolks, and tapioca starch for texture. That's it. This ice cream follows the old ways—and is exactly how ice cream should be made.

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Jeni's Ice Cream

Jeni's Wildberry Lavender Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Wildberry Lavender:
Calories: 270
Fat: 15 g (Saturated fat: 8 g)
Sodium: 60 mg
Carbs: 34 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 26 g)
Protein: 4 g

Jeni's Ice Cream owner, Jeni, literally wrote the book on ice cream, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, which won a James Beard award. This certified B-corp utilizes Direct Trade ingredients and works toward creating a positive social and environmental impact across its brick-and-mortar locations. One key to Jeni's success is that the company uses easy-to-read, high-quality ingredients that don't involve artificial colors or flavoring, unlike many mainstream brands. Instead, Jeni's relies on taste. One bite and you'll know the difference.

A fan-favorite is Jeni's Wildberry Lavender, an original flavor that has stood the test of time. This flavor encapsulates spring with its wildberry sauce (a combo of black currant puree, tapioca syrup, cane sugar, water, orange oil, and lavender oil). The beautiful purple coloring is derived directly from the black currant puree, so there's no need for artificial colors. We won't argue that the high-quality ingredients put this ice cream in "healthy" territory, but it is nice to see that one serving offers 10% of your daily calcium needs.

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Alden's Ice Cream

Alden's mint chip Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Mint Chip:
Calories: 230
Fat: 14 g (Saturated fat: 9 g)
Sodium: 30 mg
Carbs: 23 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 19 g)
Protein: 3 g

Alden's has proudly served wholesome ingredients for 20 years and is USDA-certified organic. Made with a long list of "no's," including, but not limited to, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavoring, no GMOs, and no artificial colors/sweeteners, this ice cream is also gluten-free and kosher. What's great about this brand is that every dairy cow whose milk is used in it lives on a family-owned farm where they graze at least 120 days a year and eat 100% organic seed. You can taste the difference.

Alden's Mint Chip is a personal favorite. It doesn't feature any unwanted artificial coloring, like Yellow 5 or Red 40, which is common with mint chocolate chip flavors to create that neon-green hue. Don't let ingredients like guar gum and locust bean gum deter you—these are naturally derived stabilizers that help distribute the flavor and keep those delicious chocolate chips suspended evenly. They're also 100% organic.

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Alec's Ice Cream

Alec's Tahitian Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Alec's Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Tahitian Vanilla Bean:
Calories: 270
Fat: 18 g (Saturated fat: 11 g)
Sodium: 55 mg
Carbs: 23 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 23 g)
Protein: 5 g

Alec's Ice Cream does things differently. Utilizing regenerative farming practices to promote environmental health while only utilizing A2 dairy, Alec's goal is to create high-quality ice cream that's gentle on the stomach and the planet. A2 milk protein, to put it concisely, is a strain of beta-casein produced by certain cows (milk contains about 30% beta-casein). Because of breeding practices, most cows produce a blend of A1 and A2. Certain studies have shown that A2 dairy may reduce unwanted side effects from digestion, including bloating, gas, and inflammation.

In addition to only using cows that produce A2 dairy, the company also strives to blend only top-notch ingredients into its ice creams. The Tahitian Vanilla Bean is an excellent example as it's USDA-certified organic and includes simple ingredients such as cream, skim milk, cane sugar, egg yolk, Tahitian vanilla bean extract, vanilla beans, and less than .5% of carob gum and guar gum for stabilization, both of which are organic. All Alec's ice creams are gluten-free, so those with allergies and intolerances can enjoy them.

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Cosmic Bliss

Cosmic Bliss Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Ice Cream
Cosmic Bliss
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate:
Calories: 280
Fat: 20 g (Saturated fat: 17 g)
Sodium: 280 mg
Carbs: 24 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 21 g)
Protein: 2 g

Just because you're dairy-free doesn't mean you have to miss out! Cosmic Bliss creates coconut milk-based ice creams that taste robust and creamy without unwanted artificial ingredients often found in dairy-free concoctions. Founded in Eugene, Oregon, with humble beginnings, this company embodies its goals of environmental stewardship, sustainability for all diets, and trust through transparency.

The company's Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Ice Cream is a prime example of how dairy-free ice creams can be as flavorful and decadent as traditional ice creams. This ice cream is made with coconut milk, caramel, and dark chocolate chunks and contains no artificial ingredients. It is certified as USDA organic, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and "I'm Green" bio-based, the latter of which is a hard-to-earn certification that upholds companies to particular environmental standards in food production and packaging.

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Beckon Ice Cream

Beckon Cookies and Sweet Cream Ice Cream
Beckon Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Cookies and Sweet Cream:
Calories: 300
Fat: 18 g (Saturated fat: 11 g)
Sodium: 95 mg
Carbs: 31 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 24 g)
Protein: 4 g

Beckon Ice Cream has become a superhero in the lactose-free world. This quality ice cream infuses its milk and cream with natural lactase enzymes to ensure easy digestion. This woman-owned company also ensures that none of its ice creams contain gums or stabilizers (suitable for those who may not be able to digest them well) and are also free from all artificial ingredients.

The Beckon Cookies and Sweet Cream flavor is a delicious throwback that retains the creaminess of regular ice cream without the unwanted gastro side effects. This flavor contains only easy-to-read ingredients like milk, cream, and non-GMO pure cane sugar. The chocolate creme-filled cookies are GMO-free and made with unbleached flour for those on the lookout.

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Marco's Aztec Chocolate Ice Cream
Marco Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per 2/3 cup serving, Aztec Chocolate:
Calories: 230
Fat: 13 g (Saturated fat: 8 g)
Sodium: 50 mg
Carbs: 25 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 21 g)
Protein: 5 g

Tasting Marco ice cream is like taking a trip around the world without leaving your couch. This company offers artisan flavors from all over the globe. Named after a near mythical, ephemeral man whom the founders met on their travels, this ice cream brand embodies that flighty, otherworldly sense you get when experiencing new wonders. You can tell that every batch is made with intention.

Our favorite is Marco's Aztec Chocolate, which embodies the spirit of this indigenous empire that used chocolate as a ceremonial food for eons. Like Oaxaca drinkable chocolate, this ice cream fills up and melts in your mouth. It is made with wholesome ingredients such as milk, cream, sugar, and chocolate directly harvested from the cacao bean. There are also hints of other spices in this ice cream, including ancho chile, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and chile de arbol. This all-natural blend gives you a sweet decadence with a surprising, spicy punch.

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Adirondack Creamery

Adirondack Creamery Kashmiri Kahwa Ice Cream
Adirondack Creamery
Nutrition: Per ⅔ cup serving, Kashmiri Kahwa:
Calories: 270
Fat: 19 g (Saturated fat: 11 g)
Sodium: 65 mg
Carbs: 22 g (Fiber: <1 g, Sugar: 20 g)
Protein: 5 g

Family-owned and operated, Adirondack Creamery uses a simple base of cream, milk, sugar, and yolks for all of its flavors—aka, ice cream as it should be. The company has a strict standard of no stabilizers, emulsifiers, artificial ingredients, colors, or other additives. The company says that it wants all ingredients to be so recognizable that you could find them in your kitchen. All dairy is sourced locally from cows that are not treated with rBST.

Adirondack Creamery boasts some seriously unique flavors, such as Kashmiri Kahwa. This ice cream is inspired by a family recipe that takes notes from both the Himalayan valley and South Asia and includes spices such as cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, saffron, and chopped almonds. Kashmiri kahwa is traditionally a drink given to guests, and it is meant to signify an overflowing cup of goodness in all ways. The best part is that this ice cream contains solely milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, skim milk powder, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and saffron.

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Blue Marble Ice Cream

Blue Marble All Natural Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Ice Cream
Blue Marble Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per ½ cup serving, Cold Brew Coffee:
Calories: 210
Fat: 14 g (Saturated fat: 9 g)
Sodium: 65 mg
Carbs: 19 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 18 g)
Protein: 4 g

Sourced from organic farms and fair trade distributors, Blue Marble Ice Cream can be found in multiple better-for-you grocery stores, including Whole Foods, FreshDirect, and places like the Union Market in Washington, D.C. This certified B-corp is also USDA-certified organic, woman-owned, and boasts only non-GMO ingredients for those who prefer to avoid genetically modified foods.

In a partnership with RISE Brewing Company, Blue Marble has created a deliciously uplifting Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Ice Cream that satisfies your sweet tooth and keeps you alert, just like your morning cup of cold brew. Made with coffee beans sourced from Peru's Cachimayo Valley, RISE brews the beans with purified water and then infuses the brew with nitrogen to make it fluffy and smooth. The ice cream is made with easy-to-read ingredients such as cream, sugar, skim milk, and RISE's cold brew concentrate. So, eat up, but maybe not after 5pm!

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Noona's Ice Cream

Noona's Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream
Noona's Ice Cream
Nutrition: Per 1/2 cup serving, Matcha Green Tea:
Calories: 170
Fat: 11 g (Saturated fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 60 mg
Carbs: 15 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 14 g)
Protein: 4 g

Noona's ice cream treats bring Asian-inspired flavors and quality to the grocery store's refrigerated section. Noona's sources hormone- and antibiotic-free dairy from humanely raised cows while also setting a high standard of pickiness when it comes to the whole foods and non-GMO products that flavor each of its pints. Many of Noona's options are vegan and dairy-free, utilizing organic coconut milk for a perfect plant-based creaminess.

Noona's Matcha Green Tea ice cream is a prime example of how Noona blends quality ingredients with Eastern flavors. The matcha (or stone-ground green tea leaves) is sourced from the Uji region of Japan and boasts powerful antioxidants and a slight caffeine boost for those who want a little lift with their treat. Made with only all-natural, whole foods that are easily readable, this ice cream also provides 15% of your daily calcium needs. While it's not a substitute for a glass of milk, we'll take it.

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Straus Family Creamery

Straus Family Creamery Organic Maple Cream Ice Cream
Straus Family Creamery
Nutrition: Per 2/3 cup serving, Organic Maple Cream:
Calories: 280
Fat: 17 g (Saturated fat: 13 g)
Sodium: 35 mg
Carbs: 27 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 27 g)
Protein: 3 g

Straus Family Creamery is at the forefront of carbon-neutral farming, and all farms under its umbrella are on track to be carbon-neutral by 2030. How? Simple—by adding a red seaweed-based supplement from Blue Ocean Barns to its dairy cows' diet, a move that has decreased the farm's methane emissions. Grazing rotation aids in soil health and carbon retention. Lastly, Straus Family Creamery utilizes only whole foods that are 100% USDA-certified organic, decreasing harmful runoff into the surrounding environment.

One of our favorites that exemplifies Straus Family Creamery's heart is its Organic Maple Cream ice cream. This ice cream includes only six wholesome, organic ingredients, including cream and nonfat milk, cane sugar, maple syrup, egg yolks, maple flavor, and vanilla extract to evoke a timeless American taste. This ice cream is also certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers, which holds strict standards regarding quality and organic farming practices that treat the earth gently.

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Tillamook Creamery

tillamook oregon strawberry ice cream
Nutrition: Per 2/3 cup serving, Oregon Strawberry:
Calories: 200
Fat: 10 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 45 mg
Carbs: 25 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 24 g)
Protein: 3 g

Tillamook Creamery is one of the more widely known ice creameries on this list, as it's available in almost all U.S. grocery stores. Since 1909, Tillamook has been serving quality ice cream (and other dairy products). Currently, it acts as a farmer-owned co-op to ensure fair compensation and practices for both animals and human workers. In tandem with serving only quality products, Tillamook has created a climate pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

We love Tillamook's Oregon Strawberry ice cream for that classic down-home taste. Its top three ingredients include milk, sugar, and strawberries—many mainstream brands don't include real strawberries in their strawberry ice cream (and instead use flavoring). To make the coloring more robust, Tillamook doesn't rely on artificial food coloring but instead uses a tasteless red beet concentrate for that eye-catching color.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
Sources referenced in this article
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