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15 Best Vanilla Ice Creams You Can Buy at Grocery Stores

Vanilla may be viewed as boring, plain, or basic, but at the same time, it’s one of the most popular ice cream flavors of all time.

Since it’s such a popular flavor, there are dozens upon dozens of vanilla ice creams you can buy at grocery stores.

The sheer number of brands can be daunting, but luckily, I’ve tried pretty much all vanilla ice creams on the market, and I know the good from the bad.

Here are my top picks for the 15 best store-bought vanilla ice creams ranked from least favorite to favorite.

So, who made the cut for the grocery store’s best vanilla ice creams? Read on and find out!

15. Signature Select Vanilla Ice Cream

Signature Select is Safeway’s store brand, so you already know that their ice cream will be one of the most affordable on our list.

For the price, this vanilla ice cream is pretty darn good – it’s creamy and has a nice, classic vanilla flavor to it.

The only downside (and the reason I had to give it last place in my lineup) is that the ingredient list isn’t quite as pure as the other picks.

This ice cream includes ingredients like corn syrup, diglycerides, and calcium sulfate.

These aren’t dangerous ingredients or anything, but when it comes to an ingredient list, I think the shorter, the better.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 180

14. Dippin’ Dots Vanilla Ice Cream

Dippin’ Dots reinvented how people eat ice cream (at zoos and parks, at least).

While most people probably would not always choose Dippin’ Dots over regular ice cream, it’s a fun way to consume dessert every once in a while.

Essentially, Dippin’ Dots are tiny cryogenically frozen beads of ice cream.

The company offers plenty of flavors like cotton candy and brownie batter, but they also carry a simple vanilla flavor.

Dippin’ Dots’ take on vanilla has just the right amount of sweetness without being cloying.

The texture is unlike any other on today’s list, so go for Dippin’ Dots vanilla if you’re looking for something that walks the line between classic and quirky.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 1 package

Servings per container: 1

Calories: 130

13. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Blue Bell’s homemade vanilla ice cream has people divided.

Some say it’s the best store-bought vanilla ice cream money can buy, while I’ve also seen reviews online saying that it lacks flavor or that extra oomph.

In my taste buds’ opinion, I find Blue Bell’s vanilla ice cream to be delicious.

It’s not quite as strong as other options on our list, but it has a uniquely malty, old-timey taste to it.

It has a delicate flavor, so I see where the “flavorless” critiques come from, but that’s part of why I like this ice cream – it’s not a carbon copy of all the others, and its slightly different flavor sets it apart.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 12

Calories: 240

12. Turkey Hill Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

People must like the word “homemade” on ice cream packaging because this is just the second of three vanilla ice creams with that word in the title.

I see why Turkey Hill used it, though – their take on vanilla ice cream has that old-time vanilla flavor that can be hard to find in store-bought ice creams.

A slight warning: Turkey Hill’s homemade vanilla is one of the more artificial-tasting in today’s lineup, but for some reason, I don’t mind it.

It tastes a bit like imitation vanilla extract, which is an ingredient that many birthday cakes use, so I think it felt a bit nostalgic to me.

Still, if you’re a vanilla snob, it might be best to skip this one.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 170

11. Talenti Madagascan Vanilla Bean Gelato

In describing their Madagascan vanilla bean gelato, Talenti claims that this flavor is “anything but plain.”

This is the perfect description of their take on vanilla.

For starters, this gelato has flecks of vanilla bean throughout, which add to the upscale feeling I get when I’m eating Talenti (major props to whoever designs their boujee-looking pints).

In particular, Madagascan vanilla is used in this recipe, which is a type of vanilla that has subtle fruity, floral notes.

You can definitely taste the depth of flavor thanks to that special Madagascar vanilla.

Since gelato is usually silkier and denser than regular ice cream, you’ll not get a more luxurious, rich experience with Talenti’s vanilla gelato than regular vanilla ice cream.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 3

Calories: 260

10. Favorite Day Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Like Signature Select, Favorite Day is another grocery store brand, so the price here is a huge plus.

Favorite Day is Target’s in-store food brand, and while their ice cream line isn’t anything to write home about, they have a few individual ice creams that easily stand up to the big-name brands.

One of those flavors, of course, is vanilla bean.

Favorite Day’s vanilla bean ice cream features real vanilla bean specks and has a natural, simple sweetness to it.

Like many other ice creams, the ingredient list contains some ingredients I’m not the biggest fan of (lookin’ at you, high fructose corn syrup).

That being said, it’s still a great, affordable vanilla ice cream that you can pick up at the grocery store but could probably pass as hand-scooped from a creamery.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 170

9. Whole Foods 365 Organic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Whole Foods’ private label food brand, 365, carries its own vanilla ice cream, and it’s one of the best out there in regards to ingredients, texture, and flavor.

Since the word “organic” is in the title, you won’t be surprised that the ingredient list is pretty clean – organic milk and cream, organic sugar, vanilla extract, organic vanilla bean, and organic stabilizers.

This ice cream has vanilla bean flecks that make everything seem more natural and legit and also lend a nice, rich flavor to the mixture.

365’s organic vanilla bean ice cream also has a nice texture to it, standing somewhere in the middle of fluffy and creamy.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

Servings per container: 3

Calories: 200

8. Breyers Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Here’s where we have our third and final “homemade” vanilla flavor.

This one is from Breyers, and as you’ll see a bit later in our list, they know how to make darn good vanilla ice cream.

Breyers is known for using high-quality ingredients, resulting in a naturally delicious vanilla flavor.

The brand is also committed to using 100% Grade A cream and sustainably and naturally sourced vanilla, so you’ll not get any of that fake vanilla or overly sugary taste here.

The only way Breyers homemade vanilla could get any better is if it was just a smidge creamier. But we’ll get to that very soon!

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 180

7. Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Ice Cream

Is there anything Trader Joe’s can’t do? Their inventive ice creams are almost always a home run (cookie butter is the best, bar none), but their vanilla flavor is just as tasty and exciting.

TJ’s take on vanilla ice cream has a good texture, but it truly shines in its flavor profile.

The French vanilla flavor really comes through and delivers much more than surface-level vanilla. It’s deep, complex, and oh-so-rich.

This ice cream also features a simple ingredient list of cream, milk, cane sugar, sugared egg yolks, natural vanilla flavor, and a stabilizer blend.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

Servings per container: 12

Calories: 330

6. Van Leeuwen Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

How does Van Leeuwen, famous for its quirky and unique ice cream flavors, make vanilla ice cream? It must be something special, right?

Well, you guessed it right, they use Tahitian vanilla beans.

You might wonder how these are any different than regular vanilla beans. 

According to the flavoring company Cooks Vanilla, Tahitian vanilla is floral and fruity. Some even say it has a whisper of spice to it.

Van Leeuwen has one of the best vanilla ice creams on the market because of its unique flavor profile that you really can’t find anywhere else in the grocery store.

Plus, its ingredient list is as simple as it gets – milk, cream, cane sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract, salt, and vanilla bean.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 2.5

Calories: 290

5. Edy’s French Vanilla Ice Cream

Right away, you might notice how Edy’s French vanilla ice cream has more of a yellow tint than most other vanilla ice creams on our list.  

The slight hue change might be because of the extra egg yolks and the annatto color listed in the ingredients, but it gives this ice cream an old-timey, rich feel.

Edy’s French vanilla ice cream is thicker and creamier than most other ice creams we’ve discussed so far.

It has a custard base which is the reason for its thickness and has a deeper, more complex vanilla taste.

While vanilla ice creams can easily venture into the artificial-tasting category, Edy’s nails that natural, rich vanilla flavor.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 180

4. Tillamook Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

Tillamook’s old-fashioned vanilla ice cream contains a fairly short ingredient list, including cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and natural gums for texture.

When egg yolk is added to ice cream, it provides richness and makes the texture smooth, velvety, and super scoopable.

Tillamook’s old-fashioned vanilla ice cream is made with “extra cream.” The company doesn’t exactly specify how much that is, but you can tell that the claim is true from the texture here.

Plus, the brand uses more butterfat and whips less air into its ice cream than most other brands, resulting in a super rich, creamy bite of vanilla.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 210

3. Breyers Extra Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream

When it comes to coffee, cheese, and pretty much any dessert, I think the creamier it is, the better it will taste.

That’s most certainly the case for ice cream, which is why Breyers’ extra creamy vanilla ice cream is so successful.

Out of all the vanilla ice creams on my list, Breyers definitely has my favorite texture.

It’s velvety smooth and super thick, making it delightful on its own and the perfect base for a vanilla milkshake.

Breyers’ extra creamy vanilla ice cream contains fresh cream and milk as its main ingredients, which lend to its luxurious texture.

I ranked Breyers in the number three spot because the vanilla flavor isn’t “quite” as pronounced as it is in my top two picks.

That being said, I think it’s one of the best vanilla ice creams you can find at grocery stores.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 9

Calories: 140

2. Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s take on vanilla ice cream is pretty close to perfection. As the company puts it, this ice cream is “more vanilla-tasting than any vanilla you’ve ever tasted.”

Ben & Jerry’s is best known for its chunk-filled ice creams, but their plain, smooth ice creams let the flavor truly shine.

In this case, a rich, custardy vanilla is center stage.

Some vanillas lean towards being sickly sweet, but Ben & Jerry’s vanilla is more rich than sweet and tastes natural.

The ingredient list here is pretty simple: vanilla extract, vanilla beans, cream, sugar, water, and egg yolks.

The simplicity of its vanilla flavor and satisfyingly smooth texture makes Ben & Jerry’s one of the best store-bought vanilla ice creams out there.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: 2/3 cup

Servings per container: 3

Calories: 330

1. Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Häagen-Dazs’ vanilla bean ice cream is everything a vanilla ice cream should be and then some.

For starters, its ingredient list is simple – cream, skim milk, cane sugar, egg yolks, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract.

Häagen-Dazs’ use of high-quality, simple ingredients keeps the flavor of the ice cream solely focused on vanilla and makes for a creamy, buttery texture.

The vanilla bean flavor used in this ice cream is Madagascar vanilla.

Madagascar vanilla is sweet, but it’s also more complex and deeper than other types of vanilla.

The best way I can explain it is that it’s cozy and perfectly sweet with a smooth finish.

Häagen-Dazs’ take on classic vanilla ice cream is flecked with bits of vanilla bean for that old-fashioned, natural look and flavor. It’s super creamy without being overly rich or dense.

If you’re not sure about where to start when it comes to vanilla ice cream, I recommend starting with Häagen-Dazs’ vanilla bean flavor.

Nutrition Info:

Serving Size: ⅔ cup

Servings per container: 2.5

Calories: 340


Vanilla ice cream is much more than a constant at your local supermarket or ice cream shop. It’s the perfect base flavor, but it also shines on its own without any bells or whistles.

Next time you’re at the grocery store and pass by all the new, exciting ice cream flavors, remember to pay homage to one of the OGs of ice cream game.

And while you’re there, pick up a pint of Häagen-Dazs to see if you agree with my top pick for the best store-bought vanilla ice cream (strictly for research purposes, of course!)

About the Author

Samantha Jenkins is a food writer and digital marketing manager with a passion for storytelling, perusing grocery store aisles, reading menus, and eating really good food.

In her free time, she enjoys baking, performing in musicals, and cohosting the East Coast Haunts podcast.

October 19, 2023