What makes the best chocolate ice cream? Is it the depth of the chocolate flavor? Is it creaminess, sweetness, or the perfect balance of all three? Or maybe it’s the nostalgia factor: That warm feeling you get when you get a taste of that classic chocolate that brings you right back to your childhood.
The answer depends on what you like. Are you into milk chocolate or dark chocolate—or, do you even like chocolate at all? If your answer is no, you’re wrong, but we set out to find a chocolate ice cream that you might like anyway.
We tried as many flavors of chocolate ice cream (not gelato—maybe next time!) from as many brands as we could get our hands on. We definitely missed a few, but we picked up grocery store staples like Selecta, Nestle, Magnolia, and Arce Dairy as well as imported brands like Haagen Dazs and Bulla. We also hit up online shops and specialty stores for brands like FIC, Carmen’s Best, Carousel Creamery, Alt Scoops, Super Scoops, Kurimu, and Fog City.
Then, we sat down as a team, grabbed our spoons, and began our journey to find the best chocolate ice cream for all your ice cream needs.
Our Top Chocolate Ice Cream Picks
We ended up with 17 variations of chocolate ice cream with flavors ranging from milk chocolate, dark chocolate, as well as some specialty flavors. After a blind taste test and careful deliberation, we placed the winning brands into the following categories:
- The Crowd Pleasers
- Supermarket Fave
- Best Dark Chocolate
- Best Dairy-Free
- Bonus: For Chocolate Haters
For this round of testing, we weren’t able to try Sebastian’s, Papa Diddi’s, Mad Mark’s, Ambassador’s Ice Cream, Big Scoop, Antonio's, and more. Watch out for part 2, once our stomachs recover from trying 17 ice creams in one day!
The Crowd Pleasers
Well-balanced and perfectly creamy, these brands were a hit with both the chocolate lovers and haters on our team.
Haagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate
There were many disagreements across the board as we tested 17 different ice cream brands, but when it came to Haagen-Dazs, it was unanimous: We all liked it.
The American ice cream brand won us over with its extra creamy mouthfeel, well-balanced chocolate flavor, and quality chocolate bits folded into the ice cream. Even serving this one was pleasantly satisfying. The ice cream scoop glided through the pint like butter!
Haagen-Dazs is a feel-good, almost too indulgent chocolate ice cream. You’ll definitely feel a little naughty eating it. But we all deserve to treat ourselves every now and then, right?
Also Great: Fog City Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate
This ice cream is made with semi-sweet chocolate from Ghirardelli, a confectionery company from San Francisco. The brand boasts sourcing high quality cacao beans to achieve a consistent, clean chocolate flavor, as well as a thorough refining process to get that perfect creamy texture—all qualities that contributed beautifully to Fog City’s ice cream.
Fog City’s Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate was Haagen-Dazs’ slightly less indulgent cousin, straddling the line between milk and dark chocolate. Its velvety texture (which earned a “so good!” from one of our staffers), slight acidity, and well-balanced sweetness and chocolate flavor made it an easy addition to our list of favorites.