15 Ice Cream Brands That Use The Highest Quality Ingredients

hand holding ice cream
hand holding ice cream - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams / Facebook

There's no getting around it — ice cream is a treat, a delicious indulgence of sugar and cream. Despite attempts to make it healthier (looking at you, Halo Top), decadent full-fat dairy ice cream continues to reign supreme. But you can level up your ice cream routine in one huge way, and that's choosing pints with high-quality ingredients. Many ice cream brands available in grocery stores are packed full of artificial flavors and sweeteners, fillers, color additives, and preservatives. It's no secret that consuming certain artificial ingredients and preservatives can be harmful to your health.

For a richer, more satisfying experience, consider choosing ice cream with real ingredients such as milk, cream, sugar, and natural flavorings. That ultra-creamy texture you know and love comes from ice cream's high fat content. U.S. standards require ice cream to have at least 10% milkfat. Anything lower technically isn't ice cream — instead, you're eating a frozen dairy dessert. Premium and super-premium ice creams, like the ones on this list, tend to contain 11 to 18% milkfat. This sounds like a lot to think about, but we've done the legwork for you. We've scrutinized countless nutrition labels to compile a list of ice cream brands that use the best ingredients. Head over to our methodology section for more details on our process.

Read more: 12 Popular Ice Cream Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

1. Alec's Ice Cream

stacked Alec's ice cream pints
stacked Alec's ice cream pints - Alec's Ice Cream / Facebook

Alec's Ice Cream stands out with its brightly colored packaging and unique flavors. But what truly sets the brand apart is its commitment to using high-quality ingredients, such as organic A2 dairy. A2 dairy is gentler on most stomachs, even for those who normally experience bloating and irritation after consuming ice cream or drinking milk. Alec's sources its milk and cream from Alexandre Family Farm, which prides itself on being the first organic regenerative dairy in the U.S.

Alec's commitment to sustainability also extends to its sugar. There's no corn syrup in sight here — the brand uses cane sugar from the Native Green Cane Project, a leader in organic and sustainable farming practices. Looking more closely at the ingredient lists, Alec's pints contain nothing artificial, only natural flavorings and stabilizers. Available in grocery stores across the nation, Alec's Ice Cream currently offers seven flavors, with classics such as Mint Chocolate Chip alongside the more innovative Honey Blueberry Lavender and Salted Caramel Latte.

2. Humphry Slocombe

open pints of ice cream
open pints of ice cream - Humphry Slocombe / Facebook

The Bay Area-based ice cream shop Humphry Slocombe has impressed customers with unconventional flavors since it opened its doors in 2008. It all started with Secret Breakfast, the brand's signature flavor. With a base of organic cream, milk, and condensed milk, Secret Breakfast incorporates freshly scraped vanilla, bourbon, and house-made cornflake cookies into its recipe. All of the brand's flavors introduce unique ingredients: Vietnamese Coffee, Honey Graham (our go-to), and Black Sesame are also customer favorites.

Humphry Slocombe's ingredients are all-natural, and you won't find dyes or preservatives. The shop's flavors change with the seasons, depending on the availability of local Californian fruits, vegetables, spices, artisanal goods, and even meat in some cases. This means it's worth checking out the brand's offerings at different times of the year. If you're not located in California, where many grocery stores carry the ice cream, the good news is that Humphry Slocombe ships its pints nationwide.

3. Alden's Organic Ice Cream

container of chocolate ice cream
container of chocolate ice cream - Alden's Ice Cream / Facebook

Alden's Ice Cream, "America's Best Selling Organic Ice Cream," has been around since 2004. Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, the brand offers organic alternatives to many classic flavors, including Mint Chip, Chocolate, and Strawberry. While its selection is nothing out of the ordinary, Alden's elevates these classic flavors with high-quality ingredients.

You won't find high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners or flavoring, GMOs, or antibiotics anywhere in the ingredient lists. The brand uses organic milk, cream, unrefined sugar, and natural flavorings in all of its products. For example, its Strawberry ice cream uses real strawberries, cane sugar and tapioca syrup as sweeteners, and red beet juice concentrate to impart that signature pink color.

You may be unfamiliar with xanthan gum, locust bean gum, guar gum, and soy lecithin, all found in Alden's ingredients (and in many other premium ice creams). However, before you ready your pitchforks, note that these ingredients, which comprise less than 1% of any given Alden's recipe, are all-natural stabilizers and emulsifiers. They help achieve that perfect creamy texture and prevent ice crystals from forming during transportation. While these additives are normally found in highly processed foods, there's little evidence that they themselves are harmful.

4. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni's ice cream in purse
Jeni's ice cream in purse - Jeni/ Instagram

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream is another brand that you can find in stores across the country. Its pints sport vibrant colors and bold cursive writing, making them stand out in the freezer section. The company's ever-changing flavors include fun and funky options such as Powdered Jelly Donut, Maple Soaked Pancakes, and collaboration specials with the likes of Olivia Rodrigo and Dolly Parton.

High-quality, ethically sourced ingredients are at the heart of the brand's offerings. The ingredient lists are free from artificial anything, so you can rest assured that the flavors you try taste authentic. Jeni's uses grass-pastured dairy and Fair Trade vanilla and chocolate. Even the more out-there flavors such as Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon stay true to the brand's commitment to quality ingredients. Far from being full of corn syrup and preservatives, the Pop-Tart-inspired ice cream uses real ingredients like cinnamon, caramel, cane sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.

5. Cosmic Bliss

array of ice cream pints
array of ice cream pints - Cosmic Bliss / Instagram

Unlike most ice cream companies that eventually introduced dairy-free options, Cosmic Bliss started out entirely plant-based. In a 2022 shift, the brand formerly known as Coconut Bliss broadened its horizons to include both vegan and dairy-based ice cream flavors. With the goal of providing consumers with sustainably sourced, clean-label ice cream, Cosmic Bliss's dairy line uses organic grass-fed milk and cream from local farms.

This mentality doesn't stop at the dairy. Cosmic Bliss's ice cream is free of artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and sugar alcohols. Its products are also soy and gluten-free. The brand uses Fair Trade cocoa, and most ingredients are Certified Organic. Instead of cane sugar or corn syrup, you'll find all-natural sweeteners such as coconut sugar, tapioca syrup, and lucuma powder (made from the lucuma fruit). Popular flavors include Gooey Caramel Pecan Pie, Peanut Butter Blitz, and Strawberry Lemon Shortbread. Pints are sold at various specialty grocers across the U.S.

6. Beckon Ice Cream

open pints of ice cream
open pints of ice cream - icecreambuythepint / Instagram

Beckon Ice Cream's claim to fame is being the first lactose-free premium ice cream brand that uses clean ingredients. The female-owned company places quality first and foremost. Its products feature real dairy sourced from farmer-owned co-ops. But unlike traditional ice cream, Beckon's recipe includes lactase. The naturally occurring enzyme helps your body break down lactose, meaning that you can enjoy ice cream without having to worry about stomach pain and gas.

For Beckon Ice Cream, a clean label means no artificial ingredients. Looking closely at the ingredients, we found this to be true. Every flavor starts with a base of six ingredients: milk, cream, cane sugar, tapioca, eggs, and lactase. The remaining ingredients are also naturally derived, creating flavors such as Cookies & Sweet Cream, Sea Salt Chocolate Chip, and Dark Chocolate Brownie. Beckon's widespread availability means you can find it in stores nationwide, including Whole Foods and Walmart.

7. Salt & Straw

five cups of ice cream
five cups of ice cream - Salt & Straw Ice Cream/Facebook

Salt & Straw has become a phenomenon wherever its scoop shops open. With wild flavors that rotate seasonally, there's always something new to try. Some of the most outrageous flavors to date include Cinnamon and Honey Fried Chicken and Deviled Egg Custard with Smoked Black Tea. These make the brand's signature flavors of Pear & Blue Cheese and Arbequina Olive Oil (our favorite of the bunch) look tame by comparison.

Salt & Straw's ice cream might boast unusual ingredients, but they all share a common thread: sourcing from independent artisans. The eponymous Arbequina Olive Oil, for example, originates from the award-winning Durant Olive Mill in Oregon. The cheese at the heart of Pear & Blue Cheese is sourced from a small Oregon creamery known for its cave-aging process. Even the chicken (don't knock it until you try it) comes from a renowned source: the Seattle-based Ezell's Famous Chicken.

Salt & Straw doesn't skimp on the dairy either: the brand's milk and cream come from grass-fed cows. No matter which flavor you choose, you'll be enjoying a rich, creamy treat thanks to the higher-than-normal milkfat content: around 17% for most flavors. Salt & Straw shops are limited to the West Coast and Florida, but the pints also ship nationwide.

8. Ice Cream For Bears

pints of ice cream
pints of ice cream - Ice Cream for Bears / Instagram

Ice Cream for Bears may not be a household name, but the all-natural brand is gaining traction in Sprouts Farmers Market stores nationwide. Part of the appeal is the unusual name and adorably depicted bear at the forefront of the brand's marketing. True to its namesake animal's diet, the brand uses only raw, unfiltered honey to sweeten its ice cream. That's right, you won't find corn syrup or even cane sugar on the ingredient list.

"It's a product that we've eaten in that exact form for at least 8,000 years," says founder Timothy Berg (via Feast Magazine). "I'm a big believer that if we've been doing something for long enough, our bodies have probably evolved to process it." Given this philosophy, the ingredient list is on the concise side: Organic grass-fed dairy, eggs from free-range chickens, honey, and natural flavors make up the recipe.

The brand's honey hails from Missouri farms, where nearby wildflowers impart a floral taste. The chocolate found in flavors such as Chocturnal and Raspbeary are ethically sourced from sustainable family farms. To top it off, the ice cream contains 14% milkfat, ensuring an indulgent, creamy experience.

9. Adirondack Creamery

ice cream pints and bowls
ice cream pints and bowls - Adirondack Creamery / Facebook

Adirondack Creamery traces its beginnings back to 2002 when founder Paul N. Nasrani started making batches of ice cream in his Manhattan apartment. Fueled by high demand, the brand's pints now line the freezers of many East Coast supermarkets and grocery stores. Featuring classic Western flavors and internationally inspired creations such as Kulfi-Pistachio Cardamom and Syrian Date & Walnut, Adirondack Creamery strives to offer "ice cream as it should be." For Nasrani, this means delicious ice cream that's made with simple, locally procured ingredients.

The creamery's recipe calls for milk, cream, eggs, and sugar — no artificial ingredients, colors, or any other additives. To ensure ice cream that's fresh and sustainably sourced, Adirondack Creamery partners with small local family farms that treat their cows well. The result is milk that's deliciously rich and high in fat. All other ingredients are also naturally derived: Spices, vanilla extract, cocoa, fruit purée, and freshly ground coffee lend their flavors to the creamery's diverse line-up.

10. Noona's Ice Cream

bowl of matcha ice cream
bowl of matcha ice cream - Noona's Ice Cream / Instagram

Noona's Ice Cream is an up-and-coming brand known for infusing Asian-American flavors into its ice cream creations. While flavors such as matcha, yuzu, and taro remain popular, other options — like Makgeolli Blues and Pandan with Palm Sugar Coconut Crunch — feature ingredients that may be unfamiliar to Western palates.

For Noona's, it all comes down to quality and simplicity. This commitment starts with dairy sustainably sourced from local collective farms, ensuring a fresh and tasty base for its products. The brand uses only whole foods and naturally derived organic ingredients. Noona's makes everything from scratch and processes its own whole ingredients, slow-steeping them in cream to pack in as much flavor as possible. Unpacking Noona's popular Toasted Rice flavor, we found cane sugar, brown rice, sweet rice, barley, and a touch of tamari for a savory depth. The result is a wholesome treat that we'd love to get our hands on. The brand is only available at select stores nationwide.

11. Blue Marble Ice Cream

three ice cream pints
three ice cream pints - Blue Marble / Facebook

Founded in 2007 by actress Jennie Dundas and Alexis Gallivan, Blue Marble is dedicated to making real ice cream. The Brooklyn-based brand uses only the highest quality natural ingredients sourced from organic farms. You won't find complex or unusual flavors here — instead, the brand focuses on perfecting tried-and-true classics. Gallivan explains, "Do you want two scoops of candy bars or something rich and velvety and real? We value simplicity, and that's what we deliver in our product (via What Lara Wrote)."

For example, Blue Marble's Summertime Strawberry uses real strawberries, picked at the peak of ripeness. You won't find pesticides, GMOs, or artificial flavors anywhere on the ingredient list. Even the bright pink color comes from a natural source: red beet juice. The brand uses Fair Trade ingredients across all of its flavors, including single-origin cacao from cooperative farmers in the Dominican Republic. You can find pints of Blue Marble ice cream in stores around the New York area.

12. Tillamook Creamery

strawberry ice cream cone
strawberry ice cream cone - Tillamook County Creamery Association / Facebook

There's a high chance you've seen Tillamook at your local grocery store or supermarket. With products now sold in all 50 states, the Oregon-based farmer cooperative dates back to 1909 but only started making ice cream in 1947. Valuing quality above all else, Tillamook uses only the best ingredients, including milk and cream sourced from its farmer families.

Tillamook ice cream is known for its soft, creamy texture. The secret is the high milkfat content and low overrun (air added during the production process). As Kate Boltin, Vice President of Brand Marketing, told Mashed, Tillamook ice cream contains more milkfat (also called butterfat) than the industry standard. "There is a certain percentage of overrun that you can put into your ice cream. We lower that in favor of creating more space for more butterfat, which is what gives it that creamy, really delicious mouthfeel that it has." The result is delicious, high-quality cream that you can feel good about.

13. Van Leeuwen

hand holding ice cream cup
hand holding ice cream cup - Noam Galai/Getty Images

Founded in New York City in 2008, Van Leeuwen has come far from its ice cream truck origins, with its bright monochrome pints now sold in stores nationwide. You can also enjoy scoops at any of its in-person shops, located in seven states and counting. Van Leeuwen is dedicated to using only the finest ingredients. The brand believes that ice cream should only contain ingredients that you can pronounce, and it sticks to this promise.

For example, Honeycomb (our favorite flavor!) lists the following ingredients: cream, milk, cane sugar, egg yolks, tapioca syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, sea salt, and baking soda. Everything here is familiar — and natural. Van Leeuwen ice cream contains twice as many egg yolks than the standard, earning it the label of "French Ice Cream." This makes it richer and creamier than most varieties. Also contributing to the creaminess is the high milkfat content, ranging between 17 and 19% depending on the flavor. Other than Honeycomb, best-selling flavors include Cookies & Cream, Earl Grey Tea, Mint Chip, and Pistachio.

14. Straus Family Creamery

ice cream pint and pie
ice cream pint and pie - Straus Family Creamery / Facebook

As the first certified organic creamery in the U.S., the family-owned Straus Family Creamery cares about quality and sustainability. All of the brand's products are organic, sourced from cows that graze freely on lush pastures in Northern California. The grass they eat is high in beta-carotene, resulting in milk that's extra rich in flavor.

Straus ice cream is super premium, meaning that it contains more milkfat and less overrun than the standard for ice cream. It's also minimally processed and free from artificial ingredients, GMOs, preservatives, fillers, or dyes. You won't find corn syrup on the ingredient lists — real cane sugar sweetens this ice cream. Flavor-wise, the brand keeps it simple. Having sampled most of them, our favorites include Vanilla Fudge Swirl, Strawberry, and Maple Cream, though they're all deliciously flavorful. Straus pints are widely available in stores throughout the Western states, with select stores across the country carrying them as well.

15. McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

ice cream pint and donuts
ice cream pint and donuts - McConnell's Fine Ice Creams / Facebook

For many, McConnell's Fine Ice Creams is synonymous with next-level quality. The brand's white, red, and black packaging stands out at grocery stores throughout the country for its simplicity and elegance. The content of the pints is also straightforward: Milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar serve as the base for all recipes.

McConnell's is transparent about every step of the ice cream-making process. This includes how it sources its premium ingredients. Milk and cream come from grass-fed cows on California's Central Coast, and eggs are sourced from cage-free hens. All other additions, such as fruit, chocolate, cookies, and more, are house-made or ethically sourced, often from local providers. The brand offers a diverse collection of flavors, including Toasted Coconut Almond Chip, Eureka Lemon & Marionberries, and Golden State Vanilla, to name a few. With a milkfat content of 18% or higher, McConnell's ice cream is a decadent treat that's sure to satisfy any craving.


colorful ice cream in cups
colorful ice cream in cups - Deckar 007/Shutterstock

While there are so many wonderful ice cream brands out there, we focused on ones that use high-quality ingredients and are transparent about how they source them. We examined countless ingredient lists, evaluating ice cream brands as a whole rather than honing in on particular flavors or product lines. We looked for ice cream made with naturally derived ingredients, free of artificial flavors and additives, fillers, or high fructose corn syrup. Ultimately, we selected brands that use premium dairy that's high in milkfat, for a luxuriously smooth and creamy experience.

Read the original article on Mashed