Our last 80-degree days may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up ice cream until next summer. Ice cream sandwiches, in particular, make convenient after-school snacks and are the perfect only-one-hand-needed desserts for eating on the couch during Sunday Night Football. Honestly, do you really need me to convince you that they’re good eating year-round?
We tasted nine brands and ranked them from 1 to 5 each on taste and texture, looking for that perfect blend of creamy vanilla ice cream and tender chocolate wafers. (Full disclosure: We meant to include Klondike in the mix, but, apparently, we have an office ice cream-sandwich thief.) Turns out, it’s hard to get both right. Some sandwiches excelled at one and failed miserably at the other (and some failed at both). In the end, first and second place—separated by a mere half point—packed a heavy dose of nostalgia that took us back to waiting in line for the ice cream truck after school.
Last Place: Friendly’s (56.5 points)
“Eww,” wrote one taster. We were “not impressed with the ice cream flavor,” which came across as “bland/weak” and “a bit off tasting.”
Eighth Place: Nestlé (58 points)
Despite not coming in dead last, the comments were scathing for this brand, which claimed it “tastes very processed,” “has no vanilla flavor,” and “looks like old ice cream.”
Seventh Place: Skinny Cow (64.5 points)
We snuck a low-fat, no-sugar-added brand into our test and, while the performance wasn’t great, tasters did feel that the “vanilla ice cream had good flavor.” Unfortunately, comments also singled out a “weird aftertaste” that tanked the scores.
Sixth Place: Julie’s Organic (69.5 points)
This organic brand promised only 100 calories per sandwich (probably because they’re half the size of a standard one). And while one taster felt it was “a magically delicious ice cream sandwich,” most felt it was “basic” and resonated of “nothing really good or bad.”
Fourth Place (tie): Krasdale (72 points)
This oft-overlooked supermarket brand nailed the chocolate wafer, with tasters loving the “really nice, thick cookie” with “good chocolate flavor.” The ice cream, however, missed the mark and was “kind of tasteless” and “not very vanilla.”
Fourth Place (tie): Carvel (72 points)
Despite garnering a “yum,” Carvel’s Flying Saucers registered as “very sweet” and “not chocolatey enough,” with a flavor that was “a bit artificial/mass-produced, but good.”
Third Place: 365 Organic (72.5 points)
This organic brand from Whole Foods got high marks for “good chocolate flavor” and ice cream with “nice intensity.”
Second Place: Best Yet (78 points)
Many of us had never heard of this brand, but it’s a good thing we tried it, because we loved its “delicious, creamy” ice cream. There were some qualms about the cookie being mushy and not quite chocolatey enough, but ultimately, it reminded us of an “above average” version of “what you got as a kid.”
First: Turkey Hill (78.5 points)
We “liked the cookie” on this “tasty,” “basic ice cream sandwich,” but it was the “delicious” vanilla-bean ice cream that won us over, just barely pushing it over the top.