Which ice cream flavor you prefer may mostly be subjective, but that’s not stopping most of us from agreeing that when it comes to a scoop or two, chocolate and vanilla reign supreme. A 2020 report from YouGov America surprisingly found that most of the U.S. were in unison when it came to beloved ice cream flavors with 17 percent of adults agreeing that chocolate was the best and 15 percent agreeing on vanilla.
We polled the entire Parade team to get their take on the best and worst ice cream flavors, from which flavor is the most satisfying to which flavor you could do without. When it came to ranking, we looked at flavorfulness, creaminess, texture, and all-around what people just enjoyed the most!
From unique ice cream flavors to surprising ice cream flavors, we were careful about the ones that made the cut. So, does your favorite ice cream flavor make the list? Parade ranked 32 ice cream flavors from best to worst. Keep reading to see if yours is below!
32 Best Ice Cream Flavors
Chocolate ice cream stands the test of time and as the 2020 YouGov report surmises, the large majority agrees that it’s the best flavor there is.
Vanilla makes a justifiable runner-up. After all, vanilla ice cream is so refreshing on a warm summer’s day.
Rounding out the quintessential Neapolitan ingredients is strawberry-flavored ice cream. It’s a great flavor if you want a few fruit chunks in your cone or cup and clearly, it’s one of the most popular flavors there is.
4. Mint chocolate chip
Equally strong flavors mint and chocolate work together to create a green ice cream with chunks of chocolate chips interspersed throughout it. It’s heavenly, so long as you like your ice cream minty!
5. Butter pecan
Butter pecan ice cream is actually characterized by vanilla ice cream, then mixed with roasted pecans, butter, and vanilla flavoring. It’s buttery and rich, making for a smooth ice cream that’s nice and creamy.
6. Chocolate chip cookie dough
Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream is exactly what you need when craving chocolate. Featuring unbaked chunks off chocolate chip cookie dough embedded in vanilla ice cream, this flavor hardly ever disappoints.
7. Cookies n’ cream
Know a cookie monster? Then this is the ice cream for them! Cookies n’ cream usually features crumbled-up chocolate sandwich cookies into the ice cream, which is usually coffee or chocolate-flavored. It’s a real treat!
8. Rocky road
If you’re a chocoholic who loves a little crunch in their ice cream cone, then Rocky road is always the way to go. This ice cream has a base of chocolate then has chopped almonds and gooey marshmallow pieces mixed in. It’s like a chocolatey, nutty s’more in ice cream form!
Have you ever met someone who loves coffee-flavored ice cream but doesn’t enjoy a cup of joe? There’s something so universal about the taste of coffee ice cream, hence so many people love it.
10. Chocolate chip
Smooth and creamy, the chocolate chip ice cream usually features pieces of chocolate throughout the vanilla-flavored ice cream. This is a far cry from any flavor with big chocolate chunks as the chocolate chip flavor is much more reserved in its chippage.
Pistachio—you either love it or you hate it. Well, according to You Gov, a surprising amount of American adults love pistachio (although we don’t think many kids will be ordering this flavor any time soon).
Harkening back to numbers 1, 2, and 3 on this list, Neapolitan is simply a combination of all three, all together. It’s the most classic ice cream flavor there is!
13. Cake batter
Things are starting to get really sweet! Again, ice cream-lovers either live for cake batter ice cream or can’t stand it and that’s probably because it’s ridiculously sweet. Our favorite part—sweetness aside—is the bits of actual cake batter smashed in throughout.
14. Salted caramel
If you love caramel, then you haven’t lived until you’ve tried salted caramel. This ice cream flavor achieves the culinary concept of “flavor layering,” which simply means it’s both salty and sweet—all at the same time.
Butterscotch ice cream, for some reason, just tastes like home. Maybe perhaps it feels more homemade than some other super sugary flavors, but the browned butter, caramelized sugar, and molasses in this flavor just feel like sitting on the front porch during a summertime rain storm.
16. French vanilla
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Vanilla may be #2 on this list but french vanilla isn’t too far behind. If you’re wondering what, in fact, the difference is, french vanilla is marked by a French style of ice cream that utilizes egg yolks in the base. This makes for a creamier, richer consistency as well as a yellow-ish hue as opposed to vanilla’s stark white.
17. Cherry vanilla
Another variation of vanilla (kinda) is cherry vanilla. This ice cream flavor is usually made with cherries and french vanilla (hence that creamier consistency that makes it feel very homemade).
Related: Ben and Jerry’s Flavors
18. Chocolate peanut butter
There are all kinds of ways to unite chocolate and peanut butter in an ice cream flavor but most typically, you’ll find it done as such: dark chocolate ice cream with swirls of peanut butter throughout. Of course, you could always up the PB ante by throwing in some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as a topping!
Also known as maple creames (pronounced creamy) in Vermont and even parts of New Hampshire, maple-flavored ice cream is a bit of a New England staple. Usually, you’ll find this deliciously sweet flavor in soft-serve form, piled on top of a waffle cone.
20. Black raspberry chip
Similar in taste to the aforementioned cherry vanilla flavor, black raspberry chip is usually categorized by flavor profiles of vanilla and, of course, black raspberry chunks and swirls.
21. Moose tracks
Traditionally—as Moose Tracks is, in fact, a branded flavor only licensed out to a few different companies—this flavor is made with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cups, and fudge swirls.
Related: 12 Best Low-Calorie Ice Creams
22. Raspberry ripple
Particularly beloved across the pond, Raspberry Ripple is a refreshing ice cream flavor that occurs when raspberry syrup is injected into vanilla ice cream to create flavorful swirls.
23. Strawberry cheesecake
There are a few different takes on strawberry cheesecake as an ice cream flavor but by far and away, our favorite is Ben and Jerry’s. The Vermont-based ice cream company combines strawberry cheesecake ice cream with strawberry chunks and swirls of graham cracker. It really tastes like a cheesecake—only in a cup or a cone!
24. Cotton candy
Cotton candy is perhaps a divisive flavor in that, well, you either love it or don’t. Super sugary and categorized by its recognizable pink and blue hue, cotton candy-flavored ice cream is usually eaten by kids, though most adults would rather a different flavor in its place.
It’s getting real sugary toward the bottom of this list! Watermelon-flavored ice cream is perhaps most famous in the context of Friendly’s Wattamelon Roll, a beloved summertime dessert that has a way of showing up at every Fourth of July party and every picnic. While it’s not for everyone, this flavor definitely tastes more like an artificial watermelon flavor than it does the actual fruit it takes its name from.
26. Pralines ‘n cream
First introduced by mainstream ice cream company Baskin Robbins, pralines n’ cream is a flavor most beloved in the South. Throughout this vanilla-flavored scoop, you’ll find praline-coated pecan pieces and swirls and swirls of decadent caramel.
27. Matcha green tea
Matcha green tea has been around for 900 years thanks to Chinese Buddhist monks who prepared it traditionally as tea. While it’s been popular as simply a flavor in Japanese culture for some time now, it’s only been taking off in the states these last few years. However, this flavor doesn’t tickle everybody’s taste buds. Unlike most other ice cream flavors, matcha can be pretty bitter, so you have to have a love for the stuff to really rank this high.
Sorry, not sorry. Banana-flavored ice cream just doesn’t do it for us.
29. Rum raisin
We really want to like rum raisin-flavored ice cream more than we actually do, but there’s something about the combination of hard raisins and soft ice cream that just doesn’t fly.
Even lower in ranking is bubblegum-flavored ice cream. Unnaturally pink in hue, this flavor is mostly ordered by kids (if at all), but we think the flavor itself should stick to gum.
31. Tutti frutti
Meh. We prefer the jellybean to this vintage, somewhat tropical flavor that unites all kinds of fruity flavors—banana, pineapple, and more—for a kind of sugary, fruity explosion that’s just altogether too sweet.