We Tried Popular Dairy-Free Ice Creams––Here Are Our Favorites

From clearer skin to a reduced risk for cancer to a more seamless digestive system, there is a slew of health benefits associated with nixing dairy products from your diet. Of course, in cutting out milk, cheeses and creams, you’re also choosing to say “so long” to dishes you’ve probably worshipped since childhood. But of all the beloved cheese and milk-laden foods, there are some harder to live without than others. Namely, ice cream.

In the past, seeing the words “vegan” or “dairy-free” on a food label signified that the treat would probably taste like cardboard. But in recent years, food manufacturers have optimized these foods for taste and quality.

Here, we highlight our favorite dairy-free ice creams that won’t just help satisfy that sweet tooth, but also comply with your special dietary needs.

Ben & Jerry’s P.B. & Cookies

Main ingredient: Almond milk

Calories per half-cup: 290

Our thoughts: Despite the fairly high calorie load, this pint is definitely worth the splurge. On top of being dairy-free, fair trade, vegan and kosher, the dessert packs an insane number of crunchy, creamy add-ins. If you were to pair it alongside a non-dairy version, we’d be shocked if you could tell the difference.

NadaMoo!

Main ingredient: Coconut

Calories per half-cup: Depends on flavor

Our thoughts: With a creamy coconut base, NadaMoo! ice cream is a surprisingly smooth, creamy version of a non-dairy ice cream. What’s more, the add-in ingredient chunks are fairly sizable, so you’re likely to get a major crunch or chew with every bite.

Luna & Larry’s Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge

Main ingredient: Coconut

Calories per half-cup: 210

Our thoughts: Dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic, vegan and kosher, Luna & Larry ice cream is bound to satisfy anyone with discernible taste or a nitpicky diet. The coconut base provides much of its creamy texture, agave syrup delivers the sweetness and hazelnut adds a subtle (but intriguing) final note. It will definitely be one of the more interesting ice creams you’ll try this year.

So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag

Main ingredient: Soy

Calories per half-cup: 210

Our thoughts: For those of us with a serious peanut butter fix (guilty!), So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag should definitely do the trick. Despite the soy base, it tastes surprisingly like regular ice cream. The best part? It’s packed with real, textured chocolate flakes, so even if the soy cream isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty to love about the pint.

Steve’s Burnt Sugar Vanilla

Main ingredient: Coconut

Calories per half-cup: 280

Our thoughts: With rich, gooey spirals of caramel, this Brooklyn-based, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, egg-free and non-GMO ice cream reminds us a lot of a Twix bar or the ice cream inside of an ice cream sandwich. In other words, it’s super rich. And while the calorie count is slightly high, it’s certainly worth the occasional treat.

Tofutti Cuties

Main ingredient: Soy

Calories per sandwich: 130

Our thoughts: Who doesn’t love a classic ice cream sandwich? Although soy/tofu comprises the base of this variety from Tofutti, we’re betting you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. And taste aside, they’re absolutely adorable.

Julia Sullivan is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. When she's not picking heavy things up and setting them down again (more commonly known as weight lifting), trying to prepare healthy meals in her doll-sized Manhattan studio or writing about the latest fitness craze, she chronicles her zany adventures as a new New Yorker in her blog, Jules & the City. You can also follow her on Twitter.