All the Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Flavors Food Network Staffers Can't Get Enough Of
We're all screaming for these delicious pints.
Though people often associate ice cream with summertime, it can easily be eaten all year long. Just take it from the staffers at Food Network. We recently asked them to share their all-time favorite ice cream brands and flavors with us, and the suggestions just kept dripping in (see what we did there?) And with good reason, too. Whether you've grown tired of your normal go-to flavor or just want to add some variety to your next shopping haul, here are all the pints you don't want to miss.
I am ob-SESSED with Van Leeuwen’s Honeycomb ice cream. Each ultra-creamy pint (or scoop, if you get it straight from their shops) is laced with crunchy, chewy pieces of caramel candy, made in-house, that “bleed” streams of caramel each time you bite into a chunk. Strangely, the ice cream contains no honey, but every time I dig in I feel like a happy bear in a beehive, lapping up every last bit of this stuff. Van Leeuwen’s small-batch ice cream is on the pricier side, but I assure you it’s worth every single penny. I’ve literally said in a work meeting, “I would DIE for this ice cream.”
— Maggie Wong, Associate Editor
I could eat ice cream for every meal, but since I’m lactose-intolerant it gets limited to an occasional treat — until I discovered Van Leeuwen’s Vegan Cookies and Cream Caramel Swirl ice cream. It’s extremely rich and creamy thanks to the cashew-milk base, and I love the texture of the chocolate cookies and the slightly salty caramel swirl. I swear it’s better than regular ice cream. Now I want a scoop...
— Sarah Holden, Digital Culinary Producer
I have to admit, I am not an ice cream person. Give me brownies, cake or cookies over ice cream any day. That said, the one ice cream I can’t turn down is Jeni’s Ice Cream. The latest limited edition flavor for summer, Lemon Bar, is hands down the best pint you’ll try all year. Plus, it’s dairy-free to boot. With swirls of lemon curd and chunks of shortbread crust in a coconut cream ice cream, it tastes like summer on a spoon. If it doesn’t become a permanent offering (Psst! Jeni, can you hear me?), Brambleberry Crisp is always a good idea, too.
— T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
I love Campfire S’mores from Coolhaus — which is a certified women-owned company. I don’t even like s’mores but this ice cream version is perfection: salted Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream, graham cracker cookie butter, marshmallow swirl and chunks of dark chocolate.
— Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary
While I can’t say it’s my all-time favorite ice cream — for me, nothing can beat a thick slice of Carvel ice cream cake with the cookie crumbles between layers of ice cream — I have been making a ton of chocolate banana “nice cream” this summer. I like being able to take a few (guilt free!) scoops for my evening sit on the patio after dinner. Plus, it’s the best way to use up slightly overripe bananas when it’s too hot to make banana bread.
— Julie Hines, Managing Editor, Food Network Kitchen App
Childhood favorites don’t always translate well into adulthood, but I have maintained the same favorite ice cream since I was 4 years old: Chocolate Marshmallow Ripple Ice Cream from Schwan’s. It’s rich and creamy, and those marshmallow swirls have just the right amount of sweetness. You don’t have to leave the container on the counter to let it warm up a little before scooping, either; somehow the chocolate marshmallow variety is always soft but not too melty. Absolute. Perfection.
— Meghan Hynes Cole, Associate Editor
My favorite flavor has been Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz for as long as I can remember. I first got a taste of coffee ice cream as a young kid. I remember it clearly, it was Breyers Coffee ice cream that my grandmother had in the freezer. She would pour Baileys Irish Cream over it in the summer for a decadent adult treat. She gave me a taste and I was immediately enamored with the bitter and sweet flavor. In high school, Ben & Jerry’s launched their Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz and I was hooked. The original incarnation had coffee ice cream with chocolate covered espresso beans in it, the 2013 re-release has chunks of espresso bean fudge. Either way, it’s heaven in a bowl, and my hands down ultimate favorite flavor ice cream. My 7-year-old daughter got a taste recently and she is hooked too. I’m afraid I have created a monster!
— Alexis Pisciotta, Purchasing and Events Manager
I LOVE ice cream. Some of my earliest memories were going to a little shack in Winnipeg at the base of a bridge (called The Bridge) with my dad and getting a scoop of vanilla in a cone that was literally rolled in crunchy rainbow nonpareil sprinkles. While my favorites over the years bounced from bubble gum, to toasted coconut to hazelnut, I always find my way back to chocolate. And the top for my chocolate craving is Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Through break-ups, job layoffs and girls nights with my friends post college, it was my go-to. Don’t get me wrong: between the generous swirls of marshmallow and caramel, it’s intense. But then you get a crunchy chocolate fish (how do they get the texture so perfect?) and somehow find yourself digging back into the pint for a little more marshmallow… then the ice cream… then everything together. I will eat it until my stomach hurts. Plus, Ben & Jerry’s has always stood up for the causes they believe in and that makes me extra happy to stock up!
— Melissa Gaman, Food Network Recipe Developer
I consider myself to be something of an expert when it comes to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. My freezer is always stocked with at least one pint that I dip into more often than I should probably admit. Though every flavor is amazing in its own way, I can say without a doubt that Phish Food is the absolute best. The combo of chocolate, caramel and marshmallow is a dessert-lover’s dream — especially when it includes plenty of fish-shaped chocolates for a little extra texture. Pass me a pint, please!
— Leah Scalzadonna, Associate Editor, Programming
The biggest travesty in the world of ice cream flavors is peppermint being exiled to winter months. Yes, it’s sublime at Christmas melting under a thick blanket of hot fudge, but peppermint deserves year-round scooping status. Why? It is the perfect partner to both chocolate and vanilla, if you’re looking to double up on flavors, but it’s ideal on its own — palate-cleansing enough to allow you to polish off a large cone without feeling buried in sugary sweetness. Happily California-based scoop shop McConnell’s churns its Peppermint Stick flavor all year long, and when I find it, I stock up. It’s the perfect peppermint — bright and refreshing, with a happy snap from crushed peppermint candies, yet not so minty as to veer into mouthwash territory. Sure, peppermint conjures those wintery vibes for most people, but isn’t that all the more reason to pretend that each spoonful is a bit of Christmas in July?
— Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor
B&J’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch — aka Heath Bar Crunch — has been our family go-to for literally generations. My father always had at least three pints of the ice cream in his freezer and he taught my daughter early that it is the best flavor. Now it’s the one constant we keep on hand. Creamy coffee ice cream, crunchy toffee and chocolate — what’s not to love?
— Lygeia Grace, Culinary Editorial Director
My favorite ice cream hands down, no questions asked, is Graeter’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream! Graeter’s has been around since 1870 and makes all of their ice cream in small batches, using traditional French Pot freezers, where it’s slowly churned to a perfectly creamy consistency. While there’s so many flavors to love, mint chocolate chip is my personal favorite because it has just the right amount of mint flavor with lots of bittersweet chocolate chips (chunks rather, because melted chocolate is poured into the ice cream base, then frozen and broken up into uniquely sized chips in every batch). If you don’t live in a city where Graeter’s stores are located, you can buy frozen pints in grocery stores and online to be shipped directly to your front door.
— Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer
When it comes to ice cream, I typically keep things simple. I don’t want brownie chunks, cookie dough, or even chocolate chips mixed in — just the perfect base, and maybe some hot fudge on top, if I’m feeling feisty. My one exception is Haagen Dazs’ Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor — I can’t even put into words how good this ice cream is. It starts with the perfect deep chocolate base, but incorporates thick, creamy ribbons of smooth peanut butter for the perfect sweet-and-savory combo. It’s so damn addictive!
— Toren Weiner, Senior Director, Social Media
S’mores and ice cream are both iconic summertime sweets, so the combination of the two treats together in this limited edition, only-available-in-the-summer ice cream is worth waiting for. It’s super sweet and straight-up delicious: Toasted marshmallow-flavored ice cream studded with dark chocolate chunks and swirled with a (somehow) crunchy, buttery graham cracker ribbon.
— Drew Anne Salvatore, Recipe Editor
I think everyone will understand me when I say that “The Munchies” flavor from Ample Hill Creamery is a BIG MOOD. Though it just came into my life two short years ago after I went on a snack run with a few of my coworkers, whenever I can’t decide between a sweet or salty snack, I find myself daydreaming about this whimsical ice cream. It’s made up of salty pretzel-infused vanilla ice cream (yes, you read that correctly!) and studded with clusters of broken up Ritz crackers, pretzels, crushed potato chips and M&M candies to create a frozen treat unlike any you’ve ever had before. Though the pints are a bit on the pricier side, they're definitely worth it. If freezer space wasn’t an issue, I’d easily have a dozen pints stashed in mine at all times. Until that dream becomes a reality though, I’ll just keep buying them two pints at a time, and eating them by the spoonful.
— Michelle Baricevic, Online Editorial Coordinator, Food Network Magazine
I celebrate all of Ample Hills Ice Cream catalogue but their sweet, savory, crunchy blend called "The Munchies" is my favorite. I tried it when they first opened almost 10 years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since.
— Michelle Warner, Food Stylist
I am a big fan of ice cream, I’ll eat it over dinner any day! But when I developed an intolerance to dairy, I was heartbroken that I really wouldn’t be able to enjoy ice cream like I used to. Once Ben & Jerry’s released their non-dairy line of ice creams, it was a total game changer for me! Their Peanut Butter Half Baked is my absolute favorite, I have a pint in my freezer at all times!
— Rachel Gramuglia, Social Media Coordinator
Even though I’m not lactose intolerant, I’ve had to eat my way through quite a few pints of dairy-free ice cream (all part of the job!). Some brands are chalky, others taste like straight-up air, but one stands out: Jeni’s Dairy-Free Texas Sheet Cake. Each spoonful is rich and creamy, plus there are pieces of cake throughout. It’s so good, I always add it to my shopping cart, even though I can eat all the dairy.
— Trish Clasen, Digital Programming Manager
I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS ONE. Where does one even begin when discussing Ben & Jerry’s Moophoria PB Dough? It is the gold standard. It is the elixir of life. It is, in one word: perfect. You might be thinking, “But Larisa, how can this be? This is a low-fat, wannabe ice cream.” Bear with me. This ice cream is just as chocolate-y as any of its chocolate counterparts, but does not feel as heavy as many of them do. The texture is lighter, but just as satisfying. “I bet there are going to be one or two baby chunks of cookie dough to keep the calorie count so low,” may be another concern you’re having, like I did, prior to trying it. How wrong I was. Sometimes I feel like I have to dig through the cookie dough chunks to get to the ice cream! It is, in short, a miracle in a pint.
Pro tip: sometimes the Moophoria line is not with the normal Ben & Jerry’s pints. You may have to go down a freezer door or two. You can spot them because they’re a softer blue, slightly purple color. I think you get the point, so I’m going to cut myself off so don’t I don’t turn this into a three page love letter. Go forth! If you decide to try it, I’m elated for you.
— Larisa Alvarez, Supervising Culinary Producer
Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby is the perfect balance of salty and sweet: chocolate covered pretzels, peanut butter and vanilla ice cream. It's also a balance of textures which overwhelms the senses, creamy, chunky crisp, chewy and gooey. The only thing missing for my total indulgence is coffee. The pint portion is enough for two gluttonous visits. Sadly, it hasn’t found a home in my freezer for years. My eldest son Xavier has a peanut allergy. Reliving might find me on a park bench indulging in the near future…
— Richmond Flores, Food Stylist