There can be a lot of benefits to cutting dairy out of your life, but losing ice cream is definitely not one of them. I have been dairy-free for about a year now, and I've searched high and low for a lactose free ice cream that parallels the real deal. There are lots of variations to choose from–coconut, almond, soy, oat, or even lactose free milk– and they each bring a different set of qualities to the ice cream. I went out and bought as many lactose free ice creams I could find and tested them, and here are my honest reviews.

Lola Cleaveland

Ice Cream #1 : Oatly, Original Flavor

I am a huge fan of the Oatly milk, but this ice cream is a little underwhelming. It has a very fluffy texture and feels creamy without leaving a thick dairy-like film on your mouth, but it doesn't provide that satisfying ice cream feeling. I would recommend this ice cream for someone who likes to add their own toppings to ice cream, because it serves as a good base but is not wowing on its own. 

Rating: 7/10

Lola Cleaveland

Ice Cream #2: Beckon Dairy Full & Lactose Free Ice Cream, Chocolate

This ice cream is a bit of cop-out because it does have a certain type of dairy in it. However, if you are okay eating lactose free dairy, I highly recommend it. It has a great creamy texture, a delicious chocolate flavor, and I believe it could hold its salt up against any lactose-full ice cream. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Lola Cleaveland

Ice Cream #3: Ben and Jerry's, Caramel Almond Brittle

It is in no way surprising to me that Ben and Jerry's has mastered the dairy-free ice cream game. This Ben and Jerry's ice cream had an almond milk base which was flavored with almond extract and swirled with salted caramel and pieces of almond brittle. For me, this hit all the right markers. The base was EXTREMELY creamy, and the toppings provided just the right amount of crunch. What I will say about this ice cream is that the almond milk base is extremely rich, and the almond extract flavor can push it over the edge for some. Overall, I think Ben and Jerry's has a great non-dairy ice cream selection with super fun flavors. 

Rating: 8/10

Ice Cream #4: Jeni's 

Jeni's Ice Cream is amazing, and the dairy-free selection is no exception. This ice cream is harder to find, but definitely worth it in my opinion. My only critique is that it is very dense (especially the ones made with coconut milk as the base). 

Rating: 9/10

Lola Cleaveland

Ice Cream #5: Coolhaus Cookie Dough (honorable mention)

While this is not technically marketed as a dairy-free ice cream, I think it should be. These little frozen cookie dough cups are sold in single serving sizes and are an extremely satisfying dairy-free desert. I will say, however, that the flavor is a little bland, so I would recommend not getting the plain flavor. 

Rating: 6/10

Overall, this experience proved to me that you don't need to eat dairy to enjoy ice cream. Each dairy-free ice cream I tried brought something unique to the table. The key is really to know what you are looking for in your ideal ice cream, and finding an option that caters to those needs!