In the 80s and 90s, fat became the enemy, but now it’s sugar. Many Americans are diving into the keto craze, while millions more are making real efforts to cut back on their added sugar intake. Consequently, quite a few low sugar dairy-free ice cream brands have come to market in the past few years. And we think today is a great time to celebrate them!
This post covers the mainstream brands that you can find at grocery stores throughout the country or order online for shipment to your home. Because they’re free of dairy, many of these brands are actually called “frozen desserts” or “frozen treats.” But they’re all churned blends that are frozen and packed into pints with the intent to be an alternative to ice cream. So for simplicity and familiarity sake, we’ll call them low sugar dairy-free ice cream. It’s a lot easier than trying to awkwardly describe each one.
10 Low Sugar Dairy-free Ice Cream Brands and How they Rank
Many people wonder why sugar-free and low sugar dairy-free ice cream pints are so dense. It’s because sugar isn’t just a sweetener. It actually adds body to ice cream, and it lowers the freezing point. This results in a softer ice cream that doesn’t freeze as solid in your freezer. Consequently, less sugar = harder ice cream.
To compensate, low sugar dairy-free ice cream makers have to add more fat, processed ingredients, or whole foods with natural sugars (like fruit) to help coax the frozen dessert into a spoonable texture. Even then, it’s very difficult to get a truly creamy consistency without sugar, and without dairy. But the brands below have given it their best effort. According to consumers like you, who have rated and reviewed these products, some have done a truly credible job.
Some of these low sugar dairy-free ice cream brands have a 1/2 cup serving size, and some have a 2/3 cup serving size. For easier comparison, we’ve adjusted them all accordingly to 1/2 cup serving size. This is why a few are listed here with lower calories and sugars than on the pint.
Know Your Needs! By ingredients, all of the products listed here are dairy-free. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. All products are at some degree of risk for cross-contamination with allergens, but you must determine if the protocols are safe for your needs. Also processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product. We are not affiliated with any of these brands and are not representing or directly recommending them. This post is for informational purposed only.
#1 So Delicious Light Ice Cream (formerly Mousse Frozen Dessert)
This light and airy frozen dessert is definitely the softest and creamiest low sugar dairy-free ice cream on the market. It has a wonderful whipped consistency with sweetness and flavors that are relatively seamless.
- Sweeteners: organic tapioca syrup, cane sugar, erythritol
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 75 to 83
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 4 to 7 grams (4 to 7 grams added sugars + 3 grams sugar alcohol)
This was one of the first, if not the first, sugar-free and dairy-free ice cream brand to hit the market. And it’s still hard to beat. Although it isn’t just like their full sugar options, they’ve managed to hit the sweet spot in softness and with a flavor that is relatively close to normal.
- Sweeteners: acacia gum, erythritol, monk fruit extract
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 98 to 158
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: <1 to 2 grams (0 grams added sugars + 3 to 4 grams sugar alcohol)
This brand is low in added sugar and sweetened with simple, pure ingredients. And it’s easily the top ranked banana-sweetened, dairy-free ice cream brand on the market right now for both taste and creamy consistency.
- Sweeteners: banana, organic honey
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 80 to 110 (Peanut Butter Fudge is an outlier at 200 calories)
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 10 to 13 grams (5 to 8 grams added sugar)
O’My makes a classic line of sugar-sweetened, dairy-free gelato, but they’ve more recently released this petite line of very low sugar dairy-free ice cream. It’s definitely denser than they’re classic line, but has a smooth consistency and bright flavors that are different, but good.
- Sweeteners: allulose, acacia gum, stevia, monk fruit
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 98
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: <2 grams (<1 gram added sugar)
Halo Top Dairy Free was all the rage when it was first released. In fact, they quickly ascended to 16 flavors! Sadly, more than half of those have been discontinued. They’re still quite popular, just not as broadly as the company had anticipated. Their flavors sound very enticing, but make no mistake, this is a low calorie frozen dessert. For many people, it cures sugar cravings, but it isn’t extremely decadent. And be careful to select the dairy-free varieties. They make dairy-based frozen desserts in similar flavors, so the two are easy to confuse.
- Sweeteners: organic cane sugar, erythritol, organic stevia leaf extract
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 70 to 110
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 4 to 10 grams (+ 5 to 6 grams sugar alcohol)
Not long ago, Arctic Zero transitioned from a lactose-free company to a dairy-free one. That’s a big move. In the process, they definitely lost some customers. But they have gained a new loyal following. These definitely taste lower sugar, and are a bit dense, but are still enjoyed by many.
- Sweeteners: organic cane sugar, acacia gum, monk fruit concentrate
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 40 to 80
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 5 to 10 grams
This is a newcomer that is still expanding distribution, but is available to order online. It’s almost purely date-sweetened, so it has a slightly unique rich texture and taste from other brands on the market. The sweetness is more subdued, which will be pleasing to some, but lacking in indulgence to others.
- Sweeteners: dates, acacia gum
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 113
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 10 to 11 grams (0 grams added sugar)
Like some of the others, this brand is a bit dense, and definitely has an alternative type of sweetness. But they load it up with chunky additions to create a more dessert-like experience. Use extra caution as this brand makes both dairy and dairy-free pints, and they have had one recall for packing a dairy flavor into a dairy-free labeled pint.
- Sweeteners: tapioca syrup, erythritol, cane sugar, monk fruit extract
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 80 to 100
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 4 to 7 grams (+ 3 grams sugar alcohol)
I’ve had their soft serve, right from their little stand in Hawaii. It was creamy, delicious, and very banana-y. Unfortunately, that creaminess doesn’t seem to be translating in their packed pints. These aren’t low in overall sugars, but are completely fruit-sweetened, and don’t contain any added sweeteners. Consequently, you will taste the banana no matter which flavor you purchase.
- Sweeteners: banana, dates
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 100 to 120
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 17 to 19 grams (0 grams added sugar)
Although they market it as an “ice treat” I’ve seen this brand refer to their product as an “ice cream” alternative in various places. Unfortunately, no matter what you call this frozen dessert, not many people are loving it. It’s icy, a bit powdery, and is a bit lighter in sweetness than many consumers expect.
- Sweeteners: banana puree, water, apple puree, maple syrup in select flavors
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 98 to 102
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 10 to 14 grams (0 to 4 grams added sugars)
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