Updated in 2023! In the 80s and 90s, fat was the enemy, but in the 2000’s sugar became the dietary nemesis. Many Americans dove into the keto craze, while millions more have made real efforts to cut back on their added sugar intake. Consequently, quite a few low sugar dairy-free ice cream brands came to market in the past decade. As the sugar-free hype has waned, several options have quietly slipped away, but there are still a handful of brands remaining …
Low Sugar Dairy-free Ice Cream Brands and How they Rank
This post covers the mainstream brands that you can find at grocery stores throughout the country or order online for shipment to your home. To start, I cover a few important FAQs, but they are quickly followed by the low sugar dairy-free ice cream brands!
Are these Really “Ice Cream?”
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.
Why is Low Sugar Dairy-Free Ice Cream Dense?
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, some have done a truly credible job.
The Package Has a Different Serving Size. What Gives?
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.
Are these Brands Allergen Safe?
All items listed below are dairy-free by ingredients. But ingredients are subject to change at any time, and all products are at some degree of risk for allergen cross contamination, whether they have a “may contain” statement or not. Always read the label before consuming any food, and make sure you are familiar with this may contain information. Only you can decide what foods are safe for your needs.
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)
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 definitely not an “ice cream” brand, but it still deserves a inclusion in this post. Rebel’s sorbet line is a great option for low sugar seekers who want a fruity, dairy-free frozen dessert. And many do tout it as “creamy” thanks to it’s well churned recipe.
- Sweeteners: erythritol, allulose, vegetable glycerin, monk fruit extract
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 15 to 27
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: 0 to 2 grams (0 grams added sugars + 12 to 16 grams sugar alcohol)
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)
I’ve had their soft serve, right from their little stand in Hawaii. It was creamy, delicious, and very banana-y. Unfortunately, the packed pints aren’t quite as creamy. 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)
For about a decade, this was a favorite product among sugar-free consumers. And it was pretty darn impressive. It ranked #2 on this list, and hit the sweet spot for softness and close to normal flavor. But then, they messed with perfection. The consumer reviews on our site plummeted, so I bought a pint to see if it really was that bad. We had two dairy consumers and two dairy-free consumers in our taste test, and all of us made a horrible face on first bite. The taste wasn’t what we remembered, and the consistency was quite hard.
- Sweeteners: acacia gum, erythritol, monk fruit extract, stevia
- Calories per 1/2 cup: 120 to 156
- Sugars per 1/2 cup: <1 to 2 grams (<1 gram added sugars + 3 to 6 grams sugar alcohol)
Rate them Yourself in our Dairy-Free Ice Cream Reviews!
The above rankings are based on our in-house testers and your reviews! See our Dairy-Free Ice Cream Reviews to leave your own unbiased rating and review on the brands you’ve tried (if you are in no way affiliated with the brand). No login required!