Funny story: I'm actually a recent newcomer to Vermont, which means Ben & Jerry's has become somewhat of a food religion. While the production factory everyone knows this extraordinary ice cream for is located in Waterbury, both Ben and Jerry got their start in the town of Merrick on Long Island, New York—not too far from where I grew up. With that being said, the B&J love has always run strong, and while there are no "bad" flavors per se, there are definitely some that are inferior.
The factory tour is something that has been crossed off my list several times (six, to be exact) and not only is the ice cream that Ben & Jerry's produces of stellar quality; their involvement in the outside world is uncanny and respectable. It's due to this reputation that they've received such high praise from both ice cream and humanity lovers alike. But the one thing they share in common is this: an appreciation for the art that is flavor.
Here in Vermont, you deal with a stern board of critics when it comes to ice cream. Whenever there's a new flavor release, you know it'll run out of stock quickly, and immediate feedback is to be expected. This is what makes it easy to figure out what's worth it and what's not, but we're making it even easier... Here are 25 of the most well-known Ben & Jerry's flavors, in order of worst to best, based on public opinion.
Obviously, Vanilla falls to the very bottom of this list because... well, it's just vanilla. It's an original, great for those who hate extra flavors, but it's really just "eh." When pitted against any other flavor on this list—including the lower-ranking ones—it simply doesn't hold up on its end. Don't get us wrong, though; there are no Ben & Jerry's flavors that are truly bad. If you're curious about the ones that didn't make it, however, you can feel free to check out the Flavor Graveyard.
24 Vanilla Toffee Bar Crunch
Yikes, did this ice cream cater to a group of nonexistent fans? Not too many people hail "toffee" as one of the greatest flavors in the world, and since it's such a strong flavor chunk, vanilla ice cream was the most sensible, yet boring, option for a base. This was one of the first ice creams showcasing the company's commitment to sourcing Fairtrade Certified and non-GMO ingredients but, unfortunately, just didn't gain any popularity. While this is still a promise Ben & Jerry's has remained faithful to, their flavors have gotten much, much better.
23 Red Velvet Cake
Personally, I cringe at the thought of this flavor because while I adore red velvet cake, the ice cream form was clawingly sweet. If you happen to have a huge sweet tooth, then this might be right up your alley, but the combination of actual cake pieces as well as cream cheese icing swirls just made it a tad overwhelming. This is a great treat to have maybe every five years to really get a sugar rush, but it definitely wasn't voted a crowd favorite.
22 Strawberry Cheesecake
Many have tried and many have ended up with mediocre cheesecake ice cream flavors. Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake outdid much of the competition, but it just wasn't anything truly unique as far as ice cream goes. In later years, many did come to expect a new and wild flavor, but in the beginning, there were many of these common flavors. With larger than usual chunks of strawberry and a nice graham cracker addition, this ice cream was noble but lacked a bit of originality.
21 Salted Caramel Almond Brittle
This flavor did receive fairly high reviews on the Ben & Jerry's website, but the reason it's ranking relatively low is due to its slightly strange combination. Salted caramel on its own is fine, but the addition of almonds is often a no-go for some. Almonds have a very distinct flavor, and while they all seem to work well in this pint, it's a bit like a simplified Rocky Road. It can get rather sweet very quickly, which is why this is yet another five-spoonfuls-to-done ice cream flavor. It's certified Kosher, though, which is always a plus.
20 Cinnamon Buns
Not everyone is crazy about cinnamon buns in their ice cream, and this follows suit in very much the same way as Red Velvet cake. Cinnamon Buns is an excellent choice for those who have a food love affair with the sticky sweet buns, but for everyone else, this flavor can come on a bit strong. The flavor is undeniably cinnamon-filled but not in an overwhelming way, and there are pleasant chunks of streusel and dough throughout. The allure of this ice cream is its novelty and uniqueness, but it can definitely get old after a while.
19 Cherry Garcia
Without a doubt, there will be some haters on this list for the addition of this classic ice cream flavor. Bear in mind that when creating a list such as this, it needed to be tailor-made to the good of the many, not the particular tastes of the few. In following such a notion, Cherry Garcia had to be on the lower end. Cherry-flavored ice cream with massive cherry and fudge chunks can be a beautiful thing, and the dedication to the late Jerry Garcia is a wonderful tribute, but this fan-suggested flavor isn't loved by everyone.
18 Phish Food
Although this flavor is lower on the list, the story of its conception is pretty awesome. Anyone who's a fan of the band Phish will likely know that this flavor was a collaboration between them and Ben. That's not the awesome part, though; Phish donates part of their royalties from these ice cream sales to the environmental conservation of Vermont's Lake Champlain Watershed. While the flavor has an interesting array of flavor chunks, to say the least, it was created for a worthy cause, which is why it's on this list.
17 Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Spice lovers, we're looking at you! If you're always first in line to get a pumpkin latte, then there's no doubt that you'll fall in love with this seasonal flavor. For the other half of the population, this could very well count as a flavor on their skip list. While the ice cream itself is delicious since it's spiced very well and features those trademark graham cracker chunks, it's just not something everyone feels the need for. It caters to one season and can only be found in limited amounts around the holidays.
16 Chunky Monkey
This is yet another classic that appeared as one of the originals on the Ben & Jerry's list of flavors. There's nothing at all wrong with this ice cream; it's just common, which isn't what the company is known for anymore. Chunky Monkey will always be a go-to for some with its massive chunks of walnuts and fudge surrounded by a creamy banana-flavored ice cream, but that's all it is—a comfort flavor. It's worth trying if you've never experienced it since it's such a great ice cream, but there are far better flavors left to explore on this list.
15 Milk & Cookies
We're getting to the good stuff! Co-owners Ben and Jerry are flavor geniuses when it comes to creating new and innovative flavors. While some have been a little beyond weird, Milk & Cookies just makes sense. In this vanilla ice cream, not only do you get a variety of cookie chunks—chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate cookie swirl—but when combined, they're pure magic. This flavor explosion of cookie goodness is what it tastes like when you reach the bottom of your milk and find a plethora of cookie pieces in the bottom, except they're not mushy.
14 Mint Chocolate Cookie
It's likely that you didn't notice that the title of this ice cream says Mint Chocolate "Cookie" rather than "chip." That's because, once again, Ben and Jerry are the greatest ice cream masterminds who ever existed. They took traditional mint chocolate ice cream, and rather than throwing chips in there, they added chocolate cookie pieces. I'm not just talking about tiny crumbs; I'm talking huge cookie chunks. It might throw you off by seeing half a cookie in the center of your pint, but just go with it.
13 Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core
I'm sure there were many mixed emotions over the Core series of flavors that Ben & Jerry's recently put out, but overall, they're fantastic. On the tour of the main facility, you learn that figuring out how to get exceptionally large chunks of things into ice cream was something these friends prided themselves on, which is why the Core series makes so much sense. There's not much to say about a cookie core other than it's 110% worth the calories and the sugar bloat. Pro tip: let it sit out a bit before you dive in to allow the core to soften a little.
12 AmeriCone Dream
This is a personal favorite of my partner's as well as 99% of the population... The other 1% must not like ice cream at all. Stephen Colbert is a well-loved witty genius amongst television viewers, and his ice cream flavor totally matches his upbeat, lively personality. Filled with fudge-covered waffle cones and caramel swirls, there's nothing bad to say about this flavor. Its purchase also benefits the Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream Fund, which makes you feel good about eating it—the whole pint, that is—because we've officially surpassed listening to suggested serving sizes.
11 Urban Bourbon
This was one out of two flavors I had the (ecstatic) joy of tasting at the factory when it first came into production, and let me tell you—it's everything I imagined it would be. It's unclear if having a scoop nearly the size of my face in a perfectly crafted waffle cone added to the defining moment, but on its own, it's a pure delight. This ice cream has a bold flavor with an undertone of bourbon-swirled toastiness. The nuts and fudge only add to its slightly sinful flavor and take this ice cream to a new level entirely.
10 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
You might be wondering why such a "normal" flavor is this high up on the list, and that's okay because I'm about to explain exactly why. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is such a simple flavor that it would seem easy, but it's not. This was the first flavor ever to be produced by Ben & Jerry's, and they absolutely nailed it. The chunks of cookie dough are bigger than those in any other ice cream you'll compare it to (don't bother), and that's probably part of the reason it's still hailed as one of the greatest flavors in existence. And there's no arguing that on our end.
9 Peanut Butter Fudge Core
This delicious blend of peanut butter and chocolate dates back to one of the most classic sweet flavor combinations known to man. The center is filled with a chocolate fudge that's almost unreal and also slightly peanut butter-flavored. Ben & Jerry's outdid themselves when creating this heavenly dessert, marrying flavor upon flavor to create the ultimate for peanut butter lovers. As a fun bonus, you'll also be digging into tiny peanut butter cups, as if there was anything more that you needed to love about this ice cream.
8 The Tonight Dough
Similar to AmeriCone Dream, this flavor is also a nod to one of the country's favorite shows. Jimmy Fallon's reaction to this rollout was so genuine and hilarious and is a must-watch if you haven't seen it already. But that's only one reason why this flavor is so great. It's made with two different ice creams—chocolate and caramel—with chocolate chip cookie dough, chocolate cookie swirls, and even peanut butter cookie dough. This flavor was created in tribute to the SeriousFun Children's Network, and that makes it yet another feel-good flavor.
7 PB Doughable Chocolate
Don't hate me, but some of these next flavors are only available in Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops... which just means you'll have to find one! PB Doughable Chocolate is a new flavor for 2018, and it's part of their cookie dough series. It can be described in one word: sinful. This rich chocolate ice cream is unlike any you've ever had, and if the flavor of chocolate could be amplified, this is what it would taste like. This is due to the combination of dark and milk chocolate ice cream mixtures, and added to that are peanut butter cookie dough chunks and peanut butter cookie butter swirls.
6 Chip Off The Dough Block
We're getting up there! Chip Off The Dough Block was yet another tribute to the cookie dough series. This is like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough but revamped and bumped up a notch by featuring both cookie dough and baked chocolate chip cookie pieces. These delightful little chunks sit in a devious combination of chocolate chip and chocolate ice cream, making for an explosion of flavor as well as a nice, malty base. It's just one of those flavors that's comforting and delicious and not likely one you'll be able to stop eating.
5 Minter Wonderland
Recently announced this year, Minter Wonderland premiered as an exclusive to Target stores. Hilariously enough, the first time I attempted to score this festive flavor, it was completely sold out. If you want to get your hands on this, you're better off getting to the stores early because it's selling like hot cakes... or, uh, ice cream. This minty green ice cream is home to some of the most delicious marshmallow swirls and chocolate cookie pieces you'll ever have. It's like having Christmas in a pint container, and you'll be thankful to have one of these in your freezer.
4 Pecan Resist
The newest flavor to be released by Ben & Jerry's caused a bit of controversy, but what we're evaluating is flavor, not opinion. This decadent chocolate ice cream is filled with huge chunks of walnuts, pecans, fudge-covered almonds, and not one, but two types of (huge) chocolate chunks. It's a nut and chocolate lover's dream and should be recognized as such. Although it sounds like a flavor that's heavy on the sweets, it's actually quite balanced and truly a masterwork. This flavor also supports several different organizations and nonprofits, thus remaining true to the Ben & Jerry's mission: to change the world through ice cream.
3 Gimme S'more!
This is my personal bragging right as far as flavors go because this is not only a personal favorite but also one that was had for the first time at its factory release. Gimme S'more! is almost a perfect all-around flavor even if you're not a fan of s'mores in general. Not to be confused with their original S'mores flavor, this pint contains a flawlessly smooth toasted marshmallow ice cream base with added chocolate cookie and graham cracker swirls as well as chocolate chunks. The flavor is so perfectly balanced between the ice cream and added chunks that it's near perfection.
2 Chocolate Shake It (Truffles)
Euphoric is the only descriptive word that adequately describes a pint of this. If saving half a pint for a later date is your thing, then you probably shouldn't test fate with this flavor because failure is a possibility. Not only does this ice cream have large chocolate-covered truffles inside it, but the beauty lies in the ice cream itself. This is the perfect malted chocolate flavor to evoke those feelings of 1950s milkshake shops, complete with marshmallow swirls for a bit of added sweetness. Truly, a warning label should come with this stuff.
It should come as no surprise whatsoever that the number one flavor of all time is Half Baked. After all, it combines the best of both worlds: sweet chocolate chip cookie dough pieces and gooey brownie chunks. All of this is packaged in the perfect mix of chocolate and vanilla ice creams, so you don't even need to choose sides. This is the go-to for most people and was truly revolutionary when it arrived on the ice cream scene. To this day, it's still a flavor of comfort and tradition for Ben & Jerry's lovers.