Oat milk has come a long way in the last few years — from the alt coffee creamer your vegan friend asked for at brunch to a ubiquitous presence in coffee shops and grocery stores. Just a short while ago, we’d settle for whatever oat milk we could find, but now there are so many options that oat milk requires its own section at the store (and people have fiery opinions about their favorite brands).
Oat milk ice cream has undergone a similar transformation. When cult-favorite brand Oatly first announced their ice creams, the pints were so coveted that people made Google sheets detailing which stores kept it in stock. Thankfully, it’s much easier to find oat milk frozen desserts now, and there are plenty of new varieties that are actually worthwhile. The best ones are creamy but not too heavy, and they don’t have that chalky consistency you may remember from earlier iterations of oat milk ice cream.
Whether you’re just curious about oat-based frozen desserts or already consider them a dairy-free godsend, here are the best ones we’ve tried, from chocolate-covered bars and a nostalgic strawberry pint to a standard oat flavor and a surprisingly great brownie-and-raspberry swirl.
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If You’re Really, Really Into Oatly
Oatly was one of the first brands to bring oat milk into our collective consciousness — with a very distinct (namely, oaty) flavor. The company’s foray into the frozen dessert arena was the logical next step, and this specific pint evokes the same sweet creaminess that made Oatly the go-to for baristas everywhere. It’s not quite our favorite non-dairy ice cream, but it definitely gets points for tasting 100 percent like oat milk.
A Nostalgic Strawberry Pint
Van Leeuwen makes a great oat-based strawberry ice cream — but there’s something special about the Oatly Strawberry flavor. It tastes more like Strawberry Nesquik than actual berries, and it invokes instant nostalgia of quenching your thirst on an elementary school playground or giving yourself pink milk mustaches. We also appreciate the ice cream’s super creamy texture, which feels decadent without being too complicated with extra chunks or mix-ins.
A Summery Dessert Pint
Planet Oat’s Blueberry Oat Crumble was one of the first oat milk ice creams we ever tried, and it still holds up. The oaty-ness of the oat milk base is an asset, rather than a hindrance, since there are actual oat cookie chunks swirled into the pint. Think of this ice cream as a blueberry pie à la mode shortcut — instantly refreshing without being too heavy.
Our New Favorite Ice Cream Bar
Ice cream bars are ideal for when you want to enjoy some ice cream but don’t trust yourself to not polish off an entire pint in one sitting. Thankfully, Van Leeuwen makes some incredible oat-based ones, and their brown sugar honeycomb variety is one of our favorite ice cream bars, period (oat-based or otherwise). It has a rich chocolate honeycomb exterior, with brown sugar oat-milk ice cream that’s light enough to balance everything out.
A Powerful Coffee Ice Cream
Sometimes, you just want a powerfully caffeinated ice cream that has the same punch as cold brew. This is that ice cream, and it just happens to be oat-based. The coffee chips lend a chocolatey espresso taste to the ice cream and are small enough to create a subtly crunchy stracciatella-like texture.
A Sweet and Balanced Mocha Flavor
This oat milk pint is the platonic ideal of a coffee ice cream that won’t make you jittery for the rest of the day. Its taste and texture are on par with Van Leeuwen’s dairy offerings, and the ice cream isn’t too coffee or chocolate-forward, so the flavors blend together wonderfully for a well-balanced dessert.
If You Really Love Chocolate
It’s still hard to find great chocolate oat milk ice creams. They usually come off as powdery or have an oaty aftertaste that lingers just a second too long — but that’s not the case with this triple chocolate swirl bar from Van Leeuwen. It features a chocolate shell encasing chocolate oat ice cream, with chocolate cookie pieces and fudge ribbons throughout, making it the ideal treat when you’d like to enjoy the simple pleasure of having four different forms of chocolate at once.
Our Favorite Pint
This was by far the most surprising flavor in our oat milk ice cream tastings. On paper, all of its ingredients sound fine — vanilla base, dark chocolate brownie pieces, raspberry jam — but together, they create a dessert that’s rich but not excessively sweet. If we didn’t know it was oat-based, we’d assume this was dairy, and now that we’re aware it exists, we’re going to make Van Leeuwen’s Brownie Sundae Raspberry Swirl a constant part of our oat milk ice cream routine. The best part? This frozen dessert is nut, gluten, and dairy-free, so you can share it with just about anyone.
A Solid Mint Chip Option
This pint is lower on the list because, frankly, mint chip is a lower-tier ice cream flavor. But if you must have a mint chip ice cream, this oat-based one from Planet Oat is a good option and tastes eerily similar to dairy-based varieties. This also gets extra points for having fudge swirls as well as mint-chocolate shards that melt in your mouth, and we appreciate how the flavor isn’t too aggressively minty.