- We reviewed and ranked 10 of Ben & Jerry’s most popular ice-cream flavors.
- Flavors like The Tonight Dough and chocolate-fudge brownie didn’t impress us.
- Classics like Cherry Garcia and Phish Food were absolute hits.
In 1978, two best friends with a dream (and a lot of milk) started an ice-cream business. And now over 40 years later, Ben & Jerry’s is still revolutionizing the dessert industry.
I, seasoned taste-tester Lucien Formichella, decided to review the brand’s 10 most popular flavors of 2020, but knew it was too big of a job to handle on my own. I needed a Jerry to my Ben — or my friend, Clayton James Smith.
Read on to find out what we thought of each flavor, our final rankings at the end, and how we fared eating this much ice cream in one go.
Lucien: I cannot eat Chunky Monkey because I’m allergic to nuts, so I’m having Clayton try this one out solo.
Clayton: Smooth and delicious, this would be a great snack for a warm summer night or a post-workout treat — nuts have healthy fats, right?
I’m not a big fan of walnuts in desserts, but this is the exception. The banana ice cream is the real MVP, though.
Lucien: I noticed that you took another few bites after finishing your review. Just remember to pace yourself.
Clayton: Don’t worry about me. I could eat ice cream all day.
Lucien: This is a delicious flavor, but ultimately its sum is not as great as its parts. The brownie batter is gooey and rich, but the vanilla gets lost in a sea of chocolate.
I’m not a huge fan of chocolate ice cream. And even though Ben & Jerry’s take is rich and delicious, I ultimately found it too heavy.
Clayton: Rich and decadent in all of the greatest ways, this ice cream is a chocolate lover’s dream.
Every element is perfect. Plus the brownie-batter core comes in at the end and takes it all to the next level.
It’s the ultimate ice cream for the best of times – in the arms of a new love, after a beautiful day on the beach, while you playfully fight over the last bites.
Lucien: Clayton, are you OK?
Clayton: Sorry, I just zoned out there.
Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream
Lucien: This is one of my top flavors, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one. It offers the perfect combination of vanilla ice cream and caramel.
I love when ice cream incorporates bits of cones since it feels like an extra topping — plus I can delude myself into believing I haven’t been cheated of the whole experience. My one misgiving is I’d prefer sugar over waffle cones.
Clayton: This ice cream is smooth, creamy, and delicious. The chocolate waffle cone makes it all perfect.
It’s the ideal ice cream for curling up on the couch and watching late-night television. It gives you everything you want: a hilarious monologue, a funny sketch, banter with the house band, and anecdotes from wildly relatable celebrities.
Side note, I once submitted a writing packet to “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and made it to the semifinals.
Lucien: Are you done with this plug?
Clayton: Yes. But you can rest assured that I didn’t let that influence my review of this hilarious comedian’s phenomenal ice cream. (Please hire me!)
Lucien: Although it pales in comparison to some others on this list, this is a delicious flavor, even if the taste isn’t as fresh as other strawberry ice creams I’ve tried.
I still want to keep eating it for more of the addicting pie-crust add-in.
Clayton: This ice cream keeps all of its promises, and the best part is its graham-cracker-crust lining.
I’m not a big fan of strawberry cheesecake – or cheesecake in general — but this is perfect for somebody who is.
Lucien: This option is very delicious, but again, there’s too much chocolate flavor.
I love the caramel — though it’s better in Americone Dream — but the ice cream and chunks are too heavy.
But I do appreciate the addition of marshmallows, an underrated ingredient in ice cream that’s not used very often.
Clayton: This is the perfect blend of chocolate ice cream, caramel, marshmallow, and fudge pieces shaped like fish.
The marshmallow is the real winner here. Soft and fluffy, it evens out the texture and makes everything pop.
I could easily eat a whole pint in a manner of minutes, but it’s so sweet that the next day will probably feel like the hangover after a Phish show.
The Tonight Dough (starring Jimmy Fallon)
Lucien: The cookie dough is clearly the best part of this flavor, but I’m overwhelmed by the rest.
There are too many flavors to pick out any one — it’s like I don’t know where to turn.
And although each flavor is great, I don’t need the additional stuff. It’s like a sketch that’s already funny, and then someone starts laughing in the middle of it.
Clayton: There are so many things going on at once — caramel and chocolate ice cream, chocolate-cookie swirls, and chocolate-chip and peanut-butter cookie dough (the real winner).
This flavor tries to cram everything likable into one package but ends up tasting superficial. It’s a second-rate ice cream by a second-rate late-night talk show. (Please hire me, “Late Show“!)
Chocolate-chip cookie dough
Lucien: I enjoyed this flavor much more than The Tonight Dough — less really is more sometimes — though it’s still not super memorable.
I’d probably buy it for a large gathering of people. It’s a bit bland, but I like that it doesn’t try to do too much. Plus the chocolate chips are a decadent touch.
You truly can’t go wrong with this flavor.
Clayton: The first bite was solid, but this ice cream becomes a lot more inviting with each subsequent spoonful.
Chocolate-chip cookie dough wraps its arms around you and says that everything will be OK. It’s the perfect post-breakup ice cream. Go ahead and cry into the pint — it won’t judge you.
Lucien: This is not my kind of ice cream, but it’s good for what it is.
The brownie is very rich, but it’s just too heavy. Though I really like how it tastes closer to dark chocolate because of the fudge, despite being a milk-based dessert.
(I’m running out of steam here from all of the sugar, but I can’t let Clayton see my weakness.)
Clayton: This flavor also does everything it says it’s going to.
It’s very similar to the strawberry-cheesecake flavor in its blunt nature, yet it’s less complex. Though, I still prefer chocolate to cheesecake.
It’s the perfect option to induce a sugar high that’ll leave you crashing 30 minutes later.
That said, Lucien, are you OK? You seem very pale, and your eyes are red.
Lucien: Don’t bother me. I’m deep in thought.
Lucien: This is a perfect symphony of flavors. I feel like a baby hearing Mozart through the walls of my mother’s womb every time I take a bite.
The cherry ice cream is understated, yet not a blank canvas, and the candied cherries are perfection. Plus both delicately balance the chocolate.
Some people may call me basic for deeming this flavor my favorite, but I don’t care. It’s always my first choice. This really is an “American Beauty” 50th-anniversary deluxe edition, if you know what I mean.
Clayton: I shockingly have never tried Cherry Garcia before, but this flavor has given me a second wind after a long day of eating ice cream.
The ice cream is smooth and the texture is perfect, with chocolate chips and cherries tying everything together.
Lucien, I’m getting really tired here. It’s so hard to eat this much ice cream.
Lucien: We have one more left. Just get through it. You did this to yourself.
Lucien: I like it, but it’s too reminiscent of the other flavors. I’d probably switch the amount of chocolate and cookie dough, even though the latter is delicious.
This flavor tastes so classic that I can imagine Ben & Jerry’s saying, “We should do more” — which may be how The Tonight Dough came to be.
Clayton: This is the classic stoner ice cream that feels like a perfect snack for when you’re high. The brownie bites are a nice touch, and the cookie dough is just incredible.
It’s another quintessential Ben & Jerry’s flavor. Although it’s a lot less decadent than some of the others and less structured than Cherry Garcia, Half Baked is nothing but a good time.
On that note, I think I’m going to lie down for a second.
Final rankings, from best to worst
Lucien: I have learned my lesson. Ben and Jerry may have been all about collaboration, but I am a lone food-reviewing wolf.
So, Clayton, what have you learned from this experience?
Clayton: It’s a lot harder to eat 10 flavors of ice cream than I thought. I guess my palate is more geared towards overly sugary, rich, decadent flavors than lightly sweet, structured ones.
Lucien: So, you learned that your palate is wrong.
Clayton: Also, the most popular flavors aren’t always the best ones.
Lucien: Well that I wholeheartedly agree with.
Though my favorite is the quintessential Ben & Jerry’s flavor, so who am I to judge? Cherry and chocolate is an ideal combination.
And I’m glad we concur that The Tonight Dough is the worst of the bunch.
Clayton: Americone Dream is the best. The caramel swirl and the chocolate-covered waffle cones make it somehow reminiscent of getting ice cream from a shop. It’s the whole experience.
Phish Food is my second choice since it’s decadent and s’mores-y. I feel like the best out-there Ben & Jerry’s flavors capture the essence of wholesome Americana backyard desserts — they feel nostalgic, even if you didn’t grow up eating them.
Overall, I feel like people know Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for being fun and inventive. Just like us, pal.
Lucien: Yes, just like us.