I tried 14 of Trader Joe's ice creams and frozen desserts, and I'd buy almost all of them again

The writer posing with many Trader Joe's ice-cream treats
I loved several of Trader Joe's ice-cream treats that I tried.
Savanna Swain-Wilson
  • I tried every Trader Joe's ice-cream flavor and frozen dessert I could find and reviewed them. 
  • The chain's horchata-inspired and ube-flavored ice creams were both unique, delicious options.
  • Trader Joe's had some great nondairy frozen desserts, like coconut bon bons and fudgy oat bars. 

From ice-cream sandwiches to uniquely flavored cartons, Trader Joe's sells an array of frozen desserts.

Ice cream treats in colorful boxes at Trader Joe's
I tried several ice-cream sandwiches from Trader Joe's.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Step into Trader Joe's, and you'll find an impressive selection of ice cream year-round.

So I tried as many of the chain's frozen treats as I could get my hands on to figure out which ones are worth buying. 

The horchata-inspired ice cream was a creative take on a Spanish and Mexican drink.

A colorful carton of Trader Joes horchata ice cream on table
Horchata is a drink made of rice and cinnamon.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Like true horchata, this ice cream derives its flavor from a sweet-rice and cinnamon base.

Though the beverage traditionally doesn't contain any dairy, so this dessert had a creamier flavor.

Its taste captured the beverage's yummy flavor.

Colorful, open carton of Trader Joe's horchata ice cream on wood table
This Trader Joe's ice cream included chunks of horchata-flavored cookies.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The horchata ice cream reminded me of leftover cereal milk with cinnamon, and I was absolutely here for it. It was sweet and tasty, yet incredibly light on the tongue. 

There were also tiny pieces of horchata-flavored cookies mixed in throughout that added a pop of cinnamon.  

VERDICT: This was a perfect 10. I hope Trader Joe's keeps it around so I can buy it again and again.

Trader Joe's premium French-vanilla ice cream would make a great sundae base.

white and brown carton of Trader Joe's vanilla ice cream
Trader Joe's French-vanilla ice cream was good quality for the price.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

It may seem silly to review vanilla ice cream, especially when Trader Joe's has so many inspired flavors, but this one deserves a shout-out.

I was impressed by the quality right off the bat. 

The consistency was smooth and rich, plus it tasted luxurious.

Scooping spooning out Trader Joe's vanilla ice cream
Trader Joe's French-vanilla ice cream would be great with baked goods.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The authentic vanilla flavor struck the right balance of sweet and creamy without being overwhelming. 

This would be great with baked goods or other sweet toppings, like chocolate or caramel sauce.

VERDICT: I don't usually reach for vanilla ice cream, but this will be my go-to for birthday parties and other gatherings.

I could see real espresso in Trader Joe's Coffee Bean Blast.

Brown carton of trader joes coffee bean blast on wood table
The texture of Trader Joe's Coffee Bean Blast was like that of gelato.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

This ice cream felt high quality — it didn't rely on sugar or extracts for flavor. The overall texture was as smooth as gelato.

There was even finely ground espresso mixed in for an artisan flair.

It tasted like a delicious cup of dark roast.

brown  Trader Joe's coffee blast in open carton
Trader Joe's Coffee Bean Blast really leaned into the coffee flavor.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

This ice cream tasted more like coffee than the average, java-flavored carton — which was a good thing.

It was incredible on its own, but if you wanted to elevate the dessert, pile it on one of Trader Joe's chocolate lava cakes

VERDICT: This delicious ice cream sported just the right balance of roasted-coffee flavor and sweetness.

These sandwiches made with brownie crisps and coffee ice cream upgraded an iconic treat.

Brown and white box of Trader Joe's brownie crisp ice cream sandwiches on wood table
There's coffee ice cream at the center of Trader Joe's brownie-crisp sandwiches.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

These sandwiches have a lot going for them. They're portable, sport a tasty center of coffee ice cream, and use brownies in place of wafers. 

Plus the chocolate chips on top made every bite satisfyingly chewy.

The chocolate flavor was a bit disappointing.

hand holding bitten into brownie crisp ice cream sandwich from trader joe's
The coffee ice cream was delicious, though.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Even though the texture was on point, the chocolaty flavor of the brownies was underwhelming. 

The brownie crisps might've been better mixed into ice cream, but they didn't impress as the star of the show. 

That said, I probably wouldn't have noticed or cared so much if the coffee ice cream wasn't so good. The difference was stark.

VERDICT: These were still pretty tasty, if not for the coffee ice cream alone, but I wouldn't choose them over the chocolate-chip-cookie sandwiches. 

I didn't miss the dairy in these chocolate-fudge oat bars.

hand holding oat bar in front of brown box of Trader JOes oat bars
Trader Joe's nondairy chocolate-fudge bars are made with an oat base.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Every once in a while, I try to limit my dairy intake for personal reasons. 

And these chocolate-fudge oat bars satisfied my craving for a sweet, chocolaty treat that didn't leave me feeling heavy.

These bars are a great pick if you want a dairy-free frozen treat.

Hand holding chocolate oat bar in front of beige wall
Trader Joe's chocolate-fudge oat bars didn't have a super-strong flavor.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The oat base offered a smooth mouthfeel and subtle sweetness without an obvious aftertaste. 

The chocolaty flavor wasn't as bold as a traditional Fudgsicle and tasted slightly less sweet, but for a dairy-free option, it still satisfied.

To take these to the next level, I'd dip them in a vegan chocolate shell made of melted chocolate chips and coconut oil.

VERDICT: I'd definitely buy these again and recommend them to anyone looking for a chocolaty, vegan treat.

The ube ice cream would be an Instagrammable treat.

purple carton of Trader Joe's ube ice cream on wood table
Ube is a sweet, purple yam.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Ube is a purple yam native to the Philippines. The flavor was extracted into a puree for this ice cream and gives the treat its gorgeous lilac color.

There's been so much buzz around this flavor ever since it dropped in 2019. For over a week, I checked my Trader Joe's to find a carton, and when I finally did, this was the last one.

The hype was absolutely worth it.

Open carton of Trader Joe's purple ube ice cream
I'd definitely buy Trader Joe's ube ice cream again.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

This ice cream offered such a unique flavor experience. It tasted like a cross between pistachio and toasted coconut, with notes of white chocolate. It was absolutely delicious. 

I particularly liked that the sweetness was quite mellow, which allowed the flavor to seem more nutty than sugary. 

VERDICT: Two thumbs up from me. 

It tasted delicious, but the texture wasn't my favorite.

open carton of Trader Joe's cookie butter ice cream beside white bowl of it
Some of the cookie-butter chunks were a bit waxy.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

As expected, this flavor was unmistakably sweet and tasty.

Though some of the cookie-butter pieces had a slightly waxy texture that left an odd taste on the sides of my mouth.

This wasn't off-putting enough to ruin the whole thing, but it definitely kept me from wanting more than a scoop or two at a time.

VERDICT: If you're like me and obsess over the Speculoos cookie butter, this would be right up your alley. 

Trader Joe's cold-brew-coffee and boba nondairy frozen dessert was unique.

Brown carton of Trader Joe's cold brew and boba ice cream
This carton of cold-brew ice cream contained boba pearls.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

I'm always intrigued by unique, vegan treats.

Made with a base of coconut milk, this frozen dessert was flavored like cold brew and sported the small tapioca pearls you can find at some beverage shops. 

This ice cream didn't quite taste like cold brew.

A view of the brown Trader Joe's cold brew and boba ice cream
Trader Joe's cold-brew-coffee and boba frozen dessert had plenty of tapioca beads.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

This had more of a sweet, milky taste, like a latte, rather than an intense coffee flavor of a cold brew, but it was still quite yummy.

I wasn't sold on the texture, which was more icy than creamy. Granted, this isn't technically ice cream, just a frozen dessert.

There were plenty of chewy tapioca pearls, which would be great for boba fans, but folks who've never had bubble tea may find them a bit overwhelming.

VERDICT: I wouldn't reach for this again, but it was a decent vegan option.

Trader Joe's wildberry-cheesecake ice cream was more berry than cake.

Purple carton of trader joe's wildberry cheesecake ice cream
Trader Joe's wildberry-cheesecake ice cream contained pieces of cake.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Between the fresh berry purée, sweet-cream ice cream, and cheesecake pieces, every spoonful of this carton screamed perfection. 

It appeared delightfully decadent, yet bright and inviting.

The taste lived up to my expectations.

Scoop of Trader Joe's wildberry cheesecake in white bowl
The berry flavor was delicious.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The blueberries and raspberries added a brightness that really popped against the rich ice cream. 

And even though the cheesecake pieces were quite small, they made each bite all the more exciting.

VERDICT: This ice cream doesn't need toppings to be worth your while. I wish it came by the gallon, but for my sake, it's best that it doesn't.

Trader Joe's tangerine cream bars were an elevated take on a childhood classic.

red box of trader joe's tangerine cream bars on wood table
I loved orange creamsicles as a kid.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

I haven't eaten a creamsicle in about 20 years, so seeing these ice pops brought me back.

Instead of a traditional orange-sherbet coating, this used a tangerine shell, so the color was more of a natural yellow, like fresh-squeezed juice. 

These tangy pops were both tart and sweet.

hand holding yellow tangerine cream pop from trader joe's
Trader Joe's tangerine cream bars were refreshing and tasty.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

This pop was more tart than I anticipated, but this made the sweet vanilla ice cream at the center all the more satisfying. 

VERDICT: I'd gladly buy these every summer, just for the nostalgic taste.

The oat-milk strawberry frozen dessert would be a vegan ice-cream lover's dream.

Black carton of Trader Joe's pink strawberry oat ice cream on wood table
Trader Joe's strawberry frozen dessert contained an oat-milk base.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

This dessert had an oat-milk base and almond-brittle chunks.

I'm not vegan, but I still thank my lucky stars there are plant-based frozen desserts that don't have an off-putting aftertaste. 


Even though the mix-ins were disappointing, the flavor was incredible.

spoon scooping pink Trader Joe's strawberry oat ice cream in carton
I wish Trader Joe's oat-milk strawberry frozen dessert didn't include the almond brittle.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The texture was light and fluffy, almost mousse-like. The strawberry flavor reminded me of yogurt, with a candied sweetness that was mellow enough to not be cloying.

However, the advertised almond brittle was more like candied nuts. I appreciated the attempt to cut through the fruity sweetness and add some dimension, but its overall presence seemed unnecessary. 

Not all ice creams need texture, and the brittle makes this product unfriendly to many people with nut allergies.

VERDICT: I'm not rushing to buy this again, but I wouldn't turn it away if I was offered some.

The Peanuts for Chocolate ice cream was seemingly made for fans of peanut-butter cups.

red and brown carton of Trader Joe's peanuts for chocolate ice cream
Trader Joe's Peanuts for Chocolate ice cream contained peanut-butter Joe-Joe's.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

With punny-named, multidimensional flavors, Trader Joe's may be in its Ben and Jerry's era, and I'm not mad about it.

If you love the chain's dark-chocolate peanut-butter cups, this ice cream was made for you.

It had a super-rich, chocolate ice-cream base with ribbons of actual peanut butter and soft pieces of peanut-butter Joe-Joe's. 

The combination was as tasty as expected.

Brown Trader Joe's peanuts for chocolate ice cream scooped from carton
Some bites of Trader Joe's Peanuts for Chocolate ice cream tasted like pure peanut butter.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The iconic flavor combo hit again.

However, the mix-ins seemed inconsistent. Some bites tasted like pure peanut butter, which caught me off-guard.

It also could've used more Joe-Joe's chunks.

VERDICT: On the whole, this was passable — just not something I'm in a hurry to buy again.

Trader Joe's ice-cream sandwiches made with chocolate-chip cookies were the best I've ever had.

Pink box of trader Joe's ice-cream cookie sandwiches on wood table
I'm a big fan of ice-cream sandwiches.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

In college, I'd buy cookie ice-cream sandwiches from a parlor for $3 a pop, so this $4.99 box of four caught my eye.

Even better, they tasted just as yummy as the "fresh" ones.

Everything about this treat hit the mark.

hand holding trader joe's chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich
The cookies were fantastic.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

The chocolate-chip cookies were soft and chewy, like they were freshly baked, but stayed intact through every bite without crumbling or getting soggy. 

The chocolate chips lining the outside of each sandwich added some texture that made this fun to eat. And, of course, the vanilla ice cream was the perfect complement to the notes of brown sugar.

VERDICT: I enjoyed these even more than the brownie-crisp sandwiches.

The vegan cookies-and-creme coconut bonbons are a convenient, dairy-free treat.

open blue and green box of trader joe's cookies and cream bonbons
I couldn't taste the coconut base.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Like a regular bonbon, these featured a great-tasting chocolate shell that gave way to a vanilla center. 

I was worried the coconut "ice cream" would make these taste like a frozen Mounds bar, but Trader Joe's expertly masked that flavor.

The flavor didn't quite live up to its description.

hand holding trader joe's cookies and cream vegan bonbon that's half eaten
Trader Joe's nondairy bonbons didn't taste like cookies and creme.
Savanna Swain-Wilson

Despite this treat's impressive taste, the mixed-in cookie bits didn't offer much besides a vaguely chocolaty nuance, so it didn't quite achieve the cookies-and-creme flavor advertised on the box. 

That wasn't a deal breaker, though. For a vegan ice-cream snack, these hit the spot.

Plus each bonbon was a multi-bite treat, so one was more than enough to satisfy me. 

VERDICT: I'd definitely buy these again for weeks when I want to limit my dairy intake.

Click to keep reading other Trader Joe's taste tests in this series.

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