When Ben & Jerry’s first began its foray into non-dairy “ice cream” pints in 2016, it chose one base option to replace its coveted creamy dairy – almond milk. Since then, there have been sunflower butter experiments, but all that is about to hit the wayside. A lot has changed since the B&J’s non-dairy inception, one of which is the widespread popularity of oat milk. The nut-free alternative has taken over in bougie third-wave coffee shops and cereal bowls. By 2024, every Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy pint and scoop shop offering will transition to an oat base, which the company claims creates a creamier texture that allows the flavors to shine as intended.
The reformulation begins with two classics: original launch flavor Chocolate Fudge Brownie, which features chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert with fudge brownies, and fan favorite, more recently vegan-ified, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which boasts vanilla non-dairy frozen dessert with chocolate chip cookie dough and fudge flakes.
The timing of this changeover is interesting for me, personally. I was visiting family recently, some of whom are vegan, and they brought out a pint of non-dairy The Tonight Dough. I remarked how Ben & Jerry’s almond base seems to have gotten markedly better over the years, and I was impressed with its creaminess and flavor. Not only that, but my favorite new B&J’s pint of 2023 is the non-dairy Oatmeal Dream Pie, which has a sunflower butter base, and I thought the vegan version of Lights! Caramel! Action! was just as good as its dairy counterpart. That said, I was primed to go into these new oat milk pints with a plethora of experience with the older formula as recently as last week.
So, how does the oat milk stack up? It’s pretty good! Both bases have a solid flavor but a slightly thinner, almost watery finish that tends to be the case for most non-dairy bases not made with coconut. There’s no true fatty density to leave a creamy imprint on your tongue, but there also isn’t any almond or coconut aftertaste. There’s a bit of an oat taste that lingers in the finish, but it isn’t as aggressive as its nutty counterparts. The “ice cream” is incredibly smooth and tempers wonderfully. It takes longer to get there than dairy, but once you let it sit for 15 minutes or so, it has a delightfully smooth and pleasant texture that provides a clean background for the cocoa and vanilla, respectively.
From the beginning, Ben & Jerry’s mission statement has been all about the chunks, and they really shine in these pints. Although both flavors are very basic, the brownies and cookie dough taste and feel nearly identical to those submerged in cow’s milk. The brownies are soft, chewy, and have a chocolatey pop, while the cookie dough brings a gritty brown sugar blast accented by crunchy yet melty chocolate chips. For non-dairy pints you can pick up at the grocery store, the mix-ins don’t get much better than this.
These are two very safe flavors for Ben & Jerry’s to launch its new base with, and I don’t think any vegan ice cream lovers will be disappointed in the change, but I don’t find them mind-blowingly better, either. The chocolate base has less of an aftertaste, and the cookie dough has a more dynamic chunk-age, so they’re both equally tasty but fairly standard in my rankings. The real test of this new recipe will be how it performs in the true non-dairy standout exclusives like Oatmeal Dream Pie, Coconut Seven Layer Bar, and Peanut Butter & Cookies.
DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples. Doing so did not influence my review.
Purchased Price: FREE
Size: One Pint
Purchased at: Sent samples for review from Ben & Jerry’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (for both)
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – 340 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie – 260 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.