Best Frozen Treats Awards

Best Frozen Treats Awards 2022

We taste tested the most exciting ice creams, sweetest sorbets, and fun flavors for your family's freezer.

Nothing says summer like cooling off in the park with an ice pop or crafting the perfect ice cream sundae for dessert. Each year, the selection of tempting sweets in the freezer aisle grows, which means that no matter your ingredient preferences or requirements, a delicious frozen treat exists that fits your lifestyle—sugar-free, vegan, lactose-free, or simply always-on-the-go. But the mushrooming options increase the difficulty of figuring out which sweet somethings make for good buys and which are destined for a freezer burnt-demise. That's why we've done the "hard work" for you and put together the Best Frozen Treats Awards 2022.

This year our panel of 10 real parents and five kids, ages 4 through 12, tasted their ways through more than 75 products to find the winners of the best frozen treat awards. Registered dietitian and mom, Stephanie Middleberg, suggested that we focus on products that were free from synthetic dyes, while seeking out ones with more natural and organic ingredients. "When finding a frozen treat for your kiddo, I am less concerned about the grams of sugar than I am about the quality of the ingredients," say Middleberg, founder of Middleberg Nutrition, "Kids are going to have sugar but as a professional and a parent I aim to choose products that contain real fruit and high quality ingredients. The good news is that there are a lot of healthier options.”

The adults narrowed the field, and the children weighed in to pick the final winners. And though our tween tester went in thinking she'd be no help, "Because I like all ice cream too much," even the youngest judges quickly became discerning, turning up their noses at some products and begging for more of others. After all, who wouldn't want another scoop of ice cream after tasting 25 types?

How We Chose The Winners

  • We Focused On Flavor. Our testers looked for treats that not only tasted good, but also ones that actually tasted like the ingredients or supposed flavor being promoted on the packaging (i.e. ice creams that tasted of cream and sorbets that tasted like fruit). 
  • Texture Was a Deal Breaker. The smooth, consistent texture ideal in frozen treats won over testers, who also appreciated crunch on cones, chewiness in cookies, and snap in chocolate. No waxy softness found on this list.
  • High Quality Ingredients Rose To The Top. In assessing ingredient lists, we looked for dairy from non-hormone treated animals and real fruit. Organic, organic-style, and non-GMO scored more points. 
  • Kid Approval Was a Non-Negotiable. It doesn't matter how much the adults liked a treat or its benefits: nothing passed our tests if our panel of kids weren't excited to eat it.
  • Innovation Scored Higher. We weighted our preference a bit toward innovative ideas, whether in product or presentation, because everybody loves knowing about the cool new items.
  • Good Packaging Mattered. It was less so if a product looked good, than that it was about the packaging being easy enough to open and use. 
  • The Mess Factor Was Key. Kids eating frozen treats, especially anything hand-held or on a stick, inherently means a mess, so we couldn't help but favor any treats with packaging, shapes, or styles that kept the mess under control.

Check out our winners for Best Frozen Treats 2022!

Best Ice Cream: McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

Courtesy of McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

The thick, luxurious creaminess of McConnell's classic vanilla bean ice cream snagged it the top spot, with the big, complex flavor of real vanilla as an added bonus. The simple ingredients (the first three: milk, cream, cane sugar) and dairy from grass-grazed, hormone, and antibiotic-free cows justify the premium price.

Best Sorbet: Halo Top

Halo Top Best Sorbet
Best Sorbet Halo Top.

Courtesy of Halo Top

Adult tasters enjoyed the smooth texture and rich color of this sorbet, while kids loved the big strawberry flavor and bright color. Vegan and gluten-free, Halo Tops's strawberry fruit sorbet works well when dietary restrictions are unknown or mixed. Its only flaw comes in the use of erythritol, an artificial sweetener.

Best Gelato: noosa

Best Gelato noosa
Best Gelato noosa chocolate fudge.

Courtesy of noosa

The creaminess of noosa's frozen yoghurt gelato is delivered with a powerful chocolate punch. While some parents missed the signature yogurt tang, they appreciated that it retains the health benefits of frozen yogurt, like protein, and live cultures.

Best Fruit Flavor: Talenti

Best fruit flavor talent mango sorbet
Best fruit flavor talent mango sorbet.

Courtesy of Talenti

Tasters swooned over how precisely and smoothly Talenti's alphonso mango dairy-free sorbetto imitated the sunny sweetness of a fresh mango. A feat made all the more impressive considering its delightfully short and entirely non-GMO ingredient list which includes tons of real mango.

Best Frozen Yogurt Treat: Yasso

Best Frozen Yogurt Yasso Mochi
Best Frozen Yogurt Yasso Mochi.

Courtesy of Yasso

Conveniently wrapped by the piece, this new single-serve frozen greek yogurt mochi by Yasso delivers tons of flavor—and the soft, chewy rice dough outside and creamy interior offer the perfect consistency. Plus, with a little protein, live cultures, and no fat, it scored high for healthfulness.

Best Bar: Alden's Organic

Best Bar Alden's Organic
Best Bar Alden's organic.

Courtesy of Alden's Organic

The bold fruitiness and silky texture of Alden's Organic freckled strawberry yogurt bar quickly lifted it to the top of the bars—and even all the treats for some of the tasters! But as if taste wasn't enough, the bar is made with real strawberries and all organic, non-GMO ingredients, making it a clear winner on multiple factors.

Best On-The-Go: Klondike

Klondike shakes
Klondike shakes.

Courtesy of Klondike

The pouch-style packaging that many toddler parents have become familiar with has been reimagined by Klondike for its newest frozen treat. This kid-pleasing shake in a pouch is easy to take out on a walk to the park and clutch in avoiding the tears that can sometimes accompany an ice cream cone melting on a hot day. While we don’t love the small amounts of artificial flavors, the no-mess single-serving ease outweighed the issue.

Best Snackable: Yasso

Yasso vanilla bean poppables
Yasso vanilla bean poppables.

Courtesy of Yasso

Covering anything in chocolate makes it better, and, in our tasting, it made this frozen yogurt with crunchy quinoa a favorite of both kids and adults. The satisfying, snack-friendly size of the Yasso vanilla bean poppables appealed to parents, while the fun textures pleased the small set.

Best Vegan Snackable: Ben & Jerry's

ben & jerry's vegan chocolate chip cookie dough
ben & jerry's vegan chocolate chip cookie dough.

Courtesy of Ben & Jerry's

The resealable closure on these marble-sized nubbins of vegan, snacking-safe cookie dough made Ben & Jerry's vegan chocolate chip cookie dough chunks almost a little too easy to reach in for a few more. The taste and texture exactly match the pieces snuggled into cookie dough ice cream, so any fans of the flavor will find this innovative item a freezer staple.

Best Vegan Pint: Oatly

best vegan pint oatly
best vegan pint oatly.

Courtesy of Oatly

Purely on texture alone, this creamy pint dominated the competition for vegan ice-cream-imitators. While it does retain hints of oat flavor, that actually plays nicely with the sweetness of the rich chocolate, chunky brownie, and fudge swirl—making Oatly a winner with chocolate-fanatic kids and adults alike.

Best Lactose-Free: Beckon

Beckon Ice cream
Beckon ice cream.

Courtesy of Beckon

The younger tasters didn’t care that this treat was lactose-free, because they were too excited to play with their food as they dumped the crunchy chocolate “gems” into the single-serve snack cups. The ease and convenience impressed even the parents unconcerned about lactose intolerances.

Best Sugar-Free: Popsicle

best sugar free popsicle
best sugar free popsicle.

Courtesy of Popsicle

Hawaiian Pineapple was an overall favorite for some kids—and the only sugar-free treats parents enjoyed. While finding a sugar-free ice pop did mean compromising on some artificial flavors and sweeteners, Popsicle's Sugar Free Tropicals are a no brainer for those who must avoid sugar.

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