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Ice creams & frozen yogurts

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What's behind our ice cream & frozen yogurt Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 39 models in ice creams & frozen yogurts to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall score is based on flavor and texture attributes measured by a trained panel. Products are presented in decreasing order of quality within a category.
  • Nutrition score
    The Nutrition Ratings is based on values for energy density (calories per gram of food), total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, sugars, iron, calcium and dietary fiber per serving. Nutrient values are based on federal dietary guidelines. In determining the overall score, extra weighting may be given to nutrients which are influential, either positive or negative, to the food category.

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Recommended ice creams & frozen yogurts

Recommended ice creams & frozen yogurts are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Ratings
Consumer Reports tested vanilla and butter pecan ice creams and vanilla frozen yogurt for quality of taste (using our trained sensory panel), nutrition, and cost. See which of the best vanilla and butter pecan ice creams and vanilla frozen yogurts are recommended. And find out how the vanilla and butter pecan ice creams and vanilla frozen yogurts compare in cost, calories, and fat per serving.

Ice cream & frozen yogurt buying guide

Ice cream. It's a mix of dairy ingredients, sweeteners, and flavors, often with stabilizers and emulsifiers. By federal law, it must generally be at least 10 percent milkfat by weight (8 percent with a mix-in) and weigh at least 4.5 pounds per gallon. Light has at least one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the full-fat version. Low-fat has 3 grams of fat or less per serving. "Premium" is a marketing term, with no federal definition. But premium ice cream tends to contain more fat and less air than others.

Frozen yogurt. It tends to have less fat and fewer calories than ice cream. Unlike regular yogurt, frozen is not subject to an official government "standard of identity." Some frozen yogurts contain live and active bacteria (look for an "LAC" seal), which may provide health benefits.

Gelato. It has an intense flavor and is served semi-frozen. Italian-style gelato is denser than ice cream, with less air. Typically, gelato has more milk than cream and contains sweeteners, egg yolks, and flavoring, according to the International Dairy Foods Association.

Taste. As you go down the Ratings, the ice creams tend to be a bit more gummy or have flavor that's generic or less pronounced. The best frozen yogurts have a slightly eggy taste, a bit like vanilla custard. The also-rans tend to have more flaws, including a foamy or airy texture or slight bitterness. The Greek frozen yogurts are less sweet than most of the others, with a big sour-dairy flavor.

Nutrition. Most of the ice creams rated Good for nutrition. No one would claim that ice cream is great for your health, but some have half the calories, fat, or sugar of others. The listed nutrition information is for an official serving: a half-cup, which is almost mythical. Nutrition scores are based on calories, sugars, fat, and other nutrients.

Most of the frozen yogurts rated Very Good for nutrition. They tend to have less fat, fewer calories, and more calcium than ice cream. The Greek frozen yogurts contain 6 to 9 grams of protein compared with 2 to 4 grams in the regular frozen yogurts.

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