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If you’ve checked the most iconic California food off your list, it’s time for dessert. Ice cream is undoubtedly a West Coast favorite—cooling, refreshing, and delightful. The popularity of dairy-free products keeps growing and we’re all for it. With more cruelty-free products on supermarket shelves, it's easier than ever to live a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
Some might say that “plant-based” and “tasty” don’t go together, but these vegan frozen desserts will change your mind. Here are the best dairy-free ice cream brands in California—these healthier alternatives are just as enjoyable as regular ice cream.
Based in Los Angeles, Halo Top is a non-dairy ice cream that was created with an incentive—minimizing the number of calories so people can indulge in ice cream without feeling guilty. The brand uses alternative sweeteners, resulting in healthier ice cream with no significant change in the flavor. It didn’t take much time for Halo Top to become one of the most popular brands in the United States. Everyone screamed for Halo Top ice cream.
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Instead of eggs and milk, this ice cream brand uses reduced-fat coconut milk to achieve the perfect consistency. Chocolate, candy bar, birthday cake, and chocolate almond crunch are all-time favorites. Other popular flavors include chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cup, and sea salt caramel.
Every once in a while, Halo Top surprises people with new seasonal ice cream flavors. Whether or not you’re a vegan, you’re bound to fall in love with this icy delight.
This unique Golden State brand is rich both in its history and flavors. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Double Rainbow has been putting smiles on people’s faces since 1976. Co-founders Steve Fink and Mike Sacher always dreamt of opening their own ice cream parlor. When their dream finally came true, Double Rainbow became an immediate success and a neighborhood staple. Now, they’re one of the best in the country.
With a large variety of unique flavors, there are four plant-based alternatives to delight your taste buds. The best dairy-free vanilla ice cream is made right here. It’s rich and smooth, prepared with soy. The mint chocolate chip flavor—perhaps the most delicious—is just as creamy minus the dairy.
On hot summer days, the lively lemon sorbet is the perfect option for cooling off. But to experience an explosion of tropical flavors, the mango tangerine sorbet is all you need. Any Californian who loves frozen dessert guarantees that Double Rainbow has the best vegan ice cream in the state.
Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream makes rich and delicious frozen treats that just happen to be vegan. Founder Craig Susser initially created these desserts for customers at his L.A. restaurant. Many of them longed for a dairy-free alternative and they got exactly that. He created four flavors for his customers to choose from—sunset strawberry, Kursten's PB krunch, Melrose mint chip, and perfectly chocolate.
To make the best non-dairy ice cream in California, the brand uses organic cocoa butter and pure vanilla extract to create the dessert. Premium quality cashews and certified kosher all-natural ingredients are also what make Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream so delicious. 100 percent vegan and gluten-free has never been so good.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with Ripples Foods’ dairy-free vanilla ice cream. If vanilla is too basic for your taste, you have four more flavors to choose from. The chocolate-flavored non-dairy frozen dessert is a classic—you can never go wrong with it. The cinnamon churro creates an explosion of flavors and takes your taste buds on an adventure. The mint chip, on the other hand, is smooth and indulgent. But the cookies and cream ice cream are everyone’s favorite.
Ripple Foods’ trademark pea blend is ideal for people who are allergic to alternative plant-based proteins and it perfectly achieves a creamy consistency. The dairy-free company has a variety of products available including plant-based milk, half and half, and protein powder.
There’s no doubt that Vixen Kichen is the coolest woman-owned business that serves the best dairy-free ice cream in California. Founder Sundara Clark started Vixen Kitchen after reading the labels of mass-produced treats. She created her very own paleo-friendly vegan gelato brand. Based in Northern California, this preservative-free treat is packed with nutrients and comes in five appetizing flavors—naked vanilla, naked chocolate, midnight mint, coffee cream dream, and chai and I.
Vixen Kitchen uses raw cashews and organic maple syrup to make it one of the healthiest dairy-free ice cream brands out there. Organic vanilla beans, raw cacao, and sea salt are also used when churning ice cream. The next time you’re grocery shopping, grab a pint or two and indulge in the heavenly treat.
Originally founded in Culver City, Coolhaus is the ultimate non-dairy dessert. Not only is it the coolest place to find must-try frozen desserts, but it’s also the perfect option for the best lactose-free ice cream. Coolhaus is renowned for adding a modern twist to the classics and creating the most unique flavors.
Their dairy-free options include dirty mint chip, mocha Marcona almond fudge, salted caramel crunch, and cookie dough lyfe. But our favorite plant-based flavors are the peanut butter fudge chip and the chocolate sandwich cookie crumb. Coolhaus also offers vegan ice cream sandwiches. Once you try it, you’ll realize that one pint won’t be enough for you.
While some people say that L.A. has the best summer sweets, San Diego is home to our favorite ice cream brand—Arctic Zero. This fava bean-based frozen dessert is vegan, plant-based, keto-friendly, and gluten-free. Growing up with a diabetic mother in a sugar-free household, founder Greg Holtman made it his goal to create a sweet and harmless treat. As a result, he now has one of the best dairy-free ice cream brands in the nation.
Arctic Zero’s non-dairy ice cream comes in 11 flavors, all rich and creamy in texture. Whether you want to enjoy the brownie blast or the cookie dough chunk, all flavors have significantly fewer calories and fat than regular ice cream.
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Home to lush, rolling hills, forested pathways, and year-round moderate temps the East Bay Area is ideal for cycling trails and bike rides.