Ice cream is a go-to treat any time of year. It's rich, creamy, and satisfyingly chill. Supermarket aisles have been inundated recently with a wave of small-batch brands that, not surprisingly, carry artisanal price tags. But for the price (or less) of one pint of the high-end stuff, it's possible to indulge in a 1.5-quart container of a mass-market ice cream -- or churn up a batch at home with an inexpensive ice cream maker.
To identify the best cheap ice cream, Cheapism.com took a cue from the International Dairy Foods Association and focused on vanilla, which beats out other perennial favorites such as cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, and rocky road. A vast majority of ice cream sold in the United States is marketed regionally or under private labels, which complicated our search for widely available, inexpensive vanilla ice cream. Although reviews are sparse, we drew on the results of about half a dozen taste tests put on by food editors, as well as a blind taste test we conducted in 2012, in addition to consumer feedback posted online. Here's the skinny on eight budget-priced vanilla ice creams.
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