The 21 Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors In America

The 21 Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors In America

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Stacker

June 28, 2023
Two people cheers with ice cream cones.
RossHelen // Shutterstock

Ice cream is a beloved treat that’s enjoyed by people of all ages, be it families to teens to kids. From classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate to more creative combinations like rocky road and Neapolitan, ice cream aficionados have a plethora of choices, and the sweet treat’s popularity continues to soar.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, ice cream makers churned out 1.38 billion gallons of ice cream, generating nearly 29,000 jobs and $1.8 billion in wages. You could say that ice cream is a deliciously cool catalyst for the economy. This confection has so enamored the country that the majority of U.S. ice cream manufacturers have been in the business for more than 50 years (and counting).

YouGov asked 1,000 U.S. adults about their favorite ice cream flavor, and many Americans ranked vanilla and chocolate at the top. Closely following America’s most popular flavors were strawberry, cookies and cream, and chocolate chip.

Stacker analyzed data from the research and analytics firm to rank the 21 most-liked ice cream flavors in the U.S. by the percentage of adults that said they liked the flavor. Ties were broken by the percentage of adults who said it was their favorite flavor.

Person scooping ice cream into waffle cone.
Branislav Nenin // Shutterstock

#21. Cake batter

– Percentage of adults who like it: 15%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 1%

Cake batter ice cream was first introduced to the world thanks to Cold Stone Creamery in 2003. Since then, it has gained popularity for being a playful twist on the nostalgic flavor of cake batter itself. Who doesn’t have happy childhood memories of licking cake batter off of serving spoons?

Person scooping ice cream from container.
praphab louilarpprasert // Shutterstock

#20. Butterscotch

– Percentage of adults who like it: 16%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 1%

Butterscotch dates back to 1817 when confectioner Samuel Parkinson first created his “buttery brittle toffee.” While Parkinson first made this as a hard candy and earned the Royal Seal of Approval, there is still some debate about where the “scotch” part of its name came from. Nevertheless, this butter and brown sugar combination has been winning dessert lovers across the Atlantic.

Close up of raspberry ice cream with fresh raspberries.
Elena Veselova // Shutterstock

#19. Raspberry

– Percentage of adults who like it: 18%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 1%

The Food Timeline posits that fruit ice creams were the most popular kind since the sweet treat’s beginnings in the 18th century. Even then, raspberries made it on the list of flavor options. This fruity flavor is tangy yet sweet and offers a refreshing taste during a hot summer day.

Bowl of colorful birthday cake ice cream.
AnjelikaGr // Shutterstock

#18. Birthday cake

– Percentage of adults who like it: 20%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 2%

Celebrations are always special as long as a birthday cake is involved. Although the origin of this flavor is unclear, birthday cake ice cream is clearly a sensation because of the joyous nature of birthdays and the beloved taste of vanilla cake.

Bowl of peanut butter ice cream with peanut toppings.
Canva

#17. Peanut butter

– Percentage of adults who like it: 21%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 2%

Peanut butter contains neither butter nor nuts (since peanuts are legumes), but despite this misnomer, they have made their way to the top of American taste buds, starting first as a health food served in sanitariums. Creamy and nutty—peanut butter marries the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

Scoop in container of peach ice cream.
Canva

#16. Peach

– Percentage of adults who like it: 22%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 1%

Peach-flavored ice cream is another one of those early ice cream flavors alongside raspberry and citron melons. It’s fruity and fresh, making it ideal to enjoy on a scorching summer day. It’s no surprise that it takes the 16th spot.

Cone cups of cherry ice cream with fresh cherries.
Canva

#15. Cherry

– Percentage of adults who like it: 23%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 2%

The juiciness and rich flavor render this ice cream a flavor worth savoring. As far back as 1742, cherries were already considered a treat in early America. By the 19th century, maraschino cherry ice cream also popped up and has since been flavoring our sweet dreams.

Wooden bowl of pistachio ice cream.
Canva

#14. Pistachio

– Percentage of adults who like it: 23%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 4%

Pistachio ice cream originated in the Middle East but was popularized in the United States during the late 20th century. It’s nutty, smooth, and rich. Just scoop it onto a cone, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy.

Coffee ice cream with coffee beans.
Canva

#13. Coffee

– Percentage of adults who like it: 23%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 5%

Coffee lovers, rejoice! Italian immigrants brought their passion for gelato and coffee to the United States, giving rise to the creation of coffee-flavored frozen desserts. For people who missed their cup of Joe in the morning, coffee ice cream makes up for it.

Chocolate peanut butter ice cream close up.
Canva

#12. Chocolate peanut butter

– Percentage of adults who like it: 26%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 5%

After the introduction of Resse’s Peanut Butter Cups in the 1920s, chocolate peanut butter amassed followers, gaining widespread popularity. Some say the combination of chocolate and peanut butter triggers the Maillard reaction or the unique pull of browned foods on our palettes. The creamy chocolate and nutty peanut butter meld perfectly; it’s no wonder it’s a crowd favorite.

Hand holding waffle cone with rocky road ice cream.
unchalisa // Shutterstock

#11. Rocky road

– Percentage of adults who like it: 29%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 4%

Rocky road was created during the Great Depression to bring comfort during turbulent times—so they say, but like its name, its origins are also a bit murky. Its beginnings are variously attributed to Dreyer’s, Fentons Creamery in Oakland, and Fred Rigby of Kansas. This ice cream is formulated with a mix of chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts, marrying texture and taste.

Scoop in container of Neapolitan ice cream.
Brent Hofacker // Shutterstock

#10. Neapolitan

– Percentage of adults who like it: 30%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 2%

Originating in Italy and named after the city of Naples, Neapolitan is a blend of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. The flavor was originally inspired by an Italian ice cream treat called spumoni, which also had a trio of flavors such as chocolate and pistachio with a layer of fruit and nuts.

Bowl of caramel ice cream.
Bartosz Luczak // Shutterstock

#9. Caramel

– Percentage of adults who like it: 33%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 3%

Caramel has been around for centuries, so much so that its origins are cloaked in mystery. Some think Arabs were the first to make this delicacy around 1,000 A.D. by boiling water and crystallizing sugar. In America, milk and fat were added to the recipe giving us caramel candy. It didn’t take long before it transformed yet again into America’s favorite cold treat.

Green chocolate mint chip ice cream in bowl with spoon.
Canva

#8. Mint chocolate chip

– Percentage of adults who like it: 33%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 9%

Mint and chocolate have long gone together. Back then, chocolate was a rather bitter drink to which Europeans added sugars, herbs, and spices such as mint. It only took its ice cream form in 1973 when Marilyn Ricketts entered her Mint Royale flavor in a competition for ice cream desserts to celebrate Princess Anne’s wedding to Captain Mark Philips.

Close up bowl of cookie dough ice cream.
Canva

#7. Chocolate chip cookie dough

– Percentage of adults who like it: 34%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 6%

This flavor was first introduced by Ben and Jerry’s in 1984. Since then, it has become a fan favorite. The soft chunks of cookie dough fuse with the crunchy chocolate chips to create this irresistible combo.

Bowl of butter pecan ice cream with spoon.
Elena Veselova // Shutterstock

#6. Butter pecan

– Percentage of adults who like it: 35%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 8%

Butter pecan offers a smooth texture, so when combined with pecans, you have an irresistible flavor on deck. This flavor, a part of Howard Johnson’s famed 28 ice cream flavors, is known for its buttery flavor and crunchy pecan pieces.

Three bowls of chocolate chip ice cream.
Canva

#5. Chocolate chip

– Percentage of adults who like it: 39%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 2%

Chocolate chip is attributed to Ruth Wakefield, who in the 1930s, broke pieces of chocolate from a Nestlé bar and added them to her favorite cookie recipe. Little did Wakefield know, she birthed a timeless flavor. It’s now a favorite among many Americans.

Close up fresh strawberry and scoop of strawberry ice cream.
beats1 // Shutterstock

#4. Strawberry

– Percentage of adults who like it: 43%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 6%

At President James Madison’s second inaugural banquet, strawberry ice cream was served to celebrate. This pink-tinged treat makes up the three classic flavors of Neopolitan but also stands up well on its own. Its fruity flavor makes it a popular choice during the summer months.

Cookies and cream ice cream bowl on wooden background.
Canva

#3. Cookies and cream

– Percentage of adults who like it: 43%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 7%

Many are claiming credit for inventing this creative combination, but perhaps the most ardent comes from South Dakota State University. They say, in the 1970s, dairy professor Shirley Seas went on a dairy judging trip to New Jersey, where he saw staff crumbling Oreos onto ice cream. Impressed, he had students make up a batch to serve on campus. No matter the debate, vanilla ice cream infused with cookie chunks is clearly a textural triumph that crack’s this list’s top 3.

Close up scoop of chocolate ice cream.
Canva

#2. Chocolate

– Percentage of adults who like it: 51%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 10%

Rich and creamy, chocolate ice cream claims the second-best spot. Its roots can be traced back to the Aztecs and Mayans, who enjoyed beverages made from cocoa beans. When the frozen form was discovered, it captivated chocolate lovers worldwide. Let’s face it: chocolate is a timeless classic.

Bowl of vanilla ice cream with fresh berries.
Elena Veselova // Shutterstock

#1. Vanilla

– Percentage of adults who like it: 59%
– Percentage of adults who say it’s their favorite: 11%

The number one spot goes to vanilla, a flavor that dates back to ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Vanilla beans are highly prized, and their popularity grew during the colonial era. A beloved classic, vanilla and all of its creaminess reign supreme.

Data reporting by Lucas Hicks. Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Robert Wickwire. Photo selection by Elizabeth Ciano.

Author

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

Politics

Local News

Related Stories
Share This