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10 Popular Halo Top Ice Cream Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

Ten Halo Top pints
Ten Halo Top pints - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Ice cream is often cited as one of America's most popular desserts, in the company of iconic treats like pie, cheesecake, and chocolate chip cookies. It's just one of those sweets that never fails to brighten up a day. Seriously, have you ever seen anyone frowning while licking an ice cream cone?

But, like most confections, ice cream comes with its fair share of baggage in the form of added calories, sugar, and fat, with possibly no nutritional value to offset it. It's a problem Halo Top intended to solve when it burst onto the ice cream scene in 2012. The company's founding ideology was simple: to create pints of light ice cream that actually taste like ice cream and can be fully enjoyed in one sitting. The brand introduced four original flavors, which quickly garnered attention and success, leading to the almost immediate rollout of more standout tastes. By 2017, Halo Top became the No. 1 selling pint of ice cream in the country and was even named one of Time Magazine's top inventions of the year.

Now Halo Top has 24 dairy ice cream pints that have proven as great, healthier alternatives in its rolodex. But when pitted against each other, which of the brand's most prominent flavors stand as the creamiest, tastiest, and most addicting? I grabbed 10 low-calorie pints and put my many years of ice cream eating to the test to find out. More on the methodology is at the end of the article.

Read more: 25 Best Ice Cream Brands Ranked

10. Caramel Butter Pecan

Caramel Butter Pecan Keto Halo Top pint
Caramel Butter Pecan Keto Halo Top pint - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

If you look closely, you'll see that the caramel butter pecan pints are part of Halo Top's Keto Series. The brand hopped on the fad diet back in early 2020 and now offers 10 different flavors of Keto pints, in addition to six varieties of Keto ice cream pops. To fit into this diet category, each one contains less overall net carbs and sugar, but more calories and fat compared to other Halo Top products.

It was hard to predict how these subtle changes might affect the overall flavor and balance of the frozen dessert. But as soon as you dig in, the difference becomes abundantly clear, and it has everything to do with its consistency. This caramel butter pecan ice cream — if you can call it that — is crumbly rather than creamy and falls apart into flakes as it is scooped. The front of the pint insists that it's "Now Creamier!" But we think Halo Top still has some serious work to do in that department.

Layers of rich caramel and finely chopped pecans are spread throughout, the likes of which garnered no complaints. But if you happen to hook a spoonful sans any toppings, that's when the chalkiness of the base rears its ugly head. This taste, combined with a less-than-pleasant texture, was enough to place caramel butter pecan in our last place slot. We were additionally alarmed by the fact that the pint's contents never seemed to soften or melt.

9. Peanut Butter Cup

Peanut Butter Cup Halo Top
Peanut Butter Cup Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

We don't know about you, but we're big fans of desserts that satisfy both sweet and salty cravings simultaneously. Rich peanut butter ice cream is a divine example of this, and the best part is that it can take on many different forms. Some brands keep it simple with an equal parts blend of peanut butter and vanilla ice cream. Marrying the spread with chocolate is another common route, through the inclusion of real candy hunks or chocolate chips. You might also find thick ribbons of peanut butter interspersed throughout your pint or tub.

The latter is the approach Halo Top decided on when it created its peanut butter cup ice cream. Sadly, the swirls of peanut butter are known to be quite elusive, and we found none in our entire container. In addition to this letdown, we also found the product's name to be quite misleading. It implies that some kind of chocolate cups or pieces would be included, but that's not the case. Just smooth peanut butter ice cream fills the pint.

On your tongue, the ice cream has a faint peanut essence. But, it reminds us more of artificial or powdered peanut butter — the kind that leaves you with a funky aftertaste. For us, that was the final straw.

8. Mint Chip

Mint Chip Halo Top
Mint Chip Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Mint is a seriously controversial ice cream flavor. The herb-inspired frozen treat delights some consumers with its light and refreshing nature. But there's an entire army of others who insist it tastes no better than cold toothpaste. Even so, mint chocolate chip often ranks as one of America's absolute favorite flavors, according to the International Dairy Foods Association, and is a variety you're likely to find in every ice cream shop and grocery store freezer.

Halo Top's version of the classic mint chip follows a standard formula. However, it boasts just 330 calories per pint plus 16 grams of protein. Gauging by the packaging, you'd expect the ice cream to take on a pale, almost aqua-green hue. But, as we peeled off the lid, we were met with a white substance — if you told us it was regular chocolate chip, we would have believed you.

Unfortunately, the ice cream's taste is just as subtle as its coloring. It gets its mintiness from 1% or less of peppermint oil which gives it a slight York Peppermint Patty feel. While this was pleasant, and usually a little bit of mint flavoring goes a long way, we would have preferred a smidgeon more to create that iconic sweet yet cool sensation. This was enough to knock mint chip down in our book. But there are still some positives baked into this recipe, like the fluffy texture and the crunchy mini chocolate chips.

7. Vanilla Bean

Vanilla Bean Halo Top
Vanilla Bean Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Vanilla doesn't have to mean boring. Sure, it's one of the simplest and most traditional ice cream flavors. But it's also one of the most versatile. Blanket it with chocolate sauce, nuts, caramel drizzle, whipped cream, or even fruit or candy, and it morphs into something completely different with a fresh flavor profile.

Vanilla bean ice cream is a spinoff of the time-honored dessert and differs slightly as it is made with vanilla beans (hence the name) rather than vanilla extract. Halo Top doesn't currently have plain vanilla in its books, but it does have vanilla bean. After opening up our own pint, our first impression was that we had been ripped off. Ice cream was completely missing from one side of the container — a problem that none of the previous pints seemed to have.

Looking past this flaw, we noticed the ice cream was charmingly sweet. But we didn't like how the beans got stuck in your teeth after each spoonful. It also has more of a soft-serve feel, which took us back to summer days at the ice cream shop. However, once it's spent some time in the freezer, it becomes a bit gummy and more disappointing. Don't get us wrong, we love a good vanilla. But, this one didn't bring quite enough to the table to make it memorable.

6. Sea Salt Caramel

Sea Salt Caramel Halo Pint
Sea Salt Caramel Halo Pint - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

According to Halo Top, its sea salt caramel flavor "delivers the best of both sweet and savory into one scrumptious flavor." We wanted to be the judge of that and hoped this pint fared better than the peanut butter cup's salty and sugary fusion.

However, it didn't get off to a great start. Similar to the vanilla bean, there seemed to be some ice cream missing from this container on both sides and off the top. The pint is missing about 15% of its contents. Fortunately, the sea salt caramel did improve from there. It's soft, delicate, and filled with pockets of luxurious caramel. It delivers such a richness that it reminds us more of butterscotch and the flavor permeates the entire serving. It's not just confined to the caramel strips.

The only thing that's missing is the salt, which is disappointing. The sea salt did not make its presence known, so the savory part of the equation is unfulfilled. You can always add a dash yourself at home — and we might in the future — but we would prefer if Halo Top made a slight change to its recipe instead.

5. Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake Halo Top
Birthday Cake Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Ice cream and cake is a pairing as old as time. But, somewhere along the line, someone had the bright idea to combine the two into one frozen dessert, changing the game forever. Now, birthday cake ice cream is a beloved option for both kids and adults alike — and is not to be confused with cake batter ice cream, which follows a similar idea but isn't quite the same.

Halo Top joins in on the celebrations with its own better-for-you birthday cake pints. Their packaging is fun and festive, covered in colorful dots. But the ice cream itself is like a blanket of fresh snow and looks like pure vanilla with just a few haphazard rainbow sprinkles thrown in. Luckily, this scanty amount of add-ins didn't deter from the overall taste. The texture is more whipped and airy than creamy and reminds us of marshmallow fluff. It's also well-sweetened without tasting syrupy or like artificial sugar.

In a blind taste test, we're not sure we would have been able to identify this ice cream as birthday cake since the cake flavor was more low-key. For this reason, it landed in the middle of the pack. Still, it's a pint we would gladly celebrate with again.

4. Chocolate

Chocolate Halo Top
Chocolate Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Chocolate was one of Halo Top's original flavors that helped to put the light ice cream brand on the map. A slew of other tastes came quickly after following the company's initial wave of success. But chocolate remains as a core offering and is one pint that's never too far from reach. You can also now find newer chocolatey favorites like chocolate ice cream cake, chocolate caramel brownie, chocolate mocha chip, chocolate cake batter, and more.

As for the classic chocolate, it comes in a standard shade of nut brown. As soon as you dig in, notes of milk chocolate emerge. It's rich and filled with bites of cocoa, just like a fudgesicle or those chocolate malt cups with the little wooden spoons.

Each spoonful is both velvety and light, but after a while, a slight chalky taste starts to pop up. One other observation on the negative side is that the chocolate becomes frost-bitten when it's straight out of the freezer. Once it melts down, this iciness dissolves for the most part. But it's still a vaguely bothersome feature.

3. Cookies And Cream

Cookies & Cream Halo Top
Cookies & Cream Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Cookies and cream ice cream is a simple idea, really, and one that many companies and brands have adopted into their frozen dessert lineups. But the story goes that it was actually invented in 1979 by a dairy plant manager and two students at South Dakota State University. Whether this is true or not, we're just glad that someone thought of it.

To make the frozen treat, a handful of brands like Breyers partnered with Oreo, while others used their own version of a chocolate sandwich cookie. In Halo Top's case, this results in a product with fewer calories and less sugar per pint. It also takes on a lighter and fluffier texture rather than being creamy and dense. Small cookie particles are evenly spread throughout, making it look like a speckled Dalmatian from the top and ensuring that every single bite is filled with just enough sweet, chocolatey flavor. We never would have guessed this was a better-for-you option.

Our one critique is that we would want to see more cookie bits and specifically larger masses of them hiding in the ice cream. Coming across one of these in other cookies and cream ice cream varieties is like striking gold, and this is one key detail that Halo Top omitted.

2. Strawberry

Strawberry Halo Top
Strawberry Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

Strawberry is a flavor that pops up often across Halo Top's entire gamut of frozen treats. You can find strawberry sorbet, strawberry fruit pops, strawberry yogurt pops, and even new strawberry light cake mix single-serve cups. But, the brand's very first berry-based treat was, of course, standard strawberry ice cream, and this continues to be the most prominent.

This fruity flavor also happens to contain the lowest amount of calories of all Halo Top pints, at just 270 total, while still managing to pack in an impressive 15 grams of protein. But even with these potential nutritional benefits, it's ultra-rich and luscious. Each bite tastes just as good as other leading ice creams that are packed with sugar and fat, and it often reminds us of a smooth strawberry milkshake.

It comes in a light pink shade and doesn't happen to include any larger strawberry chunks. For us, this is a nonissue. But if that's a key factor for you, maybe you can pair it with a carton of fresh strawberries to still get your fix. This will always be one of our trusty favorites, and we're additionally excited to try the new chocolate-covered strawberry pints next for a fusion of two of Halo Top's most classic tastes.

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Halo Top
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Halo Top - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

We're all guilty of spooning scoops of raw cookie dough into our mouths, ignoring all warnings not to do so. So the invention of an edible cookie dough sans the uncooked egg was an absolute epiphany — and one which Ben & Jerry's took one step further in 1984 with the invention of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

Other ice cream companies soon caught on to the magic of this mash-up. Halo Top, for one, was not going to deny people a 360-calorie version of the delicacy, and we're so glad it didn't. This ice cream is an undeniable victor amongst the brand's catalog of most popular pints. Its base is sweeter and creamier than the vanilla bean offering and almost dissolves in your mouth on impact. But then, you uncover the best part: the tiny morsels of cookie dough. Each one is a bit sticky with a homemade flavor, and it's one of the best doughs you will find in any brand of ice cream. To be fully transparent, this pint is not as overloaded with cookie dough nibbles and chocolate chips as you would find in other competing varieties. But that's also what makes it so light and refreshing, and a treat you'll never want to run out of.

The Halo Top Chocolate Chip Cookie hit the nail on the head and even delivered a nostalgia factor that many others simply couldn't. For these reasons, it's the winner of our taste test and one pint we would gladly add to our freezers time and again.

Methodology

Halo Top ice cream pints stacked in pyramid style
Halo Top ice cream pints stacked in pyramid style - Megan Hageman / Tasting Table

To get this epic Halo Top taste test underway, we grabbed a collection of pints from a few local grocery stores in Columbus, Ohio. These happened to be Kroger and the regional chain Giant Eagle. We rounded up the ice cream flavors available in our area, which also happened to be some of the brand's most well-known products, and ended up with a total of 10 options.

In terms of rankings, creaminess is an absolute must, and this is difficult to achieve for many lower-calorie and better-for-you ice cream brands like Halo Top. Any iciness or chalkiness in texture was not well-received and sent flavors straight to the bottom of the barrel. Beyond consistency, we looked for a well-balanced taste and pints that most closely resemble the type of ice cream they imitate without the presence of a strange aftertaste or off-putting artificial flavor. From there, we let each pint speak for itself, and the winner was quickly dubbed.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.