Grocery Store Holiday Ice Cream Flavors Ranked, Worst To Best

When it comes to seasonal desserts, pies, cookies, and candies tend to come to mind. While pumpkin pie is often the default, pecan pie reigns supreme in many households and was even the top holiday pie in three states in 2018, per a SurveyMonkey poll (via Insider). As Thanksgiving table-scapes fade away and Christmas trees roll in, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, gingerbread, and peppermint bark are often served right alongside a slice of pumpkin pie. 

While the vast majority of the world will never see a white Christmas, according to The Weather Channel, ice cream rarely makes the cut as a holiday dessert. Of course, that hasn't stopped just about every ice cream brand from releasing its own selection of seasonal flavors. From fresh peppermint to creamy pumpkin, some brands do a better job of delivering around the holidays than others. Keep reading as we take a look at some of the best and worst holiday ice cream flavors you'll find at the grocery store this time of year.

16. Blue Bell Christmas Cookie

If colorful Christmas cookies are your favorite part of the festive season, then this flavor will no doubt catch your eye when you spot it in your grocery store freezer aisle. Blue Bell Christmas cookies features a popular holiday cookie assortment in every tub. Sugar cookie-flavored ice cream is blended with a number of cookie flavors, including snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, and more sugar cookies. Topped off with a swirl of green icing and red sprinkles, this ice cream is as colorful as it is flavorful.

Cookie-loaded ice cream flavors like cookie dough and cookies and cream are classics. But unless you're a cookie fanatic, you might wind up disappointed with your first spoonful of this product. To start, the swirl of green icing is more artificial than festive. And there isn't anything about the flavor that screams Christmas. Of course, some cookie lovers might think this flavor deserves a higher spot on the list. 

One Texas man was so positive about it that he said: "What Blue Bell should have said was 'if you love baby Jesus, Santa Claus, puppies wearing Santa hats, or the sound of children laughing on Christmas morning — you need this ice cream in your life" (via Chron). But whether you like puppies or not, if you're looking for a flavor to help you get in the Christmas spirit, there are better options waiting for you.

15. Edy's Peppermint

If there is such a thing as a signature holiday ice cream flavor, it would no doubt be peppermint. This time of year, every ice cream manufacturer cranks out its own rendition of this seasonal classic. Some do so better than others. Edy's Ice Cream once had a corner on the flavor, and its pink-hued peppermint flavor was known for being full of peppermint pieces that popped with festive flavor (via Second Scoop). 

However, in recent years, customers have complained that Edy's altered its once-classic recipe. A common observation is that the ice cream is now white rather than pink and lacks the chunks of peppermint bites it once had. Other reviews note that even finding this flavor can be a challenge. Whether you spot this blue pint on a freezer shelf or not, if you love peppermint ice cream, we recommend holding out for one of the many other options further down on this list.

14. Mayfield Peppermint Stick

Mayfield Dairy isn't the best-known grocery store ice cream brand. In fact, it's often entirely overlooked. The brand's seasonal flavors follow a similar trend, flying under the radar with flavors that aren't exactly list-worthy.

Mayfield's take on peppermint starts with creamy peppermint-flavored ice cream, swirled with chunks of crunchy green and red peppermint candies. Mayfield isn't exactly known for its groundbreaking flavors, so it isn't surprising that this flavor falls a bit flat. This grocery store dessert is pretty plain looking and mostly consists of white ice cream with flecks of red and green (via Kota Reviews Everything).

The taste isn't much more festive. Instead, aside from the peppermint candies (which aren't all that plentiful), there isn't much flavor to this ice cream. The peppermint candies also tend to get clumped together, which means short bursts of peppermint flavor, followed by a lot of plain ice cream.

13. Turkey Hill Egg Nog

For more than 85 years, Turkey Hill has been serving up classic ice cream flavors in tubs and pints across the country. The brand is responsible for a delicious classic choco mint chip, creamy chocolate peanut butter cup, and a rich butter pecan. But the brand also churns out a few seasonal flavors each year to compete with those classics.

One flavor that arrives on shelves this time of year is egg nog (via Cub). This limited-edition flavor features eggnog-flavored ice cream, swirled with spicy nutmeg and rum flavoring. It's a simple, straightforward take on the flavor — nothing you wouldn't also taste in a standard eggnog in its liquid form.

Eggnog can already be an acquired taste. If you're someone who thinks that Christmas doesn't start until this creamy, sugary, sometimes alcoholic drink arrives on the scene, you'll probably like it in ice cream form and enjoy Turkey Hill's rendition. If you don't love eggnog, we suggest you stick to the other seasonal options on this list.

12. Mayfield Pumpkin Pie

While pumpkin pie is more often associated with Thanksgiving and fall than it is with Christmas, pumpkin-flavored desserts tend to stick around through the end of the year, and may just land themselves a spot on your holiday spread. This particular option from Mayfield Creamery might not be quite as Christmas-y as its peppermint flavor, but it's a great choice for anyone who prefers fall flavors over candy canes any day.

Inspired by the original pie version of this popular treat, Mayfield pumpkin pie features creamy pumpkin-flavored ice cream, swirled with bits of pie crust. The result is a super simple but reliable flavor that's certain to get you feeling cozy, whether you enjoy it post-turkey or post-Christmas brunch. While you might not be blown away by this dessert, it's exactly what you'd expect from a flavor meant to mimic classic pumpkin pie: simple, tasty, and predictable.

11. Jeni's Boozy Eggnog

If Mayfield's pumpkin pie ice cream is the safe, predictable option, Jeni's boozy eggnog is the opposite. Ever since it opened in 2002, Jeni's has been known for pushing the envelope with its unique, contemporary artisan flavors. In fact, just last March, the company re-released its news-worthy flavor, Everything Bagel, receiving praise from many fans (via PR Newswire). 

For a company that created a cream cheese-flavored ice cream and swirled in what it described as "everything bagel gravel," an eggnog-flavored dessert doesn't sound that groundbreaking. But this isn't your average 'nog. Jeni's boozy eggnog features a silky egg custard that's infused with a hint of nutmeg. While rum is usually the alcohol of choice for spiking eggnog, Jeni's opted to add a splash of Uncle Nearest whiskey instead. This small-batch whiskey is made in Tennessee and is named after the first African American master distiller.

The boozy flavor is pretty strong in every bite of this quirky ice cream, so keep this one away from the kids (via David's Ice Cream Reviews). But if you like eggnog or even the flavor of whiskey, this is one ice cream that's certain to get you in the mood for a holiday party.

10. Blue Bell Peppermint Bark

While Blue Bell's Christmas cookies flavor is little more than a fun idea, this next flavor from the grocery store ice cream brand is a tasty take on a more classic seasonal dessert. Blue Bell peppermint bark features a mint ice cream base that's overloaded with chunks of dark chocolate and pieces of crushed peppermint bark.

This ice cream flavor feels pretty middle-of-the-road. The pieces of peppermint bark are well-balanced with the mint ice cream and offer a nice crunch to an otherwise creamy mix. While a black market might have once popped up to sell Blue Bell ice cream after a shortage following a listeria outbreak and mass recall, this flavor may not have been one to fetch a very high price. But if you're in a Christmas mood and spot this on the shelf, we don't think that you'll be disappointed in your choice.

9. Talenti Peppermint Bark Gelato

Talenti's take on peppermint ice cream is another middle-of-the-road version of this seasonal favorite. Talenti peppermint bark gelato starts with a white chocolate peppermint gelato that's creamy and well-balanced. Then, it's swirled with semi-sweet chocolate flakes that add a little texture. The result is a milky, minty pint that won't overwhelm — even if you aren't a huge fan of peppermint flavors (via Junk Banter).

Like many Talenti flavors, every pint of this seasonal favorite is hormone-free, HFCS-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and kosher, making it a great choice if you're looking for a flavor to share with friends. However, many reviewers feel that the Talenti flavor fell a bit flat. To start, it's called peppermint bark but it lacks any real crunch. The chocolate flakes are a nice touch but not enough to elevate this beyond a mint chocolate flavor. While it might not be the worst take on peppermint, if you're expecting a crunchy, minty mix, we think you'll find better options elsewhere in the freezer aisle.

8. Jeni's Mexican Hot Chocolate

While it might technically be a limited-edition flavor rather than a seasonal option, Jeni's Mexican hot chocolate ice cream is much more than that. The flavor is actually what inspired the founder to begin her ice cream-making journey! It starts with milk chocolate cream mixed with cinnamon and cayenne. The result is a spiced, deeply creamy dessert that's delicious any time of year.

The flavor has had a few name changes over the years before it became Mexican hot chocolate. It hasn't always been a seasonal option, though it did return as a limited-edition holiday flavor in 2021 (via Chicago Food Magazine). Either way, this creamy, spicy hot chocolate flavor is the perfect indulgence this season — especially if you live somewhere that's too warm to enjoy a steaming cup of cocoa this time of year. Be warned: When you open this pint, it'll look like plain chocolate ice cream. Take a bite, and you'll quickly find the richly spiced flavor.

7. Jeni's Cranberry Crumble

Eggnog and even Mexican hot chocolate aren't exactly shocking flavors for ice cream, but this next seasonal selection from Jeni's is a bit more unique. Jeni's cranberry crumble is based on a side dish that's often more of a holiday table decoration than a popular choice to eat. This interesting option starts with a brightly flavored cranberry cream that's mixed with real cranberries, walnuts, and a deliciously sweet brown sugar and oat crisp.

If you think that you know cranberries, think again. While the flavor stays true to its namesake, it lacks the overt sour tartness of cranberries (via Milled). The sugary sweet flavor is well-balanced by the oven-baked brown sugar oat streusel and the crunchy walnuts. While this flavor is available in Jeni's ice cream parlor locations too, it's one that you'll probably want to enjoy on its own rather than as a flight or in a mixed cone. As one reviewer put it, while the flavor is tasty with lots of great texture, it doesn't mix well with Jeni's other popular, contemporary flavors (via Yelp).

6. Mayfield Snow Cream

If someone were to hand you a bowl of Mayfield snow cream, you'd no doubt think that you were getting ready to dig into some classic vanilla. But don't be fooled by the flavor's plain appearance. Sweeter and creamier than regular vanilla, snow cream is its own unique creation. And if you grew up somewhere that saw snow from time to time around the holidays, it might also inspire a bit of nostalgia.

The snow cream flavor comes from a unique childhood treat. Snow cream, or snow ice cream, is made using a bowl of freshly fallen snow, a can of condensed milk, and a bit of salt and vanilla extract. Mayfield has mimicked this simple winter treat by creating a creamy, sweet treat that you can enjoy without having to wait for a fresh snowfall. A quick search of Influenster reviews of this seasonal flavor shows that just about everyone who tries this deceptively simple ice cream can't get enough. 

5. Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ben and Jerry's knows a thing or two about creating delicious, unique ice cream flavors. That's likely one of the qualities that landed the brand at the top of the list of best store-bought ice creams. The company is constantly cranking out new flavors or bringing back old favorites. This past fall, one of its most popular seasonal flavors rejoined the lineup, just as it has every year since 2007. 

Ben & Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream is a creamy pumpkin concoction. The smooth ice cream is swirled with graham crackers, adding some tasty crunch. The flavor may be simple, but reviewers say that it's perfectly done (via Junk Banter). Actual pumpkin is used in the base, followed by perfect hints of seasonal spices, like nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon, and a smooth cream cheese finish.

Available in pints, this flavor is created as a limited batch each year, and as a result, it consistently sells out. So, if you're hoping to get your hands on a pint, buy it early in the season before it disappears for another year.

4. Talenti Pumpkin Pie Gelato Layers

If Ben & Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream is perfectly simple, Talenti pumpkin pie gelato layers is its perfectly complicated counterpart. This delicious seasonal flavor is so much more than just ice cream — it's a full-blown dessert in a jar. It starts with a layer of creamy pumpkin gelato, then crumbled pie crust, rich brown sugar sauce, and more gelato and pie crust layered over top. The result is a sort of deconstructed pumpkin pie crossed with pumpkin ice cream.

While this creation is brand new, the pumpkin gelato and brown sugar sauce previously appeared in the brand's pumpkin pie flavor gelato. That flavor is only enhanced in this tasty new take. The layers are a fun twist on a regular pint of ice cream, while the brown sugar sauce is a delicious addition to the creamy pumpkin flavor (via Second Scoop). If you love pumpkin and don't always prefer the more traditional ice cream options, you'll love this delicious creation.

3. Häagen-Dazs Peppermint Bark

While we've covered a few less-than-perfect attempts at peppermint, this seasonal grocery store selection is a delicious alternative. Häagen-Dazs has been known to push the boundaries in the past, even creating one of the first booze-infused ice creams available in stores. But its peppermint bark ice cream is a limited-edition seasonal flavor that sticks to the classics, with delicious results.

Häagen-Dazs peppermint bark consists of a rich and creamy white chocolate ice cream base, blended with heaps of crunchy, crushed pieces of chocolate-covered peppermint bark and peppermint candy pieces. The ice cream itself is wonderfully rich and creamy, while the peppermint pieces add both texture and a mouth-tingling finish.

If you prefer ice cream treats over pints, you're in luck. Häagen-Dazs peppermint bark ice cream bars feature the same creamy white chocolate ice cream. Instead of swirls of candy pieces, the bars are dipped in a thick layer of dark chocolate that's sprinkled with crunchy peppermint candies. While you'll likely find pints of Häagen-Dazs peppermint bark ice cream at most grocery stores this time of year, you might have to shop for the holiday ice cream bars at Costco.

2. Jeni's White Chocolate Peppermint

While crunchy peppermint pieces can be a nice balance in a smooth pint of smooth ice cream, this next flavor proves that sometimes, smooth on smooth is just as delicious. Jeni's white chocolate peppermint also consists of a white chocolate ice cream base, which like all of the brand's flavors is perfectly decadent and delicious. But this one is swirled with real peppermint, giving the already cold dish an extra-cool finish. 

While the flavor doesn't have any crunchy brittle bites, it does feature white chocolate speckles, which add a little bit of pop to every spoonful. But it's the surprising touch of sea salt that brings out the flavor and elevates this to a seasonal standout in the freezer section. Despite having a powerful blast of real peppermint, this flavor doesn't come across as too spicy or too similar to toothpaste. Instead, it's perfectly paired with the creamy white chocolate flavor.

1. Breyers Frozen Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Rounding out our list of the best grocery store holiday ice creams is a flavor that combines two iconic seasonal treats. Breyers frozen peppermint hot chocolate features a rich cocoa-flavored ice cream that's swirled with real peppermint extract. Unlike most of the peppermint options on this list, this flavor is a chocolate lover's dream thanks to the decadent chocolate base that tastes like a frosty frozen version of your favorite cup of hot chocolate.

The cocoa ice cream features swirls of dark chocolate that help to balance the natural peppermint extract – no toothpaste flavors here (via Best Products). Breyers sticks to colors and flavors made from natural sources, so you can feel good about what you're eating while digging into this top seasonal option. Plus, Breyers is a classic grocery store ice cream that's often much cheaper than new trendier brands, making this a great affordable option to share with the whole family.