Every Salt & Straw Flavor Ranked Worst To Best

Not all ice cream is created equal. From the quality of ingredients to the precision of the process, there's plenty that can go wrong in creating one of life's greatest joys. Sure, it's difficult to find a truly terrible ice cream, and even standard freezer-aisle fare can hit the spot on a summer afternoon. Serious ice cream lovers know though that nothing compares to meticulously crafted premium ice creams, like those of Salt & Straw. When two cousins started an ice cream cart in Portland, Oregon, in 2011, an ice cream legend was born. Today, there are now 27 brick-and-mortar storefronts along the West Coast and in Florida, and they're even inside Disney parks on both coasts.

Salt & Straw uses local ingredients wherever they scoop, and the variety of those ingredients has made them nearly as famous as their quality. This isn't just a chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry situation, and we don't mean pistachio when we say they get creative. Salt & Straw uses ingredients like blue cheese, smoked tea shortbread, and chicken fat when they experiment, and they're usually churning out hit after surprising hit. Some flavors are seasonal and others are one-time only, but there's a freezer full of 15 classic flavors that remain relatively permanent. A few of these are scooped only regionally, but all are available for national shipping. We tried every Salt & Straw flavor and present them to you now, worst to best.

15. Arbequina Olive Oil

Let's clear up one little detail before we even begin: There are no bad Salt & Straw flavors, but every ranking has a final finisher, no matter how yummy, and that honor goes to Arbequina Olive Oil this time. It's not often a Salt & Straw flavor is described as bland, and we don't entirely agree that this one is, either, but Su L. and her husband, from Los Angeles, California, did find it lacking in flavor a bit in her Yelp review, even if the couple still appreciated its creamy texture.

In case you're unfamiliar, arbequina is a cultivar of olive that originated in Spain and is now the most popular variety grown in California, so there's nothing particularly uncommon about this little fruit. Still, you might not consider olive oil a typical ice cream ingredient at all, but customers like Bridget M. confirm the unique flavors are "actually good and not just weird" on Yelp, specifically citing Arbequina Olive Oil as a prime example. And just to drive home the point that everyone's palate is different and every flavor has its fans, Jess B. says the buttery consistency of this one helps make it her favorite Salt & Straw flavor, so don't be hesitant to give it a try for yourself just because it ranks last here. We still enjoy it.

14. Roasted Pineapple Coconut Sherbet (Florida exclusive)

In-person, this one is only scooped in Florida locations, and we understand why it may not be the most nationally appealing flavor in the bunch. Both pineapple and coconut can be a bit divisive when added to other dishes (we're looking at you, pineapple pizza), so you'll have to be a fan of both to enjoy this special scoop from Salt & Straw. We recognize that this automatically eliminates many of you, helping nudge this one toward the bottom of the rankings.

Still, it's a great option for vegans, since it's made with coconut cream instead of dairy, and roasting the pineapples gives the finished product an extra dose of natural sweetness that goes a long way. If you think this one sounds a lot like a virgin piña colada, you're in good company. Disney by Mark describes this flavor as "a piña colada in ice cream form" (technically it's a sherbet, but we'll let it slide), but admits the coconut flavor is especially strong, so the coconut-sensitive are not likely to enjoy it.

13. Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip

Even if there are battle lines drawn between fans of the green variety versus fans of the white, mint chocolate chip is a favorite American ice cream flavor. As such, you might expect it to land a little higher on the ranking of all Salt & Straw flavors, but this isn't your typical mint chocolate chip. To be clear, we applaud and support creativity and originality in food, as in most areas of life, but if you're going to alter a classic it needs to be brilliantly executed or you should expect some resistance. In the case of Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip, there is a major change from the norm that ice cream fans may resent.

Thoughtfully presenting more variety for its vegan customers, Salt & Straw removed dairy from this flavor and, once again, used coconut cream for texture and consistency. The coconut flavor is not overwhelming this time, but the finished product doesn't necessarily present the mint chocolate chip experience that the flavor's lifelong fans would be looking for, and it's the only mint chocolate chip available from Salt & Straw so we did move it toward the bottom of our favorites. Nonetheless, Penny P. from Rosemead, California, found the levels of mint and chocolate in this version to be just the right amount of balanced flavor, and Kell S., from Costa Mesa, California, agreed in a Yelp review, adding that it offered a "very cooling sensation."

12. The Salty Donut Guava + Cheese

This one is another Florida exclusive for in-person scoops, and that's largely because it was inspired by The Salty Donut shop, which originated in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. The masterminds behind Salt & Straw say their favorite doughnut is the Guava + Cheese, and this flavor is their homage to the creation, including chunks of brioche doughnut, guava curd, and puff pastry streusel in a cream cheese ice cream. The finished product is well balanced and certainly packs an interesting variety of flavors, but we suspect the combination is not quite for everyone, keeping it from placing a little higher in the rankings.

Still, the more gastronomically adventurous among us may love this particular variety, which certainly has its admirers. Anisha W.'s five-star review of The Salty Donut Guava + Cheese raves that it is "perfectly creamy" and downright "spectacular," and Oscar A., from Miami, Florida, wrote on Yelp that he loves how chunky it is and finds it full of flavor, claiming both the guava and cheese are very noticeable. Of course, whether or not that's a good thing for you will depend on how much you personally enjoy guava and cheese in your ice cream. We suggest sampling this one to find out before committing.

11. Marionberry Coconut Sherbet (West Coast exclusive)

If you've been paying any attention at all, you will already have guessed that Marionberry Coconut Sherbet is another vegan offering from Salt & Straw, once again substituting coconut cream for dairy. What you may not have guessed is that this one is only available for West Coasters (for those shopping in person), unless, of course, you already know what a Marionberry is. Sometimes called "Marion blackberries" according to Oregon Berries, marionberries are exclusively grown in Oregon, where they were first tested in the market in Marion County. Outside of Oregon, you're unlikely to know of this berry variety, because Oregonians tend to scarf down their limited production, themselves, but you can snag a taste outside of Oregon through Salt & Straw's yummy sherbet.

This flavor has a tantalizingly tart quality that may not appeal to absolutely everyone, but most will find it refreshing and rich in flavor. Attosa C., from Los Angeles, California, thinks every flavor is all-caps SO GOOD, but rates marionberry as her top choice even though she admits to otherwise avoiding anything else berry or coconut, and David K. was similarly unable to describe the flavor without emphasizing his words creatively when he called marionberry "sooo good," himself. We agree.

10. Pear & Blue Cheese (West Coast exclusive)

Continuing with West Coast exclusives for a moment, Pear & Blue Cheese is another Salt & Straw flavor that just wouldn't exist without the ideal growing conditions of the Pacific Northwest (at least in the United States). Using Oregon's bounty of Bartlett pears along with best-in-the-world Rogue River Blue cheese from Southern Oregon's Rogue Creamery, this fall-forward flavor is as regional as it gets. While some may turn up their noses at the mere mention of blue cheese, we'd consider that a major misstep here.

Jessica B., from Buffalo, New York (though shopping at a Los Angeles location), agrees on Yelp that the blue cheese flavor is not overwhelming, striking a nice balance with the candied pear, and KathyM2536 left a five-star Trip Advisor review of Salt & Straw, acknowledging that all the flavors were so good it was hard to choose a favorite before admitting that Pear & Blue Cheese ultimately took the top spot for her. We've already admitted that choosing divisive ingredients for the ice cream churn can be a limiting decision, but this creative blend does enough to win back enough would-be haters that it outshines its lower-ranking brethren, eking its way into the top 10.

9. Honey Lavender

Lavender isn't exactly known for its strong taste and may be more famous as a relaxing scent for spas and self-care than a bold flavoring agent, but the dessert wizards at Salt & Straw do things a little differently. Steeping a serious load of lavender in honey to create their appropriately named Honey Lavender ice cream, this variety's biggest fans are clear about one thing: It's full of flavor.

Corina Q., from Honolulu, Hawaii, describes the lavender flavor as "so strong" in her five star review, and minces no words when she calls the resulting blend with subtler honey notes "mindblowingly amazing." Trip Advisor reviewer jkarkos from Huntington Beach, California, visited the Portland, Oregon, store daily while on a weeklong visit to the area and loved Honey Lavender so much that she ordered it every single day. If you're still unsure about ordering this one, Justin K., from Baltimore, Maryland, insists it's a great choice and encourages you to "just do it."

8. Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

While this variety may contain more syllables than most, it's worth the extra verbal effort to order it; it's an example of a beloved flavor taken to new heights without forsaking its core essence. Salt is first billed in this lineup because the flavor includes not one but two varieties of the world's favorite culinary mineral, and the malted chocolate is made with the same malt used to create amber ale. The result has been described rather modestly by Yelp reviewers as enjoyable and "super yummy," but we are siding with those followers who have stronger words for this frozen dessert.

Clearly unafraid of bold claims, Swati P., from Chino Hills, California, described Salted, Malted, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough as "to die for," and, while we think she may have gone perhaps a bit far with her assessment, we concur that it's dangerously delicious. Marjorie U., of West Los Angeles, California, warns that it's so amazing it becomes addictive. But hey, it has both chocolate and salt in it, so we don't think anyone should be surprised to hear that.

7. Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper

It's important to note that it's not just any black pepper used in this clever creation. Differing from what you'll most likely find in your own pepper grinder, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper is enhanced with cubeb black pepper, known for the citrus quality introduced here to bring out the strawberry's acidity. Add a little balsamic to the mix and, yes, this flavor may cause some lip puckering. We accept that not everyone will love this sensation, but we certainly do, and so do many of Salt & Straw's fans.

Despite the untraditional additions to this flavor, one Trip Advisor reviewer from Dracut, Massachusetts, raves that it is not just "delicious," but the best strawberry ice cream ever, and another, from Ames, Iowa, says Salt & Straw ice cream is not only the best ice cream brand there is, but mind-blowing and refreshing Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper is the best flavor among these superior ice creams. We don't quite rank this one at the very top of all Salt & Straw flavors, but we do agree that it definitely belongs in the top half, and we're especially fond of this one after a meal.

6. Cold Brew Coffee Cashew Praline (West Coast exclusive)

San Diego's James Coffee Co. is known for its artisan brews from single-origin beans, and the highest-rated West Coast exclusive on our ranking of Salt & Straw flavors incorporates the independent roaster's premiere product. Salt & Straw adds its own caramelized pralines to this coffee-flavored treat, and both elements seem to garner equal appreciation from its biggest champions.

While most coffee ice creams tend to taste more like coffee flavoring than actual coffee, Cold Brew Coffee Cashew Praline is frequently praised for actually tasting like real coffee. Nikki R. from Los Angeles, California, says the variety has a "perfect coffee taste," describing it as "extremely fresh" and rating the flavor as overall "something else." We find it hard to disagree with this simple, yet accurate description, and also second Liza M., from Glendale, California, who calls the flavor "beautiful," and a must-try for coffee lovers. Liza loves it so much she orders it by the pint, and we don't blame her one bit.

5. Panther Coffee Chocolate Tres Leches (Florida exclusive)

Just edging out the West Coast's coffee contribution, Florida-exclusive Panther Coffee Chocolate Tres Leches breaks into the top five Salt & Straw flavors with its triple combination of bold elements. Espresso? Check. Rum? Check. Tres leches cake? Check. If you're not already sold, we suspect you may not be fully awake (in which case, you need some of this espresso ice cream immediately).

Even though it's not her favorite flavor in the full lineup, Melissa F., from Miami, Florida, accurately describes this variety as "rich, creamy, and just decadent all around," and it was so good that she forgot to pause to take a picture of her selection (apparently that's still possible). Jaclyn G., from New York, New York, describes the Panther Coffee element as strong, warning on Yelp that you shouldn't order this one if you're not into that real coffee power, but we're not sure why anyone would, and we consider this a major plus. We'll allow that not everyone loves bold flavors, though, and this variety contains several, so we've kept it from the very top of the list in recognition of this, but only slightly.

4. Cinnamon Snickerdoodle

No, the name of this flavor isn't redundant. Sure, cinnamon is one of the signature components of snickerdoodle cookies, but there's a legitimate reason this Salt & Straw flavor draws particular attention to the spice. In addition to including chunks of house-baked snickerdoodles in this ice cream recipe, Salt & Straw additionally adds "the most intensely spiced, warm cinnamon" to the blend before churning, resulting in unmistakable spoonfuls of cinnamon splendor. But still with plenty of sweet cookie goodness.

Described as "absolutely delicious" by Sheila J., of Oakland, California, and an all-time favorite of Sam K. from New York, New York, who claims to have tried "so many flavors," we find the most telling review to be that of Trip Advisor reviewer ThistleReads, who finds it "so darn good" she was willing to cross state lines for it when it was hard to come by, and insists it "makes you wish for 2 stomachs." We're positive she's not the only one who feels this way, as this scrumptious flavor gained enough to popularity to go national, and we're sure grateful it did, two stomachs or not.

3. Double Fold Vanilla

Vanilla. The very word conjures notions of the ordinary and mundane – an inoffensive option that's hard to hate, but equally hard to adore. We understand that you may be asking yourself how any self-respecting reviewers can place vanilla in the top three of a comprehensive flavor ranking, especially from a premium brand as inventive as Salt & Straw, but trust us: This vanilla is worth your time, and you'll thank us for urging you to give vanilla a chance.

First of all, we need to apologize for referring to this flavor simply as "vanilla." This is double-fold vanilla, which uses twice the amount of vanilla bean extractives in the same amount of liquid as single-fold (traditional vanilla extract), which Vanilla Queen explains is not at all the same as using twice as much extract. It's all about the concentration, and the power of double-fold vanilla sets Salt & Straw's deceptively simple recipe apart from other brands' offerings. While this one understandably tends to appeal most immediately to those who are hesitant to try the brand's most unusual flavors, offering a sneaky segue to the world of elevated ice creams, it's truly worthwhile for any ice cream aficionado.

2. Chocolate Gooey Brownie

Unless you're one of the few who just don't love chocolate, (and, yes, those people do exist) you're probably already on board with this one just from its name, and this is one case where you can accurately judge a book by its cover. Chocolate Gooey Brownie is every bit as delicious and divine as you'd hope, from fudgy brownie chunks of the richest chocolate to gooey marshmallow goodness.

One Trip Advisor reviewer proclaimed Chocolate Gooey Brownie to be the best brownie ice cream she ever had, and we would assume that's probably accurate, but we wouldn't stop there. This isn't just the best brownie ice cream; it's among the best chocolate ice creams, period. After all, this flavor inspires some pretty extreme reactions, including that of another Trip Advisor reviewer who confessed it was the closest one could get to sensual arousal with clothes on. We can't quite pinpoint a single trait that makes this flavor so drool-worthy, but it may have something to do with the sheer volume of brownie chunks so generously provided that Reddit user Nicky4Pin was compelled to show you, while also confessing to wiping out a whole pint with each sitting. No judgment here.

1. Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons

You may have noticed that the flavors toward the top of this ranking have veered toward the less shocking and, while that wasn't a conscious decision, we're not surprised. It's easy to wow an audience with big, bold ideas (though much harder to follow through with outstanding flavor and quality as consistently as Salt & Straw so reliably does), but to elevate fundamental flavors is a true culinary feat. Classics are classics for a reason, providing the most universally appealing flavor profiles from the purest of expressions, and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons is Salt & Straw's humble masterpiece of little more than milk and cream, Guatemalan salt, and hand-burned caramel.

Try it for yourself and you'll understand why fans commonly use words like "outstanding," "amazing" and "phenomenal," and "top-notch," and why Gastronomy Blog listed Seal Salt with Caramel Ribbons as the scoop that made them swoon. It's nothing more than pure ingredients and a simple process executed flawlessly — the very best that can be asked of any dish, ice cream or otherwise.