Can you eat Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream when pregnant?

Quick Answer

Eating small amounts of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream occasionally while pregnant is unlikely to cause harm. However, pregnant women should avoid eating raw cookie dough or raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Ben & Jerry’s pasteurizes their egg base mix to kill bacteria like salmonella, but there is still some risk from the raw flour and uncooked cookie dough inclusions. Overall, it’s best for pregnant women to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Raw Cookie Dough Concerns

The main concern with eating raw cookie dough while pregnant is the potential exposure to raw egg, which carries a risk of salmonella infection. Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness with symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps.

Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing complications from foodborne illness. Salmonella infection during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm labor, miscarriage, or stillbirth. In addition, the sickness and dehydration caused by salmonella can be dangerous during pregnancy.

Most commercial ice creams are made with a pasteurized egg base to kill any bacteria. However, Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream still contains inclusions of unbaked cookie dough, which may contain raw flour or eggs.

Risk of Raw Flour

In addition to raw eggs, the raw flour in cookie dough carries a potential risk of E. coli or Salmonella contamination. Raw flour is not commonly thought of as a high-risk food, but it can be contaminated with bacteria during the milling process.

There have been a number of E. coli outbreaks in recent years linked to consuming raw flour. While the overall risk is low, pregnant women may want to avoid consuming raw flour cookie dough to be extra cautious.

Benefits of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Provides Calcium

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream contains real cream, milk, and egg yolks. Dairy products provide a good source of calcium, which is essential during pregnancy for fetal bone development. One serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream can provide around 10% of the recommended daily calcium intake for pregnant women.

Satisfies Cravings

Pregnant women often experience strong food cravings, especially for sweets. Enjoying a small serving of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream can help satisfy sweet cravings in a safer way than eating raw cookie dough. As long as servings are limited, it can be part of a healthy pregnancy diet.

Morning Sickness Relief

Some women find that cold, creamy desserts like ice cream help provide relief from pregnancy-related nausea. The simple sugars and fluid in ice cream may help settle the stomach when morning sickness strikes.

Risks of Too Much Ice Cream

High in Sugar and Fat

While small amounts are fine, eating too much ice cream provides excessive sugar and saturated fat. Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream contains 23g of sugar in each 1/2 cup serving. Consuming high amounts of added sugar and saturated fat can contribute to excess weight gain during pregnancy.

Lack of Nutrients

Ice cream lacks the important vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber found in more nutritious pregnancy foods. Relying too heavily on ice cream could lead to nutritional gaps at a time when good nutrition is crucial.

Gestational Diabetes Risk

Eating large amounts of sugar may increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes must closely manage their blood sugar levels to avoid complications.

Alternatives to Cookie Dough Ice Cream

For pregnant women wanting to satisfy cookie dough cravings without the risks of raw egg, there are several safer alternatives:

  • Heat treated cookie dough – Some companies make ready-to-eat cookie dough that has been heat treated to kill bacteria like salmonella.
  • Eggless cookie dough – It’s easy to make homemade eggless cookie dough with heat-treated flour, butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips.
  • Cookies – Baked cookies are safer than raw cookie dough if you need to satisfy that craving.
  • Chocolate chip ice cream – Forgo the cookie dough and choose chocolate chip ice cream with mix-ins.

Guidelines for Pregnant Women

Here are some guidelines for pregnant women wanting to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream:

  • Check the “best by” date and avoid eating if it is passed.
  • Store ice cream in the freezer at 0°F or below.
  • Heat leftovers until steaming hot before eating again.
  • Avoid licking the spoon used to serve ice cream straight from the carton.
  • Limit portions to 1/2 cup at a time and avoid overdoing it. Eat as part of a balanced diet.
  • Make sure to consume plenty of nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, dairy and nuts.
  • Avoid other raw cookie dough products that may contain raw eggs or flour.
  • Have homemade eggless cookie dough for a safer alternative when cravings strike.

The Bottom Line

An occasional small serving of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream is unlikely to cause harm for most pregnant women. However, they should take precautions to reduce the risk of foodborne illness from raw cookie dough inclusions. Additionally, ice cream should not replace more nutritious foods needed for a healthy pregnancy. As with most pregnancy nutrition advice, moderation and balance are key when indulging cravings.

Is it safe to eat Ben and Jerry’s when pregnant?

Yes, it is generally safe for pregnant women to eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Here are some tips for safely enjoying Ben & Jerry’s while pregnant:

  • Avoid flavors with raw cookie dough inclusions to reduce risk of salmonella from raw flour or eggs.
  • Check the “best by” date and don’t eat expired ice cream.
  • Store ice cream frozen at 0°F or below to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Heat up leftovers until steaming before eating again.
  • Eat small serving sizes – 1/2 cup or less per sitting.
  • Balance ice cream with nutritious foods like vegetables, proteins and whole grains.
  • Avoid eating straight from the container to prevent germ spread.

Pasteurized dairy products like Ben & Jerry’s are safe during pregnancy. Just avoid high-risk flavors with raw dough and watch portion sizes. A small treat here and there won’t harm baby when eaten as part of healthy prenatal diet.

Can you get food poisoning from Ben and Jerry’s?

It’s unlikely, but possible to get food poisoning or foodborne illness from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Here’s what pregnant women need to know:

  • Ben & Jerry’s uses pasteurized eggs in their ice cream base, which kills salmonella risk. But raw cookie dough chunks could still pose some risk.
  • Consuming any food past its expiry increases food poisoning risk from bacteria growth.
  • Storing ice cream above 0°F allows pathogens like listeria to grow and cause illness.
  • Eating contaminated ice cream from the carton spreads germs to the remaining servings.

To avoid foodborne illness, check “best by” dates, follow storage guidelines, and avoid cross-contamination. While the risk is low, pregnant women should take extra care to prevent food poisoning.

What are the best Ben and Jerry’s flavors to eat when pregnant?

The best Ben & Jerry’s flavors for pregnant women are those made with pasteurized ingredients and without raw cookie dough. Here are some of the safest flavors:

Flavor Description
Cherry Garcia Cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Chocolate ice cream with fudge brownies
Phish Food Chocolate ice cream with marshmallow, caramel swirl, and fudge fish
Mint Chocolate Cookie Mint and chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate cookie swirl
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookie dough (heat treated)

Always check the ingredient label to confirm there is no uncooked dough or batter, which may contain raw flour or eggs. And consume all flavors in moderation as part of a balanced pregnancy diet.

Can I eat raw cookie dough from Ben and Jerry’s when pregnant?

No, pregnant women should avoid eating raw cookie dough inclusions from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Raw cookie dough carries a risk of foodborne illness, including:

  • Salmonella – From raw eggs in dough
  • E. coli – From contaminated raw flour
  • Listeria – From contaminated equipment or ingredients

Pregnant women are at higher risk for complications from food poisoning. While Ben & Jerry’s uses pasteurized eggs for their ice cream base, the cookie dough chunks contain uncooked ingredients. For optimal safety, heat treats any cookie dough before consuming when pregnant.

Can I eat Ben and Jerry’s while pregnant if it has alcohol in it?

Ben & Jerry’s sometimes releases unique flavors containing alcohol, like Cherry Garcia Beer or Non-Dairy Beer-Battered Frozen Dessert. Pregnant women should avoid any Ben & Jerry’s flavors containing alcohol, including:

  • Schweddy Balls – Rum flavored ice cream
  • Scotchy Scotch Scotch – Butterscotch ice cream with butterscotch swirl and shortbread pieces
  • Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream – Vanilla ice cream with fudge covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl

While the alcohol amounts are likely minimal, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. To be cautious, it’s best for expectant mothers to steer clear of Ben & Jerry’s flavors containing any amount of alcohol.


Most Ben & Jerry’s ice creams are perfectly safe to eat during pregnancy when consumed in moderation. Just be sure to check labels and avoid any raw cookie dough inclusions or alcohol-infused flavors. As with any pregnancy food, practice basic food safety handling and storage, limit portions, and balance ice cream with nutritious choices. An occasional small serving can help satisfy cravings without harming mom or baby.

Leave a Comment