Ben & Jerry’s is known for its delicious and inventive ice cream flavors. One of its most popular flavors is cookie dough, which features chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough mixed into sweet vanilla ice cream. For those who avoid dairy due to dietary restrictions or preferences, a common question is whether Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream is dairy free.
Is There Dairy in Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream?
The short answer is no, Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream is not dairy free. Ben & Jerry’s ice creams are made with milk and cream, so they contain dairy ingredients. Specifically, the cookie dough flavor contains the following dairy-derived ingredients:
- Milkfat and nonfat milk
So people who are vegan or lactose intolerant will want to avoid this ice cream flavor. Those with milk allergies will also need to steer clear, as it contains milk proteins.
Why Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Contains Dairy
All Ben & Jerry’s ice cream varieties, including the beloved cookie dough, contain dairy because that’s the traditional way ice cream is made. The base of ice cream is cream and/or milk. Here’s a quick look at why milk and cream are standard ingredients:
- Cream contributes fat, which makes ice cream rich, creamy, and smooth.
- Milk provides proteins like casein and whey, which help ice cream stay scoopable when frozen.
- Milk and cream both contain lactose, which sweetens ice cream.
- Dairy ingredients also impact flavor, color, and texture.
By using dairy products to make their ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s achieves the classic texture and taste that ice cream lovers expect. Non-dairy alternatives just can’t replicate the creamy decadence only milkfat and cream can deliver.
What About Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Flavors?
While the original Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough contains dairy, Ben & Jerry’s has introduced some non-dairy frozen dessert options over the years. These allow customers with dairy restrictions to still enjoy the fun flavors of Ben & Jerry’s.
Here’s an overview of the non-dairy flavors:
Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Made with Almondmilk
Ben & Jerry’s launched a line of almond milk-based frozen desserts in 2016. The almond milk ice creams originally came in 4 flavors:
- Chocolate Fudge Brownie
- Chunky Monkey
- Coffee Caramel Fudge
- P.B. & Cookies
The almond milk frozen desserts have the same texture and mouthfeel as regular Ben & Jerry’s. Since the base is almond milk instead of dairy, these flavors are non-dairy and vegan.
Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Made with Sunflower Butter
In 2019, Ben & Jerry’s introduced a sunflower butter-based non-dairy frozen dessert. The initial flavor launched was Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, playing off their famous dairy cookie dough flavor.
The sunflower butter gives these frozen desserts a nutty, creamy flavor profile, even without dairy. Thanks to the sunflower milk base, this Ben & Jerry’s dessert is vegan and dairy-free.
Ben & Jerry’s Coconutmilk Frozen Desserts
Ben & Jerry’s more recently unveiled flavors made with coconutmilk in 2020. The coconut milk flavors are:
- Chocolate Caramel Cluster
- P.B. Dough Chunks
The coconut base makes these non-dairy, vegan-certified options. They have a smooth, creamy texture thanks to the coconut milk.
So while the original cookie dough flavor isn’t dairy free, Ben & Jerry’s has released multiple non-dairy alternatives. Those avoiding dairy can enjoy flavors like Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for the cookie dough experience.
Ingredients in Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Since Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough contains dairy, what exactly is in it? Here’s a breakdown:
Ice Cream Base
The ice cream itself is made from:
- Skim milk
- Liquid sugar (sugar, water)
- Egg yolks
The milkfat comes from both the cream and milk. The eggs also provide some fat. The milk proteins help make the ice cream scoopable. And the liquid sugar sweetens the base.
Cookie Dough Pieces
Nestled inside the creamy ice cream are chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough. These are made from:
- Brown sugar
- Chocolate chips
- Vanilla extract
The pieces of dough contain butter and brown sugar for flavor. Traditional chocolate chip cookie ingredients like flour, sugar, and chocolate chips are mixed in. A touch of vanilla and salt balances out the sweetness.
In addition to the cookie dough chunks, Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream includes:
- Fudge flakes
- Chocolate sandwich cookies
These mix-ins add even more chocolate goodness. The fudge flakes blend into the vanilla ice cream for chocolate swirls. Meanwhile, the cookies provide crunchy texture contrast.
So while simple in concept, Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough actually has quite a few components. All the mix-ins combine to make this a super flavor-packed ice cream.
Why Cookie Dough Ice Cream Can’t Be Raw
Some people may wonder why Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough isn’t sold in a raw, edible form. Why pasteurize it when cookie dough is so good unbaked?
Here’s the reason raw cookie dough isn’t feasible in ice cream:
Raw Eggs Present a Health Risk
Many homemade cookie dough recipes contain raw eggs. Unfortunately, raw eggs come with the risk of food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella.
While the chance of getting sick is low, it’s amplified when using raw eggs in a mass-produced product. So raw eggs can’t safely be used in Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream pints.
Heat Treatment is Required
To eliminate any food safety risk in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the dairy base, cookie dough, and other mix-ins must be heat treated.
Pasteurization involves briefly heating these ingredients to at least 145°F to destroy pathogens. This step makes the cookie dough safe to eat unbaked.
Without pasteurization, the dough pieces could pose a food poisoning risk to consumers. So heat treatment is essential when including raw cookie dough in ice cream.
It Also Improves Shelf Life
Pasteurizing the ingredients doesn’t just improve food safety. It gives Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream a longer shelf life.
Heating the mix-ins helps prevent spoilage and bacterial growth during distribution and storage. So pasteurization is crucial for the commercial viability of this ice cream flavor.
Raw cookie dough and cold temperatures just don’t mix in large-scale ice cream manufacturing. Pasteurization makes cookie dough ice cream possible.
Finding Dairy-Free Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Lactose-free folks need not despair—you can enjoy cookie dough ice cream without the dairy. Here are some tips for finding dairy-free cookie dough options:
Check for Alternative Base Ingredients
Read ice cream labels and look for non-dairy bases like:
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Cashew milk
- Oat milk
- Soy milk
- Rice milk
These plant-based milks allow ice creams to mimic the creamy texture of dairy. Seek out brands using one of these as the first ingredient.
Search for Vegan Certification
It’s easy to spot vegan ice creams, as they’ll be labeled as “vegan” or “dairy-free”. Additionally, look for certification from vegan organizations like Vegan Action or Vegan.org. This verifies the desserts are free of animal products.
Make Your Own
For ultimate control over ingredients, make your own cookie dough ice cream. Blend coconut cream, avocado, or soaked cashews to make the creamy base. Add in vegan chocolate chip cookie dough you bake yourself or buy. This lets you customize the ice cream’s flavor.
Sample Non-Dairy Brands
Many alternative ice cream brands now offer cookie dough flavors, like:
- So Delicious Dairy Free
- Coconut Bliss
- Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
- Julie’s Organic
Trying established dairy-free companies ensures you get quality non-dairy frozen desserts. Check health food stores to find these cookies and cream options.
With the rise of plant-based eating, there are more ways than ever to savor cookie dough ice cream without the dairy. Brands big and small are rolling out indulgent, innovative flavors using almond milk, coconut cream, and other alternatives. So people avoiding cow’s milk need not miss out on this beloved ice cream experience.
Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream Options
Ben & Jerry’s line of non-dairy flavors is expanding, providing more cookie dough options sans dairy:
Ben & Jerry’s currently offers these non-dairy cookie dough and cookie-inspired flavors:
- Coconutmilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Coconutmilk Chocolate Cookie Frozen Dessert
- Sunflower Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Sunflower Butter Chocolate Cookie Frozen Dessert
The sunflower butter and coconut milk bases give these a creamy, melty texture reminiscent of ice cream. And they capture the taste of Ben & Jerry’s famous baked goods flavors.
New Flavors Coming Soon
In 2022, Ben & Jerry’s plans to launch more non-dairy frozen desserts. Upcoming cookie dough and cookie flavors include:
- Almondmilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Core
- Almondmilk Double Chocolate Cookie Core
- Coconutmilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Core
The new “Cores” line features layers of chocolate and “cookie” flavors swirled together. These innovations give non-dairy fans more variety to choose from.
Availability of Non-Dairy Flavors
Ben & Jerry’s lactose-free flavors are currently only available in the US at select grocery stores and scoop shops. But the brand is working to expand distribution and offer more non-dairy options globally.
Ice cream lovers worldwide should eventually be able to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough and cookies without the dairy. Products are labeled as “dairy-free”, making these choices easy to identify.
So while the original cookie dough flavor isn’t an option for the dairy-averse, Ben & Jerry’s is committed to inclusivity. Their ever-growing line of non-dairy frozen desserts ensures everyone can indulge in decadent ice cream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions about Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream:
Is Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream gluten-free?
No, Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream is not gluten-free. It contains wheat flour in the cookie dough pieces, so it contains gluten.
Does Ben and Jerry’s have vegan cookie dough ice cream?
Yes, Ben & Jerry’s makes vegan and dairy-free cookie dough flavors. Their sunflower butter and coconut milk-based frozen desserts are certified vegan and contain cookie dough chunks.
What makes Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough chunks safe to eat unbaked?
Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough undergoes pasteurization, which heats the dough enough to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella. This makes the chunks safe to eat raw.
Does Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream contain eggs?
Yes, the dairy ice cream base is made with egg yolks. But the cookie dough pieces are egg-free, making those safe for people with egg allergies.
Is the cookie dough in Ben and Jerry’s edible raw?
Yes, unlike homemade cookie dough, Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough chunks can be safely consumed without baking due to the pasteurization process.
While Ben & Jerry’s traditional cookie dough ice cream isn’t dairy-free or vegan, they offer multiple non-dairy versions for customers avoiding animal products. Their almondmilk, coconutmilk, and sunflower butter frozen desserts provide the same delicious cookie dough experience, no dairy required.
With their dairy-free range ever-expanding, soon lactose-free folks everywhere can enjoy Ben & Jerry’s famous flavors. So while the original cookie dough contains milk and cream, inclusivity is clearly a priority. Ben & Jerry’s is working to make their decadent ice cream accessible and appetizing to all.