Last Updated on May 31, 2022
If you’ve ever wandered the aisles at Aldi’s cousin Trader Joe’s, you’ve probably noticed that the store will tempt you with sweets and desserts in endless ways.
There’s the baked goods shelf at the back of the produce section, but that’s easy enough to steer clear of. It’s harder to avoid looking at all the cookies and candy lining the shelves above the freezer cases in the frozen foods aisle, even if you’re trying hard to focus only on adding frozen veggies and other healthy food to your cart. Then there’s the frozen dessert section, which is loaded with all sorts of treats ranging from ever-popular macarons to Hold the Cone mini ice cream cones to Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches. It’s all there.
If you cave to the temptation to buy something sweet, but you prefer your treat to be on the simpler side, TJ’s sells its own version of classic French vanilla ice cream. It’s right next to the Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream in the freezer section in our local store. Even better, Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Ice Cream comes in two different sizes to suit your cravings.
Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Super Premium Ice Cream cost $5.99 for a half gallon carton (1.89L) or $3.99 for a quart (about 0.95L) at the time of publication.
I opted to buy the half gallon size for my family. One of the first things I noticed is how large the container feels in my hands compared to most other ice cream cartons in stores these days. A quick comparison shows that I’m not wrong: most of the “larger” cardboard-based ice cream cartons Aldi sells (not counting the plastic tubs with handles) are 1.42 liters, which is noticeably smaller than the 1.89 liters in half a gallon. So if you want an ice cream carton that hasn’t fallen prey to product downsizing or “shrinkflation,” you may appreciate this Trader Joe’s option.
Ingredients are: cream, milk, cane sugar, sugared egg yolks (egg yolks and sugar), natural vanilla flavor, and a stabilizer blend (carob bean gum, guar gum, and cane sugar).
This ice cream is kosher. If you’re watching out for allergens, this contains milk and eggs.
One carton contains 12 servings, and one 2/3-cup serving has 330 calories, 21 grams of total fat (27% DV), 12 grams of saturated fat (60% DV), 130 mg of cholesterol (43% DV), 65 mg of sodium (3% DV), 30 grams of total carbohydrates (11% DV), no dietary fiber, 28 grams of total sugars, 24 grams of added sugars (48% DV), and 5 grams of protein.
The good news is that this ice cream has fairly simple ingredients, with the primary ingredients being cream, milk, and sugar. If you want ice cream that is even more simple like what your grandma might have made in an ice cream maker at home, you can go with the Aldi Specially Selected Super Premium Ice Cream, which contains no gums or natural flavors.
The not-so-good news is that this Trader Joe’s ice cream is definitely a dessert. It’s loaded with calories, fat (including saturated fat), cholesterol, and sugar. The serving size is listed at 2/3 of a cup, which is fairly generous considering many other ice cream makers go with 1/2-cup servings, so at first glance the TJ’s ice cream may look worse for you in terms of calories compared to the Aldi premium ice cream with similar ingredients, but after accounting for serving sizes the difference may not be so great.
If lower-calorie ice cream is more important to you, and if you don’t mind ingredients such as gums and fillers, you could look at the Aldi private label Belmont ice cream. However, if you’re looking for ice cream that is closer to the real thing, this TJ’s option might be worth a look.
As for how this tastes, it’s good. It has plenty of rich vanilla flavor and has a classic smooth, creamy texture. This ice cream got high marks in a Taste of Home ice cream taste test, which dubbed it the “richest vanilla ice cream” for its “exceptionally creamy, almost buttery texture.” We agree. This tastes great on its own, or top it with some chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Or drop a scoop atop a slice of pie or make root beer floats with it. You can’t go wrong no matter how you serve it.
Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Super Premium Ice Cream is made primarily with cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks, and natural vanilla flavoring. It’s smooth and creamy with lots of vanilla flavor. It’s good by itself or serve it with pie a la mode.