Now that it’s officially ice cream season, punctuated joyfully by the siren song of neighborhood ice cream trucks in neighborhoods all across America, it’s time to dig in whether you’re a neat eater (with an ice cream cone that never drips) or a dyed-in-the-wool mess maker who needs a cone and a backup cup (like me).
As it turns out, across this frozen treat–seeking country, our taste profiles are pretty diverse! According to a revealing new study from Workwise—a company that develops sales and customer relations software—Americans are fairly divided when it comes to their ice cream.
For instance, in California, the most-Googled flavor was tutti frutti, while Arizona, with which it shares a border, is devoted to mango. D.C., our nation’s capital, favors the elegant stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate strips), and Michigan prefers a flavor of its own making: a red, blue, and yellow number called Superman.
But there is one flavor that comes out on top, as the most popular flavor in America, by virtue of the fact that it’s the top-searched flavor across 14 of our 50 states. At the risk of sounding clickbait-y, the answer may surprise you:
It’s cookies and cream!
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MANG why does ice cream have to rock so hard? @you_feta_believe_it and I got these @baskinrobbins cones the other day when the weather was super fine and I’ve been doing yoga (which I despise) to get into shape for some things I want to do this summer. What’s an effective workout that doesn’t suck and you actually enjoy? 🍦🍦 #ad #lol #jkjk #notanad #canyouimagine #mintchiptastesbetterwhenitsgreen
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This surprised me, even though my own favorite flavor is technically a variation: Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie.
What is it about cookies and cream that makes it so popular, even though the rest of the data is so spread out? Maybe it’s the flavor that ice cream shops truly excel at, or maybe we’re suckers for alliteration. If you’re reading this from behind an ice cream shop counter, I’d love to know! Do you notice more people ordering cookies and cream than any other flavor?
Second place, with just five states’ worth of searches, was vanilla, followed by a tie between chocolate, peppermint, and strawberry (four states).
But it's the state-to-state differences that really stand out. Did you know that Connecticut flocks to beer ice cream, while Pennsylvania digs something called teaberry? It "looks like Pepto-Bismol and tastes like wintergreen," according to one source, and is again, native to its state. And if you thought the Northeast was weird, you might be interested to know that the most popular flavor in Ohio is pumpkin.
Outside of the continental U.S., Alaska prefers chocolate, while Hawaii is all about strawberry. Overall, we’re more of a chocolate ice cream nation than a vanilla one, with chocolate preferred by ice cream lovers across 33 states.
I’ll close by saying that I’m pleasantly surprised by our national variety and loyalty to state-made ice cream flavors. I'd love to know if this list is missing any secret locals-only flavors, and if you agree with this study's appointment of America's most popular ice cream flavor.