Frozen Dessert

This Is, Surprisingly, the Most Popular Ice Cream Flavor in America

Plus, the breakdown across all 50 states.

by:
May 31, 2019
Photo by Mark Weinberg

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!

This surprised me, even though my own favorite flavor is technically a variation: Ben & Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I assure you that Tutti Frutti is not the most popular ice cream in California, in fact it's not easy to find, and I doubt beer ice cream is actually consumed in any quantity anywhere. Vanilla is the most consumed pretty much everywhere, partly because it appears in a lot of combinations and ice cream bars and such, but what's to google?”
— Smaug
Comment

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.

Is cookies and cream your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Karen Lo

Written by: Karen Lo

lunch lady

97 Comments

janice July 9, 2019
California...?tutti-frutti? where did you come up w/that?...some old joke about the land of "fruits & nuts" Make mine chocolate-peanut butter or gianduja or lemon iceCREAM
 
Robin D. July 7, 2019
coffee ice cream is my favorite of all time
 
jpriddy July 6, 2019
It's vanilla. Coconut milk ice cream may be the only frozen dessert I have googled in Oregon, but it certainly is not my favorite flavor. In fact it's not a flavor at all. Vanilla is not my favorite either, but ask any grocer what flavor most people buy. Ask anywhere in the country. Vanilla.
 
Denise S. July 5, 2019
Totally agree with all those who've disparaged the results and the source for this. Food52: you usually do so much better than this. Just the idea that beer ice cream would be the favorite of people in CT should've given you pause, not to mention CA's fav being Tutti Frutti. That's just crazy.
 
JoanJ July 4, 2019
I am a life long Pennsylvanian, Philly side of the State. The only Teaberry I ever heard of was chewing gum, many many years ago. Whoever this sales and marketing group is, they had best refine their sampling techniques!
 
Marjorie T. July 5, 2019
Philadelphian here too, and totally agree. I'm not sure that Googling a flavor is an indication of how much one likes it. I might Google pickle ice cream, but I'm sure as hell not buying it!
 
Robert D. July 31, 2019
Born in Sayre grew up in Stroudsburg (Poconos) and live in Geogia. Yes, Teaberry is the same flavor as the gum. Weis Markets carries the flavor and it is also available at the creamery at Penn State as well as at Shadowbrook outside Tunkhannock, PA. I travel 850 miles to get a yearly fix. Travel towards central Pennsylvania or the Poconos to find it. I'm not sure you can find it in any other state
 
Robert D. July 31, 2019
Ask Bassetts in the Reading Terminal to churn it so it can be a Philly thing.
 
Karen July 4, 2019
My Favorite-Pennsylvania: Aldis , “Thank You Cherry Much.” It has chunks of rich chocolate as well as cherries . It’s amazing! 😲😋
 
Anja July 4, 2019
I've lived in California most of my life, and have never seen tutti frutti ice cream. Maybe it's the most googled because people are trying to figure out what it is, not because it's their favorite.
My favorites?
1. Cardamom
2. Saffron
3. Cherry Garcia
 
Elly H. July 4, 2019
Virginia here - What the heck is Tiger Tar????
 
Leslie L. July 4, 2019
I’ve lived in California most of my life and I’ve never heard of Tutti Fruity. I do agree with the Cookies and Cream, not because it’s my favorite, but because the inventor of it goes to my church and he told us all about it. He is an official ice cream expert and taster.
 
judy July 4, 2019
52 first published this phony survey in June. I find that I am questioning the organization's integrity. It is disappointing that your editorial staff didn't consider the feedback the initial article received. Yeah it's only about ice cream, who cares? I care because I like to think of 52 as a bright, fun, intelligent and accurate source of food information and ideas.
 
Suse July 4, 2019
1. Vanilla Bean
2. Mint Chocolate Chip
3. Black Walnut
I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we have Humphry (no "e") Slocombe ice cream shops. I always get their "Secret Breakfast" flavor - vanilla, bourbon, and cornflakes! It's yummy. :-)
 
Michelle July 4, 2019
I have lived in NC my whole life(50+years). I have never had or seen peppermint ice cream except around the holidays. Do not know where you get your information
 
Sue B. July 4, 2019
Butter Pecan or Peanut Butter Fudge is my vote for the South!
 
JoAnne L. July 4, 2019
No Tutti Frutti for this Native Californian. My favorite flavor is a very good vanilla with coconut coming in a close second. Both must be very high quality ice cream, with as few ingredients as possible. No fillers or unpronounceable mysterious ingredients, thank you!
 
Debbie E. July 4, 2019
I live in Wisconsin and Chocolate is not my favorite. I prefer Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip and any coffee-flavored ice cream.
 
Paula C. July 4, 2019
Seriously. People are probably googling tutti frutti because they heard it mentioned in some 80 year old movie and wondering what the heck it is. I have NEVER seen it available anywhere here, and I'm a California native who's been just about everywhere in the state. Click bait indeed.
 
Ron July 4, 2019
I was born & raised in New Jersey, lived many years in Pennsylvania, and currently live in Virginia. The favorites article is wrong in all 3 states, so it would be smart to give this site no credibility at all.
 
sms July 4, 2019
Tutti Frutti...HUH???
 
annette July 4, 2019
This article is not up to Food52’s standards. It is mere clickbait, based on a fallacy (that “most searched” equals most loved or has any significance). Food52 articles are always informative and usually fun. The whole point of Food52, for its readers, is the high quality and intelligence of the content. How did this slip through?
 
Karen R. July 4, 2019
April fools in July? Teaberry?