Join us on a frosty adventure as we explore the evolution of ice cream brands in the United States, from humble beginnings to today’s iconic names.

Ice cream is a favourite treat all across the world. What was once a regal and aristocratic dessert is now a popular home treat. In the United States, ice cream has long been a favourite indulgence, with its perfect blend of sweet, creamy, and frozen happiness. The United States is home to a wide variety of ice cream brands, each with its own distinct style and flavours.

The history of ice cream brands in the United States is a delicious journey that reflects the country’s shifting tastes, technological breakthroughs, and cultural influences. Join us on an icy journey through the history of ice cream brands in the United State, from humble beginnings to today’s legendary brands.

Early Beginnings: Colonial Delights

Ice cream made its debut on American soil in the 18th century, but it was a rare and exotic treat reserved for the elite. In the 1700s, colonial Americans enjoyed ice cream as a luxury dessert prepared by skilled chefs who had learned the art of freezing from European imigrants. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, is said to have been a fan of ice cream, even jotting down his own vanilla ice cream recipe.

Ice cream wagon, Reading, PA, 1949 | Photo curtsey:

The Industrial Revolution: A Scoop for Everyone

Until 1800, ice cream was a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite. The nineteenth century marked a significant shift in the accessibility of ice cream. The Industrial Revolution also brought technological innovations like the ice cream churners and ice houses, making ice cream production more efficient and affordable. It resulted in the opening of the first ice cream parlours, where people from all walks of life could enjoy this sweettreat.

Jacob Fussell’s Baltimore-based ice cream business was one of the first known ice cream brands in the United States in the 1850s. Fussell was instrumental in bringing icecream to the masses by developing large-scale production methods and creating the first ice cream factory in America.

Ice-cream truck at the corner of 114th and 1st Avenue, New York, 1934 | Photo curtsey:

The 20th Century: Iconic Brands Emerge

The 20th century witnessed the emergence of several iconic ice cream brands that became household names. From the quirky offerings of Ben & Jerry’s to the luxury and elegance of Häagen-Dazs and the timeless classics from Baskin-Robbins, these famous ice cream brands found a special place in the hearts (and freezers) of Americans. There’s a brand and a scoop for everyone, whether you prefer conventional or new flavours, making ice cream a sweet and enduring emblem of joy in the United States.

1. Ben & Jerry’s


Founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s has become an iconic ice cream brand known for its unique flavours and social activism. This Vermont-based brand’s dedication to “Peace, Love, and Ice Cream” has resonated with consumers and made it a beloved household name. Ben & Jerry’s quickly gained a cult following with its quirky flavour combinations and commitment to social and environmental causes.

Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started with a simple scoop shop and expanded to create some of the most beloved ice cream flavours, such as “Chunky Monkey,” “Phish Food,” and “Cherry Garcia.” Beyond their tasty offerings, Ben & Jerry’s is also renowned for its commitment to social and environmental causes.

2. Häagen-Dazs


Another legendary brand that made its mark in the 20th century is Häagen-Dazs. Häagen-Dazs is a name synonymous with luxury ice cream. Created in the early 1960s by Reuben and Rose Mattus, this brand takes inspiration from Danish and Swedish culture despite being entirely American. Häagen-Dazs prides itself on using high-quality ingredients to craft rich, creamy, and indulgent flavours like “Dulce de Leche” and “Vanilla Swiss Almond.” The brand’s elegant packaging and exquisite taste have made it a staple in freezers across the nation.

3. Baskin-Robbins


Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1904 by two young men called Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins, who opened their first ice cream shop in Glendale, California. Known for its “31 flavours” concept, Baskin-Robbins became a pioneer in offering a wide variety of ice cream flavours, sparking a trend that continues today. With thousands of locations worldwide, Baskin-Robbins has delighted ice cream lovers with classics like “Mint Chocolate Chip” and “Rocky Road” alongside inventive creations like “Love Potion #31.”

4. Blue Bell Creameries


Blue Bell Creameries, headquartered in Brenham, Texas, has been serving up some of the South’s finest ice cream since 1907. Known for its commitment to tradition and small-batch production, Blue Bell boasts a loyal fan base. They offer a wide range of flavours, including “Homemade Vanilla,” “Cookies ‘n Cream,” and seasonal specialties like “Christmas Cookies.” Blue Bell’s dedication to quality ingredients and traditional methods has solidified its place among the top ice cream brands in the USA.

5. Graeter’s


Graeter’s, a family-owned ice cream company based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been churning out handcrafted ice cream since 1870. Their signature method involves using French pot freezers, which produce small, rich batches of ice cream. Their most famous flavor, “Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip,” features plump black raspberries and thick chunks of chocolate. Graeter’s has a loyal following, thanks to its commitment to time-tested techniques and exceptional taste.

6. Talenti


While not strictly an American brand, Talenti has become a beloved household name in the USA. Talenti Gelato and Sorbetto offer a taste of Italy with its indulgent, artisanal frozen treats. Their unique flavours, like “Sea Salt Caramel” and “Mediterranean Mint,” have captivated American consumers, making Talenti a prominent brand in the premium ice cream market.

Modern Innovations: The Craft Ice Cream Revolution

In recent years, the ice cream landscape in the USA has seen a resurgence of artisanal and craft ice cream makers. These small-batch producers focus on using locally sourced ingredients and creating unique, handcrafted flavours. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, and Ample Hills Creamery are just a few examples of such innovative brands that have captured the hearts and taste buds of consumers.


The history of ice cream brands in the USA is a tale of evolution and innovation. From its introduction as a rare luxury to the emergence of iconic brands and the rise of artisanal makers, ice cream has remained a beloved treat that brings joy to people of all ages. As we continue to celebrate the timeless delight of icecream, we can look forward to more exciting flavours, creative concoctions, and even greater sustainability in the years to come, keeping this frozen dessert a cherished part of American culture.


Note: Most information has been sourced from company websites or from different sources available in the public domain.

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