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In our book, summer is synonymous with ice cream season. We crave it in all its glorious forms, whether it’s plain in a cup, sprinkle-clad in a cone or whirled into a shake. But it doesn’t take long for all that dairy and added sugar to take their toll. So, this summer, we’re stocking our freezer with KIND FROZEN Pints, a vegan ice cream alternative that’s plant-based, protein-rich and better for you. (And yeah, it tastes just like the real thing.)

RELATED: Nick’s Swedish-Style Light Ice Cream Has a Flavor for Vegans, Keto Dieters and Everyone in Between

KIND/Background: amguy/Getty Images

  • Value: 17/20
  • Functionality: 20/20
  • Quality: 18/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Taste*: 19/20
TOTAL: 94/100

The pints hit shelves on the heels of KIND FROZEN Treat Bars and Smoothie Bowls, which were both launched last year. The frozen dairy dessert is 100 percent plant-based, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free. We’re always a bit wary of dairy-free ice cream; often, the flavor is solid, but the texture isn’t as silky smooth as the O.G. Sugar-free ice creams sometimes present the opposite problem. But we’ve gotta say, our concerns were quelled at first bite.

The ice creams are just as creamy and decadent as the real thing, despite the first ingredient on the label being pear juice concentrate. (This sweetens the pints with natural sugar and eliminates the need for artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols.) Tapioca syrup and a bit of real sugar also ensure each flavor is on par. They’re made with wholesome add-ins too, like nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolate (just like KIND bars). In case you need even more convincing, each serving boasts 4 to 6 grams of protein.

While the numbers aren’t totally lean (a bowl contains 240 to 290 calories, 10 to 16 grams of fat and 18 to 22 grams of sugar), KIND FROZEN pints contain less added sugar and saturated fat than standard ice cream. They’re a pretty uncanny substitute for being totally free of milk, cream or eggs, so healthy-ish is good enough for us (especially since they’re made with natural ingredients).

All seven flavors rolled out at retailers nationwide on May 18, but there’s more information on each flavor available on KIND’s website, if you'd like to learn more before you shop. Each pint will cost you $6 a pop (or even less from certain retailers, like Walmart). Before you hit the frozen aisle, read on for our top three picks.

Buy it ($6/pint)

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1. Pistachio

We were so excited to try this classic flavor, since we’re all too familiar with what standard pistachio ice cream tastes like. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. Since all the ice creams are made with almonds, its naturally nutty flavor lends itself beautifully (and sneakily) to the pistachio variety, as opposed to the strawberry ice cream, in which the almond flavor is very pronounced. The pint is truly *loaded* with chewy, salty pistachios, aka the best part.

Taste: 19/20

Buy it ($6)

KIND/Background: amguy/Getty Images

2. Cherry Cashew

We can’t decide what we love most: the sweet-tart flavor, all the textural add-ins or the ice cream’s silky-smooth consistency. On its own, this one reminds us of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. Chewy bits of dried cherries offer additional subtle pucker, while crunchy pieces of chopped cashews add mild, buttery nuttiness to the ice cream. The best part, in our humble opinion, is how copious the mix-ins are—no digging to the bottom required.

Taste: 19/20

Buy it ($6)

KIND/Background: amguy/Getty Images

3. Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt

Bittersweet dark chocolate + earthy almonds + just the right amount of sea salt = a flawlessly balanced dessert you’ll always want in your fridge. The nuttiness of the ice cream shines brightest with this flavor, since there’s no additional main flavor component competing with the almond. Think of it like an almond flour-based chocolate chip cookie in ice cream form. We’ll take ours with chocolate sprinkles, please.

Taste: 20/20

Buy it ($5)

*Our final taste score was based on the average of the ice cream taste test scores.

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

RELATED: We Taste-Tested 9 of the Best Vanilla Ice Cream Brands and Graded Them from ‘Passable’ to ‘Ate the Whole Pint’

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