Sure, many may have, um, strong feelings about the ice cream truck and what the sound of its jaunty tune does to kids. But the vehicle is a singular representation of childhood summer delight — a truck filled with a selection of cold treats that magically appears at the park or on your block at just the right time. But, of course, not all of the ice cream offered is created equal. Far from it. There are some offerings at the truck that are much better than others. As legions of ice cream trucks are on the prowl, we decided to rank our favorites. Now, keep in mind, there is no soft serve on this list. That is intentional. We love a good soft serve vanilla or, better yet, a cherry dip, we wanted to rank only the packaged treats. Without further adieu, here are the ten best ice cream truck ice creams.
10. The Firecracker
Cherry. Lemon. Raspberry. The flavor trio has become synonymous with the land of red white and blue thanks to this patriotic popsicle. While the experience of eating a firecracker is never not messy, there’s something so satisfying and refreshing about its tart, fruity flavors. It’s one of the few ice pops that’s well worth the sticky hands.
9. The Push-Up
Don’t get fooled: Despite its paper-tube exterior, this pop will melt. It doesn’t, however, melt as much as an unshelled pop and for that it’s got a leg up. No matter. Pushing this treat up through the tube as you eat it fun and harkens back to the childhood days when any sort of snack-o-vation would shoot you to the moon. Orange sherbet is the only way to fly.
8. The Sponge Bob Ice Cream Pop
It has creepy gum ball eyes and a combination of flavor that makes little sense to pair with he of the square pants. But the pairing of fruit punch and cotton candy flavors, a combo which sounds ludicrous but somehow works, along with the overall shape of seeing SpongeBob in popsicle form is enough to give him a place on this list. What is ice cream truck ice cream without novelty?
7. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich
Call it a -cookie-sandwich. Call it a chilly chip. Call it a Chipwich, even if it’s not the trademarked variety. Whatever the case, it’s a damn fine option. While the cookies are often softened by the cold so much so that they lose the classic cookie crunch, who cares? Is there a more satisfying dessert two-some than chocolate chip cookie and ice cream? There is not. Just opt for the vanilla variety.
6. Lick a Color
A standard ice pop with a surprise, the Lick a Color changes from watermelon to cherry to apple and, last but not least, lemon as you eat it. It’s fruity. It’s sour. It’s an excellent way for the indecisive to have their ice pop and lick it to.
5. Strawberry Shortcake
Crunchy. Creamy. Tart. The wizards at Good Humor really nailed it with this pop, which features strawberry and vanilla ice cream covered in crispy dots of cake coating. It’s an excellent option for anyone who wants a bar with some extra character. Although those with Trypophobia may want to steer clear.
4. The Screw Ball
The sharpness of the cherry ice is enough to give this creation a spot on the list. But it’s the inverted plastic cone — and inclusion of two gum balls at the bottom of the ice — that earns this a spot on the list. It’s an icee with class and character.
3. Ice Cream Sandwich
A tried and true classic. Sure, when you peel off the wrapper, sections of its punctured, cakey exterior will rip off and the remaining area will resemble a foam ball that’s seen too many seasons. But that adds to its charm. The combination of textures and flavors are a winner; plus, the exterior walls shield the ice cream inside from heat so that it doesn’t melt as soon as you unwrap it. Best of all, it’s a cold treat that benefits from multiple points of entry: You can bite off all the corners; you can lick the ice cream around the border; you can get crazy and treat it like an Oreo, removing the outside layer before diving into the ice cream. It’s a winner.
2. The Choco Taco
Speaking of novelty, the Choco Taco is the king of clever ice cream creations. A waffle cone folded into the shape of a taco that’s stuffed with vanilla ice cream and topped with a chocolate shell, it’s equal parts chewy, creamy, and crispy. The shell shape makes it one of the easiest ice creams to eat.
The Best Ice Cream at the Ice Cream Truck Is…
1. The Drumstick
While each ice cream on this list has it’s own moment, there is no more well-rounded choice than The Drumstick. The ice cream shop classic — a single scoop of vanilla on a waffle cone — is enhance (ice cream fills the entire cone) covered in chocolate (and, if you can find it, a candy crunch) and served in a genuinely portable package. What else do you need? Yes, the Drumstick’s cone may become a bit chewy by the time you bite into it, but it nails that combination of creamy vanilla, snappy chocolate, and cake-y cone. Also, there is no better ice cream experience than eating the point of the cone, which is filled with more hard chocolate and, of course, the last few droplets of vanilla. It’s summer in a single bite.