Ice Cream Review: Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla Ice Cream

Low fat ice cream can be a dicey proposition on a hot summer day.

Loaded with stabilizers, often masked by excessive sweetness, and in no way carrying the creamy and decadent texture of the genuine article, enjoying two scoops of the good stuff on a late May afternoon is sometimes best surmised as an exercise in perspective.

And that’s the low fat stuff. So what hope could there be for the non-fat stuff?

Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla promises to “set your taste buds free with smooth, creamy vanilla and 0 fat grams!” At just 90 calories per 1/2 cup serving it’s about as healthy as ice creams come, but does it taste good? As is the case with any reduced fat product, the answer is relative. Before I went to a university with its own creamery and began to indulge weekly on fresh creamed, 12% butterfat ice cream, I ate quite a bit of low fat ice cream. In other words, I’ve had the high fat stuff and the low fat stuff, and I judge it all relative to similar products. So while I heartily acknowledge that low fat and nonfat ice creams will almost never have the ability to replicate the texture of high butterfat ice creams, some brands — like Edy’s Slow Churned — do a darn good job at coming close, and play on bold flavor combinations and quality of flavorings to make up for any textural defects.

Breyers apparently revamped their low-fat and nonfat ice cream formula a year or two ago, and I’ve found the change to have been for the better. I’ve hated low-fat versions of Breyers in the past, which all too often formed ice crystals and “clumped” up on me. While promising a “smooth and dreamy” texture, this ice cream only half delivers. It was fairly clumpy and hard when I broke it out of the freezer, and worse yet didn’t appear completely filled to the container after I opened it. The ice cream itself seemed to start melting rather quickly, which actually proved to be a welcomed sign. Slightly melted on my cone, the texture of the ice cream ended up being better than I anticipated. The clumps and ice crystals I feared were minimal, and the texture was altogether enjoyable. Had I not known that it was nonfat I would have guessed it was “reduced fat.” Interestingly enough, cream is on the ingredient list, so I’m assuming the whipped nature of the cream does lend a dietary insignificant amount of fat and a welcomed texture. That being said, when I broke out the ice cream the next day I found it quite hard, and remained frustrated with the scooping process.

The flavor of the “Dreamy” Vanilla didn’t exactly make me dream of warm Madagascar seashores and imported vanilla beans. To be fair it wasn’t a “French Vanilla” or “Vanilla Bean” flavored product, but the flavor was somewhat muted. No, not artificial or off-putting, but not strong either. I didn’t find this ice cream as sweet as most light and nonfat ice creams (something I prefer in other brands), but the modest 13 grams of sugar is the price you pay for lack of eye-popping sweetness.

This isn’t a bad product, and for a nonfat ice cream I would say it’s about average, although not on par with Turkey Hill or Edy’s. I enjoyed it more than fat free ice creams I’ve had from Green’s and Kemp’s, but found that the lack of bold vanilla flavor exposes it to the familiar textural complaints. A regular Vanilla Ice cream may always be a bit boring for some, but I typically enjoy strong vanilla flavors, which this product only half delivered on. My suggestion is to give it a try if you see your favorite flavor of the ‘Smooth and Dreamy’ line on sale, but to pass in favor of a similarly priced Turkey Hill or Edy’s/Dreyer’s product otherwise.

Pros: Hits a home run in the "good for you" department with only 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and 13 grams sugar per serving. Decent vanilla flavor which doesn't overwhelm. Fairly 'creamy' if given enough time to sit.

Cons: Does not fill up to the container. Seems to have quite a bit of air in it, and comes across as hard and clumpy when first scooped out. Doesn't wow you in the flavor department. A little lackluster in terms of sweetness.

Price: 2.00 (on sale)

Overall GrubGrade: 6.75 (Average)

More Info: Breyers.com
Nutrition Facts:
Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla
Calories: 90
Calories from Fat: 0
Total Fat: 0g
Sodium: 45 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 21g
Dietary Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 13g
Protien: 3g

15 comments on “Ice Cream Review: Breyers Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla Ice Cream

  1. Amy says:

    I am a Breyers fan. I’m content with their lower fat/less sugar stuff. The kidlets only want cookie dough and they will settle for nothing less than Breyers. I don’t know what it is, but they won’t eat anything but that brand. They eat the ice cream and proceed to line the cookie doughs up like little soldiers waiting on a napkin.

    Love the green cone….is that from the tri-color pack? Sleeve of brown, sleeve of green, sleeve of pink 🙂

  2. Adam says:

    Amy,
    Haha of course!

  3. Keith says:

    You have got to Grub Grade those new “ribs” from Burger King. Whoa, they look disgusting. They’re like those Rib-B-Q sandwiches we got in the high school cafeteria – preformed into a rib-like shape and smothered in barbecue sauce. These things are bone-in and the commercial features a talking pig.

  4. Ew… I am not a fan of Breyers… I would rather have a spoon of Haagen Daz or Ben & Jerry’s than a whole tub of Breyers. I take like a month to go through a pint like that… Haha, my spoon full of sugar a day.

  5. Justin says:

    I luv ice cream!

  6. Jessica J says:

    Breyers does have great ice cream, but I only love the fruity versions!

  7. wibia says:

    Big fan of Breyers here. My favorite mass produced ice cream by far…

  8. ChrisLad says:

    I think that difficulty in “scooping” the ice cream is a problem with all the Breyers ice creams. Even the full-fat stuff tends to “chip” when you try to scoop it right out of the freezer. I’m surprised that fat-free stuff is as good as you describe. I’ve always found fat-free to be like you almost watered down and have an icey texture, even after melting.

  9. Alana says:

    I’d be interested to see how non-fat ice cream holds up to something like a root beer float. I’d test it myself, but I live in the UK at the moment, where there is no non-fat ice cream or root beer.

  10. Adam says:

    I think a lot depends on the temperature. One of the reasons I get low-fat or nonfat vanilla to begin with is because I like to do my own mix ins. Yesterday was balsamic vinager and fresh mint, for example. But I’ve also been known to use olive oil, sea salt, chili powder, pretzels and yes, bacon. I know that the full fat stuff can melt fairly easilly, but I’ve actually found this ice cream to melt quickly too.

  11. Shannon says:

    The Breyers ice cream is pretty good. It is sweet and cold, but I believe the old version the sweet and creamy double churn was much better. It had a richer, creamy texture. I wish they would bring it back.

  12. Since I didn’t know this existed until your review, I bought a container tonight so that I could homemake my own shake by adding in some zero calorie chocolate syrup, zero calorie peanut spread and zero calorie caramel dip (both Walden Farms). I would agree that the ice cream can get a little chunky and hard, but it’s really not bad. Obviously I’d like the creamier, fattier versions, but when you are looking for calorie savings (as I was with the Walden Farms stuff) you can’t go wrong with this.

  13. Crusader says:

    I don’t understand the point of eating low-fat ice cream. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

  14. longpants says:

    i am so tired of Breyer’s giving me excuses about why, upon opening, their ice cream containers are NOT FILLED. I call their customer service number each time, and get various excuses – today to be told that the containers are “filled by weight – 48 ounces” — yet i find that some are filled all the way to the top – and others have huge gaps of space – 1″ deep – and 1/2″ to 1″ wide.

    I have never had this issue with Edys’ – just Breyer’s

  15. jd says:

    @ Crusader
    The reason for eating low-fat ice cream for me is to keep my cholesterol down. The human body (the liver) takes saturated fat and turns it into cholesterol. It can line the arteries and cause heart problems.

    Among other things, I switched from regular to nonfat ice cream and lowered my LDL (bad) cholesterol by 32 points in 9 months.

    Cheers!