Sunday, May 29, 2011

PRODUCT REVIEW: Turkey Hill Ice Cream

I've mentioned Turkey Hill in a few other reviews, but decided that it's deserving of its own, full review.

What do you want when you get ice cream? For me, ice cream is simple. It needs only three things: smooth, creamy, mouth-coating texture; strong, natural flavorings; and fillings that are larger than five molecules across. Even in ice cream that pretends to be high-quality, Edy's/Dreyer's for example, fillings are pitiful, flavor is artificial and weak, and there's so much air whipped in that the you get only marginally more calories than by simply breathing.

Turkey Hill isn't that ice cream. It gets everything right. The texture is perfect, the flavor is strong, and the fillings are large and delicious. Their cookies & cream, my favorite flavor, is the best that I have found in the grocery freezer. The peanut butter cup, which is actually sweetened peanut butter swirled into the ice cream, is beyond good. It is hands-down the best peanut butter ice cream in Turkey Hill's segment.

I used to refer to this segment as the half-gallon segment, but, compliments of increasing food costs and a marketing belief that people are stupid and won't notice smaller packages, half-gallons no longer exist.

If you want ridiculous fillings, Turkey Hill is not your brand. They produce the standard flavors with standard fillings. But in that arena, they best even many of the premium brands. And in the brands that are better flavor-to-flavor, like Ben & Jerry's, the differences are usually small. But compare Turkey Hill to other half-gallon brands, and the differences are stark. Turkey Hill is vastly superior to Blue Bunny, Hood, and Breyer's.

In the world of wacky fillings, Turkey Hill doesn't perform as well. While they produce their fair share of CRAZY ice cream, it really doesn't hold up to the premium brands. The kind to which I'm referring when I describe their excellence is their, um, standard(?) brand like the kind pictured in my image. If you stick with that, you'll never be let down.

In the world of non-premium ice cream, Turkey Hill is the bar by which others are measured. It's that good.



SteveR said...

Re: "I used to refer to this segment as the half-gallon segment, but, compliments of increasing food costs and a marketing belief that people are stupid and won't notice smaller packages, half-gallons no longer exist."

You're right about that -- except for Trader Joe's French Vanilla 1/2 gal., which definitely does continue to exist. It also weighs about twice as much as the 48 oz. sizes of Friendly's, Turkey Hill, and others.

Aaron Martin-Colby said...


Great point. I had not yet been to either Aldi or Trader Joe's when I wrote this review. Both of them have real, full, half-gallon ice cream, and it's quite good at both locations.

Trader Joe's varieties have premium aspirations and frequently hit their target. Very impressive.

John said...

Turkey Hill ice cream is pretty crappy, in my experience. It's the cheapest of the cheap, and is full of air. A good ice cream should be dense, and flavorful, and have the proper fat content. Turkey Hill's stuff fails at all of these things. Edy's, by the way, is just as bad.

Buy some Haagan Dasz, or some Ben & Jerry's instead. Costs more, but it's much, much better stuff.

Aaron Martin-Colby said...


Yep. I pretty much agree. When I compare Turkey Hill to other half-gallon brands, though, it's great. But only in comparison to those brands.

I think that it is telling that I haven't bought any Turkey Hill in nearly two years. After awhile, I just got too accustomed to higher-quality brands.

Anonymous said...

turkey hill ice cream = crap !!!! maybe they can add a taste to it.
crap crap crap

Anonymous said...

Turkey Hill vanilla bean is the best vanilla I've ever had. I'm anxious to try their other flavors now.

Anne from Houston said...

My husband brought home a carton of Black Cherry, my favorite flavor. I took two bites and couldn't eat anymore. I live in Blue Bell land. I have never refused an ice cream before. I eat Talenti, Ben & Jerry's, Blue Bell, Marble Slab. Turkey Hill does not, in my opinion deserve to be called ice cream. It tastes to me like that old mellorine stuff. Leaves the same slime in my mouth too. BLCCH!

Anonymous said...

You mentioned living in Blue Bell land as if that is a good thing. I love ice cream but never liked Blue Bell. A couple years ago Blue Bell was on sale so I bought a half gallon thinking how bad could it be... After my wife and I each had a serving neither of us would take another bite. I ended up throwing the rest in the garbage. The texture and flavor of Blue Bell is horrible.

Isabel Etkind said...

I noticed that NONE OF THESE COMMENTS MENTION THE ALL NATURAL LINE manufactured by Turkey Hill. THE All Natural Flavors are great, the ingredients are pronounceable(for example,Cream,Milk,sugar,vanilla and vanilla bean in the Vanilla Ice Cream)and most importantly it has an excellent flavor and taste. The only limitation is that there are not may flavor choices and some are only available in limited batches or limited edition. There is also no raspberry,strawberry or any other berry flavored ice cream that is available all the time. This ice cream costs $4.39 for 48 ounces in Fairfield,CT in January 0f 2014 which is more expensive than most Frozen Dairy Desserts currently sold at the local supermarket!!

Cee Jackson said...

I guess it all depends on your location. The Turkey Hill I get in Western NY State is dramatically different from that available in northern New Jersey. And I don't mean in a good way. The NJ mfr produces a creamy, dense and flavorful ice cream. Upstate the same flavor tastes like it is pumped full of air and retains its shape after it has "melted." You know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

All of you have no lives on BLOGGER YOU ARE ALL BOOTY SNIFFERS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Came hear to vent my frustration at the Turkey Hill all natural gelato I just bought. Don't bother trying it. It really isn't dense enough to be called gelato, and it's way too icy. There are no emulsifiers or thickeners in it so what you have is an icy ice cream that melts to a watery mess. If they wanted to stay all natural they could use pectin or egg yolks to emulsify and thicken, or any number of other natural ingredients to improve the texture.

Marylou green said...

Deep Dark Chocolate does not look appealing and is full of air. It didn't rest on my tongue before it was gone. Sorry, the quality was not there. Want my money back.


Aunt Carol said...

Every time I go to the grocery store, I look for Turkey Hill 'Butter Brickle' its the best yet, but never seem to find it. When is it on your production schedule for customers like me. its always a dissapointment to not find it. please make some more yummy Ron