Pilgrim Joe’s (Trader Joe’s) Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pilgrim Joe's Pumpkin Ice Cream

Your choice for a surprisingly pumpkin-free taste.

If you’ve made it this far through October, and you haven’t tired Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream yet, I would be surprised. Who could resist the unusual appeal of that bright orange tub winking at your from the frozen food section? It may only come around once a year, but Trader Joe’s sweet and creamy Pumpkin Ice Cream is an annual must.

Ranking: 4 stars 4 star rating

What it is: Cinnamon and nutmeg flavored ice cream.
Price: $3.99 for 1 quart
Worth it: Yes, it’s hard to stop eating!

The fact that Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry strawberry ice cream, but it does carry pumpkin ice cream encapsulates the feeling of the store better than anything else I could write. Of all the products Trader Joe’s shoehorns pumpkin into it, brilliantly or otherwise, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream must have the broadest appeal and biggest fan base. Classic and unexpected at the same time, pumpkin ice cream just seems like a natural accompaniment to any harvest time festival you can name – from corn husking to Halloween.

I’ve written before that you never quite know what you’re going to get with a Trader Joe’s pumpkin-infused product. Sometime it will be absolutely bursting at the seams with pumpkin taste, while other times it will be pumpkin-y in name alone. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream falls squarely into this second camp. It might be rich, creamy and decadent soft serve – but is it pumpkin flavored? Not really. Even in spite of the inclusion of “pumpkin” as one of the ingredients listed ingredient (as one part of the “pumpkin base”), there isn’t much pumpkin flavor to be found. Savor it on your tongue, let it melt there, and you’ll detect maybe a hint of pumpkin-ness around the edges.

More correctly, Trader Joe’s should call this Pumpkin Pie Spice Ice Cream, which is much more what it tastes like – like a very creamy vanilla ice cream infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, tempered with a hint of cloves and ginger. It’s a broad, warm, mouth-filling taste – the soft, mellow flavor of the cream taking all of the bite out of the spices but keeping their warm, harmonious flavor.

Trader Joe’s compares this ice cream to pumpkin pie filling on the side of the carton, and that’s not really true at all. There’s nothing like the rich taste of pumpkin in this confection – but that’s not to be held against it. I, for one, would love to have a slice of warm pumpkin pie with a scoop of this ice cream decadently melting across the top.

Long story short – there isn’t much pumpkin to this pumpkin ice cream, but that’s not the end of the world. Think of this as “cinnamon and nutmeg” ice cream instead, and you won’t be disappointed.


The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Yes, sweet and tasty.

Would I Buy It Again: Sure, I’ll get some more next year.

Final Synopsis: A soft, creamy, cinnamon and nutmeg ice cream.

Pilgrim Joe's Pumpkin Ice Cream - Calories

Pilgrim Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream – Nutrition Facts

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3 Comments on “Pilgrim Joe’s (Trader Joe’s) Pumpkin Ice Cream”

  1. Mara says:

    “It’s a broad, warm, mouth-filling taste – the soft, mellow flavor of the cream taking all of the bite out of the spices but keeping their warm, harmonious flavor.”

    That is poetry, man. I read that sentence over a couple of times, it was so evocative. And I’m not going anywhere near this ice cream, at least until Thanksgiving when other people will help me not eat it all by myself.

  2. tyler f. says:

    as i have stated before: this ice cream is T E R R I F I C! I don’t agree that it has little pumpkin flavor in that it is like a slice of rich pumpkin pie, home made of course, made with sweet pumpkins with a big glob of just made vanilla ice cream plopped on top.
    love this stuff.
    I have already bought a couple containers: one for myself, one for guests. mine is long gone. when I am in traders, I walk by staring longingly at the burnt orange containers of pumpkin ic and dream of a world in which the consumption of this stuff does not require many many miles on the treadmill.

  3. Ttrockwood says:

    Your description is right on! It really is a once a year thing for me that I definitely look forward to!

    (Ps: trader joe’s does have strawberry coconut milk ice cream that is delicious! I haven’t looked for it recently- maybe it was a seasonal flavor? – but it is very rich and creamy)


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