Ice cream giant Ben and Jerry’s is unveiling a new non-dairy flavor made with oat milk: Strawberry Cheezecake. The dairy-free version of the fan-favorite flavor and a new oat milk base have been a long time coming, according to the ice cream label’s flavor gurus. 

The Vermont ice cream makers first launched a dairy-based strawberry cheesecake flavor in 2004 under a different name: Primary Berry Graham, a contest winner during that election year. In 2005, Ben & Jerry’s officially renamed the flavor Strawberry Cheesecake, and it has held on to a spot in its top 10 ice cream flavors ever since.

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Now, in 2024, as the popularity of oat milk is on the rise—it’s a prime time for Ben & Jerry’s to introduce a new evolution to its cheesecake flavor made specifically with its new oat milk base in mind. 

Ben & Jerry’s vegan Strawberry Cheezecake 

Ben & Jerry’s venture into non-dairy ice cream began in 2016, with a mission to create plant-based alternatives that do not compromise on the quality and playful spirit of its dairy-based ice cream flavors. 

From almond milk to sunflower butter, Ben & Jerry’s has explored a variety of plant-based bases throughout the years. However, in 2024, the company is transitioning its 19 vegan flavors to an oat milk base to keep its non-dairy flavors inclusive of those with nut allergies. 

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This oat base, known for its creamy texture, has been pivotal in the development of the new Non-Dairy Strawberry Cheezecake flavor, which features strawberries and thick graham cracker swirls and mimics the tart and sweet flavor of cheesecake. 

“Achieving the distinct cheesecake flavor was a challenge with our previous almond milk or sunflower butter bases,” Colleen Rossell, Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Guru, tells VegNews. 

“The oat base’s creamy texture lets the cheesecake flavor shine, capturing the essential tanginess and creamy texture,” Rossell says. “We even compared it with our dairy Strawberry Cheesecake pint to ensure the vegan version delivered the same delightful experience.” 

Overall, the creation of the Non-Dairy Strawberry Cheezecake flavor involved extensive research and taste testing. “Our team tasted numerous cheesecakes, both dairy and vegan, to perfect the flavor profile,” she says. “It was essential to replicate the unique cheesecake experience in a non-dairy format.”

Perfecting oat milk ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility has been a cornerstone of its brand identity. Over the years, Ben & Jerry’s has collaborated with various personalities and causes to create unique flavors that resonate with these values. 

One of its biggest non-dairy collaborations was with social justice activist Colin Kaepernick, who worked with Ben & Jerry’s on the Change the Whirled flavor. Launched at the beginning of 2020, this vegan flavor—which supports Kaepernick’s anti-racism nonprofit Know Your Rights Camp—and was made with a caramel sunflower butter base then loaded with fudge chips, graham cracker swirls, and chocolate cookie swirls. 

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In 2022, Ben & Jerry’s celebrated Ava DuVarney, the highest-grossing Black woman director in American box office history, with her own flavor. The Lights! Caramel! Action! directed by Ava DuVarney was developed closely with the director, who insisted that an almond milk version of the pint be made available alongside the dairy version.  

This year, Ben & Jerry’s is introducing several dairy-based pints that are all about indulgence with the decadent add-ins and chunks the company is known for. And Ben & Jerry’s is not slowing down in its pursuit of exciting, indulgent flavors in the non-dairy realm, too. 

“We’re excited about the potential of the oat base to create indulgent flavors featuring our signature chunks and swirls,” Rossell says. “This new base allows us to innovate while letting our high-quality ingredients shine.”

The introduction of the Non-Dairy Strawberry Cheezecake flavor follows the successful reformulation of fan favorites such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough into oat milk-based versions. 

In 2024 and beyond, Ben & Jerry’s will continue to build its oat milk portfolio to create a more inclusive, environmentally friendly company. 

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“We tested 70 different formulas to deliver the best non-dairy recipe,” Rossell says. “Oat milk’s popularity and our commitment to innovation drive us to expand our offerings, catering to a wide range of dietary preferences and those seeking new flavors.”

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