I placed the same ice-cream order at Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin-Robbins, and the winning chain had generous portions for a cheaper price

I placed the same ice-cream order at Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin-Robbins, and the winning chain had generous portions for a cheaper price
  • I got the same items at Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery to see which had better ice cream.

  • I had high hopes for Cold Stone Creamery, but its strawberry milkshake left me disappointed.

  • Baskin-Robbins' delicious chocolate ice cream and low prices made it the clear winner of the two.

There are lots of ice-cream chains out there, but Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery are among the most popular.

Baskin-Robbins has more than 2,400 shops across the US and Cold Stone Creamery has about 1,000 locations nationwide. Both shops have tons of locations — but which has the tastiest ice cream?

To answer this question, I ordered and compared the same items from both chains — vanilla ice cream with M&M's in a cup, chocolate ice cream in a cone, and a strawberry milkshake.

My first stop was Baskin-Robbins.

The outside of a Baskin Robbins building
I loved the vibrance of Baskin Robbins' exterior.Molly Allen

The store's exterior was decked out with bright colors — the door handle was even shaped like its signature pink spoon.

Inside, there was a variety of dipped, decorated, and plain cones on display, along with candy toppings, ice-cream cakes, and other desserts. The staff was incredibly friendly, and I loved the youthful, vibrant vibe of the store.

The chocolate ice cream was very creamy.

A cone of choloate ice cream from Baskin Robbins.
The scoop was a decent size for the price.Molly Allen

The single scoop of chocolate ice cream on a sugar cone was $3.59, and it was a decent size.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good the chocolate ice cream was on its own. The texture was really creamy and the flavor was incredibly rich.

There were a lot of M&M's mixed into my vanilla ice cream, but I wasn't a fan of the flavor of my scoop.

A strawberry milkshake and scoop of vanilla ice cream with toppings from Baskin Robbins.
The vanilla flavor wasn't as good as I'd hoped.Molly Allen

The cup of vanilla ice cream was $3.59, and the M&M's topping was an additional $0.89. The portion was large for a single scoop, and there was a generous amount of M&M's.

The vanilla flavor wasn't as good as I'd hoped, with a bit of an old-fashioned taste to it. I usually love vanilla ice cream — especially with flecks of vanilla bean — but this one was so-so.

I ended with a small strawberry milkshake.

Strawberry milkshake from Baskin Robbins.
I liked that the milkshake had real strawberries in it.Molly Allen

Baskin-Robbins lets you turn any of the store's flavors into a milkshake. There are three size options, and you can get your milkshake with or without whipped cream.

I ordered a small strawberry milkshake without whipped cream for $6.19.

I was surprised by how quickly the milkshake was made. It wasn't very thick, but still had a good body to it. The flavor — made with flecks of real strawberries — was strong, making it a very tasty and overall excellent milkshake.

Next, I visited a Cold Stone Creamery to try the same three items.

All of the ice-cream options from Cold Stone.
The interior wasn't as vibrant as Baskin-Robbins', but the environment was just as welcoming.Molly Allen

Aside from its big red logo, the Cold Stone Creamery I visited wasn't quite as colorful as the Baskin-Robbins. Still, the place was pretty welcoming and had plenty of options.

I loved looking at Cold Stone's display of flavors. There was a wide range of toppings, which the employees mix into your ice cream on a frozen granite stone in front of you.

All of the employees at the store were really friendly and helpful.

The scoop of chocolate ice cream came in a huge cone.

Chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone from Cold Stone.
There was much more cone than there was ice cream.Molly Allen

I ordered a single scoop of chocolate ice cream for $6.25. I asked for it in a cone — which was an additional $1.95 — making the total over $8 for a single scoop, which I thought was pretty expensive.

Cold Stone has three scoop sizes, but minimal cone sizes. I found it a bit disappointing that my small scoop of ice cream was served in a big waffle cone because it didn't create a great balance.

The ice cream was incredibly creamy, but it didn't have a very strong chocolate flavor and I wished it packed a bit more of a punch.

My vanilla scoop didn't have much candy mixed in.

A single-scoop of vanilla ice cream with toppings in a cup from Cold Stone.
There were barely any M&M's in my cup.Molly Allen

I ordered a small single scoop — or a "Like It" size — of vanilla ice cream for $6.25. The single scoop comes with one free mix-in, and I chose M&M's. Customers can choose more than one mix-in for an additional price.

The ice cream was creamy and luscious with a delicious vanilla flavor, but I was surprised that the scoop of M&M's added to my cup was so small.

The milkshake from Cold Stone Creamery didn't have a great texture.

Strawberry milkshake from Cold Stone.
The milkshake's flavor didn't deliver the way I expected it to.Molly Allen

I love a good, balanced milkshake — but what I ordered here didn't deliver. I ordered a small strawberry milkshake for $7.

There are multiple size options, and you can choose to have your milkshake with or without whipped cream.

The milkshake was made incredibly fast — but I was left disappointed. It mostly tasted like plain milk and the texture was thin and liquidy.

Baskin-Robbins was my favorite of the two chains.

A Baskin Robbins cone, milkshake, and cup of ice cream.
I love Cold Stone Creamery, but Baskin-Robbins definitely won this battle.Molly Allen

Overall, I definitely see myself returning to Baskin-Robbins.

I wouldn't get the chain's vanilla ice cream again, but I loved the flavorful chocolate ice cream and how big of a helping of toppings I received when I ordered them. The milkshake was also more impressive than the one I got at Cold Stone.

I also found Baskin-Robbins had more affordable single scoops than Cold Stone Creamery.

Sure, Cold Stone has an amazing list of flavors and toppings to choose from if you're looking for a customized sundae, but Baskin-Robbins was the clear winner of this taste test for me.

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