Ah, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream! One of the most craved foods by pregnant women, and often the cause of some confusion over whether it’s safe or not to eat.
I’ve put together this guide to help you on when cookie dough ice cream is safe to eat in pregnancy, and when it isn’t.
Can you eat cookie dough ice cream if you’re pregnant? If the cookie dough ice cream has been commercially made, rather than homemade, then it’s usually safe for pregnant women to eat. However, this shouldn’t be confused with cookie dough itself, which is often unsafe in pregnancy.
As is common with checking food in pregnancy, there are some grey areas when it comes to eating cookie dough ice cream.
To make it easier, I’ve investigated popular brands of cookie dough ice cream and listed whether they are safe. I’ve also included pointers including why cookie dough itself is usually a no-go for pregnant women.
Which Types of Cookie Dough Ice Cream are Safe for Pregnant Women to Eat?
The good news is that the vast majority of commercially-made cookie dough ice creams are safe to eat if you’re pregnant.
The reason for this is that manufacturers use heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs, milk and cream in their products, including the cookie dough. By “commercially made”, this means store-bought, from big brands.
For the avoidance of doubt, I checked with several of the most popular brands who have a chocolate chip cookie dough flavor ice cream:
Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
This includes the lighter option such as their ‘Moophoria’ series, too. Ben and Jerry’s use heat-treated flour and pasteurized dairy and eggs both in the ice cream and their cookie dough.
So go ahead, Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream is safe for pregnant women to eat, as confirmed on their website, too.
Breyers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
I got in touch with Breyers and they confirmed that all ingredients in their cookie dough ice cream are pasteurized and are therefore safe in pregnancy.
Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
I reached out to Häagen-Dazs and they confirmed: “All raw dairy products (skim milk, whole milk and cream) are pasteurized in our facilities using the high temperature short time (HTST) method.”
They also pointed out that their cookie dough ingredients AND all the fruit in their ice cream is also pasteurized. Haagen-Dazs cookie dough ice cream is, therefore, safe to eat if you’re pregnant.
Dairy Queen’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Blizzard
I’ve queried this with Dairy Queen and they advised me that their cookie dough is eggless and the flour is heat-treated.
Therefore Dairy Queen cookie dough blizzards are likely to be safe for pregnant women. However, their Blizzards are soft-serve ice cream, which is pasteurized but relies on the machine dispensing it being super clean.
As DQ is a large brand, they have stringent cleaning policies and it’s likely to be safe to eat their soft-serve.
However, in the end, you’re relying on the individual franchise that you buy from. More on soft serve is below.
Which Cookie Dough Ice Cream isn’t Safe for Pregnant Women?
Not all variations of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream are suitable for pregnant women to eat.
Unpasteurized ingredients and other factors can mean that it’s best avoided in pregnancy.
Examples of unsafe chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream are:
Homemade cookie dough ice cream
Homemade cookie dough ice cream can contain unpasteurized milk, cream or eggs. It’s usually the raw egg that renders homemade ice cream unsuitable for pregnant women, due to the potential risk of salmonella (source: PMC).
If you have an eggless recipe or use a pasteurized egg substitute, combined with pasteurized dairy, then home-made ice cream may be safe if it’s stored properly.
However, the raw cookie dough intended to go in ice cream must be commercially-bought, rather than homemade – more information on this is detailed below.
Soft-serve Cookie Dough ice cream
Although the milk and/or cream used to make soft-serve ice cream is likely to be pasteurized, this isn’t the sole reason to exercise caution if you’re going to eat it whilst pregnant.
It’s the cleanliness of the serving machine that may cause issues including listeria contamination from improperly cleaned machines.
If you buy your soft serve from a large, chain restaurant then they usually have stringent cleaning practices for their machines every day or after a certain number of uses.
However, ice cream vans, street vendors or other smaller operations are not regulated and you are basically trusting that the machine is clean.
Most of the time, it will be – nobody wants to poison their customers, after all!
However, you don’t really have a sure way of knowing, so it’s best to avoid soft serve in these circumstances. For more on this – check out our guide to eating ice cream safely during pregnancy.
Why Raw Cookie Dough isn’t Always Pregnancy-Safe
Whether mixed into ice cream or not, there are several reasons why pregnant women should be cautious of eating non-commercial raw batter or cookie dough.
Homemade raw batter or cookie dough should be avoided by pregnant women. This is because:
- Raw batter or dough contains raw, potentially unpasteurized eggs. Many women know of the risks of eating raw egg in pregnancy, but it’s not always immediately obvious when a raw or partially cooked egg is used in a homemade cookie dough recipe if you didn’t make it yourself.
- Uncooked batter and dough also contain raw flour. Uncooked flour doesn’t immediately spring to mind as ‘unsafe’ but it’s a raw agricultural product, even if it’s been fortified, bleached or otherwise processed.
There have been incidences such as E. coli outbreaks from eating raw flour. Heat-treated flour is safe, but this only tends to appear in commercial manufacturing and is rarely the case if baking at home (source: CDC).
Commercially produced ‘Edible’ cookie dough is often safe (including when it appears in ice cream flavors). Common brands of ‘ready to eat’ cookie doughs that are safe for pregnant women are:
- Gookie Dough (yes, with a G) – this is a UK brand making dough which is both eggless and uses heat-treated flour, so it’s safe for pregnant women. You can also bake it as you would with normal cookie dough.
- Nestlé Toll House Edible Cookie Dough – be careful here, as it’s only the Toll House dough with the word “Edible” in its title that is safe to eat raw.
The regular Nestle Toll House raw cookie dough (intended for baking) is not safe in pregnancy.
The Edible series is designed to be eaten and not baked, and is safe for pregnant women because it is eggless, uses heat-treated flour and has no leavening agents.
- Edoughble – a mail-order cookie dough company started by a woman who was pregnant at the time! It’s safe to eat all flavors while pregnant.
- The Cookie Dough Cafe – all flavors are OK for pregnant women to eat. Not designed for baking.
Again, I ought to reiterate here, it is not safe to eat regular cookie dough designed for baking.
This includes popular ready-made dough brands such as any of the types made by Pillsbury, or any of the Nestle Toll House cookie doughs that don’t have ‘Edible’ in the title.
The same goes for most other brands intended for baking.
Is it OK to eat Frozen Cookie Dough if I’m Pregnant?
All the rules above apply to frozen cookie dough as well as fresh. Freezing makes no difference to the safety of cookie dough, as it won’t “kill” things like salmonella in raw eggs or E. coli or other pathogens in raw flour, which both survive low temperatures.
If it’s unsafe to eat fresh, it’s unsafe to eat frozen, too.
Cookie Dough Ice Cream Nutrition for Pregnant Women
I mentioned at the start of this article that cookie dough ice cream – or ice cream in general – is often craved by pregnant women.
If you’re in late pregnancy in a heatwave I’m sure you can’t think of anything better! However, bear in mind that ice cream of any kind – not just with cookie dough in it – should be eaten sparingly and in moderation in pregnancy.
Ice cream is very high in fat and sugar and other than the fact it contains calcium, is not a wise choice to eat often in pregnancy.
It’s one of those foods that should be restricted to an occasional treat, and you should always check with your health professional if you have diabetes, before eating ice cream.