Whether you guzzle it after a workout or hand a glass to your little ones, chocolate milk is a ubiquitous kitchen staple in many households. After all, it pairs perfectly with a stack of pancakes for breakfast and also serves as a delicious post-dinner dessert that won’t break your calorie budget for the day. But with so many jugs gracing the fridge aisle, how do you know which to choose? Below, we tasted five different brands to discover the absolute best chocolate milk out there. Stock up and sip! Plus, check out We Tasted 10 Vanilla Ice Creams & This Is the Best One!
Here are the three metrics we used to determine each milk’s final grade.
Because most of us consider chocolate milk an indulgence, nutrition wasn’t our top determining factor. However, we favored brands that shunned artificial sweeteners and additives.
Ideally, milk chocolate should have just two ingredients: milk and chocolate, and maybe some added vitamins. Sounds rational, right? However, many commercial brands sneak in artificial flavors and loads of added sugars.
Texture & Taste
We left it to our taste buds to make the final decision. Lackluster, chalky milks got the boot.
Nutrition: Per 7 oz (½ bottle): 125 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 115 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 18.5 g sugar), 7 g protein
Ingredients: Lowfat Milk with Vitamin A Palmitate, and Vitamin D3 Added, Sugar, Less than 2% of Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Calcium Carbonate, Cellulose Gel, Modified Corn Starch, Carrageenan, Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Gellan Gum, Cellulose Gum.
The gritty consistency and artificial aftertaste completely turned us off from taking another sip. This bottle tasted like the powder you mix into a glass of milk rather than a rich, ready-to-drink chocolate milk. And the nutritionals of this underwhelming beverage didn’t do it justice: with artificial flavors and a handful of additives, Nesquik isn’t giving us a solid reason to swig.
Nutrition: Per cup: 140 calories, 2.5 g fat (N/A g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 8 g protein
Ingredients: Lowfat Milk, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Contains Less Than 1% Of Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Cocoa, Cornstarch, Salt, Carrageenan, Natural Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.
While the aqueous consistency didn’t live up to our childhood memories, TruMoo wasn’t our least favorite on this list. It’s satisfyingly sweet and exactly what you’d expect from a chocolate milk. However, TruMoo didn’t woo us. The chocolate flavor wasn’t as pronounced as we’d hoped for, and we wished our palates were met with stronger cocoa notes.
Nutrition: Per cup: 150 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 8 g protein
Ingredients: Organic Grade A Lowfat Milk, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa (Dutch Process), Organic Cocoa, Gellan Gum, Organic Vanilla Extract, Salt, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.
We applaud Horizon for its squeaky-clean ingredient list and its use of organic ingredients, from the milk to the sugar and the cocoa. The quality of the ingredients definitely reflected in the flavor, as the milk was tasty and satisfying. In fact, our taste testers agreed that the drink tasted just like chocolate pudding. However, the thin consistency is where this pick fell through.
Nutrition: Per cup: 140 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 13 g protein
Ingredients: Reduced Fat Ultra-filtered Milk, Sugar, Alkalized Cocoa, Lactase Enzyme, Dipotassium Phosphate, Salt, Acesulfame Potassium, Carrageenan, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.
Fairlife ultra-filters its dairy milk so that it’s low in sugar and high in protein—two traits we love. The cup was beyond creamy and decadent, and it tasted just like a chocolate milkshake. We certainly fell head-over-heels with the flavor, but one glance at the ingredient list snapped us back to reality. This cup was too good to be true to be our best chocolate milk: artificial sweeteners such as ace-k and sucralose (which were, surprisingly, undetectable to our taste buds) also explained why this cup was so low in sugar compared to its competitors. Because of this, we were dolefully forced to dock points.
Nutrition: Per cup: 190 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 27 g sugar), 8 g protein
Ingredients: Organic Reduced Fat Milk, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Dutch Cocoa, Salt, Organic Vanilla Extract, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3.
Eat This, Not That! Verdict:
If Horizon’s stellar nutritionals and Fairlife’s winning taste had a baby, this would be it—plus some. Maple Hill boasts an undeniably silky texture coming from the higher fat content and a super-indulgent flavor thanks to Fair-Trade cocoa. We love that Maple Hill forms its base with grass-fed milk, which lends the treat a unique, nuanced flavor and an extra dose of healthy fats such as slimming CLA. Whether you spike your smoothies with the stuff or enjoy it on its own, our best chocolate milk will become your go-to, too—if it isn’t already!
Read more about your favorite healthy beverages:
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