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Does Ebt Cover Ice Cream?

Ice cream can be a nice treat on a hot day or a fun dessert after dinner.

If you receive SNAP benefits through EBT, you may wonder if you can use your EBT card to buy ice cream.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Yes, EBT does cover ice cream, as long as it is purchased at an eligible retailer. Ice cream is considered a grocery item, making it allowable for purchase with SNAP benefits.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go over the details of buying ice cream with EBT, including the rules around what types you can get, where you can shop, and how to get the best deal on frozen treats within your SNAP budget.

EBT Rules for Buying Ice Cream

Eligible Grocery Food Items

EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is a government program that provides assistance to low-income individuals and families to purchase food.

While EBT is primarily intended for the purchase of essential groceries, it does cover certain food items, including ice cream. However, it’s important to note that not all types of ice cream are eligible for purchase with EBT funds.

Under the EBT program, eligible grocery food items are typically defined as those that are considered basic, unprepared, and intended for home consumption.

This includes items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, bread, cereal, meat, poultry, and seafood.

In many cases, ice cream falls under the category of eligible grocery food items.

Ineligible Hot and Prepared Foods

While ice cream is generally considered an eligible food item under EBT, there are certain restrictions when it comes to purchasing hot foods and prepared food items.

EBT funds cannot be used to buy items that are intended for immediate consumption, such as prepared meals from restaurants or food vendors.

This means that if the ice cream is served in a cone or cup and ready to eat, it may not be eligible for purchase with EBT funds.

However, if the ice cream is packaged and not intended for immediate consumption, it is more likely to be considered an eligible grocery food item and can be purchased with EBT funds.

It’s important to check the specific guidelines of your state’s EBT program to determine the exact rules regarding the purchase of ice cream.

ice cream

Junk Food Allowed

It’s worth noting that while EBT funds can be used to purchase certain food items, including ice cream, there is an ongoing debate about the inclusion of junk food in the program.

Junk food refers to items that are high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, such as soda, candy, and chips.

Currently, there are no federal restrictions on the purchase of junk food with EBT funds. However, individual states have the flexibility to impose their own restrictions and guidelines.

Some states have implemented policies to limit the purchase of junk food items with EBT funds, while others have no restrictions in place.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of the EBT program is to provide assistance to low-income individuals and families in purchasing essential groceries.

While ice cream and some junk food items may be eligible for purchase, it’s always recommended to make nutritious choices and prioritize healthier food options.

For more information about the specific guidelines and eligibility criteria for EBT purchases in your state, you can visit the official website of your state’s EBT program or refer to the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) website

Stores That Accept EBT for Ice Cream

If you are wondering whether you can use your EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card to purchase ice cream, you’ll be pleased to know that it is indeed possible. However, it is important to note that not all stores accept EBT for ice cream.

In this article, we will explore the different types of stores that accept EBT for ice cream and where you can find them.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are a common place to find a wide variety of ice cream options that are eligible for purchase with EBT.

These stores typically have a designated section for frozen desserts, including ice cream, where you can find your favorite flavors and brands.

Some popular grocery store chains that accept EBT for ice cream include Walmart, Kroger, and Safeway.

grocery store


Superstores, like Walmart and Target, not only accept EBT for ice cream but also offer a larger selection compared to regular grocery stores.

These stores often have dedicated sections for frozen desserts, including a variety of ice cream flavors, novelty treats, and even dairy-free options.

It’s worth noting that the availability of ice cream options may vary depending on the specific superstore location.

Convenience Stores

While convenience stores may not have as extensive a selection as grocery stores or superstores, some do accept EBT for ice cream.

This can be a convenient option if you are looking for a quick treat or are unable to access a larger grocery store.

It’s best to check with your local convenience store to see if they accept EBT for ice cream before making a visit.

Online Grocery Delivery

In recent years, online grocery delivery services have become increasingly popular.

Many of these services, such as Amazon Fresh and Instacart, accept EBT as a form of payment. This means that you can have ice cream delivered right to your doorstep without leaving the comfort of your home.

It’s important to note that availability may vary depending on your location and the specific online grocery delivery service you choose.

Remember, while EBT can be used to purchase ice cream, it is always a good idea to check with the specific store or service beforehand, as policies may vary. Enjoy your sweet treat with the convenience of using your EBT card!

Getting the Best Ice Cream Value With EBT

When it comes to using EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) to purchase ice cream, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most value for your money.

While EBT does cover certain food items, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t eligible when it comes to indulging in frozen treats.

Here are some strategies to consider:

Buy Store Brands

One way to stretch your EBT dollars when buying ice cream is to opt for store brands. These brands are often priced lower than their name-brand counterparts but can still deliver great taste and quality.

Many grocery stores have their own line of ice cream products that are just as delicious as the more expensive options. By choosing store brands, you can enjoy your favorite flavors without breaking the bank.

Stick to Sale Flavors

Another way to make the most of your EBT benefits is to keep an eye out for ice cream flavors that are on sale. Grocery stores often have weekly specials or promotions on various food items, including ice cream.

By choosing flavors that are on sale, you can save money while still enjoying a sweet treat. Don’t be afraid to try new flavors or opt for seasonal favorites that may be discounted.

Consider Portion Size

When purchasing ice cream with EBT, it’s important to consider portion sizes. While indulging in a pint or quart of ice cream may be tempting, it may not be the most cost-effective option.

Consider opting for smaller portion sizes, such as single-serve cups or mini ice cream bars. Not only will this help you manage your EBT benefits more efficiently, but it can also be a healthier choice.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your local grocery store or the official EBT website for any specific restrictions or guidelines on using EBT for ice cream purchases.

By following these strategies, you can satisfy your ice cream cravings while making the most of your EBT benefits.

Consider Portion Size

Storing and Serving Ice Cream for EBT Households

Proper Storage Tips

When it comes to storing ice cream for EBT households, it is important to follow proper storage tips to ensure its freshness and quality.

First and foremost, it is recommended to keep ice cream in a freezer set at a temperature of 0°F (-18°C) or below.

This helps to prevent the ice cream from melting and developing ice crystals. Additionally, it is best to store ice cream in the back of the freezer, as it is the coldest part.

Another important tip is to keep the ice cream container tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn.

Freezer burn can affect the taste and texture of the ice cream, making it less enjoyable to eat. If possible, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Lastly, avoid storing ice cream near foods with strong odors, as ice cream can absorb these odors and impact its flavor.

By following these storage tips, EBT households can ensure that their ice cream stays delicious and ready to enjoy.

Creative Dessert Serving Ideas

When it comes to serving ice cream for EBT households, there are plenty of creative ideas to make it a delightful experience.

One idea is to create an ice cream sundae bar where individuals can customize their own sundaes with various toppings such as chocolate syrup, sprinkles, nuts, and whipped cream.

This not only adds a fun element to dessert time but also allows everyone to personalize their ice cream treat.

Another creative idea is to make ice cream sandwiches using cookies or wafers.

Simply place a scoop of ice cream between two cookies and gently press them together. This provides a handheld dessert option that is perfect for on-the-go enjoyment.

If you’re looking for a healthier option, consider serving frozen yogurt instead of traditional ice cream.

Frozen yogurt is lower in fat and calories, making it a great alternative for those who are conscious of their dietary intake. Add some fresh fruit on top for an extra burst of flavor and nutrition.

Creative Dessert Serving Ideas

Non-Dairy and Other Alternatives

For EBT households with dietary restrictions or preferences, there are non-dairy alternatives available that can still satisfy the craving for a frozen treat.

Non-dairy ice cream options made from almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk are becoming increasingly popular and can be easily found in many grocery stores.

In addition to non-dairy options, there are also sorbets and gelatos that offer a lighter and fruitier alternative to traditional ice cream.

Sorbets are typically made from fruit juice or puree, and gelatos have a lower fat content compared to regular ice cream.

These alternatives can be a great choice for EBT households looking for different flavors and textures.

Remember, EBT benefits can be used to purchase a variety of food items, including ice cream and its alternatives. So, don’t hesitate to explore the options available and indulge in a frozen treat that suits your taste and dietary needs.


In summary, yes, ice cream purchased as a grocery item at retail stores, grocers, and other SNAP-eligible locations can be bought with EBT cards.

Following SNAP guidelines, looking for discounts and sales, and exploring lower-cost alternatives help maximize benefits for frozen treats.

Ice cream can be an enjoyable and affordable dessert option for EBT recipients when shopped smartly. With wise shopping, it can be a budget-friendly frozen treat.

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