Blue Bell Ice Cream Won't Be Back For A While, But Here's 5 Treats You Can Happily Devour Instead

A full-scale recall threatened to destroy Blue Bell Ice Cream back in March, and things have progressively gotten worse since then. In early May, following a listeria outbreak that originated in the company's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, plant and killed three people in Kansas, the company announced that it would be laying off some 1,400 employees and furloughing another 1,400, effectively wiping the majority of its staff from the premises until further notice. On May 8, the company finally announced that it would be halting all production of its products until a full overhaul of its plants and systems could be conducted — which means that everyone's favorite Blue Bell flavors won't be back for a very long time, if at all. But for all those suffering from ice cream withdrawals, don't worry: There's hope.

To date, fans of the popular desserts have expressed varying emotions over the recall with one school in San Antonio, Texas, even going so far as to pray for those affected by the listeria outbreak as well as for the speedy recovery of the company itself.

"Unfortunately, we do not yet have a firm timeline for when Blue Bell ice cream will be back in stores, but we believe at this time that it will be several months at a minimum," explained Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse in a statement this month.

Of course, nothing can replace the popular cones and ice cream cups that incite nostalgia and taste like the dessert of the gods, but there are more than a few substitutions that come close.

If You Like Blue Bell's Cookie Cone...

... Try either Skinny Cow's Chocolate Fudge Luxurious Cone or, for a full-cal version, Drumstick's Classic Caramel Vanilla cone. The Skinny Cow version is delicious, and Drumstick's creamy/crunchy/nutty cone will trigger memories of your childhood. (And both of those are pretty awesome, if I'm being honest... can I have both?)

If You Like Blue Bell's Pineapple Sherbet...

... Okay, it's not pineapple. But seriously, Whole Fruit's Mango Sorbet is seriously good stuff, and it's always nice to change things up once in a while. "My mouth was doing a happy dance with each bite I took," wrote popular blogger Sippy Cup Mom in a brand review from 2013. See? Don't you want your mouth to do a happy dance, too, with all of the Blue Bell despair you've been through lately?

If You Like Blue Bell's Chocolate Covered Cherries Bar...

... Give these Ciao Bella Key Lime Graham Gelato Squares a try. I get it, you have discerning taste. Plain old vanilla won't cut it for you. Maybe you're a chocolate loyalist and you refuse to get over your Blue Bell chocolate-cherry crush. But — what was it that Matt Damon said in We Bought a Zoo? "All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage and something great will come of it?" Trust me on this. All it will take is 20 seconds before you polish off this delicious ice cream sandwich — and you'll never go back.

If You Like Blue Bell's Almond Bar...

... A little less nutty, but just as decadent, Good Humor's Mounds Bar is a great choice if you like something besides plain old chocolate. "Delicious and coconutty, but not overpowering," wrote The Huffington Post in its review of sweet summertime treats in 2012. "[It's] better than the candy bar." That's saying something.

And finally...

If You Like Blue Bell's Regular Old Ice Cream...

... You can't go wrong with Trader Joe's plain French Vanilla. Scoop it on top of pie, or eat it alone with sprinkles or berries — it's good with everything. Westchester Magazine producer Adam Nunez called it "everything [he] ever dreamed of" in a the publication's definitive ranking of vanilla ice creams last July (FYI: This one came in first place). Made with 15 percent butter-fat and an egg-custard base, this creamy treat will easily nab a spot on your weekly shopping list. Yum.

Images: Skinny Cow; Drumstick; Whole Fruit; Ciao Bella Gelato; Good Humor; Trader Joe's