On a boiling hot day in New York City, there is nothing better than a nice cold ice cream to cool you down and satisfy that craving for something sweet. But it doesn’t have to be hot outside for you to enjoy a delicious scoop of creamy ice cream- you can be struck by a fancy for this sweet treat at any time of year!
As you can imagine, there are plenty of places in New York City that sell ice cream. Whether you want traditional flavours, experimental flavours, traditional egg based ice cream. Italian ice cream, or vegan ice cream, New York has it all. But how do you know which ones are the best? Where can you find the best ice cream in New York City? Keep reading to find out.
Best for – Ethical practice
Sugar Hill Creamery is located in central Harlem and has been open since 2017. It has been so successful that a second location has now opened in Hamilton Heights. Sugar Hill Creamery is run by husband and wife Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin.
Their original and seasonal ice cream flavours are inspired by the flavours from their Caribbean and Mid Western backgrounds. They are always experimenting with new flavours, so there is bound to be one that you haven’t tried before! Some of their most popular flavours are blueberry cheesecake, peach cobbler and an interesting combination of corn, jalapeno, hibiscus and blackberry.
All the ice cream is made from scratch and they even offer international shipping. Not only does Sugar Hill Creamery provide excellent ice cream, they also hold community programmes and events designed to empower Black experience and encourage storytelling and shared connections.
Best for – Traditional Parlour
Eddie’s Sweet Shop is a traditional ice cream parlour that has been serving ice cream sundaes for over 100 years! The homemade ice creams and milkshakes have stood the test of time and keep customers coming back year after year.
This quintessential ice cream shop on a corner in Queens has a wide range of toppings to choose from, and is a perfect place to indulge your ice cream craving no matter what the weather is like!
Best for – Local Favourite
This popular ice cream shop started out in Brooklyn, but now has 10 locations across New York. Since they opened in 2011, they have made their ice cream from scratch and developed some mouth watering signature flavours, infused with peanut butter, cornmeal crumble, blueberry swirls and even butter cake.
They are also constantly developing new flavours, and fun toppings like toasted cereals and marshmallow shapes. Ample Hills is a firm favourite with locals and is very popular with tourists. You will be able to find something for the whole family.
Best for – Iconic Brand
Bryan Petroff and Douglas Quint started Big Gay Ice Cream as an ice cream truck business back in 2009. Word spread and their popularity soared, leading them to open several stores across New York. Their soft serve ice cream comes in traditional flavours, but they also offer some exciting and original flavours so their customers can try something new.
You can treat yourself to a vanilla soft serve injected with indulgent dulce de leche, or a strawberry shortcake ice cream with whipped cream and crispy wafers. You can also get tasty milkshakes of your favourite ice cream flavours. This ice cream shop is the perfect blend of tradition and modernity, with a fun twist.
Best for – Fun Atmosphere
Since 2010, Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain have been offering top quality egg based ice cream. Traditional flavours are served alongside new and experimental ones, and can be made in fun sundaes or milkshakes with tasty toppings.
You can also get soda in a range of flavours, like hibiscus, and rose. You can make these refreshing sodas even better by adding a scoop of your favourite ice cream and turning them into an ice cream float. This ice cream parlour has a classic, antique feel and they try to focus on seasonal local ingredients. The staff are friendly and fun – you will definitely have a good time if you come here for your ice cream!
Best for – Oriental Flavours
This historic ice cream shop has been run by the Seid family since 1978, and now has additional locations on the Lower East Side and Flushings as well as Chinatown. They serve ice cream based on traditional dessert flavours like cherry vanilla, rocky road, and jelly doughnut alongside flavours found in Chinese cuisine like lychee, black sesame, red bean and banana durian.
A firm favourite with customers is the peanut butter with toasted sesame seeds. This unique ice cream shop will open your eyes to new flavours and is a credit to Chinatown.
Best for – Small Business
Lady Moo-Moo is a small business that operates out of a walk-up window and is only open during the warmer months of the year. They use locally sourced ingredients like Brooklyn honey made on a rooftop garden.
They serve traditional flavours alongside a rotating menu of specials. They also have a free gumball machine, with the recipient of a golden gumball receiving a free ice cream. If you want to support a small business, then look out for Lady Moo-Moo between the months of April and November.
Best for – Egg Free
Malai is a Brooklyn based ice cream shop that offers eggless ice cream, in flavours inspired by Southeast Asia. Pooja Bavishi started Malai in 2015 as a food festival stall, but its popularity grew and grew until she was able to open a permanent shop.
The flavours are exotic and indulgent, like rose with cinnamon and roasted almonds, masala chai, turkish coffee, carrot halwa, baklava, star anise, and ginger root. Tubs of ice cream, ice cream cakes and party boxes are also available for nationwide shipping. Some flavours are also available in grocery stores. The packaging is attractive yet simple and elegant, a perfect pairing with the product.
Best For – Freaky Flavours
Two brothers opened Max and Mina’s in 1997 after discovering their grandfather’s ice cream recipe book. From their shop in Queens, they serve a range of inventive flavours from cranberry vodka and french toast to pizza and pickles.
They also design ice cream flavours based on popular cereals, and use this as inspiration for a lot of their decor. This fun and quirky ice cream shop is definitely worth a visit if you want to try something different and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Best for – Homegrown talent
Michael ‘Mikey’ Cole opened this ice cream shop in the East Village in 2013, followed by further stores in Harlem and Gotham West Market. Like the brothers who founded Max and Mina’s, he was also inspired by a family recipe when he found his Aunt’s recipe for homemade vanilla ice cream.
Since then he has branched out into many different flavours including mocha, sea salt and caramel, pecan pie, and a vegan option with spinach and kale. Michael still lives around the corner from his original East Village store, and cares a lot about the local area.
Best for – Luxury Brand
Morgenstern’s Fine Ice Cream offers 88 flavours from its new location in Greenwich Village. The ice cream is made in a unique way, with less butterfat and sugar to really bring out the individual flavours.
There are four different varieties of vanilla, for the fans of traditional flavours, alongside a range of exciting flavours like Vietnamese coffee, burnt sage, American egg, raw milk, chocolate oat, green tea pistachio, and salt and pepper pine nut. You can also get classic sundaes and special items like profiteroles and cocktails at the main ice cream shop, making it an exciting place to go and spoil yourself or your friends.
Best for – Fusion Flavours
Soft Swerve was founded in 2016 by two friends from Chinatown, Jason Liu and Michael Tsang. They promoted their brand on Instagram and became popular very quickly.
With delicious flavours like frozen hot chocolate, purple yam, matcha and black sesame, they are setting the standard for exciting new flavours. The color and design of the ice creams are very appealing, and you can swirl two flavours together to create your own taste combinations. This is an impressive business from two young entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves on the New York ice cream scene.
Best for – Vegan Options
This company started out in 2008 with a fleet of ice cream trucks, but now has over 17 stores across the city. Van Leeuwen are an environmentally conscious company who use hormone free milk alongside a range of dairy free options using a blend of cashew milk, coconut milk and cacao butter. This place is perfect if you have a mixed group of vegan and non-vegan friends who all want an ice cream.
Some of the most popular flavours are cookies and cream, pistachio, earl grey, and honeycomb. The trucks are still in operation as well as the many stores, making this one of the most readily available New York based Ice cream brands.
Best for – Alcoholic Treats
Sedutto has been serving ice cream and frozen yoghurt on the Upper East Side for over 30 years, specializing in traditional flavours and well known favourites like birthday cake and Moostracks.
They also offer frozen wine and alcoholic sorbets, and malts and floats. They have something for everyone, and in a fantastic location. The perfect place to treat yourself!
Best for – Italian Treats
This ice cream shop is known for its delicious panna, a light italian whipped cream which they top most of their menu items with. Whether you choose an affogato sundae, a pint or a take out scoop, you will love the flavours and the tasty topping.
They also dabble in some experimental and fun flavours to keep their customers on their toes. You certainly won’t be disappointed with this ice cream shop.
Best for – Originality
This Mexican-American ice cream shop in the West Village, founded by Fany Gerson, turns popular Mexican dishes into ice cream and popsicles- you can even top them with hot sauce! A very original and well executed concept makes this ice cream shop definitely worth a visit.
As you can see, there are plenty of amazing ice cream shops in New York. Whatever area you are in, you are never far away from a delicious New York ice cream. Which place is best depends entirely on what you are looking for out of your ice cream.
Do you fancy a traditional ice cream sundae? Then head to Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens.
Are you looking for a taste of the Orient? Go to The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
Do you want to try a whacky flavour and get out of your comfort zone? Grab yourself something from Max and Mina’s. Maybe you are looking for something a bit more traditional- Ample Hills Creamery will have something for all the family.
Do you want to have a bit of fun creating a sundae or an ice cream flat with a new soda flavour? Check out Brooklyn’s Farmacy & Soda Fountain. Do you want egg free ice cream in an indulgent and unusual flavour? Malai is the place for you. Perhaps you are on the hunt for a delicious vegan ice cream? Van Leeuwen will have something for you.
Even though we have narrowed down the options for you with this list, we appreciate that there are still a lot of places to choose from! If you want to visit two places, you could try getting a milkshake from one and an ice cream from the other. Or go with a friend and split an ice cream from both places.