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The best ice cream in Los Angeles

When LA gets hot, reach for local remedies: an ocean breeze, shady trees and, of course, the best ice cream in LA

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Mother Moo Creamery

Endless summers in Los Angeles mean non-stop cravings for the best ice cream in LA. Not key lime pie, not jelly donuts—ice cream. When temperatures climb and the Santa Ana winds roll in, treat yourself to the city's tastiest frozen treats—and there are a lot of options to choose from after a hike or even a sweaty yoga class. After all, what's the point of a great workout sesh if you don't indulge?

 

Head to these shops for the best scoops

Blockhead's Shavery Company

Critics' pick

Teenagers, families and sugar hounds alike flock to this perpetually packed emporium for "snow cream"—Hawaiian shaved ice meets ice cream in layers of icy ribbons. Start with a base flavor from original and black sesame to seasonal mango and avocado, then choose your own adventure with toppings from boba to brownie bites and "drizzles” such as condensed milk and chocolate sauce. The blackboard menu guides you through the three-step, build-a-bowl process and lists favorite house combos. We love green tea snow cream with red bean, chewy mocha (rice cakes) and sweet condensed milk.

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West L.A.

Coolhaus

Critics' pick

This popular, architecturally-themed ice cream sandwich truck (Coolhaus takes its name after famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas) has set up shop in Culver City's Arts District with a permanent brick and mortar (another Pasadena location recently opened). Construct your own "cool house" with tasty, creative ice cream flavors such as fried chicken and waffles or cherry cheesecake, sandwiched between a variety of housemade cookies. Locals and nearby families stop in for a post-dinner icy treat or sit down to Blue Bottle–spiked hot chocolate beverages.

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Los Angeles

Fosselman's Ice Cream

Critics' pick

Despite a move to its current Alhambra location in 1974, this family-owned parlor, which makes all of its ice cream from scratch, has been around since 1919, and the quality shines through. The only downside: once you've tasted winning flavors like rum raisin, mocha almond fudge, Dutch chocolate and taro, you'll likely feel compelled to buy a half gallon tub to take home for when future cravings strike.

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San Gabriel Valley

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

From a 2012 James Beard Award winning author, Jeni Britton Bauer is extending her Ohio roots to Los Angeles with Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. The shop offers an ecclectic choice of over 20 flavors ranging from Whiskey & Pecans to Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet to traditional favorites like The Milkiest Chocolate in the World. If there isn't something on the signature menu, the limited edition menu will surely have other options that will catch your attention.

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Los Feliz

Mashti Malone's

Critics' pick

Forget the vanilla. At Mashti Malone's in Hollywood, you'll find delicately perfumed Persian ice-cream in exotic flavors such as rosewater saffron, orange blossom, creamy mango and herbal snow. Don't miss the bitter lemon and cherry syrups on the tables, meant to be drizzled on top.

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Hollywood

Mother Moo

Critics' pick

Sierra Madre locals and families stop in for a root beer float, milkshakes and ice cream in flavors like chocolate made with three types of chocolate and salt and triple milk that combines buttermilk, cream and non-fat milk. Karen Klemens handcrafts her ice cream using local, seasonal produce and Strauss, organic milk.

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San Gabriel Valley

Oasis Ice Cream

Critics' pick

Cross the train tracks on Marmion Way to get to a true diamond-in-the-rough. The sign might say “ice cream” but at Oasis, it's all about the sorbet. Co-owner Doris Feliz makes more than 50 sorbet flavors each morning, including tropical papaya, mango and mixed berry, as well as savory spinach, alfalfa, beet and carrot. All her sorbets are made with fresh juices sweetened with agave. Feliz also creates her own juice cleanses, but for those wanting a sugar rush, the respados (Mexican shaved ice) made with real fruit-juice syrups and no artificial flavors or coloring are a must-try. Cash only.

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Highland Park

Peddler's Creamery

Critics' pick

Everyone knows ice cream tastes best when it's churned by bicycle. There’s something about a little exercise that makes your sweets even sweeter.  Peddler's Creamery, now with a storefront in hip DTLA, has capitalized on this universal truth.  They offer house-made (and often customer-churned) ice cream, sorbet and vegan desserts prepared with local and organic ingredients. Edward Belden, Peddler’s founder, started his sustainable-centric creamery as a single bike unit that could be set up all over Los Angeles. In 2012 he ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to open a brick-and-mortar in Downtown LA and now sweet-seeking foodies can swing by, peddle up a small batch and enjoy quality ice cream.

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Downtown

Salt & Straw

Critics' pick

Transplanted from the hipster-foodie capital of the west (Portland, of course), Larchmont's craft creamery Salt & Straw puts an artisanal churn on the standard scoop. Their extensive menu boasts flavors both sinful and curious including Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, Freckled Woodblock Chocolate, Avocado Strawberry Sherbert and Santa Ynez Valley Walnut Oil—many of which feature ingredients exclusive to Southern California, reflecting the company's "farm-to-cone" philosophy. The best part? You don't have to choose just one. For $10, guests can opt for an ice cream flight including your choice of four flavors from both classic and seasonal menus. The pristine globules are served in healthy scoops across four individual glass bowls, presented on a (undoubtedly reclaimed) wood tray. Can't decide which to pick? Salt & Straw's staffers, who are about as chipper as you'd expect artisanal ice cream scoopers to be, are thrilled to help you assemble the perfectly complementary quartet.

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Hancock Park

Scoops

Don't let its plain Jane exterior fool you: Scoops is a quintessential hole in the wall. The owner, Tai Kim, a Korean American graduate of both art school and cooking school, flexed his creative muscles and came up with what are arguably the most unexpected flavor combinations in town—Guinness chocolate, brown bread, strawberry balsamic, banana Oreo and bacon caramel—just to name a few. It gets better, too: There's also a rotating list of creamy, non-dairy flavors; varieties change daily and they are always happy to let you try them.

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Highland Park
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Comments

6 comments
Cletus P
Cletus P

Whoever made this list knows little about L.A. ice cream. No one who has any knowledge of ice cream would leave Carmela off this list. Ice creams like Coolhaus are sugary crap. Carmela is better than Scoops or Rose Creamery. Few ingredients, fresh, local, organic ingredients. NO extracts. All real flavors. Seriously, if you are going to make a best list, you need to know more about ice cream.

Allison P
Allison P

No Milk?  I die over their Nutella ice cream and Grasshopper macaroon ice cream sandwiches.
Also would have liked some love for the old fashioned ice cream stands at the Farmer's Market/Grove.

Kelly Wine
Kelly Wine

Very surprised that Carmela Ice Cream isn't on your list. They rank right up there with Sweet Rose Creamery and Scoops. They have a location in Pasadena and a newer location near LA Farmer's Market / The Grove. Here's the link. Delicious!!! http://www.carmelaicecream.com/

neil
neil

Fosselman's in Alhambra needs to be on this list. Not only does it preceed any of these ice cream joints historically, they also have incredible ice cream made right on the premises.

Stephanie S
Stephanie S

@neil Happy to share that Fosselman's is on the list at #3! :)


sparklepony
sparklepony

I look forward to trying some of these but can't believe Sprinkles didnt make the cut. Their ice cream outranks their cupcakes by miles.