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The best ice cream shops in NYC

Here's the scoop—sorry, we couldn't resist—on the best ice cream shops, from acclaimed newcomers to old frozen favorites

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Salted caramel pretzel standard at Morgenstern's

There's plenty of childhood foods that we love, but none gets our nostalgic hearts racing quite like ice cream. And luckily for frozen-treat lovers, you don’t have to go Usain Bolt–ing after Mister Softee for a licking of summer's favorite dessert—instead, head to one of New York's top parlors, doling out hopped-up scoops, gargantuan ice cream sundaes, food-truck favorites and a healthy dose of whimsy. Whether you're looking for an indulgent sundae or a grab-and-go ice cream sandwich, we've got you covered with our guide to the best ice cream shops in New York.

Best ice cream shops in NYC

1

Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream

Plain-Jane flavors get their due at this soda-shop throwback from pastry-bag-wielding restaurateur Nicholas Morgenstern (Goat Town, El Rey): Scoop purists have five creamy, extremely vanilla-y vanillas (bourbon, Madagascar, burnt honey, maple and angel food) to choose from. Succumb to the gluttony and get them all in the colossal King Kong Banana Split. $20

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Lower East Side
2

Ample Hills Creamery

The behemoth, two-story follow-up to husband-and-wife team Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna’s Prospect Heights scoop shop churns out ever-changing, off-the-wall flavors that will please inner and actual kids alike. Snap Mallow Pop, an überrich, jet-puffed marshmallow number studded with crunchy, toasted rice-cereal nubs, is as comforting as a bake-sale Rice Krispies Treat. Single $4.35, double $5.75

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Gowanus
3

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

Ice cream truckers Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff offer their quirky soft-serve creations in a small East Village shop, decorated with a giant unicorn mural bedazzled with 6,000 Swarovski crystals. Find crowd favorites like the Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt and a chocolate dip) and the Bea Arthur (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed ‘nilla wafers). $5

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East Village
4

OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

There’s no fear of sugar overkill at this pint-size, circus-striped East Village outpost of the Brooklyn crowd-pleaser. Chef-owner Sam Mason (wd~50) tempers his greatest hits with savory and salty notes: Custardy caramel comes with a cholesterol-quivering swirl of meaty chorizo, and pineapple-thyme gets an oddball hit of tangy manchego. Single $4, double $5.25

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East Village
5

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

In addition to its full range of scoop flavors (chocolate, gianduja, red currant)—churned with hormone-free milk sourced from upstate cows and piped into all-natural cones—the environmentally conscious ice cream café serves Intelligentsia coffee (espresso and drip), and a rotating selection of fresh-baked pastries including Ovenly's vegan salted chocolate-chip cookies and Balthazar croissants. Small $4.50, large $6.50

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East Village
6

Holey Cream

The doughnut ice cream sandwiches at this Technicolor shop are an exercise in decadence: Two halves of a split old-fashioned bookend three scoops of house-churned ice cream—we like the sweet-and-salty vanilla studded with chocolate-covered pretzels. Festoon this prodigal masterpiece with your choice of flavored frostings and garnishes, such as colorful sprinkles, candy fragments and nuts. $7.75

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Hell's Kitchen
7

Momofuku Milk Bar East Village

Pastry whiz Christina Tosi made her name in extreme, compulsively craveable treats like Compost Cookies and Crack Pie. But the off-menu Pink Fizz at the Upper West Side Milk Bar location deploys a lighter touch to spectacular effect. The blend of pink-lemonade soft-serve and a healthy pour of Fever Tree ginger beer yields a refreshing, lightly fizzy milk shake with a lingering spicy kick. $8

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East Village
8

Melt Bakery

The simple takeout shop from the Hester Street Fair favorite spotlights its popular artisanal ice-cream sandwiches. Choose from a rotating selection of creamy delights, such as the Classic (chocolate-chip walnut cookie with vanilla ice cream), the Cocoa Daddy (chocolate brownie with salted-caramel ice cream) or the Belle (brown-butter-bourbon shortbread with peach ice cream). $5

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Lower East Side

Comments

4 comments
shaidyn c
shaidyn c

This list does not include Snowdays also, You guys gotta do better. There ice cream is awesome. It is like shaved ice creams or something texture is like Cotton candy yet it is ice cream and it is light with any topping you want. This is on 10th street and 1st avenue and I think its a must try it gonna be next big thing maybe i love what they are doing never seem ice cream like that before.

Omar A
Omar A

I cannot believe in this list !!! It does not include GROM...It is impossible not having GROM as the best in class Ice Cream in NYC!!!! Best quality ingredients, artisan made, and high quality process Please go to http://www.grom.it/mobile/eng/index.php and see what is really GOOD! SUPERB!!!!

Mimi A
Mimi A

According to Yelp Treat Petite Cafe is closed?? Someone didn't do their research. Apparently Big Gay Ice Cream Shop took over.

Tazi Phillips
Tazi Phillips moderator

@Mimi A Thank you for pointing that out! Treat Petite is under a new name, Arbuz, and new location in Sheepshead Bay, but has all of the same offerings. We've updated to display the correct information above!