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taiyaki ice cream boston
Photograph: J.Q. Louise

The best ice cream shops in Boston

Get the scoop on Boston's best ice cream shops. Everything from traditional flavors to new and crazy to the perfect ice cream sandwich is up for grabs.

JQ Louise
Written by
JQ Louise
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In the summertime we are all searching for the best ice cream in Boston. Luckily New England has long been known for some amazing scoops. In fact, the Hub has been an ice cream innovator since the ’70s, when some of the first Oreos were mixed into freshly churned ice cream in Somerville.

Today, the best ice cream shops in Boston continue to satisfy adventurous eaters with their gourmet concoctions and bold ingredientswhile still cranking out the classics for those New England traditionalists. Treat yourself this season and pair an ice cream cone with the best burgers in Boston or the best pizzas in Boston for a fun night out!

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best desserts in Boston!

Time Out Market Boston
  • Restaurants
  • Fenway/Kenmore

When someone’s an artisanal gelato master, or gelatiere, you know your sweet tooth is in good hands. At Gelato & Chill, Vincent Turco uses traditional Italian recipes to create small-batch, handmade gelato made from local, organic and additive-free ingredients. At Time Out Market Boston, must-try items include ricotta fig, stracciatella made with 70 percent Valrhona Guanaja chocolate bits, and creamy Sicilian pistachio. For those seeking dairy-free treats, a range of refreshing, water-based fruit sorbets are also available.

Best ice cream shops in Boston

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Jamaica Plain
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Since its start in Jamaica Plain over 40 years ago, this local ice cream institution has spread to locations throughout the city, from Beacon Hill to Harvard Square. Its funky cow motif, lively atmosphere, hip scoopers and exciting flavors keep the crowds coming. On hot days, people can expect a waitbut that just gives everyone more time to decide between solid favorites (like brownie batter) and seasonal dazzlers (like peanut butter and chili, which is made with sriracha). Also, try the frappes, they are thick and delicious. 

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • East Cambridge
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The New York Times once called it the best ice cream in the world—just one of the many accolades this Cambridge shop and café has collected since its 1981 start. Toscanini’s continues to push the flavor boundaries, with intriguingly satisfying combinations like B3 (brownies, brown sugar, brown butter) and the amazing burnt caramel, which was created by total accident. This place likes to keep its flavors fresh, so check its daily menu before heading over. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Central Sq

This Central Square shop, which also has a location out in Hudson, lures in ice cream lovers with unique, New England-inspired scoops. While its cases include the usual fan favorites like cookie dough, birthday cake batter and coffee, it’s this spot’s list of original concoctions that make it a must. Among its nostalgic, locally influenced flavors: salted cookies and cream, peanut butter banana Fluff and malted milk ball. For dairy-averse customers, New City also offers a handful of vegan options made with a coconut milk base.

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Seaport District
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Taiyaki NYC’s almost too-cute-to-eat ice cream cones have made their way up the coast and into Boston’s Seaport District. The most popular treat on the menu is the chain's signature soft serve swirled into a fish-shaped conebut they also have other unique options like its Unicorn Float, which is served in an inflatable unicorn tube. Expect a linebecause there may be plenty of fish in the sea, but Taiyaki NYC’s is one of the sweetest.

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Somerville
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This Union Square ice cream post further cements Somerville as the place for all things artisanal. The shop makes small batches of atypical flavors like Guinness, ube and honey cornbread, with new flavors regularly coming into the rotation. Top your scoop with the house-made version of Magic Shell and definitely go for the toasted Fluff cone. 

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Back Bay
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This Boston chain is famous not only for its ice cream, but also for its award-winning smoothieswhich the staff will whip up right in front of you using fresh seasonal ingredients. It offers ice cream in funky flavors, like bananas foster and grasshopper pie, as well as a selection of frozen yogurts, sorbets and small-batch vegan scoops. Emack & Bolios also pioneered the flavored cone, which can be covered either in marshmallow or chocolate, then sprinkled with toppings like crushed Oreos, Fruit Loops, jimmies and shaved coconut.

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Cookie Monstah
Photograph: J.Q. Louise

7. Cookie Monstah

With what started as a single food truck and has since blossomed into several brick-and-mortar locations, Cookie Monstah is a Boston classic. Founded by Melissa Gale, this Boston-must-try is known for their massive cookie and ice cream sandwiches, where the cookies are as much the star as the ice cream. But be warned, you may want to share as these things are massive.

https://media.timeout.com/images/105910510/image.jpg
JQ Louise
Editor of Time Out Boston
  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Porter Sq

Tired of typical vanilla ice cream? Craving unique and innovative flavors? Porter Square‘s Honeycomb Creamery delivers delicious and inventive alternatives. Its craft ice cream is perfect for people seeking out-of-the-box creations. With options like malted vanilla, bay leaf & lemon curd, or gin & tonic sorbet, you may just find a new go-to summer flavor.

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Amorino
Photograph: J.Q. Louise

9. Amorino

If you are looking for a picture perfect ice cream cone, stop by this global ice cream brand on Newbury Street. Amorino is known for their gelato that looks like a flower. But don't worry, the flavors walk the walk as well! 

https://media.timeout.com/images/105910510/image.jpg
JQ Louise
Editor of Time Out Boston
  • Restaurants
  • West Roxbury

This gelateria is well worth the trek to West Roxbury. Using only the finest ingredients in their purest form, this spot makes all of their ice cream from scratch. The menu changes to include seasonal inspirations, but classics like its vanilla (made with beans, not extracts) and chocolate (flavored with French Valrhona cocoa) are constants. There are a couple of nods to Italy, like its Gianduiamixed with house-made hazelnut pasteand its lemon mint sorbet. Other creative combinations include a Persian flower and dark chocolate flavor, which is infused with Iranian Saffron and sprinkled with organic dark chocolate chips, as well as spiced coffee, which combines freshly roasted Borealis coffee with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

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