No matter what the season, there's never a wrong time for some of the best ice cream NYC has to offer. And luckily for fellow frozen-treat lovers, you don’t have to go sprinting after Mister Softee for a licking of summer's finest sweets. Instead, head to one of New York's top parlors or best food trucks, which turn out oddball flavors, gargantuan sundaes and whimsical ice cream sandwiches built atop the best donuts in NYC. Whether you want a classic scoop or a cone of the best soft serve, you'll find all that and more at these shops serving the best ice cream in NYC.
An ice cream shop we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market
Best ice cream in NYC
What began as a humble cart outside of a Fort Greene restaurant quickly grew into a downtown ice cream empire. Now, a few blocks from his original Rivington Street shop, Nick Morgenstern has opened his flagship parlor, serving more than 88 flavors and ice cream cakes, too. Even vanilla purists can feel like they’re trying something new with versions infused with bourbon or burnt honey.
The East Village has no shortage of incredible dessert spots, but this is the king cone. The shop doesn’t try to wow you with an Instagrammable interior design or toppings such as edible glitter; instead, it sells wasabi, black sesame, honeydew and other experimental flavors, that, in all their decadent creaminess, speak for themselves.
A family-run Chinatown institution for more than 30 years, this popular scoop shop sells black sesame, lychee, avocado and other offbeat flavors. The place is compact, so plan on taking this perfect treat for a walk through the neighborhood. Bonus: The same team just opened a Lower East Side offshoot inside the historic Essex Market.
The circus-striped ice cream spot has expanded into multiple locations, including a coffee shop in Nolita that serves caffeinated ice cream drinks. Chef-owner and wd~50 alum Sam Mason tempers his greatest hits with savory and salty notes, creating flavors you can’t find anywhere else. Exhibit A: The custardy caramel comes with a cholesterol-quivering swirl of meaty chorizo.
If you want a real trip down memory lane, Eddie's Sweet Shop is just the place to get your sugar rush on. Scooping sundaes for over 100 years, this Forrest Hills staple that attracts all generations to come in for a taste. The reason they've been able to withstand the test of time? That's easy. Their homemade ice cream is simple, but perfect. If you're feeling wild, add on a malted milkshake, you deserve it.
If you're searching for proof that New Yorkers have been yearning for simpler times, look no further than this old-timey soda fountain. At the antique-filled apothecary—rehabbed by siblings Peter "Petey" Freeman and Gia Giasullo, with the help of reality TV show Construction Intervention—nostalgists can transport themselves to a Rockwellian universe, where sweethearts dip straws into a single egg cream and scrappy dogs lap up their master's milk shake drippings. Plus, there's an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients—just like in the old days.
One of our favorite store-bought ice cream brands finally opened up a brick and mortar in Cobble Hill. Founded by Pooja Bavishi, Malai serves up flavors from around the world. There's "rose with cinnamon roasted almonds," "sweet milk," "star anise," "ginger root" and Turkish coffee. Look out for the season flavors, like the "sweet roti and ghee." Eat the ice cream served in a cone and with a variety of toppings like cardamom shortbread and peanut chikki.
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, a marshmallow number studded with crunchy, toasted rice-cereal nubs, is as comforting as a bake-sale Rice Krispies Treat. Ooey Gooey offers the ultimate indulgent scoop swirling chunks of St-Louis-style butter cake in creamy vanilla ice cream.
In addition to its full range of scoop flavors (chocolate, honeycomb, Sicilian pistachio)—churned with hormone-free milk sourced from upstate cows—the environmentally conscious ice cream café serves an array of vegan options. Using combinations of cashew milk, coconut milk and cacao butter, they've been able to create dairy-free options that are even creamier and richer than the original.
The Middle Eastern booza may is the coolest ice cream of them all, with a stretchy, soft-cheese texture that you can try in the traditional Candied Cream or in the very unconventional Salted Oreo, Sichuan White Chocolate and Horchata de Chufa, among others.
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It's been a summer healthy with heat and humidity, which means, if you're like us, you've been eating damn-near your body weight in ice cream.