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Ants on a log sorbet sugar cone at Oddfellows
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The 13 best ice cream shops in NYC

If you’re looking for the best ice cream, NYC is packed with acclaimed newcomers and old frozen favorites

By Time Out contributors and Amber Sutherland-Namako
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We love ice cream in all its forms—and all year round. Though we’ll happily partake any time, ice cream, like music festivals, picnics, and outdoor dining, is a joyful harbinger of spring and summer. Just try to be grumpy with a great big ice cream cone on a sunny day—you cannot! And New York City has an abundance of options for when you can’t catch the Mister Softee truck. These are our favorite classic, offbeat, unique and traditional ice cream offerings this season.

An ice cream shop we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market

ice cream
ice cream
Photograph: Courtesy Evi Abeler

Sugar Hill Creamery - Time Out Market

Time Out Market DUMBO

Sugar Hill Creamery owners Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin Larsen’s seasonal ice cream flavors are often inspired by their Midwestern and Caribbean backgrounds as well as their longtime home of Harlem. The husband-and-wife team has been crafting distinct ingredient combinations out of their Central Harlem store since 2017, and devoted fans hungry for frozen treats that you won’t find in the supermarket led the pair to open a second location in Hamilton Heights just a few years later. Stop by often—there’s always an innovative new flavor to try.

Best ice cream in NYC

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Photograph: Ali Garber

1. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Chinatown

A family-run Chinatown institution for more than 40 years, this popular scoop shop sells durian, pandan, red bean and other lesser-seen ice cream varieties. The place is compact, so plan on taking this perfect treat for a walk through the neighborhood. The same team also operates a Lower East Side offshoot at Essex Market.

Eddie's Sweet Shop Sundae
Eddie's Sweet Shop Sundae
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Mike C.

2. Eddie’s Sweet Shop

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Forest Hills

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's been scooping frozen treats for generations. Their simple homemade ice cream and malted milkshakes make it look easy to withstand the test of time.

 

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The best ice cream in NYC: Ample Hills Creamery
The best ice cream in NYC: Ample Hills Creamery
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

3. Ample Hills Creamery

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Gowanus

Though it now has 10 locations in NYC, we fancy this one's rooftop. Across its spots, Ample Hills 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.

Morgenstern's
Morgenstern's
Photograph: Jake Cohen

4. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Soho

What began as a humble cart outside of a Fort Greene restaurant has expanded to two ice cream shops downtown. A few blocks from his temporarily-closed original Rivington Street spot, Nick Morgenstern’s flagship parlor serves more than 88 flavors. Even vanilla purists can feel like they’re trying something new with versions infused with bourbon or burnt honey.

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5. Sundaes and Cones

Restaurants Ice cream parlors East Village

The East Village has no shortage of incredible dessert spots, and this is the king cone. The shop doesn’t try to wow you with an Instagrammable interior design or toppings like edible glitter; instead, it sells wasabi, black sesame, ginger and other flavors you won't find just anywhere.

Photograph: Courtesy Morgan Ione Yeager

6. Malai Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Carroll Gardens

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. 

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Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

7. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors East Village

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 just as creamy and rich as than the original.

Oddfellows
Oddfellows
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

8. OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Williamsburg

The circus-striped ice cream spot has expanded into multiple locations, including Williamsburg's Domino Park. Chef-owner and wd~50 alum Sam Mason whips up unique flavors like lemon thyme shortbread and matcha rocky road.

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Brooklyn Farmacy
Brooklyn Farmacy
Photograph: Clotilde Testa

9. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Carroll Gardens

If you're searching for proof that New Yorkers love to pantomime 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 milk shake drippings. Plus, there's an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients—just like in the old days.

Soft Swerve
Soft Swerve
Photograph: Courtesy Soft Swerve

10. Soft Swerve

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Lower East Side

When only soft serve will do, Soft Swerve wildly improves on some old familiars of the form. Our favorite flavors include ube purple yam and Thai tea, plus you can swirl some of the options. 

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Photograph: Debby Wolvos

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Whether you like oddball flavors or your taste is more vanilla, get your frozen fix at these top ice cream shops, from classic parlors to new-wave purveyors

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