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.
Best ice cream in NYC
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 four creamy, extremely vanilla-y vanillas (bourbon, Madagascar, burnt honey, French and rum raisin) to choose from. If you're looking for an adventure, give a try at their colossal King Kong Banana Split, just be prepared, since they'll be picking the flavors at random.
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.
There’s no fear of sugar overkill at this pint-size, circus-striped East Village outpost of the Brooklyn crowd-pleaser. It's the spot for those looking to throw the banal flavors to the waste side and try something truly unique. 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 sweet cherry gets an oddball hit of smooth miso.
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 Vice magazine had an ice cream annex, this would be it. Modern, dark and edgy, this experimental ice cream shop touts a rotating menu of envelope-pushing flavors like Bath Salts (lavender and pine stracciatella), American Beauty (crème fraîche and rose petal jam) and Opium Den (white sesame, toasted poppy seed and lemon bread crouton). The best part is that they deliver for those nights when you need a pint, but can't be bothered to put pants on.
Christina Tosi made her name in nostalgic, compulsively craveable treats like Compost Cookies and Crack Pie. And Milk Bar’s soft serve gives us one more delectable reason to visit one of its nine NYC locations. Their signature Cereal Milk flavor is made with milk, cornflakes, brown sugar and a hint of salt, this throwback treat is one part dessert, two parts nostalgia (we're even going to say you can eat it for breakfast). If that's not your fancy, their chocolate-covered pretzle soft serve is just as addictive.
Ice cream truckers Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff offer their quirky soft-serve creations in a small East Village shop, emblazoned with a giant rainbow-swirled cone. 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).
The modern, industrial tasting room offers 40 flavors at a time, plucked from a 200-strong repertoire that includes wasabi, vanilla-saffron, avocado and a range of chocolate flavors, plus dozens of fruit sorbets. Can't decide? See what's being made in the glass-walled production room, visible from the street. If you're undecisive like us, their extensive list just gives you an excuse to really lean in to getting as many samples as you can.
This popular Italian gelateria emphasizes authentic ingredients like Sfusato lemons from Amalfi and Guatemalan coffee to craft artisan gelato the way it has been made for generations. Flavors such as stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate shavings) are available year-round, while fruit sorbets (melon, peach) vary by season.
More ice cream in NYC stories
From insanely catchy pop music to "cakes" shaped like orbs of water, Japanese cultural imports continue to steal the show on social media stateside.
See the best ice cream shops in America
First look at the Museum of Ice Cream in NYC
Watch what happens when kids try hipster ice cream flavors
Niu Noodle House
Cantonese-style noodles are the focus of this 60-seat Chinese eatery. Choose from six types of homemade varieties (traditional, rice, egg, udon, wheat and buckwheat), paired with local ingredients, from noodle whiz Fang Wei Zehang. Also on the menu: dim sum, including pork-and-crab soup dumplings.
Venue says: “Join us for Happy Hour daily! Monday - Saturday 4-7PM and All Day on Sunday! Grab a cocktail or two and enjoy some of our Delicious Dishes!”