New Yorkers don’t discriminate when it comes to our love for ice cream, from classic scoops to ice cream sandwiches, but we do have a particularly sweet spot for delicious soft serve. Cooling down with a picturesque cone from the city’s best bakeries and finest ice cream shops is one of the best things to do in the summer in NYC. Whether you’re in the mood for festive toppings, a dipped cone or a chocolate-vanilla swirl, here’s where to find the best soft serve ice cream in New York.
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Best soft serve ice cream in NYC
This picture-perfect West Village bakery from Umber Ahmad has a good deal of New York's best sweets. From their chocolate cake and cheesecake to their croissants, Ahmad has built a cult following around all things pastry. So it's no surprise that when she added soft serve to the menu, it was just as well received as everything else. Available during the summer months, seasonal flavors rotate with classics like vanilla and chocolate, all served in their stroopwafel-inspired cones.
Dominique Ansel can do no wrong. The talented king of the Cronut produces a flawless product no matter crossaint-doughnut or s'mores or even soft serve. Each summer, Dominique Ansel Kitchen launches a soft serve window where you can get a taste of the creamiest ice cream in town. While the two flavor options change every year, past offerings like burrata with olive oil or salt-and-pepper caramel are a sign that no matter what the flavor, it will be innovative and delicious.
Pastry chef Christina Tosi’s Cereal Milk soft serve has become so famous, the name is even trademarked. Imagine the milk leftover in a bowl of Frosted Flakes and then taking that to make the creamiest soft serve ever. Well, that's exactly what Tosi did, launching this addictive creation to a level of cult following. And if that won't satisfy your sweet tooth, maybe you should grab a cup of the chocolate-covered pretzel soft serve flavor, as well.
The only place in the city where you can find Midwestern-style frozen custard, burger titan Shake Shack doesn’t disappoint when it comes to dessert: its soft serve is smooth, dense and not too sweet. Vanilla and chocolate are always available, but keep an eye out for rotating weekly flavors such as miso caramel, peanut brittle and blackberry.
The retro RV located in the park outside the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg offers griddled burgers, waffle fries and “dairy dips,” ice-cream cones in flavors like chocolate soft serve covered in a peanut butter shell and a banana split-inspired cone of banana-strawberry-swirl dipped in chocolate (with a cherry on top). If those won't cut it, you're free to mix and match the soft serve and dips any which way your heart desires.
This funky-and-fabulous truck-turned-brick-and-mortar has delighted dessert lovers since 2009, serving up irresistibly-named cones (the Salty Pimp, the Bea Arthur) that are as tasty as they are playful. You can’t go wrong with a classic Pimp: vanilla soft serve swirled with dulce de leche, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt.
The team behind Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad went fast-casual with this concept in NoMad. In addtion to the menu of fresh and chef-forward salads and bowls, comes a soft serve creation that's been drawing as much buzz as their food. Inspired by the famous dessert at the NoMad, their milk and honey flavor is topped with honey brittle, shortbread, milk meringue, sea salt and buckwheat honey for the fanciest cup of soft serve you've probably ever had.
About as far from mass-market ice cream truck cones as you can get, this cute West Village shop churns artisan soft serve from New York State goat milk. Tangier and funkier than cow’s milk and also slightly less sweet, the goat milk makes a creamy frozen treat whose uniqueness is accented by chef-owner Sophia Brittan’s use of nontraditional flavorings like rosewater and saffron.
It doesn't get more niche than artisanal sesame seed products. Founder Lisa Mendelson has brought high-quality tahini and halva to Chelsea Market, putting a spotlight on the popular Middle Eastern ingredients. However, the true star of the shop may be their tahini and goat-milk soft serve made in collaboration with Victory Garden NYC. Rich and creamy with an intense nutty flavor, the ice cream is topped with tahini and halva crumbles for a truly decadent dessert that sings with seasame flavor.
At chef Michael White’s East Village pizzeria, there’s only one dessert option: fior de latte soft serve gelato. And with a dessert this good—the ice cream is wonderfully lush in texture, with a delicate milky flavor—you only need one. OK, to be fair, the soft serve comes in a variety of sundaes; we love the Crackerjack, with peanut crumble, rosemary caramel popcorn, roasted peanuts and caramel sauce.
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This seafood restaurant in downtown Flushing offers all kinds of ocean-based delicacies, but is perhaps best known for its Cajun-style seafood boils. Start by choosing your seafood: Options include mussels ($13 per pound), crawfish ($15.99 per pound), shrimp ($14 per pound), Dungeness crab (market price) and lobster (market price). Then add a sauce like garlic butter, Schezuan, lemon pepper or Cajun and decide whether you like it mild, medium, spicy or doused with Carolina Reaper peppers. Don’t feel like you can eat that much? You might be tempted by smaller dishes like the lobster roll ($19.50), eel burger ($16), squid ink pasta ($23) or rack of lamb ($28). Add on sides like brussels sprouts with garlic and bacon ($7), mac and cheese ($7), bone marrow with toast ($10) and grilled corn with cheese ($4) to round out the meal.
Venue says: “Happy Hour Specials EVERYDAY 4-7pm! While you're at it, bring a group and try our signature Louisiana style seafood boils.”