Best Ice Cream in NYC: The Inside Scoop

Ice cream has been warming the hearts of New Yorkers for a long time. There are countless venues around the city with their own particular flavors, blends, and techniques to make their products as velvety and tasty as possible. Here, we present the best ice cream in NYC.

colorful ice cream display
Rain or shine, check out these delicious ice cream spots in NYC. Photo credit: Lukas

Ice cream is timeless. You can have it for breakfast and dinner, during the summer or winter, over the shattered sprinkles of your broken heart, or on the first date with someone. Their favorite flavor can already tell you a lot about their personality, even better than the horoscope, tarot cards, and predestined karma all combined. Whether you’re on a date or on your out there are the must-hit spots for ice cream in the Big Apple.

The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Surprisingly, the most popular ice cream parlor in New York is located in the heart of Chinatown. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is a small and humble shop that has been around for decades. Here you can find a healthy mix of traditional and exotic ice cream flavors. Taste black sesame, purple taro, and red bean and fall in love. Many flavors are also made with fruit from the neighborhood’s markets, so get pandan, don tot, and even dorian ice cream. 

For those who like to stick to what they know, try the Zen Butter ice cream, made with peanut butter and toasted sesame seeds. There’s also the coconut fudge and green tea Oreo.

brown and beige ice cream in waffle cone
CICF has been creating delicious ice cream for almost 4 decades. Photo credit: Elza Kurbanova

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream is where the coconut ash ice cream flavor was born. You know, that pitch-black soft serve with activated charcoal that was an internet hit. Although they don’t serve it anymore, this shop is still famous for its artisanal and creative ice cream flavors. Salt & Pepper Pinenut, Lavender Agave Vanilla, and Peanut Hokie Pokie are just three examples of the dozens of options they offer. The sorbet flavors are just as creative: Apricot, Tahini, and Pistacchio stand for that. 

You can also find regular flavors like cookies and cream, butter pecan, and chocolate chip. The toppings here are incredibly creative and out of the ordinary, complementing your entire ice cream novelty experience.

Sugar Hill Creamery

Sugar Hill Creamery is best known for its A$AP Rocky Road ice cream flavor. A base cream that is stuffed with marshmallows, hazelnuts, graham crackers, and brownies. We don’t need much more than that to live a blissful life. Other flavors like blueberry cheesecake, peach cobbler, or even gourmet coffee with turmeric and ginger ice cream deserve recognition. Since the menu changes seasonally, you will always find something new to try. Don’t forget to taste their ice cream cookie sandwiches, pies, and sundaes. 

ice cream shop chalkboard
Sugar Hill Creamery has been serving its delicious ice cream for over 15 years. Photo credit: PxHere

Ample Hills Creamery 

Ample Hills Creamery has 11 locations spread across New York—-that’s already proof enough of its quality (one of them is even a rooftop). Inside any of their parlors, find intriguing and unique flavors like the Snap Mallow Pop, a marshmallow, and rice-cereal creation. The Nectar of the Queens offers honey, cinnamon, and baklava flavors in a single scoop. The Corn to Run blends cornmeal crumbles with blueberry swirls, a fan favorite. The list goes on, and you get the idea. 

Eddie’s Sweet Shop

Eddie’s Sweet Shop (105-29 Metropolitan Ave) is the oldest ice cream shop in New York City. Here, you can find dense and traditional flavors of ice cream, like vanilla, chocolate, mint, and strawberry. As you walk in, you will notice the chandeliers, candy-shop retro vibe, and vintage wallpaper. Cozy up and order a classic gigantic sundae or banana split, like those you see in 1950s movies. Top those off with whipped cream and sprinkles, and feel like you’re back in childhood.

banana split
Eddie’s Sweet Shop is an NYC institution with 100 years of homemade ice cream history. Photo credit: Piriyonel

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream was created by Michael Cole, an ice cream maestro (we need more people like him in our lives). You can find classic flavors and house specials with creative and funny names in three locations around the city. Taste the Foxy Brown, made with crushed wafer cookies and sea salt caramel swirl. The Brady Bunch, with banana pudding and Vienna fingers, is also a popular choice. Everything here is highly creamy and sweet – just like we love. 

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream introduced vegan ice cream to New York. Correction: they showed proof that vegan ice cream can be just as delicious as regular ice cream. Aside from traditional flavors, the vegan flavors are velvety and delicious, made with coconut and cashew milk. Taste classics like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel, and Peanut Butter.

You can order from their venues around the city or track down the pastel-colored ice cream truck that roams the streets of New York. Seasonal flavors are also available, from Earl Grey Tea to Honeycomb and Brown Sugar Chunk. 

Oddfellows Ice Cream Co.

Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. is a Brooklyn venue serving particular and unique ice cream flavors. They are all made in small batches, so you need to guarantee your scoop before the end of the day. Try flavors like olive oil, miso cherry, and the famous raspberry pink peppercorn sorbet. They also make popsicles in the summer, with flavors inspired by the Hip-hop culture of Brooklyn. Taste Gin and Juice or the Rose one. 

cone with pink ice cream with urban background
Oddfellows Ice Cream Co. has invented over 500 unique flavors. Photo credit: PxHere

Big Gay Ice Cream

Big Gay Ice Cream has multiple locations across the city. As the name suggests, the place has flamboyant energy attracting every sweet tooth within a five-mile radius. Their signature flavor is the Salty Pimp, a vanilla soft-serve and dulce de leche swirl covered with a crunchy chocolate hard-shell. About nine years ago, the place was featured in USA Today as one of the best ice cream venues in the world!

CAPTION Order from the ice cream or milkshake menu and let the sweetness and colors take over your body. 

Caffé Panna

Caffé Panna focuses on the quality of its ingredients, from fresh fruits from local markets to homemade whipped cream from Italian cream. That’s only one of the reasons why it made it to the top 10 best ice cream in New York City. The second reason is the eccentricity of the flavors, from pistachio fig affogato to the almond oreo sundae. Aside from the scoops and pints, here you can also get soft serve and aperitivo drinks —- happy hour with ice cream? Yes, please!

close up of ice cream display
Caffé Panna source most of their seasonal ingredients from neighboring Union Square Greenmarket. Photo credit: JÉSHOOTS

Il Laboratorio del Gelato

Il Laboratorio del Gelato is a healthy mix between classic flavors and original house creations. For the former, go for the Italian classics like Stracciatella and amaretto crunch. But if you feel like branching out, definitely give an opportunity to the cheese-based flavors: we’re talking olive oil, ricotta, and cheddar cheese ice cream.

There are so many options to pick from, it’s hard to know if you’ve made the best decision. Chocolate with Thai chili, apricot, toasted coconut, oatmeal, maple walnut, apple cinnamon, white peppercorn… and the list goes on. 

Soft Swerve

Soft Swerve offers Asian-inspired flavors of soft-serve ice cream. The colorful swirls served on red or chocolate ice cream wafer cones come with various topping options. Choose from the drizzle, chewy or crunchy menu and get toffee, salted caramel, mochi, condensed milk, and more. The flavors are intriguing; matcha, purple yam, black sesame, and lychee. 

The menu serves a particular crowd, and the ice cream cones look like they came from an authentic Asian ice cream parlor. However, it is definitely worth the experience.