A guide to the best ice cream shops in Austin

4:49 p.m Thursday, June 15, 2017 Things to Do
Deborah Cannon
The Smickers sundae at Spun Ice Cream on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Everyone knows one of the best ways to get through a hot summer in Texas is with ice cream. Creamy, wonderful, delicious ice cream. We’ve rounded up a list of the best ice cream shops in Austin (and even threw in a few gelato, frozen yogurt, custard and soft serve shops, for good measure) to add to your must-visit list to beat the heat.

The quintessential Austin ice creamery, Amy’s has 12 locations throughout Austin, seven standard flavors and a constantly changing rotation of specialty flavors (the Shiner one is really good, especially with chocolate - trust me on this one). You can also add a variety of “crush’ns” (crushed up goodies mixed in with your ice cream) or toppings, from candy bars to marshmallows to homemade whipped cream, and the friendly Amy’s employee making your order may even throw in a few tricks. If you’re going on an ice cream tour of Austin, Amy’s should be your first stop. 

Berry Austin 200 Congress Ave., 5523 Balcones Dr.

The locally owned frozen yogurt shop has a location in Northwest Austin and one downtown on Congress Avenue and is all about healthy live active yogurt cultures, which health experts say helps with digestion and gut health. The shop offers 10 soft-serve frozen yogurt flavors at once, including nine non-fat or low-fat yogurt flavors and a dairy-free sorbet. Most yogurt flavors are gluten-free, and all are certified Kosher. You can also order root beer floats, yogurt parfaits, fruit smoothies and yogurt pies.

Cold Cookie Co.  - 2512 Rio Grande St.

The food truck offers cookies, ice cream and of course, ice cream sandwiches featuring its homemade cookies. From one Yelp review: “Got birthday cake ice cream sandwiched between s'mores cookies and they were DELISH!” If that doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will.

Cow Tipping Creamery - 4715 S Lamar Blvd.

As far as ice cream goes, this joint has it all: sundaes, shakes, cones and more. Yelp reviewers recommend the “bubble cone” and “donut cone,” which are exactly what they sound like.

Kathy Phan (@kathyphantastic) knows where to get a sugar rush: Cow Tipping Creamery, the food trailer at 2512 Rio Grande St. famous for its out-of-this-world soft serve ice cream, including this concoction called From Texas, with Love. It's vanilla soft serve topped with Dr Pepper chocolate sauce, honey pecans and saltine cracker candy.

D’Lites of North Austin 8127 Mesa Dr., Ste 204-B

With a rotating selection of flavors, make sure you check the shop’s website before you head north: the menu is posted online each day. The store boasts low-sugar, low-carb, low-calorie ice cream, so you can enjoy guilt-free dessert.

Dolce Neve 1713 S 1st St.

The South Austin gelateria, opened by a gelato lover who received formal training in Italy, features eight “staple” flavors like Chocolate 70% and Vanilla from Madagascar, as well as rotating and seasonal flavors like whiskey and pecan, eggnog, tiramisu and more.

Eric Webb/Eric Webb

Dolce Vita 4222 Duval St.

If you want happy hour drinks and sandwiches, coffee and more with an ever-rotating selection of house-made gelato, this Hyde Park spot is the place to find it.

Gelateria Gemelli 1009 E 6th St.

This East Austin gelateria serves gelato (obviously), cocktails and coffee. You can even add a dollop of gelato into your cocktail, which gives you endless flavor combinations to enjoy the sweet, boozy treats.

Holla Mode 1800 Barton Springs Rd.

Not only is the Thai-style rolled ice cream delicious, it’s beautiful — and it’s fascinating to watch the food truck employees make it right in front of you.

Ice Scrapers 411 W 23rd St.

Similar to Holla Mode, Ice Scrapers serves Thai-inspired ice cream rolls. Just choose your flavor and add the mix-ins of your choice.

Lick Honest Ice Creams 1100 S. Lamar Blvd., 6555 Burnet Rd., 1905 Aldrich St. 

The shop opened in 2011 and quickly rose to prominence in Austin, thanks to the store’s unique flavors and “honest” policy — meaning the shop strives to use “pure, wholesome ingredients” in its ice cream. The results is are delicious and come in some amazing flavors: goat cheese, thyme and honey; dark chocolate, olive oil and sea salt (my personal favorite, as well as Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam’s favorite); caramel salt lick and roasted beets and fresh mint. The seasonal flavors, like dewberry corn cobbler or lemon lavender, are just as delicious, as are the vegan/dairy-free flavors like tequila lime coconut or vegan vanilla berry.

Addie Broyles AMERICAN-STATESMAN, October 2011. --Clockwise from center: Roasted beet and mint ice cream, milk and dark chocolate ice cream and caramelized carrot and tarragon ice cream at Lick.

Mandola’s Italian Market - 4700 W Guadalupe St #12

Not only does the Triangle shop have authentic Italian food and grocery items, the gelato is top-notch. Pro-tip: Order a cannoli and dip it in your gelato. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Michoacana Natural Ice Cream - 9426 Parkfield Dr

Not only can you get fresh-tasting ice cream, you can also find mangonadas, fresh fruit popsicles and fruit juices at this Northeast Austin shop.

Moojo 2322 Guadalupe St.

The campus-area shop’s tagline is “gourmet ice cream meets warm cookies” and features 12 types of cookies to be paired with 16 different flavors of ice cream with an assortment of toppings. Cookies and brownies are baked fresh every day. 

Ice cream sandwiches are the name of the game at Moojo, 2322 Guadalupe St., and just before the holiday weekend, Lynna (@lynnaandfood, howlynnaful.wordpress.com) opted for one coated in sprinkles because #obviously. Photo by @lynnaandfood

Prohibition Creamery 1407 E 7th St.

“A little booze won’t hurt,” reads Prohibition Creamery’s website. That’s right — the East Austin shop offers alcohol and ice cream combinations like mezcal vanilla, whiskey chocolate, sangria sorbet and more. (Not all the flavors have booze, so you can also find some kid-friendly treats here.)

Prohibition Creamery, 1407 E. Seventh St., serves all kinds of boozy ice creams, as well as cocktails, beer, wine and the Black & Blue Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cuv e that @mandyvandeven enjoyed a few weeks ago. Contributed by @mandyvandeven

Sandy’s Hamburgers  - 603 Barton Springs Rd.

An Austin icon, Sandy’s has the best custard in town. Period. Even former Gov. Rick Perry thinks so.

Spun Ice Cream 1912 E 7th St.

Deborah Cannon
From left, Lee Montana and Nick Jones use liquid nitrogen to make ice cream at Spun Ice Cream on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Two words: Liquid nitrogen. Apparently it’s the secret to great ice cream. From Spun’s website: “At negative 321°F (that’s more than five times colder than Barton Springs), liquid nitrogen helps us deliver a velvety smooth, creamy texture without the need for added milkfat. Plus, some food science experts say flash freezing preserves the nutrients in foods better. We go from raw ingredients to finished product in minutes right before your eyes.”

www.austin360.com
Kristin Finan offers a guide to how Spun Ice Cream makes its sundaes using liquid nitrogen.

Sweet Ritual 4631 Airport Blvd #125

Everything Sweet Ritual serves is vegan, with plenty of gluten-free and food allergy-friendly options. Despite being dairy-free, every scoop is deliciously creamy.

Ricardo Brazziell
S'mores sundae at Sweet Ritual, 4631 Airport Blvd on Thursday, June 23, 2016RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Teo 1206 W 38th St.

The award-winning gelato shop, ranked among the top five at the Gelato World Championship in Italy, has been an Austin gelato staple since 2003. It’s since expanded to selling its wares in H-E-B, so you can even have delicious flavors like Italian peanut butter cup, goat cheese and cherry, Texican vanilla and salted caramel from the comfort of your couch.

The Science Cream 1511 S Congress Ave.

“Atomically delicious” ice cream shop The Science Cream has staked its claim as the first liquid nitrogen ice cream shop in Austin, offering flavors like strawberry cheesecake, pistachio oil and non-dairy sorbets, as well as seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice, eggnog and dulce de leche.

The Tasty Spoon 1413 S. First St.

Austin’s newest gelato shop has traditional favorites and non-dairy options, as well as beer, wine, coffee and a spacious backyard.

Venezia Italian Gelato - 1701 S Lamar Blvd.

Perhaps among the most authentic joints in town, Venezia takes gelato seriously with authentic flavors. The shop also offers coffee, pastries, cakes and parfaits, in case gelato isn’t enough for your sweet tooth.

Yeti Frozen Custard - Various locations (use the hashtag #YETISPOT on social media to find the truck)

This food truck offers a range of frozen custard flavors like bourbon vanilla, lemon lavender, cinnamon toast and more. You can even vote on the truck’s latest flavor online (I’m gunning for green chili chocolate, just out of curiosity). You can buy Yeti custard at local shops like Sprouts and Wheatsville Co-Op.

Yeti Frozen Custard is an Austin-based company that sells eight flavors at local stores including Sprouts and Wheatsville Food Co-op. Photos from Yeti Frozen Custard.
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