17 of the Best Ice Cream Shops in Austin
From East Austin to Downtown, here are our favorite cold, creamy treats
By Jessika Roth and Emily Beyda,
7:00AM, Sat. Aug. 10, 2019
There isn't a day that can't be improved with ice cream. Something restorative hides within the combination of chocolate syrup and a waffle cone, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. We've compiled some of our Austin favorites so that, no matter where you are, you'll be able to find the closest spot to get your fix.
2512 Rio Grande
The Cold Cookie is Austin’s first (and only, as far as we can tell) food truck dedicated to the fine art of ice cream sandwiches, made to order so you always get the perfect balance of crunchy chewy cookie and creamy filling. You can customize your sandwich with your preferred combo of scoop and cookie flavors, choosing from a menu that includes coffee Oreo, and cookies 'n' cream, as well as fresh-baked snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, and more. - E.B.
1115 W. Lynn
In recent years, thanks, in large part, to the folks at Peached Tortilla, Austin has become the land of the baroque milkshake, piled high with an absurd abundance of toppings. But this summer, we’re going back to the basics, a classic chocolate malted from Nau’s Enfield Drug, where they’ve been jerkin' soda since 1951. Sit at the counter and pretend you’re an extra in Grease. We promise you won’t miss the garnishes. - E.B.
4631 Airport #125
For the dairy-free among us, it doesn’t get any sweeter than Sweet Ritual, the dairy-free ice cream specialists who offer friendly flavors for vegan, paleo, and keto diet followers, and all kinds of allergen-free scoops in milkshakes, cakes, cups, or cones. Don’t miss out on their rotating menu of featured sundaes, with a vegan brownie from Zucchini Kill thrown in for good measure. - E.B.
9600 Escarpment Blvd. #900
The family behind Austin Scoops makes every one of their over 20 flavors of ice creams and sorbets fresh on-site, using a base cream sourced from a Texas dairy that raises antibiotic- and hormone-free cows. - E.B.
4404 W. William Cannon Dr.
Summer can be a bummer for those of us whose dietary needs can’t be accommodated by your garden-variety neighborhood scoopery. But D’Lites is here to save the day, with creations low in calories, carbs, sugar, and fat that taste good enough that you won’t feel you’re missing out. The best part? They sell pints to take home, so you can Netflix and chill on a whole new level. - E.B.
5000 Burnet Rd.
You remember Choco Tacos, right? Those taco-shaped concoctions of slightly damp chocolate-lined ice cream cone material filled with vanilla soft serve – tracing the line between sweet and savory in a manner that felt delightfully transgressive for all of us 6-year-old budding culinarians. Well Taco Sweets is like that, but better, with their elaborate ice cream concoctions hand-scooped into a crispy shell. - E.B.
1417 S. First
11501 Rock Rose Ave. #100
3437 Bee Caves Rd.
In a country as hot as Thailand, it figures that they’d have their frozen treat game on lock, and the Thai specialists at Sway are no slouches when it comes to replicating the street food flavors of a sweaty Bangkok night market. They bring the chill as well as the heat, with innovative ice pop flavors like rosé raspberry lychee or Thai tea tres leches, elaborate tropical sundaes, and even a Thai tea affogato. - E.B.
1315 W. Sixth
Inspired by the owner’s affection for bingsu, the team at Bar Peached imported a special ice-shaving machine to authentically make Korean bingsu, also known as “milky ice.” The dessert menu offers four distinct flavors which all feature a bowl of softly shaved ice, a scoop of ice cream, and homemade toppings. The Choco-Monster uses Amy’s popcorn-flavored ice cream, crushed chocolate-filled Oreos, drizzlings of caramel and chocolate syrup, and a sprinkling of “dragon salt” – Maldon salt tossed in dragonfruit powder. An order of bingsu is portioned for two to four people, so plan ahead. - J.R.
4715 S. Lamar
Featured in national lists of what to eat in America, Cow Tipping Creamery’s layered soft serve is deemed destination-worthy by dessert-lovers across the country. Born as a food truck, they’ve matured into a South Austin storefront. From three flavors of made-from-scratch soft serve (chocolate, vanilla, and the weekly special) and toppings (grouped into chunks, crumbs, nuts, fruits, and sauces), you can build your own or choose a pre-designed stacker. The Lemon Drop features layers of fresh lemon curd, honey dust, molasses graham crumbs, and whipped cream. They correctly argue that alternating layers of soft serve and toppings is “so that the last bites are just as good as the first.”- J.R.
2207 E. Cesar Chavez
Dolce Bacio was opened one year ago by an Italian couple newly planted in Texas. Prior to leaving Italy, Francesca and Dante trained at several top gelato schools, where they learned to make high quality products from scratch.
“Our goal here is to offer the same quality and tradition you find in Italy, crossed with local flavors,” Francesca explained with gusto. On the menu, you’ll find rotating flavors of sorbet made with fresh fruit and gelato in both dairy and vegan forms. While the pink truck stays parked on the Eastside, they also sell scoops from a bike stand that travels along Congress, between Fareground and the Capitol. Also on the menu is affogato, tiramisu, cannoli, and custom gelato cakes. - J.R.
1800 Barton Springs Rd.
Owners of Holla Mode opened their Austin-based food truck after inspiration struck on a trip to Thailand, and now they’re making rolled ice cream for us using local dairy and organic ingredients. Handmade in front of each customer, either cream or coconut milk is poured onto a steel plate chilled to -30 F, stirred around until it starts to freeze, then thinly painted like a crepe onto the surface with a stiff metal spatula. The newly formed ice cream is scraped into rolls as wide as the spatula which are then stacked vertically into a cup and loaded with toppings of your choice. House recipes include the Honey Bear, made with vanilla, Teddy Grahams, honey, and cinnamon. - J.R.
1701 S. Lamar
Vegan ice cream at its best, NadaMoo makes theirs creamy and flavorful despite being dairy-free. Made from coconut milk and the highest-quality ingredients, they craft tasty flavors like Chocolate Cherry Fudge Brownie, Lotta Mint Chip, and Strawberry Cheesecake. NadaMoo can be found stocked in groceries all over Austin. Visit their storefront on South Lamar to order your scoops stuffed into a taco-shaped cone, or a flavored waffle cone like chocolate or red velvet, then cover it in sprinkles or sauce. You’ll even find gluten-free waffle cones and toppings. A coffee menu also awaits, as does plenty of seating inside and out. - J.R.
1407 E. Seventh
Nobody does booze better than Prohibition Creamery, where they serve a year-round menu of spiked ice cream and craft cocktails, with flavors rotating according to what’s in season. They’re big supporters of Austin’s literary community as well, and there are few better ways to enjoy your latest summer read than perched at their glossy wood counter, a book in one hand, a Triple Bourbon float in the other. - E.B.
1012 W. Sixth
2805 Bee Caves Rd. #416
10000 Research #140
3600 Presidential #20
1301 S. Congress
13265 Hwy. 183 N.
5624 Burnet Rd.
9600 S. I-35 Ste. 400-C
13420 Galleria Cir. Ste. 140-A
2901 S. Lamar
With all the fancypants new ice cream spots rolling into town, we wanted to make a PSA for our fellow fans of all things frozen: Don’t forget about Amy’s! The flavors are tasty, the scoop acrobatics legendary, and heck, if you visit their Arboretum location you can walk down to the pond and look at the ducks. - E.B.
6929 Airport Blvd. #197
2805 Bee Caves Rd. #416
This Austin-based ice cream brand (which has grown from its humble beginnings to boast multiple locations and vendors) makes scoops that are as sustainable as they are tasty, with almost 75% of all ingredients used coming from local Texan farmers and artisans. A delicious way to celebrate our Texas agricultural community. - E.B.
98 San Jacinto
Executive Pastry Chef Amanda Pallagi-Naim is expertly crafting chocolate tacos at the Four Seasons Hotel. Using the finest ingredients to build the tacos from scratch, chocolate waffle shells are stuffed with Amy’s most popular ice cream, Mexican vanilla, then topped with a drizzle of ancho-chile-infused ganache, and a sprinkling of spiced pecans with sea salt. “I’m often told that my desserts are not too sweet. My team knows I’ll probably ask where the salt is in order to create that well-balanced recipe.” And perfectly well-balanced it is. The chocolate tacos are always available at Live Oak (the upstairs bar), and during happy hour at Ciclo (the downstairs restaurant) when they’re half price and come with patio seating. - J.R.
Peekaboo Veggie Ice Cream
Available at H-E-B
We’re sure that most of the year your kids are rigorous omnivores who love nothing more than snacking their way through the farmers' market, but it’s summer, and between roasting wienies over the barbecue, backyard potato chip and bologna sandwich sessions, and visits to the Deep Eddy concession stand, we could all stand to sneak a little vegetable goodness in here and there. Consider it a bonus that these veggies come in ice cream form. - E.B.