A guide to the best ice cream shops in Austin
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 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. This is just a sampling; for the full list, visit austin360.com.
Amy’s Ice Creams
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). 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.
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 help with digestion and gut health. The shop offers 10 soft-serve frozen yogurt flavors at once, including nine nonfat or low-fat yogurt flavors and a dairyfree sorbet. Most yogurt flavors are gluten-free, and all are certified Kosher.
Cow Tipping Creamery
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lick Honest Ice Creams
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; 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.
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.
“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.)
Spun Ice Cream
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.”
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
“Atomically delicious” ice cream shop The Science Cream uses liquid nitrogen and offers flavors like strawberry cheesecake, pistachio oil and non-dairy sorbets, as well as seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice, eggnog and dulce de leche.
Yeti Frozen Custard
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.
Spun Ice Cream uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream, which achieves a creamy texture without using extra milkfat.
Enjoy a small coffee ice cream with Heath Bar crush-ins — and any number of other frozen combinations — from the Amy’s Ice Creams shops.
Shakes from Cow Tipping Creamery include, left to right, Cocoa Cookie Crumb, Darkest Chocolate and Birthday Cake Shake.