The 12 Best Ice Cream Shops in Austin
Score one of our favorite flavors on your next trip to the grocery store.
Texan summers are brutal. Some days are like all-you-can-take sauna buffets, other days are like all-you-can-take steam room buffets (there’s a reason why these aren’t actually a thing), no in-betweens. If you’re not one of the fancy-schmancy Lake Austin families who escape north every year, the good news is there’s no need to sweat (too much) back in A-town. Y’all can still live life to the fullest, whether that’s heading out solely after dusk, or tubing at the swimming holes. Prefer to conserve energy? Well, we have just the remedy—ice cream. Austin is dusted with dessert sprinkles, parlors full of delicious milky scoops guaranteed to take that body temperature down a notch and leave you on a sweet, sweet high. Whether you’re willing to mosey over to a gelato store, or simply need a good ice cream delivery service, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 12 best ice cream spots to cool down that sweet tooth—you deserve a treat just for sticking around.
Jam Sanitchat is revolutionizing the way Austinites eat. The Thai Fresh owner’s coconut-milk-based vegan ice cream is seeing Texans (i.e. longtime dairy addicts) switch over in droves, and her no-tipping business model whereby staff are paid a fair wage with benefits is earning praise from the local community. You just have to try her desserts at the stand-alone cafe, Gati, to become a superfan, whether gluten-free coffee cake or homemade ice cream. Our fave is the smooth and refreshing Thai Tea, which is the only way you’ll want tea this summer. There are around 40 rotating flavors, most of which contain four ingredients or less. All are vegan and gluten-free.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order takeout online.
Vacationed in NYC and developed an addiction to the wonders of Milk Bar? No need to countdown till the next trip, because it’s now stocked right here in Texas. That’s everything from the OG cereal milk pint (mmm crunchy corn flakes) to their scrumptious pies, cakes, cookies, and truffles. Milk Bar was founded by James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi and now has 12 bakeries across the US. While there is no brick-and-mortar location in Austin, you can pick up pints from at H-E-B, Whole Foods, and Target, or order direct to your front door. The Make it a Chocolate Sammie DIY kit is the most fun to have with friends on a warm night.
How to book: Stop by at your local grocery store to pick up or get it delivered online.
The new ice cream food truck comes from a husband and wife team who relocated to ATX from Nicaragua. Bésame translates to ‘kiss me’ in Spanish, and their creamy, from-scratch ice creams are already seeing lovers loyally follow the pink food truck, stationed all over the city. ‘My Jam’ is a favorite, made with pretzel milk ice cream and swirls of strawberry jam. All their ice cream is made fresh the morning it’s sold, and also used on their milkshakes, sundaes, and cookie sandwiches.
How to book: Stop by for counter service (follow their IG to keep track of location).
Superfans of the supermarket freezer darling, Jeni’s, can go all out at three stand-alone Austin shops, on South Congress, Domain Northside, and The Triangle. Here, the artisanal scoops are silky smooth, buttercream-bodied, and melt-in-your-mouth chunky funky throughout. New summer flavors include the Bombastic Sundae Cone, an old-fashioned vanilla cone coated in crisp chocolate (aka a drumstick) and the Butterscotch Popcorn (think: buttery popcorn cream), though you can’t really go wrong with any of the options at the counter.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order delivery online.
Ever seen late-night lines by Trader Joe’s in the Seaholm District and wondered what the hell was going on at the grocery store? Us too. Those lines are actually for the admittedly not-so-clearly labeled Baked Bear, stationed a couple of doors down. Here, you can design your own ice cream sandwich, with cookie or brownie buns, a selection of colorful ice cream fillers, and toppings ranging from Nutella to M&Ms. And if you’re feeling extra freaky, you can get your sandwich toasted, too.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order delivery via DoorDash and GrubHub.
Texas Hill Country
Though it’s a bit of a drive from downtown, a trip to Taqueria la Violeta is an occasion in itself. The restaurant is housed within Beerburg Brewing, situated across 15 picturesque acres in Texas Hill Country. Bring pals (and a designated driver) to enjoy made-from-scratch ice cream paired with beers. Chef Ricardo Gutierrez’s flavors rotate seasonally and are available by the scoop or as a flight. Current options include signature mushroom rocky road chocolate, dark roast coffee, and miso sesame. Top with syrups like chocolate, orange, dulce de leche, honey bourbon, and Kahlua.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast.
DipDipDip is a Japanese-inspired creamery that takes local milk, cream, and buttermilk from Hill Country Dairies and conjures them up in an array of IG-worthy desserts. Choose from unique flavors like Sum Yum Yuzu (a black pepper-yuzu-mascarpone base speckled with meringue kisses, berry preserve, and grassy shiso leaf) and have it served in a pink lemon-dipped cone or a cup with a dipped waffle chip. DipDipDip also offers ice cream tacos, boozy milkshakes, and assorted pints.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.
Lick has been an Austinite obsession since 2011, now with three area locations peddling pure, fresh ingredients sourced responsibly from local farmers and partners. Lineups include Texas Sheet Cake (injected with yummy homegrown chocolate-pecan icing) and the ultra-refreshing Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint. This summer’s special is a must, a delightful Peach Leaf Graham Crunch—almond-flavored ice cream folded with homemade cinnamon crumble. Equally loved vegan alternatives, ice cream sandwiches, and diverse toppings seal the deal.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order delivery via Goldbelly.
With housemade gelato and Negronis in stylish digs, Gelateria Gemelli is a winning concept. Fans of not-too-sweet “grown-up” flavors will love offerings like bergamot-infused Earl Grey, savory-ish Miso Vanilla, and bright (dairy-free) Mango. It’s not uncommon for patrons to pair a handcrafted cocktail with their scoop, such as a White Negroni, Aperol Spritz, or any other tipple making good use of the shop’s wide selection of Italian liqueurs.
How to book: Stop by for bar service or order delivery via Uber Eats.
Amy’s Ice Creams is Austin’s original locally owned ice cream shop, with 13 locations and a crazy long list of permanent and seasonal flavors (over 350). If you’re not sure where to start, we suggest going with their top-selling classic Mexican Vanilla or Belgian Chocolate base for your Reese’s-, gummy bear-, and raisin-studded creation (no judgment here). Or try a specialty flavor like Zilker Mint Chip—sweet cream ice cream mixed with creme de menthe, peppermint oil, and chocolate chips.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order delivery and take-out online.
Family-owned and operated Dolce Neve—helmed by a professionally trained gelato maker—is a sweet spot for European indulgence. Dolce Neve’s staple (always available), rotating (available every couple of weeks, year-round), and seasonal (fruit and holiday specials) gelato and sorbet offerings are inspired by flavors from the owners’ native Italy as well as what’s available from local farmers and food artisans. Our standouts are the Tiramisu and the Crema Dolce Neve (custard with lemon zest). Bellissimo!
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out and delivery online.
SnoMo specializes in Taiwanese shaved ice—simultaneously fluffy and creamy ribbons crested with toppings like boba, fruit, and candy. This is a build-your-own situation, but if it’s your first time, go with the trusted combo of matcha snow ice smothered in heaping spoonfuls of strawberry slices, boba pearls, and mochi.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order delivery via Grubhub.