Food & Drink

Holiday-Themed Ice Cream to Treat Yourself To This Year

It might almost be winter, but it’s never too cold for ice cream.

ice cream holidays
Photo: Courtesy of Oddfellows Ice Cream

It is never too cold for ice cream. Although the holiday season usually brings forth thoughts of warm, spiced pies and the wafting smell of sugar cookies, ice cream should always be on the menu, too. I mean, you’ll definitely need a scoop to make your apple pie à la mode, right?

Whether you’re reaching for a pint of pumpkin pie, craving a frozen hot chocolate, or are looking to try something entirely new—like a latke-flavored scoop complete with applesauce and sour cream—here are a bunch of holiday flavors and collections from ice cream brands that ship nationwide to get you into a festive spirit:

Serendipity

Serendipity’s Frrrozen Hot Chocolate flavor is available year round, but it feels especially pertinent during the holiday season. The milk chocolatey base, complete with a pillowy whipped cream swirl and flaky chocolate shavings, is as close to Serendipity’s famed frozen hot chocolate dish you can get to without traveling to New York City. You can buy Serendpity’s ice creams—including the peanut buttery Humble Pie to replace all your pie cravings or their vanilla (to pair with pies if you must have them)—both online or nationwide retailers like CVS, 7-11, Publix, Walgreens, and more.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams 

Jeni Britton Bauer is a master of ice cream regardless of the time of year. To keep up with the spirit of the holidays, Jeni’s has launched some fun, new takes on flavors perfect for the season and available for nationwide. The Campfire Chocolate flavor, a milk chocolate base with plenty of marshmallows and a lingering smoky flavor, really feels like camping without having the venture into the chilly outdoors. The Cognac with Gingerbread is generously loaded with spiced gingerbread cake pieces throughout and has a deep, caramel flavor. And the Sugar Plum is like having a whimsical Nutcracker performance condensed in a pint; the sharp plum jam, the sweet cream, and the amaretti cookies studded throughout deserve an encore.

reindeer tracks
Photo: Courtesy of McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

Santa Barbara-based McConnell’s has been churning out ice cream for over 70 years. Though located on a charming stretch of the California coast, where the temperature never really dips below 50 degrees, McConnell’s still has a handle on comforting holiday flavors. Their Pumpkin Pie is made with actual roasted pumpkin puree infused with classic spices like ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. The Brown Sugar Pecan pie is rich and decadent. Most appealing of all, to me at least, are their Reindeer Tracks: delectably dark chocolate ice cream with pops of peppermint and fudgy chocolate cookies. 

OddFellows Ice Cream

OddFellows is not afraid to be bold (did you catch their bodega-inspired ice cream collection earlier this year?), and for that I tip my hat. They’ve kept that daring spirit with their New York City-inspired holiday capsule. Their new take on Rocky Road is loaded with the Christmas tree-scent of pine needles. Their version of Coquito, Puerto Rican coconut eggnog, is nutty and tropical. They even have a latke ice cream; a smooth potato base swirled with applesauce and sweetened sour cream (I guarantee you’ve never had ice cream like this before). Even with the more out-there flavors, their Shattered Sugar Cookie shines: it’s a textural triumph of sweet cream ice cream with red and green sprinkles and globs of sugar cookie throughout. Order their capsule for the more adventurous eater in your life.

chocolate milk and cookies
Photo: Courtesy of Ample Hills Creamery

Ample Hills Creamery

This holiday season, Ample Hills is partnering with No Kid Hungry and releasing the “Home for the Holidays collection” full of classic favorites. Yes, the collection has cult-loved Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, but you’ll also find a Peppermint Pattie flavor, Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace, and Chocolate Milk & Cookies (a perfect fit for Santa). For every holiday pack sold, Ample Hills will be donating $5 to No Kid Hungry, which makes the ice cream that much more sweet. If you happen to be in the vicinity of an Ample Hills scoop shop, the ice cream purveyors will also be bringing back their Festival of Lights flavor—a silky cream cheese ice cream folded with raspberry rugelachs from Court Street Grocers. Unfortunately, no nationwide shipping for that one. 

Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw’s holiday classics menu really leans into the festivities with new riffs on classic combinations. There’s something for everyone. Are you the type that waits all year for the influx of chocolate and peppermint combinations? Then opt for Cocoa & Peppermint Patties, a chocolaty and minty delight layered with homemade peppermint patties. If you’re a gingerbread fan, Gingerbread Cookie Dough—which features a gingerbread cookie butter ribbon and tons of gingerbread cookie pieces—is perfect. The most fun flavor might just be The Great Cookie Swap (which also happens to be vegan!): chocolate almond bark, sugar cookies, gingersnaps, and strawberry jam-filled thumbprints are all loaded in a coconut macaroon-like base.

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Kat Thompson is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn