The Best Ice Cream in Every Single State (Because We Had to)
Double-fisting cones is encouraged
If there's one thing Americans can agree on, it's our love for ice cream. Whether you're a one scoop or two scoop person, you really can't go wrong. But some ice cream spots are just head and shoulders above the rest--bringing smooth, creamy deliciousness to happy cones around the country. Here: the best ice cream in every single U.S. state, in our humble opinion (plus D.C., since we'd never forget you).
Alaska: Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream
Hot Licks is living proof that it's never too cold for ice cream...even in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Arizona: Sweet Republic
Scottsdale may be a desert, but this ice cream spot is an oasis with some serious artisanal sundaes. Go for the Toffee Banofi, a delicious concoction of vanilla ice cream, bananas, caramel and almond toffee--it's a favorite of celebrity chef Alton Brown.
Arkansas: Shake’s Frozen Custard
As the name suggests, this local spot with four locations is known for its frozen custard. The key ingredient: egg yolk, which gives it a thicker consistency than normal ice cream.
California: Bi-Rite Creamery
Sorry, SoCal, but San Francisco takes the cake for best ice cream in the state. This Mission District hot spot draws lines any time of day, any time of year. The salted caramel is one of a kind.
Colorado: Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Three words: ice cream sandwiches. At Sweet Cow, go for a big scoop of homemade ice cream stuffed between two freshly baked cookies.
Connecticut: Buttonwood Farm
Cow-to-cone is how we'd describe the ice cream at Buttonwood Farm. The ice cream window opens from March to October, offering 40 flavors of the freshest ice cream, yogurts and sorbets.
473 Shetucket Turnpike, Griswold, Connecticut; (860) 376-4081, or buttonwoodfarmicecream.com
Florida: Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour
Want to try everything but the kitchen sink? Order it at Jaxson's in Dania Beach and they'll give you everything...including the kitchen sink. This monstrous heaping of ice cream is meant to be shared between four very ambitious eaters.
HAWAII: Bubbie’s Ice Cream
Bubbie's is known for one thing and one thing only: Mochi. The hard-to-find gem in Honolulu makes 20 kinds of frozen ice cream balls in flavors from green tea to red velvet.
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy D103 Honolulu, Hawaii; (808) 396-8722, or bubbiesicecream.com
Idaho: Reed’s Dairy
Located in Idaho Falls, this dairy farm contains a small, old-fashioned ice cream store front, which is known to draw a crowd on summer nights. The huckleberry ice cream, made from Idaho's state fruit, is a must-try.
Illinois: Margie’s Candies
A Chicago institution, Margie's is worth all the hype. The house specialty--"heaven in a white clamshell dish"-- combines three scoops of ice cream, nuts, whipped cream and hot fudge. What could be bad?
Iowa: Whitey’s Ice Cream
Ask anyone in the Quad Cities where they go for ice cream and the answer will be unanimous: Whitey's.
Multiple locations; whiteysicecream.com
This Midwestern chain opens stores only within 300 miles of its home farm to ensure the freshest ice cream.
Kentucky: Graeter’s Ice Cream
With locations around Kentucky and Ohio, there's a reason people swear by Graeter's. The bananas foster gelato and black cherry chocolate chip are, quite frankly, life changing.
Louisiana: Creole Creamery
NOLA is known for its bustling food scene, and ice cream is no exception. Avoid the grueling decision of choosing just one flavor by ordering the mini six scoop sampler. It's anything but mini.
Maine: Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
The buzzy summer town of Bar Harbor is home to Maine's best ice cream. Taste the lobster flavor--we dare you--then order anything but. We'd never complain about the heaping portions...and we never have leftovers.
Massachusetts: Four Seas Ice Cream
Choosing a best ice cream shop in Massachusetts is sort of like choosing a favorite child. Welp, here goes: The ice cream at Four Seas on Cape Cod is everything we want in a cone. Having served the same ice cream since the 1930s, Four Seas is clearly doing something right.
Michigan MOOmer’s Homemade Ice Cream
This quaint, family-run ice cream shop located on a dairy farm in Traverse City screams nostalgia. Fans swear by the Cherries Moobilee, black cherry-flavored ice cream with fresh cherries, chocolate fudge swirl and brownies.
Minnesota: Izzy’s Ice Cream
After Izzy's debuted its original location in Saint Paul, it was only a matter of time until it opened up shop in Minneapolis. Make sure to order the signature Izzy scoop, a small serving of a second flavor to top off your cup or cone.
Montana: Big Dipper Ice Cream
The 20-year-old Missoula staple also has locations in Helena and Billings and will soon be available at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.
Multiple locations; bigdippericecream.com
Nevada: Luv-It Frozen Custard
This cash-only window is still drawing crowds after over four decades. Located on the Boulevard, Vegas revelers and celebs alike can be seen lined up outside for flavors like the Western Special, a creamy chocolate custard. Eat to your heart's content because, after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
New Hampshire: Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream
This cash-only establishment may dish out just one size of its natural ice cream--but it's definitely a generous one. Keep an eye out for pumpkin pie and butter pecan depending on the season.
New Jersey: The Bent Spoon
This Princeton parlor isn't the place to go for classic flavors. Rather, it specializes in inventive, seasonal and totally mind-blowing flavors. We're talking lavender marscapone, habanero and heirloom tomato sorbet. Don't overthink it.
New York: Ample Hill’s Creamery
Great news for Manhattanites: You no longer have to trek over the Brooklyn Bridge to get NYC's finest ice cream. You literally cannot go wrong at this Brooklyn-based ice cream shop with a cult following.
North Dakota: Pride Dairy
Should you find yourself in North Daroka, run--don't walk--to Bottineauto for a Pride Dairy ice cream cone. The state's last small-town creamery has earned a serious reputation for its silky smooth ice cream made in house.
517 Thompson St, Bottineau, North Dakota; (791) 228-2216, or pridedairy.com
Ohio: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
Since its first store sprouted up in Columbus, Ohio, Jeni's has become an ice cream empire around the country. Our verdict: It's totally worth the hype. Every batch from goat cheese with cognac figs to pistachio honey bursts with flavor.
Oklahoma: Scoops and Grinds
Locals flock to this historic building turned ice cream shop in Collinsville for artisan gelato and espresso. The uniquely delicious candied bacon and brownie batter flavors put this small shop on the map.
Oregon: Salt and Straw
Portland is one of the buzziest food cities in America for many reasons...one of which is ice cream. The sea salt caramel and lavender honey are two standouts that helped this shop expand to big city Los Angeles.
Pennsylvania: Rita’s Water Ice
Don't you dare call it Italian ice. In Philly, you better be scooping this sweet, non-dairy concoction in flavors like cherry and lemon. And you better pronounce it "wudder aice."
South Carolina: Kirk’s Ice Cream Parlor
If there's one accolade we can give Myrtle Beach, it's the seaside town's variety of solid ice cream options. Kirk's is the crème de la crème. The generous portions are a much-welcome treat after a long day in the Carolina summer sun.
South Dakota: SDSU Dairy Bar
Located on South Dakota State University's campus, the Dairy Bar's ice cream is made from milk at a dairy research and training facility just a mile away. Nearly 100 different flavors have been sold on campus. So... how do we enroll?
Tennessee: Mike’s Ice Cream and Coffee Bar
Nestled between the honky-tonk tourist spots on Nashville's main Broadway drag you'll find Mike's. It's a local favorite for its generous servings, old-school atmosphere, reasonable prices and damn good ice cream.
Texas: Amy’s Ice Creams
When in Austin, get weird at Amy's (by which we mean eat your way into an ice cream-induced coma). This Texas staple also has locations in San Antonio and Houston. The house special--the deceptively simple Mexican vanilla--is the creamiest, sweetest and richest tasting vanilla ice cream we've ever tried.
Multiple locations; amysicecreams.com
Utah: Farr Better Ice Cream
This Ogden parlor has been around since the 1920s, and every cone or saucer comes with a whiff of nostalgia. Get the brownie sundae: a melt-in-your-mouth combination of velvety French vanilla and homemade brownies topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Vermont: Ben and Jerry’s
Come on, now. It's home to the original Ben and Jerry's factory.
281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Route 100, Waterbury, Vermont; 866-258-6877, or benjerry.com
Virginia: Island Creamery
The name doesn't lie. This idyllic ice creamery is on the gorgeous Chincoteague Island. So next warm summer night, grab a scoop of homemade, small-batch deliciousness. You can thank us later.
Washington: Mallard Ice Cream
Made right there in the shop with all locally sourced ingredients, Mallard’s Ice Cream offers over 600 flavors for customers to choose from. Stick with classics like super vanilla or strawberry. Or go outside of the box with flavors such as fresh avocado and grains of paradise.
1323 Railroad Ave., Bellingham, Washington; 360-734-3884 or mallardicecream.com
Wisconsin: Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Co.
A Madison institution, the Chocolate Shoppe has been open since 1962--so you know it's good. What started as a candy shop with a little ice cream on the side has since bloomed into 100 flavors. Choose wisely.
Wyoming: Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream
All natural. All organic. Yes, we're still talking about ice cream. And if you're trying to stay super healthy, the sorbets are made with 99 percent fruit and 1 percent cane sugar. Simple and sweet.