Ice cream is an indispensable part of summer… unless you’re lactose intolerant. Or vegan. Or just not keen on consuming massive amounts of dairy when it’s 95 degrees. No need to skip out on all the sweet treats, though: Loads of brands and ice cream shops are well versed in scoops of the milk-free variety—and many of them are so good, even die-hard dairy fiends keep coming back for more.
11 Dairy-Free Ice Creams That Even Non-Vegans Can Get Behind
Mike & Dave’s
Mike and Dave are just two dudes who love whipping up delicious “nice cream,” aka healthy-ish soft serve made from a nondairy base of blueberry, banana, pineapple, peach, cherry, mango or peanut butter. (All options can be made vegan and gluten- or wheat-free.) Current blends include combos like Oh My Peach (peach base, ginger oat cookies, vanilla icing, almond butter and Cool Whip) and Choco-Nana (banana base, pink Himalayan sea salt, carob chips and almond butter).
120 Macdougal St., mikeanddaveeats.com
A longtime favorite of vegans and non-vegans alike, Van Leeuwen’s proprietary blend of vegan ice cream is made from cashews, coconut and cocoa butter. At every location, the team offers a full menu of vegan flavors (like the mega-Instagrammable Planet Earth, tinted blue with spirulina and loaded with chunks of matcha green tea cake), as well as coconut-based whipped cream, vegan hot fudge and vegan treats so you can make the dairy-free sundae or ice-cream sandwich of your dreams.
Multiple locations; vanleeuwenicecream.com
Mcconnell’s Fine Ice Creams
California ice cream staple McConnell’s makes a sweet splash on the East Coast with the debut of its five nondairy flavors made from a proprietary blend of micronized pea protein (it tastes way better than it sounds). Choose from Dark Chocolate Chip, Toasted Coconut Almond Chip, Cookies & Cream, Turkish Coffee and Eureka Lemon & Marionberries. More flavors will be rolled out soon.
Available at various NYC locations and online; mcconnells.com
Fany Gerson, of Dough doughnut fame, serves up traditional Mexican-style sorbets, chamoyadas (a sweet and salty slush with chamoy, a pickled plum juice, and salted chile) and fruity water-based paletas (ice pops) at her West Village shop and numerous summer pop-ups (like on the High Line and in the Rockaways).
240 Sullivan St.; lanewyorkina.com
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Creams
This ice cream parlor is famous for its Philly-style scoops in inventive flavors (RIP, Coconut Ash), but there’s just as much reason to queue up for its fruity vegan sorbets, like Strawberry-Guava and Raspberry-Lychee, or Josh Pond Blueberry vegan soft serve.
2 Rivington St.; morgensterns.com
Specializing in “shaved cream” (not to be confused with shaving cream—it’s a hybrid between traditional ice cream and shaved ice), Snowdays offers two creamy vegan flavors, Strawberry and Coconut, that are made with organic coconut milk. Top off the light-as-air icy fluff with fun additions like cereal, grass jelly and peanut butter sauce.
Multiple locations; snowdaysnyc.com
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.
Move aside, fro-yo: Chloe’s soft-serve fruit sundaes, smoothies and pops are intensely fruity and creamy without the cream, made with just fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar. Bases include banana, dark chocolate, strawberry or mango. Be sure to load up on the healthy nut and fruit toppings or pair your soft serve with a house-made vegan waffle (or an adorable coconut bowl).
25 E. 17th St.; chloesfruit.com
Rejoice! The eat-a-pint-in-one-sitting ice cream has now gone vegan. Indulge in 14 coconut-milk-base flavors like Sea Salt Caramel, Pancakes & Waffles and Candy Bar. Two flavors, Toasted Coconut and Maple Vanilla, are nondairy exclusives, so even non-vegans might want to get their spoons out for these pints. You can find them at any NYC Whole Foods, among many other locations.
Available at various NYC locations; halotop.com
Oddfellows Ice Cream Co.
A big part of this quirky shop’s appeal is that its flavors rotate constantly (sometimes within the same day), but you can always count on some dairy-free options. Some recent flavors include Coconut Matcha (made with coconut milk), Strawberry Shortcake (made with macadamia milk) and inventive sorbets like Passionfruit Basil and Hibiscus Lemon. And if you dare dip into some dairy while you’re there, the shop offers Lactaid pills upon request.
Multiple locations; oddfellowsnyc.com
The juice shop has already garnered a cult following for Freeze, a nondairy soft serve made from fruits, vegetables and nuts. Its classic flavors (vanilla and chocolate) are made from a vegan, gluten-free almond base, and right now you can try two seasonal coconut-based flavors: Mango Turmeric and Coconut Cream. (If you buy it from a juice shop, it counts as a juice cleanse, right?)
Multiple locations; pressedjuicery.com
Yes, the millennial avocado obsession has made its way to the freezer aisle. Cado, made from avocados, is gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, made with certified organic ingredients and Non-GMO Project verified. But more important, it tastes super creamy and ice cream—esque, in flavors like Deep Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip and Simply Lemon.
Available at various NYC locations; cadoicecream.com