There’s something nostalgic about the classic ice cream sandwich — a rectangle of mediocre vanilla ice cream between two soggy chocolate(-ish) wafers that leave residue on your fingers — but there are much better versions to be found. A number of Boston-area ice cream shops, food trucks, and restaurants take ice cream sandwiches to the next level, packing scoops of funky flavors of ice cream between freshly baked cookies that put those weird chocolate wafers to shame.
Here’s a guide to some of the best local destinations for ice cream sandwiches, whether you’re a fan of the traditional cookie-and-ice-cream combo or are seeking something a little more French, with delicate macarons on the outside. There’s also a section below for some off-the-wall ice cream-stuffed novelties that aren’t quite ice cream sandwiches but fill that same craving.
Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Pretty traditional: cookies on the outside, ice cream on the inside
The Bittersweet Shoppe on Newbury
257 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston
Billing itself as an “old fashioned soda fountain,” the Bittersweet Shoppe serves everything from sandwiches, Belgian waffles, and fried dough to cream sodas, ice cream floats, and milkshakes. There are a handful of ice cream sandwiches available, such as the orange creamsicle (brown sugar cookies with orange vanilla ice cream swirled with orange zest) and the fat banana (peanut butter cookies with banana ice cream).
76 Burlington Mall Rd., Burlington; 75 Newbury St., Danvers; 505 Paradise Rd., Swampscott; 1257 Highland Ave., Needham; mobile locations around Boston
What started as a food truck has become a mini Boston-area empire of cookie shops, with founder Missy Gale baking cookies in flavors like M&M sugar, s’mores, snickerdoodle, and vegan chocolate chip. For sandwiches, customers can choose two cookies (the same or different) and one of a long list of Richardson’s ice cream flavors, such as blueberry pie, milky way, death by chocolate, and more.
481 Cambridge St., Allston, Boston; 617 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston; 655 Tremont St., South End, Boston; 140 Brookline Ave., Fenway, Boston
This local group of ice cream shops is fully vegan: Enjoy dairy-free chocolate or vanilla ice cream sandwiched between Fomu’s own salted chocolate chip cookies (which are gluten-free as well as vegan).
534 Main St., Winchester
The reason for Frozen Hoagies’s existence — as the name suggests — is ice cream sandwiches. (Ice cream and cookies on their own, as well as frappes, are also available, though.) Customers can choose any two cookies and ice cream from a long list of flavors; ice cream options include salted caramel, chai, and Mexican chocolate chip, while cookies include red velvet, fudge brownie, and candy shop. There are vegan options available for both cookies and ice cream. Keep an eye on social media for updates on Frozen Hoagies’s roving food truck. (Note that the Somerville storefront, which was located near Tufts, has closed permanently.)
The Ice Creamsmith
2295 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Boston
Over four decades old, this Lower Mills mainstay will sandwich a scoop of ice cream between a choice of chocolate wafers or the store’s own cookies (chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin). The shop’s core lineup of ice cream flavors includes some old-timey treats like maple walnut and frozen pudding. Ice cream “pizzas” are also available; see details below.
65 Mt. Auburn St., Harvard Square, Cambridge; 61 Bromfield St., downtown Boston; 708 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston
This national chain, which thrives in college towns, is known for its late-night cookie delivery; local outposts are open until midnight or 1 a.m., depending on the day. Ice cream sandwiches are available for delivery (unassembled), featuring one or two scoops of ice cream (flavors include rocky road, cake batter, moose tracks, and more) sandwiched between cookies — either the same or two different ones. Cookie options include chocolate peanut butter cup, s’mores, and more.
The local chain sells its “lixwiches” — vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies — by the four-pack or on their own. Watch for specials, too, like mint Irish lace ice cream with chocolate chunk cookies or infused white coffee ice cream with triple chocolate chip cookies.
361 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston
This Back Bay restaurant is mainly known for its sandwich menu, which features sandwiches created by local chefs from other restaurants. Appropriately enough, there’s an ice cream sandwich for dessert: a simple combination of vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate sauce.
Ron’s Gourmet Ice Cream and Bowling
1231 Hyde Park Ave., Hyde Park, Boston; 559 High St., Dedham
Go bowling; eat ice cream. Dating back to 1979, Ron’s has two locations, and the one in Hyde Park includes 10 candlepin bowling lanes, open to the public and rentable for parties. Ice cream sandwiches are a favorite treat at Ron’s, nestled between two Oreos and available in a variety of flavors. Get a pack of six, featuring three flavors, such as caramel fudge brownie, peanut butter explosion, and Oreo cake batter.
Top Shelf Cookies
516 Gallivan Blvd., Dorchester, Boston
The Dorchester storefront is relatively new, but Top Shelf has been baking and selling cookies around Boston since 2014, featuring very Boston-y flavors like the Bruins-inspired black and golds (dark chocolate with peanut butter chips) and the Sam Adams-infused Boston lager chocolate chip. Ice cream sandwich specials pop up on social media from time to time, like this “cocoverdose” cookie sandwich with black raspberry ice cream from Dorchester’s own Ice Creamsmith (see above).
Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
Sure, macarons are technically cookies, but these delicate creations deserve a section of their own
The France-based gelato shop chain has locations all around the world, including these two in Massachusetts. Customers can choose among a variety of macaron flavors, stuffed with a matching gelato or sorbet flavor. (Mango, cheesecake, coffee, and more are on the list.)
86 Harrison Ave., Chinatown
This Chinatown spot is the place for over-the-top treats late at night, like the ice cream- macaron-, and candy-stuffed cube toast (see below for more on that); ramen-crusted fried chicken; scallion pancake sandwiches; and more. There are macaron ice cream sandwiches, too, with a choice of ice cream filling.
1 Bow Market Way, Union Square, Somerville
Located at Bow Market, this adorable macaron shop offers a macaron ice cream sandwich collaboration with Gracie’s Ice Cream (which is located down the street): “unicorn poop” ice cream (Fruity Pebbles cereal milk ice cream with crushed up macarons and rainbow sprinkles) sandwiched between two large unicorn-shaped macaron shells.
Non-Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Brownies and doughnuts can be sandwiches, too
492 Tremont St., South End, Boston; 20 Kilmarnock St., Fenway, Boston; 11 Holyoke St., Harvard Square, Cambridge; 100 Holton St., Bay 4, Brighton, Boston; 175 Cambridge St., West End/Beacon Hill, Boston; 55F Union St., Newton; 100 High St., downtown Boston (inside High Street Place)
Choose any doughnut from the menu (classics include chocolate old fashioned and vanilla glaze, while monthly specials might include flavors like creamsicle or sweet tea). The Blackbird team will sandwich in your choice of vanilla or chocolate soft serve. Important Blackbird Doughnuts ice cream notes: Cones are only available at the South End location, but ice cream sandwiches are typically available at all locations — as is the option to add ice cream cubes to coffee.
EHChocolatier (not currently available, but stay tuned)
145 Huron Ave., Cambridge
This top-notch local chocolate shop added ice cream sandwiches to the mix in summer 2021, featuring its own small-batch ice cream in flavors like raspberry vanilla swirl and peppermint stick cream. The outside is made from thin chocolate brownie cakes. They haven’t returned for summer 2022 yet, but keep an eye on Instagram for updates. In the meantime, try a drink from the iced hot chocolate drink menu, which has just come back for the season.
Not Exactly Ice Cream Sandwiches
Tacos, cannoli, and other ice cream-filled treats worth trying
86 Harrison Ave., Chinatown
In addition to macaron ice cream sandwiches (see above), Double Chin has a few other treats for late-night ice cream cravings. There are several versions of the over-the-top cube toast available, where a cube...of toast...is stuffed with various combinations of ice cream, candy, cereal, mochi, and other ingredients. There are also “doughnut bombs,” where a doughnut is injected with a filling and topped with ice cream. There’s one filled with custard and topped with strawberry ice cream and a berry syringe, for example.
Earnest Drinks at Gracie’s Ice Cream
399 Binney St., Kendall Square, Cambridge
The second Gracie’s Ice Cream location, which includes a cafe called Earnest Drinks, serves a more robust menu than the small original location in Somerville — there’s dinner and boozy drinks in addition to an expanded ice cream lineup. One option that might satisfy an ice cream sandwich craving: a nine-inch ice cream-filled pie, available in several flavors. It comes topped with Oreo and fudge by default, but other options are available. Also keep an eye out for fun treats like the ice cream Frito pie, which isn’t available on the current menu but has been served in the past. You never know quite what to expect from an ice cream shop that also sells yard flamingos and custom haikus.
Gelato & Chill at Time Out Market Boston and the Shops at Chestnut Hill
401 Park Dr., Fenway, Boston; 199 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill
This duo of local gelato shops stuffs cannoli shells imported from Sicily with ricotta, chocolate, or stracciatella gelato, garnishing it with crushed pistachios, hazelnuts, or chocolate chips.
Gorgeous Gelato at High Street Place
100 High St., downtown Boston
Downtown Boston food hall High Street Place is home to Maine-based Gorgeous Gelato, which offers three-packs of gelato-stuffed cannoli. Grab a space in the hall and stay for a while, perhaps with a glass of limoncello.
1702 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
This Cambridge ice cream shop celebrates Taco Tuesdays with rotating flavors of ice cream tacos. One past taco, for example, was blueberry crumb: a taco shell-shaped vanilla waffle cone filled with malted vanilla ice cream, blueberry jam, and a crumb topping. They’re available on a first come, first served basis, but those looking to order a dozen or more can give the shop a call ahead of time to reserve.
The Ice Creamsmith
2295 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, Boston
In addition to its traditional ice cream sandwiches (see above), this decades-old Lower Mills shop sells ice cream “pizza” — a 10-inch brownie crust topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate cookie crunch, M&M’s, white chocolate chips, and chocolate syrup. (Customers can put in a special order for other toppings and flavors.)
119 Seaport Blvd., Seaport District, Boston
This New York-based chain stuffs cute fish-shaped doughy ice cream cones with colorful soft serve, sprinkles, and toppings such as golden unicorn horns. It’s the kind of place that feels built for the Instagram era, but it’s not all fluff: These photogenic treats taste great, too.
Additional Eater Boston maps and guides tailored to ice cream lovers