It does not need to be a particular temperature in order to enjoy a sweet, creamy swirl of ice cream — just ask the year-round fans at citywide favorite and national chart-topper Toscanini’s — but there’s something about the nice, cold scoops on a warm-weather day that sparks simple, pure delight. Below, we’ve rounded up 10 outstanding ice cream shops in and around Boston where we’ll be hanging out all summer, from decades-old scoop powerhouses to fruit-packed New Zealand-style ice creams and a fan-favorite vegan shop.Read More
10 Delightful Ice Cream Shops Around Boston
An essential guide to the city’s top scoops
Tipping Cow Ice Cream
Tipping Cow’s motto is anything can become ice cream, and they mean it. The shop has served up scoops of Brandy Alexander (a spin on the creamy dessert cocktail), peach cobbler, and a standout fig and goat cheese rendition alongside the more usual suspects like birthday cake and cookie dough. All of the flavors are peanut, tree nut, and sesame-free.
From orange olive oil brownie to salted caramel crackle made with the shop’s own honeycomb candy, Honeycomb Creamery is one of the top spots around the city for playful, inventive flavors that you won’t see elsewhere. (If you have your eye on a specific scoop, check the menu before you go as flavors rotate in and out frequently.) The shop stocks both dairy and vegan ice creams made from scratch, and they source their milk and heavy cream from standout local purveyor Mapleline Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Christina's Homemade Ice Cream
Founded 40 years ago, Christina’s is a Cambridge cornerstone for generous scoops of the creamy frozen treat. The shop is stocked with over 30 flavors, from malted vanilla and black raspberry to red bean and ginger molasses.
Toscanini's Ice Cream
The competition for the best scoop in Boston is fierce, but Toscanini’s might be the most dominant force in the scene. The legendary ice cream shop has received local and national acclaim for its superior scoops, including a pleasantly bitter burnt caramel and the B3 — brown butter, brown sugar, and brownies. Get both, and pair with a coffee or tea from local outfits Barismo and Mem. The shop also has a second location near Kendall Square.
New City Microcreamery
New City gets super nerdy about its ice cream — liquid nitrogen is involved in the dessert-making process — to great effect. Come here for dollops of pillowy, airy creams in classic shades like mint chip, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate. Aside from the Central Square shop, New City’s pints are also stocked in Whole Foods and other local grocers around the area.
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Far Out Ice Cream
If you like your ice cream packed with a punch of fruit flavors, Far Out’s New Zealand-style ice cream — known for its heavy use of fruit — is the place to go. Customers can choose between several flavors of Maple Valley ice cream, which the shop then blends with a scoop of freshly frozen fruit — choices include mango, raspberry, and kookaberry (a mix of berries) — served in a cup, cone, or shake.
While other shops on this list have vegan options, FoMu centered its entire company around outstanding vegan ice creams. Year-round flavors include strawberry, cookies and cream, and grasshopper pie, but keep an eye on the rotating seasonal specials to try quirky new flavors like the Elvis Pretzley, with banana ice cream, chocolate-covered pretzels, and a peanut butter swirl. Vegan frappes, sundaes, brownies, and cookies are also available at the three shops in the South End, Jamaica Plain, and Fenway.
P & R Restaurant
Ice cream pairs perfectly with savory foods, as the masterminds at P&R know well. The Jamaican shop is one part counter-service restaurant selling jerk chicken, curry goat, ackee and saltfish sandwiches, and meat and vegetable patties, and one part ice cream parlor churning out decadent scoops of ice cream in flavors like grape-nut, maple walnut, and cherry vanilla. The restaurant also has a location in Mattapan.
J.P. Licks and its cow-head mascot has been a landmark on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain for over 40 years. The vast menu includes everything from chocolate chip and vanilla scoops to more whimsical flavors like Boston Cream Pie and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Despite the name tied to the neighborhood, J.P. Licks has expanded a ton since its early days and now counts nearly 20 locations throughout the Boston area.
The Ice Creamsmith
This list is stacked with ice cream legends, but the elder statesman of the group is the nearly 50-year-old Ice Creamsmith in Dorchester’s Lower Mills. It’s easy to go all out here with a dizzying array of candies to mix into flavors like mocha and maple walnut, and squiggles of hot fudge and caramel over top, but for first-timers, start with the ultimate classic: A simple sweet cream scoop that the shop has been perfecting for decades.