There’s nothing more satisfying on a sticky, Texas-hot day than a scoop of cold, creamy ice cream. Say “ice cream” and “Texas” in the same sentence, and Blue Bell is likely what comes next. Found in the freezer section of any local grocery store, Blue Bell is made just a few hours away in Brenham, TX, and is a point of pride for any true Texan. Rightfully so—it’s delicious.
Our Guide to the Best Ice Cream in Austin
But Austin has much, much more to offer in terms of ice cream. Whether you’re after chef-created ice cream dishes, authentic gelato (technically not ice cream but it deserves major love), or tasty vegan options, you’ll find it in our guide to the best ice cream in Austin.
8. Amy’s Ice Creams
Looking for a creamy, classic scoop of ice cream? Head to Amy’s for some of the best ice cream in Austin. Started in 1984, Amy’s Ice Creams is an Austin OG that has all the “Keep Austin Weird” vibes, complete with lots of tie-dye and a fun cow mascot. Along with their six standard flavors, Amy’s releases a new seasonal flavor to their menu each Tuesday. Run quickly if a new flavor catches your eye—they make a limited quantity so once it’s gone, it’s gone! Seasonal flavors can be really, really great (Buche de Noel or Butter Brick, which has actual butter in it and proves that this is a VERY good thing) or a bit of a miss, but the texture is always creamy and the always-available Mexican Vanilla is to die for.
7. Lick Honest Ice Creams
Another Austin original that has expanded beyond the city, Lick Honest Ice Cream is big on using local, seasonal ingredients, and zero artificial flavors or preservatives. Local, seasonal ingredients translate to big, sophisticated flavors here—think Grapefruit with Champagne Marshmallows, Peppermint Bark, and Roasted Beet with Fresh Mint. And while big flavors don’t always equate to the perfect creamy texture, the chocolate waffle cone and unique won’t-find-anywhere-else varieties make up for it. We highly recommend the Goat Cheese, Thyme, & Honey, Texas Sheet Cake, or Salt Lick Caramel. Oh, and sprinkles are always a good idea.
6. Gelateria Gemelli
Gelateria Gemelli oozes class. Located in East Austin, just a stone’s throw away from restaurant gems like Suerte and Ramen Tatsuya, Gelateria Gemelli is the perfect spot for an after-dinner treat. The shop is beautifully designed—peacock-green walls, marble countertops, tasteful gold accents—it feels fancy but not stuffy. Scoops are small but lovingly crafted and reasonably priced for high-quality gelato. The Dark Chocolate is deep and rich like it should be, while the Red Currant Sorbetto is clean, bright, and fresh. Add a third scoop of Olive Oil gelato for a near-perfect Italian treat.
5. Thai Fresh
Yes, this ice cream is naturally neon yellow—thank you, turmeric! Thai Fresh is a surprising favorite in our guide to the best ice cream in Austin with 100% vegan, coconut milk-based ice creams offered from the cafe portion of their restaurant. Flavors are mostly Thai inspired, like Golden Milk, Black Sticky Rice Horchata, and Coconut Lime, but more traditional options are also on rotation. The flavors are solid, for sure, and the hard-to-snag housemade charcoal waffle cones are sooooo delicious. Texture is really where Thai Fresh shines. This is truly some of the creamiest and smoothest ice cream we’ve tried in this city, which can be a difficult feat as an all-vegan ice cream joint.
4. Dolce Neve Gelato
Located in the heart of South First, Dolce Neve Gelato is the definition of quaint. Yet they offer a surprising variety of flavors, all made in house, of course, and just to the side of the cash register behind a glass wall. Delicious pairings like Mascarpone & Fig, Chocolate with Candied Orange Peel, and their house flavor of Crema Dolce Neve (egg custard with lemon zest) are artfully created by their founder who learned the art of gelato in Bologna, Italy and further refined her craft at one of the most famous gelaterias in Pisa. A scoop (or chocolate-dipped bar—yes please!) out on the sunkissed patio is exactly what a hot summer day needs.
3. Cow Tipping Creamery
Soft serve has officially made a comeback, and Cow Tipping Creamery does it so unbelievably well. Housemade EVERYTHING here—all the soft serve, sauces, cones, sprinklings, and even the dustings. Over-the-top Stackers (basically layered sundaes) are their specialty, but a humble waffle cone with just a topping or two is our favorite way to go here. The soft serve is the creamiest we’ve ever had and doesn’t need much else to complement it. But then we remember that brown sugar hot fudge, honey dust, brown butter graham crumb, and that insane cookie butter magic shell and we just can’t help ourselves. Quick tip: try to visit during an off time as waits can get a bit long. Good things come to those who wait, though!
The top spot for the best ice cream in Austin was a tough call. Both our #1 and #2 picks are stellar and truly delicious. They also couldn’t be more different from each other. Our #2 spot goes to Fresa’s. Fresa’s is more commonly known for their chicken and Tex-Mex, but skipping out on their ice cream is a huge mistake. This is the creamiest ice cream on this list by far, with the most luxurious mouthfeel and rich texture. Flavor options aren’t fancy here, but they don’t need to be when the texture is this amazing. Scoops are available if you’re dining in or you can order at their super convenient t0-go window. Favorite flavors include Cookie Butter Swirl and Honeycomb, but all are simply phenomenal.
1. dipdipdip Ice Cream
The very best ice cream in Austin is at dipdipdip and it is unlike any other ice cream we’ve had the pleasure of tasting—in the best way possible. Recently opened in North Austin, dipdipdip is home to chef-created, Japanese-inspired ice cream desserts. Looking at the menu can be a bit daunting. Ingredients like shiitake mushrooms, azuki puree, fried parsnips, and pink peppercorn meringue kisses don’t necessarily sound like they belong on an ice cream menu. But oh, they do. Each dessert at dipdipdip has been carefully crafted by the chef of well-loved Austin restaurant, DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, to hit every single flavor profile—salty, sweet, sour, and umami. The end result of all these non-traditional components coming together is a complex, super interesting, approachably funky treat. Get a bite that has a little taste of everything for true ice cream perfection.