By Molly Gregor
Introduction: Savor the Creamy Delights of Summer (and Beyond)
There’s nothing quite like indulging in a scoop (or two) of ice cream on a warm summer day. But who are we kidding? Ice cream is a year-round treat that brings joy to our taste buds no matter the season. Luckily, New Jersey is home to a plethora of top-notch ice cream shops that cater to our frozen dessert cravings. So, if you’re on the hunt for the best ice cream in the Garden State, look no further. Here are our picks for The Best Ice Cream Shops in New Jersey.
The Best Ice Cream Shops in North Jersey
Location: 100 US-46, Budd Lake
About: The Das family, owners of Das’ Creamery, have turned their ice cream-making into an art form influenced by their international travel experiences. From Hong Kong to Peru to Thailand, their menu reflects their memories and creative flair. They serve small-batch gourmet ice cream and offer custom or Grab-N-Go ice cream cakes. Unique flavors like Banana Oreo, Passion Fruit, Icoa Ruby Dust, and Ube will tantalize your taste buds. Don’t miss their signature flavors, the Grahamsterdam and Downton Abbey. Fun fact: Mr. Das holds Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Administration, while Co-owner Komal Das graduated from the French Culinary Institute and completed the Penn State Ice Cream Short Course.
Why We Love It: The custom ice cream cakes give you the freedom to create your own personalized masterpiece.
Location: 446 Main Rd, Suite #8, Towaco
About: Diane’s Dairy is a beloved local favorite that offers a concise menu of frozen delights. They serve cups and cones, as well as sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, shakes, and more. With over 60 flavors of homemade small-batch ice cream to choose from, you’re sure to find something you love. Favorites include Island Coconut, Dirty Dogs, Cookie Dough, Nutella Cheesecake, and Oreo Coffee. Plus, you can create your own flavor combinations for their custom cakes!
Why We Love It: Diane’s Dairy consistently surprises us with their creative limited-time and seasonal flavors.
Locations: Caldwell, Montclair, Morristown, Pinebrook, West Orange
About: Guerriero Gelato is a rapidly growing gelato and ice cream cake brand in North Jersey. Owner Mike Guerriero has a knack for revitalizing struggling ice cream parlors and incorporating them into the Guerriero family. With five locations spread across Bergen, Essex, and Morris County, Guerriero Gelato offers a wide selection of hard ice cream flavors. From classic favorites like Banana Pudding and Maple Walnut to unique gelato options like Blueberry Basil and Tiramisu, they have something for everyone.
Why We Love It: Don’t miss their Italian Ice menu, which features refreshing options like Blood Orange, Chocolate Oat, and Pina Colada.
About: Alpine Creamery is a hidden gem in Sparta, beloved by locals. This cash-only shop offers seasonal hours, typically from spring through October. They are known for their delicious homemade hard ice cream flavors, vegan options, and milkshakes. Fan favorites include Bailey’s Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Pie, Cheesecake Graham Cracker, and Milk ‘N Cookies.
About: Applegate Farm is more than just an ice cream shop; it’s a destination for ice cream lovers. In addition to delectable ice cream flavors, they serve signature shakes, ice cream cakes, and ice cream pies. Everything is made in-house, including their signature flavor, Graham Central Station, which features graham-flavored ice cream with graham crackers and chocolate candies. For a unique twist, try their Frozen Hot Chocolate, made with Swiss chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate flakes, and mini marshmallows.
Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream
About: Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream offers an extensive menu of soft ice cream flavors and hand-dipped hard ice cream. Open year-round, they serve delightful flavors such as Cappuccino Caramel Crunch, Dutch Apple Crumble, Cinnamon, Soft Pumpkin, and Pear Sorbet. Don’t forget to try their homemade ice cream cake! Enjoy your ice cream at one of their picnic tables or in the comfort of your car.
Curly’s Ice Cream
About: Curly’s Ice Cream is famous for its custom cakes and handmade ice cream. Their menu features soft serve, hard ice cream, banana splits, floats, milkshakes, and much more. With over 40 flavors of hard ice cream to choose from daily, you’re guaranteed to find a flavor that tickles your fancy. Favorites include Almond Joy, Banana Oreo, Caramel Pretzel, Moosetracks, and S’mores.
The Dairy at Lake Hiawatha
Location: Lake Hiawatha
About: The Dairy, affectionately known by locals, boasts a wide selection of ice cream, Italian ice, and Dole Whip. They offer more Dole Whip options than any other ice cream shop on our list, with six delicious choices. From traditional flavors like Vanilla Bean to seasonal and exclusive options, you’re in for a treat. Keep an eye out for their new and original flavors, which are always popping up.
About: Dairy Swirl is the go-to spot for all your frozen dessert dreams. Their extensive menu includes classic hard ice cream flavors as well as specialties like ice cream cakes, cannolis, and sandwiches. Locals rave about their friendly service, creamy ice cream texture, and the ability to customize their own cake. With over 30 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Daniela’s Ice Cream
About: Daniela’s Ice Cream prides itself on creating small-batch ice cream using local ingredients. Their menu includes kiddie scoops, regular scoops, pints, ice cream cakes, and even doggie ice cream. Choose from sugar cones, cake cones, or waffle cones, with indulgent toppings like chocolate dipped, rainbow sprinkles, or chocolate sprinkles. Top off your cone with flavors like Apricot Pistachio or Lemon Poppyseed.
About: Denville Dairy has been serving premium handmade ice cream, sherbet, and Italian ice for over 50 years. With 28 flavors available at any given time, they offer a wide variety of options. Throughout the year, they rotate seasonal flavors and feature signature flavors, totaling over 100 specialty flavors. From Dixie cups to ice cream sandwiches, they have something for everyone.
Dover Dairy Maid
About: This family-owned spot has been delighting customers for over 35 years. Dover Dairy Maid is renowned for its creative and premium quality flavors of hard and soft ice cream. In addition to seasonal and limited-time flavors, they also sell Italian ice and frozen yogurt. Don’t miss out on unique flavors like Coffee Twist, Key Lime Cherry, Milky Way Crunch, Espresso Chip, and Blueberry Cheesecake. Keep in mind that they are open seasonally from March through October.
Ernie’s Ice Cream
About: Ernie’s Ice Cream is a seasonal stand that serves traditional hard and soft-serve ice cream. Their menu also includes Italian ices, sundaes, banana splits, edible cookie dough, ice cream floats, and ice cream pies/cakes. Indulge in flavors like Nutella Crunch, Campfire S’mores, and Peanut Butter Caramel Cookie Dough. They even offer seasonal choices such as Pumpkin soft serve and Apple Crisp sundaes.
Francy’s Artisanal Ice Cream
About: Francy’s prides itself on serving “creatively creamy premium ice creams.” Their flavors are a fusion of American classics and authentic Filipino desserts. Treat yourself to options like “Passion Fruit, Yuzu, and White Chocolate,” Kiwi Sorbet, and Sampaguita & Elderflower. Other standout flavors include Matcha Cookies and Cream, Mango Graham, Ube & Queso, and Bukomansi (coconut and lime).
About: Gelato Envy offers a delightful selection of ice cream and frozen treats, but their specialty is gelato. They craft their gelato in small batches to ensure the highest quality, resulting in a taste that rivals that of Italy. From Blueberry Basil to Ferrero Rocher, Rice with Cinnamon, and Guava Cheese Pastry, Gelato Envy offers a range of innovative and unusual flavors.
About: Goffle Creamery may still be relatively unknown outside of its local community, but that doesn’t stop it from serving premium hard ice cream, soft serve, gelato, and Italian ice. They offer flavors like Oatmeal Cookie and Cappuccino Crunch, as well as more unique options like Vanilla Peanut Butter and Cake Batter. With their wide range of toppings and mix-ins, you can customize your ice cream experience to your heart’s content.
Guernsey Crest Ice Cream Co
About: Guernsey Crest Ice Cream Co may not look like anything special from the outside, but inside, you’ll find classic cones, milkshakes, sundaes, and Italian ices that will blow you away. Despite the variety of flavors, most locals agree that nothing beats their classic scoop of Vanilla. However, other popular picks include Banana Pudding, Black Raspberry, Chocolate Fudge Crunch, and Peanut Butter Twirl. Don’t let appearances deceive you; the quality of their ice cream is truly exceptional.
Holsten’s Brookdale Confectionery
About: Holsten’s Brookdale Confectionery is not just an ice cream shop; it’s also a confectionery that creates delectable chocolates, candies, and fudge. Step into their old-fashioned atmosphere, complete with classic booth seating, and prepare to be delighted. From classic egg creams in Chocolate, Coffee, Strawberry, or Vanilla flavors to their signature loaded Brownie Sundae, Holsten’s offers a range of flavors to satisfy your cravings.
Locations: Wayne, North Haledon
About: Hometown Creamery sells small-batch homemade scoops and handcrafted cakes. With over 30 flavors and a weekly rotating menu, they keep things fresh and exciting. Indulge in traditional favorites like Mint Chip, Chocolate Chunk, Birthday Cake, Nutella, and Cookie Dough. For those seeking unique flavors, they offer options like Oatmeal Cookie, Fluffernutter, Creamsicle, Brownie ala Mode, Canolli, Cotton Candy, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry.
Kubo Coffee and Creamery
About: If you’re craving ube ice cream but don’t want to make the trek into NYC, Kubo Coffee and Creamery has got you covered. As an authentic Filipino café, they serve the popular purple yam soft-serve specialty. Other fun flavors include Cotton Candy Rainbow, Matcha, Earl Grey, and Cookie Monster. Pair your ice cream with one of their boba teas, iced fruit drinks, or lattes. And don’t forget to try their specialty desserts like Filipino icebox cake, ube cheese buns, and taiyaki.
Location: East Hanover
About: Last Licks is a homemade ice cream shop that remains open all year. The owner’s love for baseball and softball is evident in the name. The Saporito family works together to create handmade ice cream and cakes in a variety of fun flavors. Year-round options include Apple Dapple, Banana Fudge Chunk, Devil Dog, and Red Velvet Oreo. Additionally, they offer seasonal flavors such as Peach and Maple Bacon. With almost 40 toppings to choose from, your ice cream creation will be truly unique.
About: Magic Fountain is an iconic outdoor ice cream stand that is beloved by many. While the large crowds and long lines might deter some, the menu explains why this spot is so popular. Indulge in hot-fudge sundaes, banana splits, strawberry shortcake, blended milkshakes, twisted soft-serve, and more. If you’re not in the mood to wait, you can even order online. Just remember to bring cash or Venmo as they don’t accept other forms of payment.
Milk Sugar Love
Location: Jersey City
About: Milk Sugar Love’s name perfectly encapsulates their approach to ice cream-making. They believe that milk and sugar are the key ingredients in creating incredible ice cream. Using fresh, all-natural milk, cream, and local NJ produce, they craft unique flavors that will satisfy any ice cream lover’s cravings. With options like Alfajores ‘n’ Cream, Earl Grey Fudge, and Guava Cream Cheese, as well as classic favorites like Honey Lavender, Milk Sugar Love has something to please every palate.
South Street Creamery & Cafe
About: South Street Creamery has gained a reputation as one of Morristown’s go-to spots for ice cream. Their Grandma’s Kitchen flavor stands out, featuring everything you’d love to find in your Grandma’s kitchen, from cookie dough to frosting and cake batter. The secret to their success lies in using the finest ingredients with a touch of love. Besides ice cream, they also offer sugar-free options, banana splits, lunch items, milkshakes, smoothies, and an array of sundaes.
Taylor’s Ice Cream Parlor
About: Taylor’s Ice Cream Parlor prides itself on being a family-owned business where everything is homemade. Choose from over 40 flavors of ice cream, including sugar-free and vegan varieties. With flavors like Chocolate Peanut Butter Dough, Oreo Mint Cream, and French Toast, Taylor’s Ice Cream is far from ordinary. They also strive to accommodate customers with nut allergies, making their ice cream safe for everyone to enjoy.
Trina’s Treats Ice Cream Parlour
About: Trina’s Treats is not just an ice cream shop; it’s a chocolate and sweets shop that specializes in custom treats. But with the recent addition of Trina’s Treats Ice Cream Parlour, they’ve expanded their offerings to include 12 flavors of hard ice cream in cups or cones. To add a unique twist, Trina’s incorporates various chocolates and treats from their sister business into their ice cream cones. Try their classic ice cream blended with cake pops for a delightful treat.
Van Dyk’s Ice Cream
About: Van Dyk’s Ice Cream is a cash-only shop that serves hand-scooped, high-quality ice cream in a variety of flavors. Whether you prefer a scoop, a pint, a quart, or a half-gallon, Van Dyk’s has got you covered. With a rotating menu and seasonal options, you’ll always find something new and exciting. Favorites like Cappuccino Oreo, Cheesecake Brownie, Cotton Candy, Raspberry Truffle, and Salted Caramel Truffle will keep you coming back for more.
Zita’s Homemade Ice Cream
Location: New Providence
About: Zita’s Homemade Ice Cream has been a mainstay in town for over 20 years. This old-school, family-owned shop serves artisanal ice cream and Italian ices. Their flavors range from American classics to unique creations like “91716,” which features chocolate-covered pretzels, caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate chips in vanilla ice cream. Indulge in their Mint Lightning or Chocolate Thunder, both of which are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The Best Ice Cream Shops in Central Jersey
The Bent Spoon
About: The Bent Spoon is a farm-to-spoon parlor that specializes in artisan ice cream and sorbets made from organic ingredients. Their menu boasts over 40 flavors, with variations rotating regularly. From Strawberry Horseradish to Garam Masala, Blueberry Mascarpone, and vegan Coffee Coconut, the flavors at The Bent Spoon are always a delightful surprise. Treat yourself to a cold-brew float or enjoy one of their mini cupcakes along with your ice cream.
About: Cream King has been a beloved local soft-serve shop in Pennington since 1956. In addition to their top-notch soft-serve, they offer premium hard-scoop flavors, milkshakes, floats, sundaes, banana splits, and much more. You can even grab a bite to eat and enjoy a burger, cheesesteak, or hot dog alongside your frozen treat. Cream King is your one-stop shop for dinner and dessert.
Gabriel’s Fountain Kitchen & Creamery
About: Gabriel’s Fountain is more than just an ice cream shop; it’s an experience. They serve five signature ice cream cakes, each a unique blend of ice cream, fillings, frostings, toppings, and real cake crumble. Indulge in flavors like Roasted Banana, Sponge-Bob, Black Raspberry Truffle, and Martinsville Mudslide. Gabriel’s also offers hand-mixed soda, floats, milkshakes, and other delightful frozen treats.
Locations: Hamilton, Princeton
About: Located in the Shoppes at Nottingham Point in Hamilton Square, Halo Pub curates a limited selection of specialty ice cream flavors. They source their ingredients from their farm, Halo Farm, in Lawrenceville, ensuring the freshest flavors. From Cookies & Cream to Cashew and Caramel, Butter Pecan, Strawberry, and Tahiti Vanilla Bean, Halo Pub offers a unique spin on classic ice cream flavors.
The Best Ice Cream Shops at the Jersey Shore
Aloha Soft Serve
Locations: 928 Boardwalk, Ocean City | 1320 Boardwalk, Ocean City
About: Aloha Soft Serve is an Ocean City Boardwalk staple known for its famous Dole Whip and Aloha Float. As the first ice cream shop in Ocean City to offer Dole Whip soft serve, they have become a go-to destination for this popular treat. Enjoy Pineapple, Strawberry, Orange, or Cherry Dole Whip, or explore their wide variety of soft serve and hand-dipped ice cream flavors. Top it off with delicious toppings like Ghirardelli chocolate or caramel sauce, brownie bites, rainbow nerds, and more. Aloha Soft Serve also offers a range of milkshakes, gelati, and even Ice Cream Tacos.
Gracie and the Dudes Homemade Ice Cream
Location: 1062 Ocean Ave N, Sea Bright
About: Gracie and the Dudes is all about personalizing the ice cream experience. They make everything in small batches, using no high-fructose corn syrup, eggs, or artificial dyes. With a variety of flavors ranging from popular classics like Vanilla and Chocolate to specialty flavors like Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie and Chocolate Brownie Chip, Gracie and the Dudes has something for everyone. They even make their own waffle cones, hot fudge, and caramel.
A La Mode Ice Cream Parlor
Location: Ocean City
About: A La Mode Ice Cream Parlor has been serving homemade ice cream and ice cream cakes since 1979. Indulge in sundaes, banana splits, and a wide range of a la mode desserts. Their Gold Rush dessert is a favorite, featuring butterscotch and roasted almonds over pound cake and vanilla ice cream. Don’t miss out on flavors like Swiss Chocolate Almond and Coconut.
About: Avalon Freeze is a classic Jersey Shore soft-serve shop that has been serving locals and visitors for decades. Stop by their charming cash-only window to enjoy traditional vanilla, chocolate, or twist ice cream. They also offer a few rotating flavors of frozen yogurt, sundaes, milkshakes, and Avalon Freezers. Don’t forget to bring your furry friend; they offer free frozen pup cups!
Location: Asbury Park
About: Cookman Creamery specializes in small-batch plant-based vegan and traditional dairy ice creams. Indulge in flavors like Blueberry Biscoff, Honey Lavender, Banana Cream Pie, and Irish Coffee. They also offer ice cream cakes and pies made to order for special occasions. Open seven days a week, Cookman Creamery also sells merchandise like mugs, t-shirts, and gift card baskets (limited quantities available).
Day’s Ice Cream
Location: Ocean Grove
About: Day’s Ice Cream is a local favorite that offers a vast selection of ice cream flavors, frozen custard, and frozen yogurt. Their menu includes traditional favorites like Vanilla, Strawberry, and Butter Pecan, as well as unique options like Banana Pudding, Mississippi Mud Pie, and Cannoli. But that’s not all—Day’s Ice Cream also serves waffle sundaes and stuffed waffle sandwiches filled with your choice of ice cream.
Gourmet Italian Delights
About: Gourmet Italian Delights is more than an ice cream shop; it’s a one-stop destination for custom treats. Indulge in ice cream flavors like Caramel Brownie Delight, Banana Fudge Walnut, and even specialty flavors inspired by superheroes. But the fun doesn’t stop there—they also offer ice cream pizza and even chocolates, candies, and taffy.
Hoffman’s Ice Cream & Yogurt
Location: Point Pleasant, Spring Lake
About: Hoffman’s began as one of New Jersey’s first Carvel shops in 1955, but it has since come into its own. Now serving over 30 flavors made on-site at their Point Pleasant shop, Hoffman’s has gained nationwide popularity. Be sure to try their signature flavors like Blueberry Pie, Caramel Nut Cluster, Espresso Mocha Chunk, and Strawberry Bon Bon. And if you can’t make it to the shore, don’t worry—they ship nationwide!
Ice Cream Station
Location: Cape May Court House
About: Ice Cream Station is the ultimate frozen treat refueling spot for Cape May residents and pets alike. They offer classic hard ice cream flavors, water ice, and specialty sundaes like the Nutty Turtle. This sundae features vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, hot caramel, mixed nuts, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.
Location: Ortley Beach
About: Ice Palace has been serving up handcrafted ice cream since 1998. With a wide selection of flavors, they cater to all tastes. Whether you prefer soft serve, hard flavors, Italian ice, milkshakes, or sundaes, Ice Palace has it all. Their Flurries blended with topping options like Butterfinger, Cookie Dough, M&Ms, or Oreo pieces are particularly popular. They even serve slushies and egg creams!
Location: Atlantic City
About: Island Creamery is a delightful ice cream parlor that serves not only ice cream but also gelato, water ice, and more. Their menu is brimming with options, ensuring there’s something for everyone. With their impressive selection of Dole Whip flavors—like Cherry, Chocolate, Lemon, Lime, Orange, and Pineapple—you won’t be able to resist trying one. Plus, their traditional, seasonal, and exclusive ice cream flavors will keep you coming back for more.
Jersey Cow Ice Cream
About: Jersey Cow Ice Cream is a must-visit for any ice cream lover. With a rotating menu based on seasonal availability, their selection is always fresh and exciting. From signature flavors like Caramel Fudge Twirl and Strawberry Cheesecake to unique options such as Death by Chocolate and Graham Slam, Jersey Cow has something for every palate. Don’t miss their Shaken Peach Shake and Funnel Fry Sundae, two of their seasonal and rotating specials.
Location: Freehold, Holmdel
About: Jersey Freeze is an iconic ice cream shop known for its rotating selection of hard and soft-serve flavors. With an ever-changing menu, you’ll always find something new and exciting to try. From classics like Chocolate, Vanilla, and Funfetti to unique flavors like Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter N’ Bacon, Jersey Freeze has a little something for everyone.