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There is no season for ice cream—for those who truly love it, ice cream is a year-round treat. However, there’s no arguing that ice cream consumption increases during the summer—doubles, dare we say?—and thanks to the boom in plant-based options, there’s always a vegan option around the corner. We love our independent vegan ice cream shops, but today, we’re celebrating the vegan options sprouting up in non-vegan sweet shops across the country. Here is where to get vegan ice cream this summer, no matter where you are.
Ben & Jerry’s
1Ben & Jerry’s
Due to limited space, you won’t find the 20-plus non-dairy Ben & Jerry’s flavors at the scoop shop, but you can rely on at least two. Typically, the shops are stocked with best-sellers, so you know you’ll get something good. Currently, Non-Dairy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is in the rotation. Order in a cup or waffle cone and sweeten the deal with non-dairy cookie dough chunks. Note: always ask for the ingredient list if one of the sorbets catches your eye—many contain honey or other animal ingredients.
2 Van Leeuwen
Both an ice cream shop and pint manufacturer, Van Leeuwen has multiple locations in New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. The vegan options vary by season and location, but you can always find over-the-top plant-based flavors in rotation. Order a double scoop of Cookies & Cream Caramel, Oat Brownie Sundae, or Cookie Caramel Strawberry Jam in a cup and have your fill of vegan-friendly hot fudge, vegan whipped cream, and other tasty toppings.
3Salt & Straw
Long lines amplify the pleasure of the experience, and that is certainly the case for Salt & Straw. The innovative ice creamery always has a queue wrapped around the block. The chain typically carries at least two vegan flavors that vary depending on location—the company makes an effort to incorporate local food purveyors into their recipes wherever they set up shop. You can find Salt & Straws in California, Washington, Oregon, and Florida. Order your Boysenberry Oatmilk Sherbet or Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip in a cup or pint to go.
We’re still waiting on a vegan cookie dough Blizzard, but vegans can satisfy their sweet tooth with the Non-Dairy Dilly Bar. The nostalgic treat is made with coconut-based vanilla ice cream and dairy-free chocolate coating. We appreciate the effort, but we still want that Blizzard.
Vegans rushed to their nearest Baskin Robbins when the company released its first vegan flavor in 2019. The 2,500-plus location chain has rotated through its non-dairy options, debuting with nostalgic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Vegan Coffee Caramel Chunk, followed up with Chocolate Extreme and an oat-based Non-Dairy Strawberry Streusel. Today, you can walk into a shop and find three non-dairy options: Daiquiri Ice, Non-Dairy Mint Chocochunk, and Non-Dairy Salted Fudge Bar. Order in a cup or a vegan-friendly cake cone.
Not just a chocolate shop, Ghirardelli offers an old-timey parlor experience with classic scoops and sundaes. Create your own shake or sundae with the raspberry sorbet or non-dairy Coconut Bliss vanilla. Vegan-friendly topping options include strawberry sauce, pineapple sauce, diced almonds, sea salt, and sprinkles. Note: a cup is the vessel of choice here—the waffle cones contain dairy.
7 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
The once buzzed-about Everything Bagel flavor isn’t vegan, but Jeni’s offers several that are. Options range depending on location, but just a few include Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns, Roasted Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam, Texas Sheet Cake, and Cold Brew with Coconut Cream. Find Jeni’s in 12 states plus Washington, DC.
8 Perry’s Ice Cream
This East Coast scoop shop and distributor has a few vegan options depending on the location. With approximately 1,000 franchise stores, you’re bound to find one near you if you live in New York, Pennsylvania, or Ohio. The chain partnered with vegan milk brand Elmhurst 1925 to develop a line of oat-based flavors under the name Perry’s Oats. Flavors rotate and more non-dairy options are available in pints, but currently Apple Strudel Oats Cream, Blueberry Pancake Oats Cream, and Non-Dairy Vanilla (almond-based) are available in scoop shops.
This top-your-own soft-serve shop has steadily offered an increasing variety of vegan ice cream flavors through a partnership with Oatly. From indulgent options such as Oatly Chocolate Cake and Oatly Cinnamon Bun to lighter, fruity flavors like Peach Sangria Sorbetto and Kiwi Strawbae Sorbet, there is plenty to choose from. Enjoy as-is or top with dairy-free chocolate chips, fruit, or crushed Oreos.
10Amy’s Ice Cream
Texans beat the heat with this multi-city ice cream shop. The chain carries a multitude of clearly-marked vegan flavors with oat and coconut bases. Dive into a scoop of smooth Vegan Strawberry, spicy Vegan Mexican Vanilla, or decadent Oat Milk Chocolate.
Don’t bother with a cup at this chain—this place specializes in ice cream cookie sandwiches. Choose from soy-based mint chip or strawberry to sandwich between two gigantic, warm vegan cookies. Pro tip: most people pick just one cookie flavor, but you can actually get one cookie flavor for the top and another for the bottom. Vegan cookie options include Chocolate Banana Bliss, Fudging Awesome, and Maple Oatmeal Spice. Napkins are a must.
Those residing or visiting the greater New York City area must take a trip to Brooklyn for this minority and woman-owned ice cream company. While a majority of flavors contain dairy, the dairy-free flavors reflect as much intention and creativity as the dairy-based options. Choose from pints with names like Royal Cinnamon with Black Salt Caramel, Spiced Peanut Crunch, and Pineapple Pink Peppercorn. And great news—these flavors ship nationwide.
This by-coastal creamery boasts nine coconut milk-based vegan flavors. It’s hard to choose between the unique Graham Central Station, cool Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and refreshing Strawberry. We suggest you order multiple scoops. Note: flavors vary depending on location.
Not ice cream and not shaved ice, Italian ice is something you have to experience to understand. All the Natural Ice flavors are vegan as well as the standard Italian Ice options (with the exception of the Chocolate Chocolate Chip). Avoid the custards and Cream Ice options. Depending on the store’s specific menu, you can go fruity with flavors like Kiwi-Strawberry and Mojito or opt for a bit of decadence with Chocolate Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter & Jelly.
Cold Stone’s vegan flavor was a long time coming, but it finally landed in stores earlier this year. The Silk Chocolate Almondmilk Frozen Dessert came by way of a collaboration with Silk—the behemoth of all things non-dairy. Anyone familiar with this chain knows that the ice cream is only half of the appeal—what makes Cold Stone unique and craveable is the medley of mix-ins … and the fact that the employees may break into song if you tip them. Vegan mix-in options include apple pie filling, coconut flakes, Oreos (both traditional and Golden varieties), peanut butter, nuts, rainbow sprinkles, and a handful of fresh fruit options. Here’s our go-to Silk Chocolate Almondmilk Frozen Dessert mixed with Oreos, peanut butter, and bananas. It’s the ultimate chocolate-peanut-butter-banana indulgence.
Bostonians flock to this local favorite even in the midst of below-freezing temperatures. The upside: your double scoop lasts a lot longer in taht kind of weather. Three dairy-free ice cream flavors are on offer at all locations: strawberry, mint chip, and pink grapefruit sorbet. Enjoy in a cup, as an afagoto, or a frappe.
17After’s Ice Cream
Ice cream is always cool, but After’s is on the next level. The chic chain gained a loyal following, yes, through its flavors, but also for its apparel. Anti-diet club T-shirts proved one was “in the know,” part of an unofficial After’s club. In 2018 the brand launched its signatur vegan milky bun at Coachella and was later incorporated into scoop shops. For those unfamiliar, After’s milky buns are a cross between a glazed doughnut and a bao bun. Plant-based customers can treat themselves to two non-dairy flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie and mango sorbet.
For more veagn ice cream, read:12 Best Dairy-Free Oat Milk Ice Creams to Keep in Your FreezerThe 15 Best Vegan Milkshakes in the US20 Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream Flavors Ranked