(CNN) — If there’s one thing all New Yorkers can get behind, it’s ice cream.
Do you prefer soft serve to a scoop? Gelato over sorbet? Something spicy and sour instead of sweet and salty? You might even want an old fashioned hot fudge sundae. No matter your frozen preference, you can find it in one of New York City’s diverse ice cream shops.
Whether you opt for a chocolate-dipped vanilla soft serve to stay cool during the summer sizzle or a sundae with the works to stave off the winter blues, these 11 spots are ready to dish it up.
* Picks are listed in alphabetical order.
-321° Ice Cream Shop
The peanut butter crunch from -321° Ice Cream Shop is sublime.
-321° Ice Cream is different from your typical scoop shop, which keeps its ice cream sitting in tubs in a freezer.
Using liquid nitrogen, this place “flash-freezes” the ice cream and delivers it to you fresh on the spot.
And if you want that amazing picture for the ‘Gram, spend the extra dollar to get the “nitrogen cup,” which envelops your ice cream in a cool vapor.
Ample Hills Creamery
Two scoops of delicious ice cream on one of Ample Hills Creamery’s salted pretzel cones is an excellent choice on a hot summer day.
Launched in 2011, Ample Hills Creamery has practically become an institution for ice cream in NYC.
The creamery uses hormone-free milk and cream from grass-fed cows along with organic cane sugar, all of which shine through in the finished product.
It’s rich and flavorful ice cream whether it’s one of Ample Hill’s classic flavors (try the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake) or a seasonal special such as Chocolate Trip — a chocolate ice cream packed with cookie dough and cookies and cream cupcakes.
Best of all, the shop offers pints to go so you can be ready when you’re on your couch and the ice cream craving hits.
Big Gay Ice Cream
Try a dipped chocolate ice cream cone from Big Gay Ice Cream.
Big Gay Ice Cream
Big Gay Ice Cream has been steadily churning out some of the best ice cream NYC has to offer since 2009. Owners Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff chose the store name not as a political statement but as a double meaning for the duo’s sexual orientation and happiness in general.
What started out as a simple ice cream truck has evolved into a full-fledged operation with multiple stores where the lines often snake outside the door and around the block.
From hot fudge sundaes to soft serve dipped and sealed in chocolate, there are a number of different pleasing options for the ice cream aficionado or casual consumer. One of the most popular offerings is the Salty Pimp, vanilla ice cream packed with salty dark chocolate pieces and swirls of dulce de leche.
Best of all, special flavors rotate weekly, so there’s always something new to try like Marcia Marcia Marshmallow, which tops marshmallow ice cream with hot fudge, pretzel bits and strawberry whipped cream.
Grom offers gluten-free gelato and cones.
Courtesy of Grom
Italian import Grom has established itself as one of the go-to places for gelato in New York City. Unlike many other places, Grom doesn’t use any emulsifiers in its gelato, which results in a less foamy but softer and creamier gelato with less air.
But, fair warning: Grom’s gelato melts faster than your typical gelato because the company doesn’t use any thickeners in its products. The melt factor shouldn’t be a problem once you taste Crema Di Grom, a pastry-cream flavored gelato with corn biscuits and chocolate chips swirled in.
Good news for the lactose-intolerant: Grom has you covered, since all but one of its sorbets are vegan. And everything on the menu is gluten free, including cones.
Special flavors rotate monthly with items such as Lampone E Cioccolato, which is a raspberry sorbet studded with Venezuelan chocolate chips.
Ice & Vice
Vietnamese coffee flavored ice cream topped with an ice cream sammie is an Ice & Vice classic.
Ice & Vice does not do basic.
If you’re looking for something simple, you won’t find that here as the ice cream shop likes to push the boundaries, offering unique flavors that you can’t get anywhere else.
While there are nine permanent flavors on the menu, theme-based seasonal ones show up regularly. Right now the theme is #OPENBAR, where you can get ice cream flavors based on some of NYC’s most popular cocktails like frose, piña colada and michelada.
And if your sweet tooth is particularly strong, you can amp it up with additions like an ice cream sandwich or even a slice of ice cream pie right on top of your ice cream. These options are strictly for truly serious ice cream lovers.
Il Gelato at Eataly
Eataly’s flagship location in the Flatiron district of Manhattan means you can enjoy your gelato while taking in the views near Madison Square Park.
If you’ve ever been to Eataly, you’ve most likely passed by the gelato counter. You can’t miss it, as it consistently has the longest line, some days even stretching outside.
But don’t let the potential wait deter you from trying the gelato — well worth any time in line.
Using only local, pasteurized whole milk, Eataly makes all the gelato in house. High-quality milk mixed with premium ingredients, many of which are sourced straight from Italy, is churned daily.
This is impossibly smooth gelato with nuanced flavors such as toasted almond or mango shining brightly through the creamy goodness.
La Newyorkina’s chamoyada brings the sweetness of Mexican ice cream to the streets of New York City.
Owner Fany Gerson had a simple mission when she started La Newyorkina: Share the sweetness of Mexico.
Born and raised in Mexico, Gerson made a name for herself as a pastry chef in New York before striking out on her own.
At La Newyorkina, Mexican-style ice cream — containing less air and fat, similar to gelato — is on offer. You’ll find flavors such as Mexican vanilla bean, Oaxacan chocolate chunk and tres leches cake. The toppings are also not your run-of-the-mill sprinkles and jimmies. Here you’ll find spicy candied mangoes and crispy cinnamon-sugar cookies that can be added to your ice cream.
You will often find Gerson’s Mexican-style ice pops (paletas) at stores and carts across the city. Mango chile, hibiscus raspberry and roasted banana are regularly available.
The chamoyada — a mix between a slushy and sorbet — is the most unique offering, which adds chamoy (pickled plum juice), salted chile and a tamarind candy straw to make a spicy, fruity and sour treat that hits all the right flavor notes.
The rose with cinnamon roasted almonds from Mala is the shop’s most popular flavor.
Morgan Ione Yeager
Launched in 2015 by Pooja Bavishi, Malai finally set up a permanent shop in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
Malai, which figurativdely stands for “cream of the crop” in a North India language, showcases unique flavors from around the world with a heavy influence from Asia and the Middle East. Expect flavors such as masala chai, Turkish coffee, sweet corn saffron, baklava and more.
The most popular is rose with cinnamon roasted almonds, but the mango and cream also comes highly recommended.
Toppings are limited but fitting: try sea salt vanilla topped with peanut chikki. Sweet milk needs no accoutrement.
Morgernstern’s offers loads of different flavors, and their shop has that classic ice cream parlor look and feel.
Morgernstern’s has the look and feel of a classic ice cream parlor, but one glance at its diverse menu of flavors lets you quickly know that it’s far from your typical ice cream shop.
While classic flavors such as chocolate and vanilla are well represented, this lower Manhattan spot also offer unique flavors like green tea pistachio, Vietnamese coffee and cinnamon whiskey.
You can also add an array of toppings from expected staples such as fudge and caramel to more adventurous options like pickled pineapple and sesame honeycomb.
Morgernstern’s recently opened up a new flagship location, and it’s even better than the original. This shop includes a special section where you can order ice cream-inspired cocktails. The salted caramel pretzel old-fashioned may sound odd, but trust us on this one.
The affogato from OddFellows is great for when you need a pick-me-up.
With flavors such as burnt marshmallow, miso cherry and buttermilk honey blueberry, OddFellow’s ice cream flavors and concoctions are as diverse as they are delicious.
Take the Odd Pocket for example: Brioche bread is stuffed with ice cream and pressed like a panini. The end result is a warm and toasty bun with a cold ice cream filling.
The new shop in the Lower East Side is a hybrid ice cream parlor and coffee shop for when you want a pick-me-up to go with your sugar rush. The Coffee & Cream by OddFellows shop on East Houston Street is a dream come true for coffee and ice cream lovers alike. Standouts include the affogato, cold-brew milkshake and a parfait-sundae hybrid called Café Liégeois that layers espresso, coffee soil (coffee, salt, flour, almond flour, and sugar), ice cream, a wafer cookie and whipped cream.
Republic of Booza
The ice cream from the Republic of Booza is dense, flavorful and stretches like dough.
Booza is a type of Mediterranean ice cream that uses two special ingredients to separate it from anything else offered in NYC: sahlab (ground orchid root) and mastic (a resin taken from mastic trees on the Greek island of Chios).
The result is a more flavorful, dense, stretchy (yes, you read that right) and slower-melting ice cream that you can really savor and enjoy with every mouthful.
If you like the classic staples, Booza has options like chocolate or salted caramel.
But if you feel like going off the beaten path, choose from a selection of boundary-pushing flavors such as horchata de chufa, Sichuan white chocolate and even Bloody Mary (unfortunately, without the booze). Constantly experimenting with new flavors, the shop entices you to return to see what else is on the menu.
The Woodside is a special from Soft Swerve that has ube purple yam ice cream and is topped with toasted coconut and mochi.
This unassuming soft serve shop in the Lower East Side keeps things simple with only a few base flavors, but you can get creative with all types of toppings and flavor swirls to make up your own crazy concoctions.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the options, pick from their Swerve specials menu and order the addictive Mott and Mulberry, a matcha soft serve with crushed Oreos and a drizzle of chocolate on top.
Taiyaki’s unicorn ice cream special is pretty special.
You can find waffles or cones at practically any ice cream shop in NYC. However, at Taiyaki, it’s fish-shaped Japanese waffles that are made fresh on-site.
Lightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a custard or red bean filling, it’s the perfect complement to the extremely sweet soft serve ice cream.
The shop also offers fun toppings like wafer sticks and mini mochi rice cakes.