Indulge in the Perfect Texas Treat: The Top 5 Best Ice Cream Parlors in Austin

There’s nothing that quite beats the Texas heat like a flavorful scoop of ice cream. In Austin, the ice cream scene offers a unique twist all its own, boasting a variety of quality, artisanal ice cream parlors that are as diversely impressive as the state itself. So, brace yourself for a sweet adventure and bring along your sweet tooth. This guide is sure to excite your palate and give you a taste of the vibrant Austin ice cream scene. Here are the top rated ice cream shops in this friendly, funky town.

1. Lick Honest Ice Creams

Established in 2011, Lick Honest Ice Creams has fast grown into a beloved institution in Austin’s culinary landscape. Located in the vibrant and hip South Lamar neighborhood, amongst a bustling community of local artisans and foodies, Lick shines as a beacon for ice cream lovers citywide.

The driving philosophy behind Lick Honest Ice Creams is beautifully simple – to craft authentic, high-quality ice cream using all-natural, locally sourced ingredients. In their own words, “If it’s not local, it’s not Lick.” The creamery sources dairy exclusively from a family-owned, single-source farm, the Mill-King Market & Creamery. Other locally-sourced goodies include goat cheese from Pure Luck Dairy and organic carrots from the horticultural haven of Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

At Lick Honest Ice Creams, You Can Expect:

  • A gorgeous array of dairy-free and vegan-friendly options. There is something here to cater to every dietary restriction, ensuring everyone can partake in the ice cream enjoyment!
  • A flavor menu that varies with the season. The flavors at Lick Honest Ice Creams rotate depending on Texas’ most abundant produce at any given time of the year. This means that each visit can present a delightful new flavor discovery! Be sure to try customer favorites like Blackberry Lime Basil and Texas Sheet Cake – delicious testimony to Lick’s flair for pairing traditional ingredients in surprising and creative ways.
  • A particularly decadent treat for fans of vegan sweets: Lick’s Dark Chocolate, Olive Oil & Sea Salt – a seamless blend of three individually robust ingredients resulting in a luxuriously smooth vegan ice cream.

2. Amy’s Ice Creams

If you’re researching Austin’s food scene, chances are you won’t have to scroll long before you stumble upon the iconic Amy’s Ice Creams. This long-standing sweet hub was established over three decades ago and stands today as a testament to Austin’s undying love affair with ice cream.

Amy’s embraces the artisanal spirit. Instead of sticking to a standard flavor list, the creamery rotates through an impressive list of more than 350 homemade ice cream flavors. The creators at Amy’s have been professionally trained under critically acclaimed ice cream authors and chefs, which allows them to craft flavors that range from whimsically sweet, daringly innovative, nostalgically comforting, to downright eccentric!

Why You’ll Want to Try Amy’s Ice Creams:

  • Begin your Amy’s journey with the creamery’s flagship flavor, the Mexican Vanilla. Made with their own distinct blend of Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla, this variant is sinfully rich and pairs perfectly with any of their 20+ ‘crush’n’ mix-in flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for something fruity, crunchy, or chocolatey, Amy’s has you covered!
  • An immersive, fun-filled experience. At Amy’s, you are more than just a customer. Their high-energy ‘trick shows’, where scoopers artistically toss ice cream scoops in the air, add an element of theatrics and excitement to your ice cream adventure.
  • Something distinctive for the audacious foodie – their Shiner Bock (a Texas beer) ice cream. This sublime concoction is a remarkable blend of malty, sweet, and slightly bitter notes that will thrill the palate of any beer enthusiast.

3. Sweet Ritual

Craving ice cream but restricted by dietary limitations? In Austin, this is no barrier to indulgence, thanks to the ingenious Sweet Ritual. This niche ice cream parlor offers an enviable menu of creative, scrumptious non-dairy, vegan, and gluten-free treats.

What Makes Sweet Ritual a Must-Visit:

  • They’ve taken vegan frozen delicacies to a whole new level. Beyond the standard melty vegan offerings, Sweet Ritual crafts robust, inventive, dairy-free frozen desserts that don’t compromise on taste or texture.
  • Their most popular creation, the Unicorn Poop is not just ice cream – it’s a sensory joyride with confetti cake, sprinkles, Skittles, and a strawberry swirl. Each bite promises a delightful burst of flavors that serve as a profound scoop of happiness.
  • Chocoholics rejoice as Sweet Ritual has you covered. Their chocolate offerings, such as Death Metal by Chocolate, will ensure even the most discerning cocoa fanatics leave with a fully satisfied sweet tooth.

4. Dolce Neve

For those seeking a little European sweet flair, Dolce Neve is an absolute must-visit. Offering an authentic taste of Italy, Dolce Neve, meaning “sweet snow,” replaces the typical ice cream offerings with creamy, artisanal gelatos made from traditional Italian recipes and high-quality, organic ingredients.

Savoring the Authentic Italian Gelato Experience at Dolce Neve:

  • Dolce Neve’s gelato stands out from the crowd. The texture of their artisanal gelato is unlike any other in town — it’s incredibly dense yet stays perfectly creamy. Their Pistachio is a crowd favorite, and it’s little wonder why! Made with top-notch pistachios sourced directly from Sicily, it’s an unparalleled gustatory experience.
  • Sicilian granitas, creamy popsicles, real Italian affogato – with such offerings, Dolce Neve takes the term ‘authentic Italian gelato experience’ to a whole new level.

5. Prohibition Creamery

For a grown-up twist on the traditional ice cream crawl, your next stop should unquestionably be Prohibition Creamery. This boutique ice cream parlor beautifully merges high-quality ice cream with finely-crafted cocktails, creating a truly unique ice cream experience within the confines of a chic, dark-wood cocktail bar.

Boozy Ice Creams to Try at Prohibition Creamery:

  • The creamery’s signature Whiskey Chocolate ice cream is a real treat! Rich, creamy chocolate is flawlessly paired with the strong, distinctive notes of whiskey, resulting in a flavor combination that’s simply divine.
  • If you’re in for something fruitier, the Sangria Sorbet is a fabulous choice. It combines the tangy, refreshing taste of sangria wine with a medley of fruits and berries, resulting in a rejuvenating sorbet scoop.
  • Indulge in their Espresso Martini for the ultimate fusion of coffee and ice cream – perfect for a mid-day pick me up. It’s a delightful blend of delectable vanilla ice cream, Fair vodka, Borghetti espresso liqueur, and a shot of espresso.

In Austin, the joy of indulging in a delicious scoop of ice cream is about so much more than simply cooling down on a hot Texan day. It’s a celebration of local flavors and the invention of local artisans. Most importantly, it’s a chance to savor a taste of Austin’s unique charm and free-spirited culinary culture. So, the next time you find yourself in Austin, remember to embark on a mouthwatering journey to these top-rated ice cream parlors and indulge in a world of creamy scoops and dreamy flavors that are sure to call you back for more!

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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