Not that you needed an excuse to treat yourself to a waffle cone brimming with your favorite flavor, especially when the warm weather practically demands it, but National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday, July 18. (Plus, July is National Ice Cream Month, so the festivities can last all month long.) We've taken the opportunity to round up this list of creameries in Seattle. Peruse the myriad options, from the recently opened Creamy Cone Cafe to soft serve at places like Moto, Spice Waala, and Süsu, below. For more delicious ideas, check out our food and drink guide.
Bluebird Ice Cream
Bluebird crafts wonderful, ultra-smooth small-batch ice cream in flavors like chocolate pudding, Elysian stout, and snickerdoodle, as well as an array of from-scratch sodas. Both are good on their own, but even better together in an ice cream float.
Creamy Cone Cafe
This cheerful ice cream parlor just opened on Rainier Beach in June. Flavors run the gamut from passionfruit guava to banana pudding to salted caramel swirl. Other offerings include root beer floats, sundaes, and coffee beverages.
Pickup or outdoor seating
Cupcake Royale was started in 2003 in Seattle as the first cupcake bakery and cafe outside of New York City, and has since expanded from the original Capitol Hill locations to include multiple locations across the city. They have a variety of classic and seasonal flavors, house-made ice cream (some with cupcake pieces!), and espresso drinks.
Multiple locations: Ballard, Downtown, Madrona, and West Seattle
This "ice cream boutique" serves locally sourced, handcrafted flavors made with liquid nitrogen to create a smoother texture. Customers can choose from five bases (custard, cream, chocolate, gelato, or sorbet); flavors like quinoa, olive oil, rhubarb, or pistachio rose; optional waffle cones or bowls; and stunning toppings like edible flowers or chocolate pearls.
Frankie & Jo's
Never in a million years would I think that a vegan ice cream store would have something for me. But the other day I stopped by Frankie & Jo's, because it's two blocks from the office and because I'd heard they sell "ice cream churned from plants," and I had to know what that meant. I kept picturing Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors going into a blender. I kept picturing green ice cream. It's not green. It's... just like regular ice cream. Not only is it vegan, but it's also gluten-free. You could've fooled me. The Chocolate Date was amazing, tasty, perfectly textured, made with dates, cocoa powder, sea salt, and coconut milk. I enjoyed it more than regular chocolate ice cream; granted, I love dates. I also had California Cabin, made with "apple-wood smoked vanilla and pine ice cream, with black-pepper cardamom shortbread." Its ingredient list also includes "roasted cashew nut milk" and "locally foraged fir needles and bark." That sounds weird, but oh my god it was good—subtle, spiced, with bits of cookie crunch. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Multiple locations: Ballard, Capitol Hill, and University District
Full Tilt Ice Cream
The various Full Tilts offer a rotating menu of more than a dozen flavors—including raspberry ripple, toasted coconut, corn and chili, vanilla bean, and mint chocolate chip (with vegan options, too)—arcade and pinball machines, and beer.
Multiple locations: Ballard, Columbia City, and White Center
At West Seattle’s most excellent and old-school Husky Deli, you can buy European candy and all sorts of things, but mostly you’ll want to get their homemade ice cream—they’ve been making it on-site since “Herman put an ice cream machine in the front window” of the “farms store” in 1932 (seriously).
You might be familiar with Kryse Panis-Martin's sensational ice cream in distinctive flavors like pandan salted caramel and blueberry Moscow mule from her work at the now-defunct Central District Ice Cream, which she co-founded. Now, she's launched her own brand of ice cream, with pickup available from The Station in Beacon Hill. Her flavors, such as ube queso, chamomile calamansi, and pistachio fig mascarpone cheesecake, consistently sell out fast, so watch her Instagram for updates and place your orders early.
Laina's Handmade Ice Cream
This small-batch neighborhood ice cream shop is run out of the Stonehouse Cafe and offers flavors such as charcoal-coconut and lilikoi, available on their own or in sundaes and floats.
After a day in the sun at Golden Gardens, head to this retro, no-frills counter-serve spot in Shilshole Bay Marina for some classic chocolate and vanilla soft serve in a wafer cone.
Molly Moon's Ice Cream
The ubiquitous name in the Seattle ice cream scene has been around since 2008 and scoops up gourmet handmade ice cream, with four special flavors rotating seasonally and an unchanging list of ten “classics,” including Scout mint (a fan favorite made with Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies), salted caramel, and honey lavender.
Mora Iced Creamery
This ice cream shop owned by Ana Orselli and Jerry Perez, natives of Buenos Aires, prides itself on fresh ingredients and "old world" flavors like marron glacé (glazed chestnut), dulce de leche, and gianduja (chocolate hazelnut mousse). Peruse the 48 flavors on hand—given the ecstatic reviews from many fans, you are unlikely to be displeased with the choices.
Multiple locations: Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Kingston
Salt & Straw
Aside from its lengthy queues, the Portland-based artisan ice cream chain is known for its creative flavors and intriguing collabs with local producers. Each month, they also release a lineup of limited edition flavors around a different theme. For July, they've brought back their seasonal "Berries Berries Berries" series, which will be available through August 12. Flavors include Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero, Birthday Cakes and Blackberries, Wild-Foraged Berry Slab Pie, Boysenberry Oat Milk Sherbet (a vegan and dairy-free flavor), and Besharam's Yogurt Lassi with Raspberries.
Multiple locations: Ballard, Capitol Hill, Kirkland
Scoop Du Jour Ice Creamery
Scoop du Jour, which has a long history in the Madison Park neighborhood, serves brightly colored local sherbets and ice creams, as well as lunch fare like burgers and sandwiches.
Shug's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream
This retro-style, pastel-colored dream of a shop, all built around a restored 1930s-era soda fountain, features egg creams, sodas made with housemade syrups, 15 ice cream flavors from Lopez Island Creamery (including a few vegan options), sundaes, and floats. There’s beer and wine too, as well as a short menu of savory soups, sandwiches, and salads.
The top three words used to describe the ice cream sold at Sweet Alchemy are creamy, creamy, and creamy! With unique flavors ranging from banana Nutella to a dirty chai affogato, there seems to be a sweet treat for everyone.
Multiple locations: Ballard, Capitol Hill, University District
Authentic gelateria Bottega Italiana was opened in 2003 in Pike Place Market by native Italians Luca Guerrieri, Antonella Ragazzi, and David Arato. The owners are committed to quality, natural ingredients.
D'Ambrosio Gelateria Artigianale
University-certified Master Gelataio Enzo D’Ambrosio makes Italian gelato every day, using only the best organic dairy and fruit. You won’t see any experimental hoo-ha involving bacon or cayenne pepper here, only traditional flavors such as nocciola (hazelnut), crema all’uovo (egg cream), and caffe scuro (dark coffee). It’s damn good, rich without being too heavy, it’s not at all icy, and unlike even the densest ice cream, there isn’t so much as a molecule of air whipped into it. It is 100 percent flavor.
Fainting Goat Gelato
People love this family-owned gelato place with its rotating roster of flavors like avocado, amaretto, banana cream pie, bilberry, biscotto, and chocolate (and that’s just the first half-dozen). They use organic milk from Fresh Breeze Farms in Lynden and organic sugar, and they seek out seasonal berries and “the best nuts” (yes!). Some people even love Fainting Goat (and its shorter lines) more than Molly Moon's down the street.
Multiple locations: Fremont and Wallingford
Pickup, delivery, dine-in
Nutty Squirrel Gelato
“True to the Northwest, our flavors change with the seasons,” say the owners of Nutty Squirrel Gelato, which uses local fruit and nuts in its house-made gelato and sorbetto, as well as gelato popsicles and cakes.
Multiple locations: Magnolia, Phinney, and Maple Valley
Homer and Milk Drunk
The celebrated Beacon Hill restaurant Homer's seasonal house-made soft serve is so popular, it spawned the spinoff Milk Drunk, which similarly specializes in luscious swirls of dairy (in addition to fried chicken and cocktails). The flavors, like salted strawberry or chamomile, are fresh and unique.
King's Deli & Grocery
This Central District convenience store slings bountiful chocolate and vanilla soft serve alongside fried chicken and jo-jos.
Besides burnished, frico-edged Detroit-style pizza (which is so popular it's only available by waitlist), this relatively new West Seattle spot also makes its own candy-colored soft serve ice cream, with flavors like green apple, black cherry, and piña colada. They even make their own "motocones" (their own signature cone inspired by a Transylvanian recipe from 1782, made with choux dough and cinnamon sugar) and offer toppings like Fruity Pebbles and gummy bears.
Nana's Green Tea
This Japanese tea house chain offers parfaits, soft serve, and sundaes made with ceremonial-grade matcha sourced from their own plantations in Kyoto, as well as other beverages and desserts. The matcha warabimochi parfait, with matcha pudding, matcha ice cream, red bean paste, warabimochi (jelly mochi), and cornflakes, is an explosion of delightful textures and flavors.
South Lake Union
The Pastry Project
This Pioneer Square-based nonprofit, which provides free pastry and bakery job training to individuals with a barrier to entry, is now offering soft serve with the help of Molly Moon's Ice Cream. (The nonprofit is founded by two former Molly Moon's employees.) The ice cream will be available on Thursdays and Fridays all summer long.
Rachel's Ginger Beer
Because RGB's name is so synonymous with spicy-sweet soda, it's easy to forget that they also offer soft serve ice cream, available twirled into fizzy floats or cold brew (with an optional shot of booze of your choice), or as a cup with optional toppings like Theo Chocolate syrup, frosted flakes, Reese's peanut butter cups, SKOR bars, and more. They also offer Dole whip, a frosty, refreshing pineapple soft serve treat popularized at Disneyland.
Multiple locations: Capitol Hill, Downtown, University District
Pickup, delivery, dine-in
James Beard Award-winning Lark chef John Sundstrom's pizza parlor makes its own delightful soft serve in-house.
Much to the delight of denizens of the neighborhood looking for a frosty summer treat, the popular Indian street food spot Spice Waala recently rolled out soft serve ice cream at its Capitol Hill location. The restaurant will offer one Indian-inspired flavor at a time and will rotate flavors every few weeks—the inaugural special is a rose cardamom ice cream.
Chefs Muhammad "Fai" Fairoz Rashed and Katie Pohl first started this sweets shop as a mobile operation serving Thai-inspired rolled ice cream and opened a dessert bar in the International District in spring 2020. For the duration of the pandemic, they've also been turning out a range of impeccable pastries, from durian paté à choux to kouign-amann. Now, they're offering soft serve ice cream, with durian and one other rotating flavor, such as pineapple-coconut, available all summer long. You can even get it adorned with toppings like fresh pineapple, honeycomb crunch, li hing mui powder, and a cloud of cotton candy.
ICE CREAM SANDWICHES
Baker Robin Wehl Martin's popular cookie shop will sandwich ice cream from Molly Moon's between any two cookies of your choosing.
Multiple locations: Central District, University District
Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
The ever-popular dessert emporium is most known for its signature molten chocolate cakes, which are served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, but it's also got a selection of other creamy delights, including ice cream sandwiches and milkshakes (both boozy and non-boozy). You can even order warm cookies served with vanilla ice cream, dry-burned caramel or chocolate sauce, and toppings of your choice.
Multiple locations: Ballard and Capitol Hill
Pickup, delivery, dine-in
Founded in 2010, this mobile dessert truck is beloved for its scratch-made ice cream sandwiches, featuring combos like funfetti cookies with vanilla or oatmeal cookies with toasted coconut.