Dessert First

10 Best Places to Get Your Ice Cream Fix in Metro Phoenix

Ice cream break?
Ice cream break? Lauren Cusimano
The mild winters and hot summers in the Valley make ice cream a perfect dessert year-round. Lucky for us, Phoenix has no shortage of unique places churning out both classic and unusual frozen treats.

Here, we rounded up 10 of the best places in the Valley to get your ice cream fix.


Multiple Locations

Made-from-scratch liquid nitrogen ice cream may not immediately sound delicious, but it is this unusual ice cream-making method, which flash-freezes the cream, that is responsible for the dense, ultra-creamy frozen treats at Creamistry. To get things started at the custom ice cream shop, choose a size and a base: signature "premium" milk base, organic milk base, a water-based sorbet, or nondairy coconut base. Then, select an ice cream flavor, toppings, and mix-ins ranging from cereal-inspired ice cream flavors like Cocoa Puffs to birthday cake to Thai coffee. The best part about Creamistry, aside from the fully customized ice cream options? Watching through a fog of liquid nitrogen as your frozen creation is made.

click to enlarge Udder Delights' ice creams are made from farm fresh ingredients from Superstition Farms. - EVIE CARPENTER
Udder Delights' ice creams are made from farm fresh ingredients from Superstition Farms.
Evie Carpenter

Udder Delights

1385 East Warner Road, Gilbert

This adorable ice cream shop and creamery in Gilbert sells everything from made-in-house ice cream to shakes, Italian sodas, and flavored butters. Go for the shop’s original flavors which include Superstition Farm, a rich blend of chocolate and hazelnut, and seasonal offerings such as peach, watermelon, and avocado. The shop is owned by the folks behind the nearby Superstition Farm, so you can bet that the milk used to make all the products — ice cream included — is fresh as can be. You can also get your Udder fix from the Udder Delights ice cream truck, which makes appearances all over town.

click to enlarge Sweet Republic is a Valley favorite. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Sweet Republic is a Valley favorite.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Sweet Republic

6054 North 16th Street
9160 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale

Remember the days when Sweet Republic used to cruise around town in an awesome orange-and-white converted 1959 ice cream automobile? It retired years ago, but in the meantime, the well-loved ice creamery opened a second location in Phoenix — which we figure is just as good. Known for sweet-savory flavor combos like habanero bacon avocado, strawberry balsamic pepper, and the spicy Sichuan chocolate, Sweet Republic has earned recognition from pretty much every national food publication you can think of. The seasonal and special flavors are always a treat, but some of our go-tos include the salted butter caramel and basil lime sorbet.

click to enlarge There's no cuter place for an ice cream break than MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
There's no cuter place for an ice cream break than MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain.
Lauren Cusimano

MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain

2303 North Seventh Street

Established in 1928, MacAlpine's Soda Fountain in central Phoenix is nothing short of legendary. It’s seen more history go by than nearly any place in town, and keeps tradition alive with a menu that includes shakes, malts, and classic ice cream sodas. Using Thrifty brand ice cream, MacAlpine’s lets customers choose from a list of flavored sodas (everything from almond and amaretto to watermelon and wild cherry) and then plunks a scoop of ice cream right in the middle. If you’ve never experienced this soda fountain classic, prepare to be impressed. You could start with the chocolate soda and vanilla ice cream combo, or go crazy with the Nutty Professor, made with amaretto soda and pistachio ice cream.

click to enlarge Churn, Upward Projects' ice cream parlor. - DAVID B. MOORE
Churn, Upward Projects' ice cream parlor.
David B. Moore


5223 North Central Avenue

With a bright, white design, an adorable argyle-painted hallway, and shelves stocked with old school toys and candy, Churn in central Phoenix mixes modern style with a classic ice cream shop feel, bringing out the inner child in kids and adults. We have to resist the urge to press our nose up against the glass while we agonize over flavor options like Madagascar vanilla, cookies and mint, and Vietnamese coffee. And once we’ve settled on a flavor, there are still plenty of choices to be made: Do you want your ice cream in a cup or a cone? A waffle cone, cake cone, sugar cone, or pretzel cone? You can always have the friendly scoopers build you an ice cream sandwich; you get to choose the ice cream flavor and pick your own cookies.

A tSoynami, the organic “ice cream” treats that are a signature at Nami in Phoenix. - EVIE CARPENTER
A tSoynami, the organic “ice cream” treats that are a signature at Nami in Phoenix.
Evie Carpenter


2014 North Seventh Street

We believe in ice cream for all, which includes those who can’t or don’t eat dairy products. At Nami, vegans and the lactose-intolerant can order tSoft tServe, a soy-based, organic ice cream-like treat created by Damon Brasch, who’s also the man behind Green New American Vegetarian. The central Phoenix shop serves a long menu of tSoynamis, treats that blend the tSoft tServe with everything from organic graham crackers, organic chocolate, and Ricemellow fluff to vegan Cap’n Crunch and fresh strawberries. The simpler Fruity tSoynamis mix the tSoft tServe with mango, berries, banana, and more.

click to enlarge A colorful selection from Scooptacular. - EVIE CARPENTER
A colorful selection from Scooptacular.
Evie Carpenter


5150 West Baseline Road, #102, Laveen

Laveen’s best-kept secret might just be Scooptacular, a small but cheery ice cream shop featuring fun and interesting flavors. At this suburban strip mall ice cream destination, you’ll find made-in-house ice cream including citrus cream cheese,  green apple, taro, red velvet cake, and more. Our favorite might be Scooptacular’s Playdough, a simple but fun-looking flavor made with three different colors of sweet cream-flavored ice cream. The shop also serves shave ice, ice cream cakes, sundaes, and milkshakes.

click to enlarge Melt ice cream flavors are unique. - SAMANTHA POULS
Melt ice cream flavors are unique.
Samantha Pouls


333 East Roosevelt Street

Located in Jobot in central Phoenix, this tiny ice cream shop sources its offerings from local producers including Karen's Creamery & Udder Delights. As such you can expect a pretty diverse selection that can include anything from Fruity Pebbles and lemongrass poppyseed to beer and pretzels and chocolate rose pistachio. What might be an even bigger draw is Melt's unexpected ice cream presentation: your scoop will come in a tiny Chinese to-go container with a fortune cookie perched on top.

Guests can get everything from scoops to sundaes at The Sugar Bowl. - EVIE CARPENTER
Guests can get everything from scoops to sundaes at The Sugar Bowl.
Evie Carpenter

Sugar Bowl

4005 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale is one of the few old-school ice cream parlors left in town. There’s even a counter with swiveling stools where you can belly up and order a classic ice cream sundae. The Old Town destination has been open since 1958 and is mostly known for being the featured in the Family Circus cartoons, which were drawn by late Valley resident Bill Keane. The ice cream menu includes all the classic flavors, which can also be served in just about any way you can imagine — two scoops over a brownie, three scoops in a banana split, even stuffed between two halves of a fluffy cream puff. The shakes and malts are also worthwhile, as is the Camelback Soda, which features old-fashioned soda with vanilla ice cream and a side of soda water.

click to enlarge Many of Novel's ice creams are cereal-themed. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Many of Novel's ice creams are cereal-themed.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Novel Ice Cream

1028 Grand Avenue, #6

Dive into some unconventional ice cream flavors at Novel, a small ice cream joint hidden on the west side of downtown Phoenix. Their flavors range from peppermint mocha to peanut butter and jelly and everything in between. Kick your ice cream creation up a notch by asking for a Dough Melt, a warm doughnut stuffed with your favorite ice cream flavor. Want a waffle instead? Just order the Leslie Knope.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on July 20, 2015. It was updated on November 22, 2019.
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