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two scoops of Van Leeuwen’s Fior De Latte Chip on a sugar cone.
Ice cream shops like Van Leeuwen are offering unique flavors that make ice cream OK any time of day.
Van Leeuwen

21 Essential Houston Ice Cream Shops

Ice cream, sorbet, gelato — it's all delicious.

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Ice cream shops like Van Leeuwen are offering unique flavors that make ice cream OK any time of day.
| Van Leeuwen

Because Texas is a magical place, ice cream is an appropriate treat all year long. But now that spring has sprung, 'tis the season for enjoying as much of this creamy frozen treat as often as you damn well please.

While thick and classic custard and sophisticated sorbets will surely satisfy a sweet tooth, Houston’s ice cream scene runs the gamut with killer gelato, ice cream sandwiches, wacky and colorful toppings, and plenty of flavors that go well beyond the traditional chocolate and vanilla — some of which make ice cream for breakfast seem all the more acceptable.

Though we’ve removed Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Smoosh, and Cloud 10 Creamery from the list, ice cream shops like Bubble Egg, Rollie’s Frozen Custard, Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream, D’Lites Houston, Cool Cow Creamery, and Dolce Neve Gelato are scooping up some of the most delicious frozen treats to help you cool down.

Here are 18 spots that will have you screaming for ice cream.

Is your favorite ice cream spot missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

D'Lites Houston

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If you’re seeking soft serve that doesn’t spike your sugar levels, D’Lites promises a low carb, low sugar and gluten-free option that doesn’t skimp on flavor. While chocolate and vanilla flavors are on standby daily, the shop updates its menu weekly, with options to look forward to like cake batter, “Baby Ruth,” and orange dreamsicle.

Fat Cat Creamery

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Traditional flavors get a Texan upgrade at this popular creamery, known for its flavors like milk chocolate ice cream made with Convict Hill oatmeal stout, and coffee made with beans from Houston’s own Amaya roasters. Dairy-free? Swing by for a scoop of the vegan chai tea coconut flavor.

Dolce Neve Gelato

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Since opening in Houston in 2017, this Austin-based gelateria has been serving up more than a dozen flavors daily. While guests can count on delicious mainstays like Madagascar vanilla and its crema Dolce Neve — a custard with lemon zest, lovers of the frozen treat can also look forward to a rotation of flavors and seasonal scoops, like the perfect-for-summer watermelon sorbet and the ricotta, honey and pistachio gelato.

Tampico Refresqueria

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This tiny stand in the Heights creates some of the most refreshing raspas and frozen mango drinks in town. Score a fruity raspa topped with ice cream or chamoy, then snack on Fritos chili pie and elotes for a bit of savory balance.

Honeychild's Sweet Creams

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Not technically ice cream, but this creamy custard is good enough to hold its own amongst the ice cream. These custards, made with organic local ingredients, are churned with decadent flavors like buttermilk pie, pecan praline, peach cobbler, and dewberry. Score your own carton at Antidote Coffee or either Phoenicia location.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

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Who says you can’t have ice cream for breakfast? At Jeni’s, it’s encouraged. Go for a pint of the “Everything Bagel” flavor, which consists of a cream cheese ice cream, mixed with buttery streusel sesame and poppy seeds, and a hint of onion and garlic. Or start off with a scoop of the classic gooey butter cake or refreshing frosé as you wander around a bustling City Centre.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

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The newest of Houston’s three Van Leeuwen ice cream shops, this Montrose ice cream shop offers an array of dairy and vegan ice creams, with clever combinations that are bound to mystify your mouth. Spring flavors include a vegan lemon creamsicle; royal wedding cake, made with sweet cream cheese ice cream, elderflower extract, and chunks of lemon sponge cake; and a blue spirulina almond ice cream swirled with matcha green tea ice cream in honor of upcoming Earth Day.

Van Leeuwen CEO Ben Van Leeuwen serves up four cups of ice cream in pink “Leeuwen” cups. The flavors are vegan yuzu sake, blood orange creamsicle, blue jasmine tea, and fior de latte chip.
Van Leeuwen serves a variety of dairy and vegan ice creams, cookie sandwiches, sundaes and milkshakes.
Van Leeuwen

Amorino

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Scoops of gelato and sorbet are transformed into stunning floral creations at this European export in the River Oaks District. In even better news, the gelato at Amorino tastes as good as it looks.

Magnolia's Ice Cream & More

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Known for its crazy confections piled high with candy and infused with wacky flavors, Magnolia’s Ice Cream & More is definitely doing the most. Choose a few scoops of ice cream (vanilla is an excellent blank canvas) and add fresh fruit for a healthy vibe, or plenty of gummi worms, sour candy, and a thick drizzle of chamoy, if sugar is what you crave.

orange and green scoops of ice cream topped with gummy worms and a red sauce.
Magnolia’s Ice Cream & More is known for its outrageous combinations.
Magnolia’s

SweetCup Artisan Gelato & Espresso

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This Montrose sweet shop offers frozen treats in a variety of inventive flavors that are constantly changing, including coconut rum gelato and coconut curry cashew sorbet.

Amy's Ice Creams

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This “quintessentially” Austin ice cream company comes to Houston with a host of flavors like Mexican vanilla, Belgian chocolate, and Oreo, with mix-ins, like Fruity Pebbles cereal, fruits, Ginger Snaps, and a variety of chocolate candies.

Booza’s first U.S. location here in Houston will make you rethink your definition of ice cream with its handmade, super stretchy Mediterranean version, which comes in compelling flavors like the traditional ashta, Turkish coffee, rosewater, and rainbow.

Tinys Milk and Cookies

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This sweet shop founded on Houston’s favorite cookie also serves excellent ice cream. The milk & cookies is an obvious choice, and dairy-free coconut milk chocolate ice cream is a quality option for folks who eschew dairy.

9 days until it’s officially summer, even though it already feels like it!

A post shared by Milk and Cookies (@tinysmilkandcookies) on

Bubble Egg

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Switch up the standard cone and opt for a bubble waffle, with an assortment of ice cream flavors, like Thai tea, pistachio almond, and birthday cake, with a made-to-order waffle with your choice of filling, and toppings. Looking for another way to cool off? This dessert shop also features an assortment of mocktails, milk and fruit teas, and slushies.

An Instagram wonderland in Asiatown, Aqua S is known for its blue hued, salty-sweet sea salt soft serve. There’s also a rotating flavor on offer that changes frequently, and each cone can be crowned with a halo of cotton candy or shower of Pop Rocks for the perfect shot for the ‘gram.

A cloud of cotton candy topped with green soft serve ice cream.
Aqua S’s ice cream wonderland offers cold concoctions that are pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds.
Aqua S

Hank's Ice Cream

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Hank’s produces ice cream the old-fashioned way by hand and using fresh ingredients. The Houston staple showcases eighteen flavors daily, with choices rotating from a list of nearly 100 flavors. And via their website, apparently Queen Bey, "always gets banana pudding," when she's in town.

Brain Freeze

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On a hot day in Houston, this Pasadena’s artful snow-cones, brightly-decorated shakes and ice cream creations will do the trick. Try the “Tropical Piñalada,” which is poured in pineapple and topped with colorful, fruit-shaped candies, or the “MangoSwim Time,” a mango sorbet topped with chamoy, fresh mangos and candy — all in a taijin-rimmed mason jar.

Red Circle Ice Cream

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With three Texas locations, including Pearland and Houston, Red Circle gets wild with its frozen treats. The ice cream company offers more than 100 rotating flavors like “Elmo Crunch,” “Donkey Kong,” durian, Thai tea, and its limited-time-only crawfish flavor — plus, an assortment of heart-shaped churros and Hong Kong-style egg waffles that serve as sugary complements.

Cool Cow Creamery

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Cool down after strolling the Kemah boardwalk at this mom-and-pop ice cream shop, which has loads of creamy, rich, and rotating flavors, plus toppings and delicious desserts like brownies and cookies that can make. Finding it hard to choose just one flavor? Try the skateboard flight, which comes with an assortment of 12 flavors on, you guessed it — a mini skateboard.

Rollie's Frozen Custard

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This family-owned business will ensure you get your custard fix, with a rotation of flavors that change monthly, plus a host of indulgent sundae combinations, like the “Elvis,” custard topped with banana, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff, and a variety of combos topped with hot fudge, like the “Red Cookie” sundae, which is topped with strawberries, cookie dough, and fudge.

Hey Mikey's Ice Cream

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If spending a weekend in Galveston, Mikey’s promises some of the best ice cream on the island. Opt for a decorated sundae or some scoops of your favorite flavor in a cake, sugar, or waffle cone. Go for a sippable version with one of their hand-spun shakes, or bite into your dessert with the “home-cut” panini-pressed donut that’s stuffed with your choice of ice cream. Sharing? Opt for the $12 ultimate naughty nacho — a mound of four scoops of ice cream, with your choice of four toppings, waffle chips for scooping, whipped cream, and nuts.

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D'Lites Houston

If you’re seeking soft serve that doesn’t spike your sugar levels, D’Lites promises a low carb, low sugar and gluten-free option that doesn’t skimp on flavor. While chocolate and vanilla flavors are on standby daily, the shop updates its menu weekly, with options to look forward to like cake batter, “Baby Ruth,” and orange dreamsicle.

Fat Cat Creamery

Traditional flavors get a Texan upgrade at this popular creamery, known for its flavors like milk chocolate ice cream made with Convict Hill oatmeal stout, and coffee made with beans from Houston’s own Amaya roasters. Dairy-free? Swing by for a scoop of the vegan chai tea coconut flavor.

Dolce Neve Gelato

Since opening in Houston in 2017, this Austin-based gelateria has been serving up more than a dozen flavors daily. While guests can count on delicious mainstays like Madagascar vanilla and its crema Dolce Neve — a custard with lemon zest, lovers of the frozen treat can also look forward to a rotation of flavors and seasonal scoops, like the perfect-for-summer watermelon sorbet and the ricotta, honey and pistachio gelato.

Tampico Refresqueria

This tiny stand in the Heights creates some of the most refreshing raspas and frozen mango drinks in town. Score a fruity raspa topped with ice cream or chamoy, then snack on Fritos chili pie and elotes for a bit of savory balance.

Honeychild's Sweet Creams

Not technically ice cream, but this creamy custard is good enough to hold its own amongst the ice cream. These custards, made with organic local ingredients, are churned with decadent flavors like buttermilk pie, pecan praline, peach cobbler, and dewberry. Score your own carton at Antidote Coffee or either Phoenicia location.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Who says you can’t have ice cream for breakfast? At Jeni’s, it’s encouraged. Go for a pint of the “Everything Bagel” flavor, which consists of a cream cheese ice cream, mixed with buttery streusel sesame and poppy seeds, and a hint of onion and garlic. Or start off with a scoop of the classic gooey butter cake or refreshing frosé as you wander around a bustling City Centre.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen CEO Ben Van Leeuwen serves up four cups of ice cream in pink “Leeuwen” cups. The flavors are vegan yuzu sake, blood orange creamsicle, blue jasmine tea, and fior de latte chip.
Van Leeuwen serves a variety of dairy and vegan ice creams, cookie sandwiches, sundaes and milkshakes.
Van Leeuwen

The newest of Houston’s three Van Leeuwen ice cream shops, this Montrose ice cream shop offers an array of dairy and vegan ice creams, with clever combinations that are bound to mystify your mouth. Spring flavors include a vegan lemon creamsicle; royal wedding cake, made with sweet cream cheese ice cream, elderflower extract, and chunks of lemon sponge cake; and a blue spirulina almond ice cream swirled with matcha green tea ice cream in honor of upcoming Earth Day.

Van Leeuwen CEO Ben Van Leeuwen serves up four cups of ice cream in pink “Leeuwen” cups. The flavors are vegan yuzu sake, blood orange creamsicle, blue jasmine tea, and fior de latte chip.
Van Leeuwen serves a variety of dairy and vegan ice creams, cookie sandwiches, sundaes and milkshakes.
Van Leeuwen

Amorino

Scoops of gelato and sorbet are transformed into stunning floral creations at this European export in the River Oaks District. In even better news, the gelato at Amorino tastes as good as it looks.

Magnolia's Ice Cream & More

orange and green scoops of ice cream topped with gummy worms and a red sauce.
Magnolia’s Ice Cream & More is known for its outrageous combinations.
Magnolia’s

Known for its crazy confections piled high with candy and infused with wacky flavors, Magnolia’s Ice Cream & More is definitely doing the most. Choose a few scoops of ice cream (vanilla is an excellent blank canvas) and add fresh fruit for a healthy vibe, or plenty of gummi worms, sour candy, and a thick drizzle of chamoy, if sugar is what you crave.

orange and green scoops of ice cream topped with gummy worms and a red sauce.
Magnolia’s Ice Cream & More is known for its outrageous combinations.
Magnolia’s

SweetCup Artisan Gelato & Espresso

This Montrose sweet shop offers frozen treats in a variety of inventive flavors that are constantly changing, including coconut rum gelato and coconut curry cashew sorbet.

Amy's Ice Creams

This “quintessentially” Austin ice cream company comes to Houston with a host of flavors like Mexican vanilla, Belgian chocolate, and Oreo, with mix-ins, like Fruity Pebbles cereal, fruits, Ginger Snaps, and a variety of chocolate candies.

Booza

Booza’s first U.S. location here in Houston will make you rethink your definition of ice cream with its handmade, super stretchy Mediterranean version, which comes in compelling flavors like the traditional ashta, Turkish coffee, rosewater, and rainbow.

Tinys Milk and Cookies

This sweet shop founded on Houston’s favorite cookie also serves excellent ice cream. The milk & cookies is an obvious choice, and dairy-free coconut milk chocolate ice cream is a quality option for folks who eschew dairy.

9 days until it’s officially summer, even though it already feels like it!

A post shared by Milk and Cookies (@tinysmilkandcookies) on

Bubble Egg

Switch up the standard cone and opt for a bubble waffle, with an assortment of ice cream flavors, like Thai tea, pistachio almond, and birthday cake, with a made-to-order waffle with your choice of filling, and toppings. Looking for another way to cool off? This dessert shop also features an assortment of mocktails, milk and fruit teas, and slushies.

Aqua S

A cloud of cotton candy topped with green soft serve ice cream.
Aqua S’s ice cream wonderland offers cold concoctions that are pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds.
Aqua S

An Instagram wonderland in Asiatown, Aqua S is known for its blue hued, salty-sweet sea salt soft serve. There’s also a rotating flavor on offer that changes frequently, and each cone can be crowned with a halo of cotton candy or shower of Pop Rocks for the perfect shot for the ‘gram.

A cloud of cotton candy topped with green soft serve ice cream.
Aqua S’s ice cream wonderland offers cold concoctions that are pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds.
Aqua S

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Hank's Ice Cream

Hank’s produces ice cream the old-fashioned way by hand and using fresh ingredients. The Houston staple showcases eighteen flavors daily, with choices rotating from a list of nearly 100 flavors. And via their website, apparently Queen Bey, "always gets banana pudding," when she's in town.

Brain Freeze

On a hot day in Houston, this Pasadena’s artful snow-cones, brightly-decorated shakes and ice cream creations will do the trick. Try the “Tropical Piñalada,” which is poured in pineapple and topped with colorful, fruit-shaped candies, or the “MangoSwim Time,” a mango sorbet topped with chamoy, fresh mangos and candy — all in a taijin-rimmed mason jar.

Red Circle Ice Cream

With three Texas locations, including Pearland and Houston, Red Circle gets wild with its frozen treats. The ice cream company offers more than 100 rotating flavors like “Elmo Crunch,” “Donkey Kong,” durian, Thai tea, and its limited-time-only crawfish flavor — plus, an assortment of heart-shaped churros and Hong Kong-style egg waffles that serve as sugary complements.

Cool Cow Creamery

Cool down after strolling the Kemah boardwalk at this mom-and-pop ice cream shop, which has loads of creamy, rich, and rotating flavors, plus toppings and delicious desserts like brownies and cookies that can make. Finding it hard to choose just one flavor? Try the skateboard flight, which comes with an assortment of 12 flavors on, you guessed it — a mini skateboard.

Rollie's Frozen Custard

This family-owned business will ensure you get your custard fix, with a rotation of flavors that change monthly, plus a host of indulgent sundae combinations, like the “Elvis,” custard topped with banana, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff, and a variety of combos topped with hot fudge, like the “Red Cookie” sundae, which is topped with strawberries, cookie dough, and fudge.

Hey Mikey's Ice Cream

If spending a weekend in Galveston, Mikey’s promises some of the best ice cream on the island. Opt for a decorated sundae or some scoops of your favorite flavor in a cake, sugar, or waffle cone. Go for a sippable version with one of their hand-spun shakes, or bite into your dessert with the “home-cut” panini-pressed donut that’s stuffed with your choice of ice cream. Sharing? Opt for the $12 ultimate naughty nacho — a mound of four scoops of ice cream, with your choice of four toppings, waffle chips for scooping, whipped cream, and nuts.

Related Maps