The 18 Best Places for Ice Cream in Metro Phoenix

posted by Mountain Man Jay -

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Ice Cream Sammies in Chandler makes legit sandwiches.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Ice Cream Sammies 135 West Boston Street, Chandler480-739-9221Using just milk, sugar, and cream, this shop raises the bar on the traditional ice cream sandwich. For health nuts and food purists, there’s an added plus: the Sammies folks use no added anything – not even eggs – in their tasty ice creams, which are sandwiched between two warm, homemade cookies. Some made-to-order favorites include pumpkin spice ice cream slathered on a couple of sugar cookies, and the more elaborate combo of coconut ice cream crammed between two giant snickerdoodles.

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The best thing for a hot AZ day.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Tropical Sno16835 North 40th Street480-374-0836The heck with cherry ice. This north Phoenix place jams more than 20 snow cone flavors onto an always-changing menu. Fan favorites include the Paradise Island (flavors of guava, mango, and coconut cream) and Tiger’s Blood (strawberry juice and coconut nectar). Each can be topped with sweet cream to create a snow cone-ice cream hybrid.

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Realeza Michoacana has a wealth of color (and choices).

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Realeza Michoacana 2520 North 16th Street602-271-4527Mexican ice cream is trendy as anything right now, and the menu here – which includes raspados (shaved ice) and homemade paletas (an icy fruit drink) can be spiced up with ingredients like lime-infused mango chili. Try the overflowing coconut raspado topped with pina colada ice cream, one of several house specialties.

Cafe ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale855-441-2423There are many ways to enjoy ice cream, and one of those ways is as a milkshake. Cafe ZuZu's Show Stopper is a stunning ever-changing creation that you’ll stand in line for. Depending on the time of year, this frosty treat has been known to combine peaches and cream or chocolate and mint. And the Show Stopper to end all Show Stoppers? Something called the Banana Cream Pie. These aren’t just ice cream shakes; they’re an institution — each of them served with an edible straw.

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Rolls for days.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Nomadic Ice Cream Rolls5750 West Glendale Avenue, Glendale623-826-8905This isn’t just ice cream – this is ice cream as performance art. While you watch, ice cream chef Nino McCurley pours, chops, and shapes custom ice cream flavors into four large rolls that will, once you’ve relocated it to your mouth, make your day. McCurley blends and chops a pile of your favorite toppings, so that every sweet, cold bite is full of flavor.

MacAlpine's Soda Fountain2302 North Seventh Street602-262-5545MacAlpine's has been around since 1928, and while the shop doesn't make its own ice cream, it goes one better: MacAlpine’s serves Thrifty ice cream, that holy grail of ice cream connoisseurs. Malts and sodas are this mainstay’s specialty, and happy diners can choose from summer fruit flavors like wild cherry and watermelon. Feeling brave? Check out the Nutty Professor, made with amaretto soda and pistachio ice cream.

RDQ Photography

Snoh Ice Shavery801 North Second Street602-358-7177914 East Camelback Road, #4B602-888-4063Snoh serves a southern Chinese-style shaved ice known in its homeland as BaoBing. Ingredients like Lychee and tea extracts are used to make the "ice," which is a cross between shaved ice and ice cream. This yummy mixture is then flash-frozen to create a velvety, snow-like texture. Try unique combinations such as Mountain of Dew, featuring honeydew-flavored snoh topped with cinnamon toast crunch, mochi balls, and caramel.

Creamistry100 East Camelback Road, #150And other Valley locations602-368-8147Creamistry uses liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze its ice cream, a trick that gives it a smoother taste. Diners start with a base flavor: milk; organic milk; water-based sorbet; or a non-dairy coconut base that’s vegan and gluten-free. Add to that flavorings that range from the deliciously ordinary (chocolate) to the outrageous (French Toast Crunch).

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Sweet Republic's pumpkin ice cream begins with pumpkin purée cooked with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and other dusky flavorings.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Sweet Republic 6054 North 16th Street602-535-59909160 East Shea Boulevard, #105, Scottsdale480-248-6979These guys have been serving ice cream for a decade now, and all along everything they offer has been homemade – even the stuff that flavors their ice creams, like the marshmallows and the slow-stirred caramel. Check out flavors like Strawberry Buttermilk, White Roses, and Peaberry Espresso. Or throw caution to the wind and try all three on a handmade cone.

Melt333 East Roosevelt Street623-213-2119Melt is not for ice cream lovers whose palates stop at chocolate and vanilla. For those willing to try original creations like Matcha Nutella, Green Tea, or Cap’n Crunch in a leftover cereal milk base, this is the place for you. Don’t see what you want? Owner Pablo Sapien is open to new flavor suggestions from walk-in customers.

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Fried Ice and Bubble Tea flash-freezes ice cream when you order.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Fried Ice and Bubble Tea1575 East Camelback Road480-828-2608The house specialty here is ice cream rolls buried in mounds of fresh toppings. The Hulk, for example, offers a strawberry and green tea ice cream base, topped with graham crackers, Oreos, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. Nutella lovers will want to sample the Crazy Monkey, made with a banana, Nutella, and strawberry crush, then topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.

The Sugar Bowl4005 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale480-946-0051The Sugar Bowl has 60 years of ice cream experience to its name. The ultimate east valley neighborhood ice cream shop opened in 1958 and hasn't stopped scooping since. Standard favorites celebrating their 60th birthday include the Camelback Soda, an old-fashioned soda pop confection buried in your favorite ice cream flavor and drowned in soda water. Another oldie-but-goodie: the Super Soda, smothered in marshmallow, caramel, or hot fudge sauce.

Tins of traditional gelato and sorbetto at Luna Gelateria.

Chris Malloy

Luna Gelateria8977 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale480-907-5202Travel to Italy without leaving Arizona. Led by Pomo Pizzeria’s Stefano Fabbri, this place offers up a traditional Italian vibe. Try the Sicilian pistachio or the Italian stracciatella made with a milk base and chocolate shavings. Luna uses high-end Frigomat GX8 batch freezers that churn gelato while you watch, resulting in a smoother, warmer gelato. Bravo.

Churn 5223 North Central Avenue602-279-8024There’s a reason there’s always a line snaking out of Churn’s front door, even on weeknights. The young, friendly staff will help you make your own creations with ice cream flavors like strawberry, peaches and honey, and eggnog, then top ’em with an array of candy and nut toppings. Sundaes fans will want to check out the Kitchen Sink (peanut butter ice cream, bananas, a salted caramel drizzle, whipped cream, and chocolate chunks), and no one should leave this place without trying the sweet and salty combination of a scoop of ice cream trapped in one of Churn's handmade pretzel cones.

A Lesley Knope waffle sandwich (left) with strawberry and bourbon caramel toffee crunch ice cream, and The Dough Melt (right), a glazed doughnut stuffed with the shop's bright blue Cookie Monster ice cream.

Patricia Escarcega

Novel Ice Cream 1028 Grand Avenue, #6602-373-2235Ice cream chef Brandon Douglas travels the world looking to be inspired by unique flavors. His Fat Elvis pays tribute to the King of Rock and Roll with peanut butter, banana, and bacon, all dumped into one big ice cream bowl. All Douglas’s homemade ice creams can be had in traditional cones or cups, but he’s also happy to plop your treat on top of a homemade doughnut or waffle.

Mighty Moo 11122 West Alabama Avenue, Youngtown623-214-6532Mighty Moo looks like a traditional neighborhood ice cream parlor, but it offers not-so-traditional flavors. Don’t believe us? Check out house specialty the Frankenstein, made with five layers of whatever flavors Moo counter help has left over. Don’t see what you want? No problem. Mighty Moo can make a custom flavor in just a few hours.

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A magical take on ice cream.

Jacob Tyler Dunn

Scoop and Joy Lounge9397 East Shea Boulevard #110, Scottsdale480-889-4901This is the place you’ll find flavors like guava cheesecake, pink salted caramel, and coconut pineapple. You’ll also discover made-to-order cookie, brownie and doughnut ice cream sandwiches. Not enough fun? How about this: Scoop and Joy’s master chefs shape their ice cream into piglets, snowmen, and other fun critters.

Nami2014 North Seventh Street602-258-6264Health-conscious people head here for delicious vegan-friendly soy ice cream creations known as tSoynamis. They’re sort of a Dairy Queen Blizzard, but vegan-friendly and created with healthy ingredients like cane sugar, soy and coconut milk. Regulars know they can customize their dessert with as many homemade fillings as they want, or just head straight for a menu item like the popular Banana Cream Pie, made with fresh bananas and vanilla wafers mixed into a vegan-based soft serve that’s topped with homemade whipped cream.

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