The Best Ice Cream In Seattle
When you'll stop at nothing for a scoop of something frozen, here's where to go.
Something about enduring winter and drinking too many lava-hot cortados to the face makes a summer cone that much more satisfying. That's why, after exhausting rounds of scientific experimentation and analysis (i.e. eating a bunch of ice cream all at once), we’re ready to share our official Seattle ice cream power rankings. From classic, decades-old spots to hyped new scoop shops that are worth your time, here are the places serving the best ice cream in Seattle right now.
And before you get angry that we missed your favorite soft serve spot, this guide is for scoopable ice cream only. If you are looking for soft serve, we have a guide for that too.
Frankie & Jo's
Frankie & Jo’s makes the best ice cream in Seattle. This 100% plant-based and gluten-free shop is proof that great frozen desserts don’t need dairy or wheat to be the greatest. Every flavor here delivers, from the fermented “crème fraîche” with a rich berry swirl and cubes of delicate lemon cake that we haven't been able to stop thinking about since 2018 to oat milk vanilla with sticky brown sugar blondies and coconut caramel. There are even some options that contain ingredients you’d find on a camping trip, like pine needles and charcoal. Get it all scooped on a homemade maple oat waffle cone, and don’t be surprised if you go on to choose this place over others that use actual milk and cream.
We understand, though, that most ice cream does contain dairy—and the best cow milk-based stuff in town doesn't come from a scoop shop. Enter Lupo, a pizzeria in Fremont where you come for the blistered sourdough pies but stay (please, stay) for the house-churned ice cream. This stuff is flawless, with flavors like custardy sweet cream with vanilla bean flecks, silky double chocolate chip loaded with an ideal surplus of salt, and other simple-but-effective options that range from Herkimer cold brew with crumbled chocolate-coated ladyfingers to the greatest pistachio we have literally ever tasted. "Too full for dessert" is a concept that shouldn't even cross your mind here.
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Salt & Straw
Usually, we like to think we’re cooler than Portland (because we are), but they did a valiant thing by bringing us Salt & Straw. Whether you’re keeping it simple with chocolate gooey brownie flavor or sea salt with caramel ribbons, or going completely off the rails with pear and blue cheese, everything here is something you want to eat. There’s one location on Capitol Hill and one in Ballard, and the lines at both can get ridiculous but are worth it in the end.
Emma & Otto’s Ice Cream
Some of the greatest ice cream in Seattle is actually a short ferry ride away on Bainbridge Island. You’ve probably zipped past this small cottage on Winslow in favor of a certain popular spot with longer lines, but skip that line and trust us—Emma & Otto’s is way better. The beauty of their ice cream rides on its pure simplicity, from a coffee flavor that tastes like mellow cold brew swirled with fresh sweet cream to lilac-colored blackberry scoops we find hard to stop eating. (Well, licking.) A tall stack of this stuff smashed inside a homemade cinnamon waffle cone is the best treat on the island.
Creamy Cone Cafe
You’re coming to this newer Rainier Beach scoop shop for two flavors in particular, which taste great by themselves or stacked up in the same waffle cone: lemon raspberry cheesecake and banana pudding. The cheesecake is tart and tangy, with sweet raspberry swirls and shards of nutty graham crust to give all that citrus a break. Then there’s the banana pudding, which tastes kind of like a spoonable smoothie with chunks of frosty banana and vanilla wafer cookies. Not to mention the staff is really friendly, which is kind of a prerequisite if you’re going to open a dessert establishment.
Husky Deli has been a West Seattle staple for more than 80 years, and with good reason. Their ice cream is perfectly creamy but also light, and there’s a ton of variety—you can get peppermint, caramel pecan fudge, rum-spiked Kona coffee, and blackberry cheesecake. Good luck deciding on a flavor. They also serve Oreo, chocolate Oreo, mint Oreo, and coffee Oreo flavors. Talk about getting your priorities straight.
Canon is a bar, which means that the only way you can eat ice cream here is via one of their creative sippable masterpieces. Whether it's cap'n crunch ice cream scooped on top of a champagne cocktail or a huge mound of popcorn-steeped ice cream in their “movie night float” along with root beer and bourbon, their frozen dairy is velvety, has a great zap of salt, and balances each drink perfectly as it melts.
Laina’s Handcrafted Ice Cream
Operating out of The Stone House Cafe in Rainier Valley, Laina’s is one of the best ice cream shops to embrace summer, and not just because they have a bunch of outdoor seating where you can stare out longingly at Lake Washington mid-lick. More importantly, their small-batch ice cream is just straight-up delicious—especially the vegan coconut milk ube that’s got a super creamy consistency. We’ve also combined scoops of their peanut butter and mixed berry, which ends up tasting like a frozen PB&J. You should also know that you can find small pints for sale at Sam Choy's.
Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream
We all know how your relationship with Molly Moon’s goes. You stroll past and catch the scent of hot waffle cones wafting across the block, something inside of you snaps, and you immediately hang a sharp turn inside and order a triple scoop. Whether or not it was originally your intention to eat some ice cream, we think you made a good decision, because a trip to Molly Moon’s is a Seattle rite of passage. Their flavors focus on local products, like organic Washington peppermint, lavender harvested from the Olympic peninsula, and chocolate spun with melted Theo bars. Look out for seasonal options that usually taste way better than the mainstays, like salted toffee or vegan cherry chocolate chunk.
If there were ice cream shops as good as Sweet Alchemy near every college campus, nobody would graduate. This University District spot has flavors like makgeolli, banana Nutella, and Persian rose, and every mix-in—like chocolate sandwich cookies and brownies—is completely homemade. Our favorite is the Jitter Bars, which is overloaded with caramel and homemade espresso shortbread (something we could have used a whole lot more of in college).
Cupcake Royale makes some of the best cupcakes in the city. So logically, when you crumble said cupcakes into custard mix and freeze it, you’re going to get some of the city’s best ice cream, too—like buttermilk blended with red velvet cake, and a salted caramel ice cream that’s heavy on the salt (in a good way) but also on the dark chocolate cake. Bonus points if you get the aforementioned ice cream scooped on top of an actual cupcake, which is a thing you can truly do here.
This is the best gelato shop in Seattle, and the closest you’ll come to replicating what you ate on your trip to Rome last year. The flavors are all great, from stracciatella to rice—which tastes like the best rice pudding you’ve ever had, but even colder.
Street Treats is a food truck that serves homemade ice cream, cookies, and frozen bars. Everything is made from scratch, and it’s highly likely that your ice cream sandwich will involve ridiculously good chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven.
The gelato at D’Ambrosio is so delicious that you’ll find it in Italian restaurants that don’t feel like making their own. They use local ingredients, like Fremont Brewing Company beer (in the chocolate porter flavor), and the D’Ambrosio space doubles as an espresso bar in case you want an affogato. No matter what, you’ll want a scoop of the biscotti flavor.
Full Tilt is where the tooth fairy would go to take a break on the weekends. It’s an arcade and ice cream parlor with classic flavors like salted caramel and dark chocolate, as well as options like Fruit Loop, Thai iced tea, coffee Oreo, and mint chocolate chip with strawberry and bacon (yeah, that one took a turn there, but we promise it’s good). If your idea of a worthwhile Saturday night is grabbing a cone in lieu of hitting another bar, this is the place.