Summertime means ice cream dates are in full effect. The frozen treat is the best ending of any meal, cools you down on a hot summer day and can simply cure any bad day you might be experiencing. For me, I could have ice cream all year round even if there’s a blizzard outside my window; I love it that much and I’m always looking for a new place to try. Since it is National Ice Cream Month and this Sunday, July 19 is National Ice Cream Day, we owe it to everyone to create a list of where you can find the best ice cream in New Jersey. Take a look to see if your favorites made it, or if you’re looking for your go-to place, then good luck with your search!
1. Van Dyk’s Homemade Ice Cream
Being around for 40 years, Van Dyk’s is a staple in Bergen County and offers a selection of homemade flavors ranging from the OG’s to special creations and combos. Also please be prepared when going that you have cash on hand because that’s all they accept (it’s that legit).
2. Applegate Farm
Ice cream always tastes better if it’s from a farm with a history behind it. From 1849 to now, families have been enjoying rich homemade ice cream from this establishment. Their menu contains a long list of traditional and special flavors that you’re bound to fall in love with the freshness and creaminess.
3. Thomas’ Ice Cream Cafe
Artisanal homemade ice cream FTW! Customers can choose from a selection of flavors from cookie dough and coffee Oreo to Cinnabon Bun and hot fudge brownie. Thomas’ is a great date spot too since they offer flatbreads, pizza and coffee so it’s easy to grab a bite before enjoying your dessert!
4. Curly’s Ice Cream
If you find yourself in Passaic County, you better stop by Curly’s Ice Cream. It has that 1950s ice cream parlor look and if you love soft serve ice cream, this is your kind of place. They also have fantastic hard ice cream and sorbets as well!
5. Bischoff’s Confectionery
Step into this fourth-generation ice cream shop and transport back in time with spinning stools and waitstaff wearing paper hats and bowties. Customers can enjoy classic American favorites like cheeseburgers and triple-decker sandwiches then fill up on their famous sundaes or creamy milkshakes.
6. Torico Ice Cream
Jersey City, NJ
To this day since 1968, co-owner Peter Berrios still makes ice cream that only contains real fruit and premium ingredients, no powdered mixes. Torico’s menu contains a huge list of flavors from Asian-inspired, as well as vegan and gluten-free options. They also offer ice cream pies and cakes.
7. Holsten’s Brookdale Confectionery
Now this might be New Jersey’s most known ice cream spot since the “Soprano’s” finale was filmed here—and it’s been around 75 years. Similar to others, you can enjoy a juicy burger or stacked sandwich bite then finish with your favorite ice cream sundae or pair your dinner with an ice cream float!
8. The Original Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard
The Kohr brothers definitely knew what they were doing in 1917—talk about boardwalk treats! If you see a sign with this name, it is so worth the line if there is one. The custard is absolutely delicious but if you’re a hard ice cream fan, you’ll love it too!
9. Nasto’s Ice Cream Co.
This place was the neighborhood spot back in the 1940s and since then has risen to new heights. Nasto’s products are served by some of the top restaurants, hotels and caterers in the tri-state area. In addition to their famous homemade ice cream and Italian ices, guests can also order their line of delicious Italian desserts like Tartufo, Spumoni and more.
10. Stew Leonard’s Ice Cream
As a Connecticut native, I was ecstatic when I heard the news that Stew Leonard’s was opening up a location in Paramus. Grab it before or at the end of your grocery run; even if you aren’t going grocery shopping, you can still hop in to grab their all-natural, farm-fresh. They even sell it in cartons in the store so you can take it home with you!
11. Ernie’s Ice Cream
If you’re looking for decadent and creative combinations of your favorite flavors, Ernie’s is your go-to. For example, peanut butter-lovers need to try the peanut butter pie flavor (peanut butter ice cream with chopped peanut butter cups and graham cracker swirl) and if you love Disney’s Pineapple Dole Whip creation, you can enjoy it here! In addition to their hard-ice cream, they have a huge selection of soft serve and in the fall, they offer seasonal treats like apple crisp, pumpkin flavor and more!
12. Iceberg Ice Cream
Another delicious ice cream hotspot down the Jersey Shore goes to Iceberg. Their menu consists of traditional and mash-up hard ice cream flavors, soft serve and a wide selection of sundaes. They recently collaborated with local business, Colonial Bakery, to create a crumb cake flavor that contains chunks of the bakery’s famous crumb cake recipe with Iceberg’s vanilla ice cream—you can even purchase a crumb cake ice cream sandwich now!
Kilwins has all the flavors you grew up with and puts their own touch on some of them. Instead of Moose Tracks, try Kilwin Tracks. Even their signature Ridgewood Mud ice cream is a must-try because of how delicious it is. Grab an ice cream and take some chocolate-covered apples or pretzels for home!
14. Milk Sugar Love
Jersey City, NJ
Growing up eating Kohr’s Brother’s in Ocean City, New Jersey-owner Emma Taylor always loved ice cream and wanted to create her own shop, so she did. Inspired by her love for travel, she’s created modern flavors like Chocolate Rosemary, Ginger Creamsicle, Carmen Rosa’s Dominican Cake and more. If you’re wondering the reasoning behind the name, you’ll be glad to know it has to do with the quality of the ice cream. Taylor only uses simple ingredients like organic grass-fed cow milk and cream, sugar and love because that’s all ice cream should contain when made.
15. Conrad’s Confectionery
If you’re looking for a real-life Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory that has unbelievable ice cream, this is it. Since Conrad’s opening in 1928 and to this day, their chocolates, hot fudge, whipped cream and syrups are all homemade. Take a stab at their new peanut butter Oreo flavor—it’s the best of both worlds.
16. Ice Cream by Mike
If it’s ranked as the best ice cream in Bergen County, then it’s up to you to figure out if that’s right. Here, you won’t have a ton of options but you’ll find some really good flavors that have the right amount of sweetness and creaminess, and they even found the time to include vegan options.
17. Charlie’s Homemade Ice Cream
Seaside Park, NJ
Shore ice cream parlors know how to do it. Charlie’s is the place to cure your greasy food craving since they offer burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches—then it’s time to cool down with homemade ice cream. If you’re a fan of key lime, then try their signature key lime pie sundae; if not then create your own, or travel back to your childhood and try their homemade drumsticks!
18. Milk & Cream Cereal Bar
Jersey City, NJ
No more crossing state lines to enjoy two childhood food favorites together. This New York-based ice cream shop brought its famous cereal establishment to Jersey City in 2020. Customers can choose from Milk & Cream’s signature creations or make their own; creativity is key in the culinary world.
19. Hoffman’s Ice Cream
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ (& other locations)
What originally started as a Carvel when the franchise expired in 1976, has now turned into Hoffman’s and it’s been nothing but happiness and delicious ice cream ever since. From classic flavors to signature creations, you’ll be in heaven. The Jersey Monkey sounds absolutely delicious (banana ice cream with peanut butter swirl and chocolate chips) and the Strawberry Bon-Bon (strawberry ice cream with hard chocolate swirl) sounds fresh and rich as well.
20. Windy Brow Farms
Fredon Township, NJ
Windy Brow Farms has had roots in Sussex for over 75 years. They’re best-known for supplying NJ with some beautiful produce and plenty of pick-your-own experiences. However, it’s their dairy farm heritage that continues to shine. At Windy Brow, you can find gourmet ice cream combinations made with ingredients from their farm (including pastries) and nearby purveyors. Maple ice cream with chocolate-covered bacon. Burnt honey with roasted salted pistachios. Salty caramel with chunks of chocolate crack cookies. Head to their Instagram to see these treats in all their beauty.
21. The Bent Spoon
When in Princeton, The Bent Spoon is a must-visit. And any local will tell you the same. This artisan, award-winning New Jersey ice cream shop has been nationally recognized for its ambitious flavors. Think seasonal, local and organic ingredients coming together to form the likes of Lavender Mascarpone, Chocolate Ramp and Avocado Lemon. They’re also known for their sublime vegan offerings, including cookies and cream, in addition to refreshing sorbets.
22. Surreal Creamery
East Brunswick, NJ
This New York hotspot has one outpost in New Jersey and you can find it in East Brunswick. Their signature is soft-serve ice cream served in mason jars or their “floateas” that incorporate bubble tea at the base. At Surreal Creamery, you’ll find Asian-inspired flavors such as taro and Vietnamese iced coffee. There are also nostalgic toppings like Fruity Pebbles and Lucky Charms. If you identify as a kid at heart, you’ll want to get the blue vanilla ice cream, the same color of your favorite “Muppet” character.
23. Duffers Restaurant & Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor
Duffer’s doesn’t play around when it comes to ice cream. Well, they actually do—have you seen the size of their sundaes? This family-owned Wildwood institution has been in operation for 47 years and continues to make all their ice cream in-house daily. You can find classics here like a banana split but there’s nothing quite like ordering a bowl of their outrageous creations. Milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches and floats aren’t off the table either.