Ice Cream in New Jersey: 20 Top Picks You Can’t Miss

Torico Ice Cream Best In New Jersey
Torico Ice Cream in Jersey City is one of the best ice cream shops in NJ. Img src: Facebook

Forgive the pun, but finding the best ice cream in New Jersey is truly a matter of taste. We wanted to step away from the “rinse and repeat” articles about New Jersey ice cream shops and put our focus where it really belongs — the opinions of real people.

We didn’t base our top 20 list on popular keywords or trendy articles. Die-hard local customers are the true backbone of any successful ice cream parlor, so we looked for their input wherever possible, as well as trying many of these spots ourselves. If you posted an online review about a NJ ice cream shop or left a comment on another “best ice cream” article, chances are we read it and tried it!

Our list of the top ice cream shops in the Garden State had to be diverse and truly representative of the entire state. We’ve got farmstand custard, Italian ices, sugar free soft serve, decadent sundaes, intriguing flavors and so much more.

NJ Residents Chose Their Top 20 Ice Cream Shops

Our research team used 4 resources to build our list of ice cream shops in the Garden State to try:

  • “Best of” Awards: The awards had to be voted on by local residents and appear in newspapers and magazines.
  • Online Reviews: How did customers rank each local ice cream shop? Were they repeat customers?
  • NJ Community Posts: We went beyond competing articles and looked at what actual New Jerseyans said on Reddit and other community boards.
  • Comments on Other Articles: You posted passionate opinions on some other ice cream articles. “I can’t believe you missed ____!” “Where’s the South Jersey representation?” We heard you, we read your recommendations, and we included them in our ranking system.

It’s important to feature the ice cream shop options in every region of the state. We made sure to include your favorite ice cream shops from North Jersey (6), Central Jersey (5), South Jersey (4) and the Jersey Shore (5).

So, did your go-to ice cream parlor make our list? Let’s find out!

Best Ice Cream in North Jersey

From Jersey City’s finest to a Main Street classic in Bergen County, here are 6 great ice cream spots in North Jersey.

Denville Dairy

Denville Dairy Best Ice Cream Nj
Denville Dairy is one of North Jersey’s best ice cream shops. Img src: Facebook

Denville Dairy has served top quality ice cream to Morris County for over 50 years. This family-owned premium ice cream shop is the cornerstone of Downtown Denville and the winner of numerous awards from newspapers, residents and “Best Of” lists.

Denville Dairy offers 28+ hard ice cream flavors daily, as well as numerous soft ice cream, sugar free and fat free options. They offer nearly 30 wet and dry toppings — their hot fudge is some of the best in the state. It’s a hot spot for pre-ordered ice cream cakes as well.

Expect a short wait during summer months, as Denville Dairy’s line can grow out the door. Skip the line and grab their “Chipwich” style ice cream sandwiches from the freezer, or grab a pre-packaged quarts and ½ gallon tubs of homemade ice cream.

Dover Dairy Maid

Dover Dairy Maid Ice Cream Nj
Dover Dairy Maid is a summer hotspot for Morris County ice cream. Img src: Facebook

Dover Dairy Maid is 10-15 minutes down the road from Denville Dairy, but shouldn’t be overlooked. This ice cream shop (and the adjoining Dover Grill) is a central meeting spot for Dover residents, and offers a great variety of quality hard and soft ice cream flavors.

Try some of Dover Dairy Maid’s more unique flavors of ice cream for a summer treat. The black raspberry soft serve is wonderfully refreshing. Try scoops of dulce de leche and espresso chip hard ice cream for a decadent dessert.

The soft serve specials menu is worth trying, especially the Chocolate Fudge Overload shake. Try a take-home Dream Cream novelty option, like the peanut butter cookie ice cream sandwich.

Guerriero Gelato

Guerriero Gelato Caldwell
Guerriero Gelato serves up award-winning gelato in 5 North Jersey locations. Img by Jersey Digs.

With 5 North Jersey locations, Guerriero Gelato is a rare franchise chain that makes our top 20 list. But with this level of buzz — press clippings from ESPN, the Washington Post and New Jersey Monthly — we had to include this gelato hotspot.

Named “the best gelato in North America” by Gelato Festival Europa, gelato is the star of the show. The signature Blueberry Basil is a must-try, as is the Pistachio Puro. The decadent Espresso Chip has a hint of black raspberry.

Guerriero Gelato also has over 100 years of ice cream making experience. Try unique flavors like Banana Oreo, or keep it simple with their award-winning signature chocolate.

Holsten’s Ice Cream, Chocolate and Restaurant

Holstens Ice Cream Best Nj
Holsten’s is a classic ice cream parlor in Bloomfield, NJ. Img src: Facebook

No matter what you thought of The Sopranos’ finale, there’s no debate — the ice cream parlor and restaurant where it was shot is one of North Jersey’s best. Holsten’s serves up classic ice cream flavors and desserts in Bloomfield, with a great assortment of sundaes, shakes and floats.

Fans of signature malt shop items like the egg cream and malted milkshake will love Holsten’s versions of each. Try the Duster Sundae, with two scoops of ice cream, chocolate syrup and malt powder.

The chocolate chip ice cream flavors at Holsten’s are great. From mint chip to coconut chip, coffee chip to vanilla chip, you can’t lose with any of them.

Torico Ice Cream

Torico Ice Cream Jersey City
Torico Ice Cream is a must-visit ice cream shop in Jersey City. Img src:

Jersey City ice cream lovers flock to Torico’s corner store location on Erie Street for a mix of classic and tropical ice cream flavors. Torico has been keeping Jersey City “todo rico” since 1968 and shows no signs of slowing down.

Opt for Torico’s unique year-round flavors like Ube and Black Sesame for a signature treat. Their ice cream cakes are also very popular and come in a variety of flavors.

Spring and summer are when Torico’s flavor menu comes to life with Puerto Rican inspired ice cream. Soursop, jackfruit, papaya and avocado ice cream are on the seasonal menu, as is the knockout tamarind sorbet.

Van Dyk’s Homemade Ice Cream

Van Dyks Ice Cream Ridgewood
Van Dyk’s Homemade Ice Cream is a favorite of Bergen County residents. Img src:

Van Dyk’s is a longstanding favorite for Bergen County ice cream in Ridgewood. This cash-only establishment opens in March and attracts large crowds throughout the year with its diverse flavor menu and throwback parlor feel.

Van Dyk’s offers an excellent mix of traditional and modern ice cream flavors. They offer multiple vegan ice cream options like Vegan Maraschino Cherry. The classics are wonderful at Van Dyk’s — try the Maple Walnut and Mint Chocolate Chip for starters.

The fruit ice cream flavors at Van Dyk’s are creative and delicious. Blueberry Pie, Raspberry Truffle, and Peach are a few standouts. The shop also offers Peppermint Stick ice cream all year long (not just for the holidays!).

Best Ice Cream in Central Jersey

The 5 ice cream shops in Central NJ listed are as diverse as they are delicious. Want artisanal flavors, fountain shakes, or just some fantastic soft serve? These shops have you covered.

The Bent Spoon

The Bent Spoon Princeton
The Bent Spoon in Princeton creates some of NJ’s most unique gourmet ice cream flavors. Img by Jersey Digs.

Cointreau Cilantro! Beet Basil! Fresh Ricotta! The Bent Spoon in Princeton is home to the most inventive menu of ice cream flavors in New Jersey. Some of their “experiments” have become longstanding favorites, like the delicious Lavender Mascarpone.

Bent Spoon Flavors Princeton
Photo by Jersey Digs.

The sorbet list at The Bent Spoon might be even more adventurous than the ice cream menu. Options like NJ Cantaloupe, Plum Lavender and Lime Shiso bring vibrant fruit flavors that are anything but shy. The Princeton shop is also known for their mini cupcakes, made with free range eggs, Madagascar vanilla and fair trade chocolate.

The Bent Spoon sources ingredients from local farms and apiaries and their menu changes daily, so make sure to check their Instagram. New Jersey honey, cantaloupe and peach are frequently found in their seasonal flavors. But don’t worry — they have Vanilla Bean for classic vanilla ice cream lovers.

Gabriel’s Fountain Kitchen & Creamery

Gabriels Fountain Ice Cream Nj
The beautiful exterior of Gabriel’s Fountain Kitchen & Creamery in Martinsville. Img src: Facebook

Gabriel’s Fountain Kitchen & Creamery in Martinsville is gaining notoriety for its fresh, locally sourced ingredients and wide variety of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan ice cream options. Their commitment to natural ingredients means you won’t find any artificial dyes, either.

The seasonal flavors here are highly inventive. As of this writing, current options like Guava Pastelitos and Salted Cilantro Lime Margarita are on the menu — as is the surprisingly spicy Aztec Chocolate Churro.

Gabriel’s vegan ice cream is made with a coconut milk or fresh fruit base. The menu occasionally rotates, so catch these items while you can. The Red Raspberry Hibiscus vegan sorbet is a winner.

Halo Pub

Halo Pub Princeton Hamilton Ice Cream
Halo Pub serves Halo Farms ice cream in 3 New Jersey locations. Img src: Facebook

Halo Pub is an extension of Halo Farms, makers of 48 premium ice cream flavors and one of Mercer County’s most notable businesses. Since 1975, Halo Farms and Halo Pub have served the area delicious ice cream by the pint, cone and cup.

You can find Halo ice cream in stores, but getting it scooped at Halo Pub is a far better experience — it’s made right down the road in Lawrenceville.

If you’re headed to Hamilton Square or Princeton, grab an espresso with your ice cream. Current menu items that pair well with your coffee include Cashew and Caramel, Butter Pecan and Tahiti Vanilla Bean.

Magnifico’s Ice Cream

Magnificos Ice Cream Route 18 Nj
Magnifico’s Ice Cream has served Middlesex County since 1981. Img src: Facebook

The roadside spot on Route 18 in East Brunswick is one of the most underrated ice cream stands in the Garden State. But true New Jerseyans know that Magnifico’s is the best soft ice cream shop in Central Jersey.

Start with Magnifico’s original Pineapple Dole soft serve. It’s an upgraded version of the classic Dole Whip. Drop by at the right time and treat yourself to excellent rotating ice cream flavors — key lime pie, coconut cream and Nutella are among the best.

Since 1981, Magnifico’s has served up over a dozen daily flavors and Italian ice varieties. Mix and match over 30 toppings, and put them on a classic hot waffle sundae.

OwowCow Creamery

Owowcow Ice Cream Lambertville Nj
OwowCow serves up organic, local ingredients in their homemade ice cream. Img src: Facebook

OwowCow has a funny name, but their ice cream is seriously good. They begin with organic and locally-sourced milk, cream, cane sugar, raw honey and cage-free eggs. Short version? They make all their ice cream from scratch.

OwowCow’s fresh ingredients from 10 local farm partners shine through in flavors made daily by an executive chef. Sweet Honey Cream, Blueberry Lemon and Honey Lavender all pack a “real New Jersey” taste.

OwowCow offers handmade cakes for pre-order in 6”, 9”, 12” and half-sheet sizes. Each cake includes 2 flavors of your choice and can be ordered in advance from the Lambertville location as well as their PA locations.

Best Ice Cream in South Jersey

South Jersey has a rich history of delicious ice cream served at local creameries and custard stands. Here are 4 of our favorites, from Cape May to Pennsville.

Dippy’s Ice Cream

Dippys Ice Cream South Nj
Dippy’s Custard & Ice Cream in Mantua is one of South Jersey’s best ice cream shops. Img src: Facebook

Dippy’s Custard & Ice Cream in Mantua does the classic ice cream stand as well as anyone. Hand dipped cones, soft serve blanketed in sprinkles, milkshakes and loaded ice cream sodas — Dippy’s does them all well.

If you like a “vintage ice cream” experience — pulling into the parking lot, walking up to the window and hanging out with your ice cream — Dippy’s is your South Jersey spot. They have an excellent assortment of ice cream and custard flavors to try.

Go classic at Dippy’s with flavors like Rum Raisin, Cookie Dough and Cherry Vanilla. They also serve low fat peach and strawberry frozen yogurt flavors and 10+ flavors of Italian ice.

Hilltop Creamery

Hilltop Ice Cream South Jersey
Hilltop Creamery delivers great ice cream and vintage vibes in Blackwood, NJ. Img src: Facebook

Hilltop Creamery is an outstanding vintage walk-up ice cream stand on Black Horse Pike in Blackwood. They offer 24+ flavors of soft serve ice cream, gelati, and water ice — and if you’re hungry, they serve Nathan’s jumbo hot dogs too.

The flavor selection at Hilltop Creamery is massive — you could try a new flavor of ice cream and Italian ice every day, and it’d take you over 3 months to get through the menu. Get your favorite in a Worms in Dirt sundae for a fresh take on the classic “dirt cup” dessert.

For us, the soft serve at Hilltop Creamery is where to start. There are some unique and delicious flavors — try Peanut Butter & Jelly, Apricot, Chocolate Jalapeno and Chai Tea, among others!

Ice Cream Station

Ice Cream Station Cape May Nj
Ice Cream Station is beloved by Cape May visitors and locals alike. Img src: Facebook

Ice Cream Station in Cape May Courthouse provides homemade ice cream and authentic South Jersey water ice. If the water ice menu wasn’t enough to prove you’re at the South Jersey Shore, Ice Cream Station also has pineapple and strawberry Dole Whip.

Ice Cream Station Menu Cape May
The menu at Ice Cream Station. Photo by Jersey Digs.

The sundae list here is sprawling and wonderful — it says Kiddie Sundaes, but adults shouldn’t be shy about trying one. The Green Gremlin is a must-try sundae for mint chocolate chip lovers. If you like sweet and salty combined, the Pretzel Bliss sundae with caramel pretzel ice cream is for you.

There are 40+ ice cream toppings to choose from at Ice Cream Station which range from sugary candy to savory snacks. You won’t find many ice cream shops that offer Fruity Pebbles, Ferrero Rocher, pretzel sticks, malt powder and gummi worms on the same toppings menu.

Pennsville Farm Market and Custard Stand

Pennsville Custard Stand South Nj
Visit the charming Pennsville Custard Stand and Farm Market in South Jersey. Img src: Facebook

Pennsville Custard Stand is a family-owned shop that was founded in 1952. They make soft ice cream, hard ice cream, custard and frozen yogurt using farm-fresh strawberries, bananas and more.

The custard stand exists as an extension of Pennsville Farm Market, ensuring their ice cream is always fresh and handmade. Even the flavors without fruit taste great — their Cinnamon Sugar Cookie is worth the trip.

Customers can get cups and cones at the custard stand, or grab a pint or quart to go. Ask about their rotating selection of small batch homemade ice cream flavors.

Best Ice Cream at the Jersey Shore

Nothing tops off a long day down the shore better than homemade ice cream. If you want an authentic Jersey Shore ice cream experience, skip the boardwalk franchise stands and check out these 5 amazing shops.

Cookman Creamery

Cookman Creamery Asbury Park Nj
Asbury Park’s best ice cream is at Cookman Creamery. Img src: Facebook

Cookman Creamery is a community hub in the revitalized Asbury Park, with awesome late night hours (open until 10 pm Sunday-Thursday, 11 pm Friday and Saturday). This fun, pastel-lit ice cream shop offers traditional and vegan ice cream options.

Cookman’s vegan ice cream menu is incredibly extensive — as of this writing, they offer 15 plant-based flavors like Lion’s Mane Coffee, Carrot Cake, and Key Lime Pie. 12 of these vegan options are also gluten-free.

The traditional ice cream menu at Cookman’s Creamery is equally good, with fun flavors like Lemon Cookie, Fruity Pebbles and PB Monster. Order your milkshake with organic whole milk or creamy oat milk.

Days Ice Cream

Days Ice Cream Jersey Shore
Grab a scoop or 2 at Days Ice Cream’s 2 Jersey Shore locations. Img src: Facebook

As we researched comments on other articles, one Jersey Shore ice cream shop stood out: Days Ice Cream is regarded as one of the state’s oldest and best parlors. How old? Try 138 years (and counting!).

While Days has extended to a second Asbury Park location, the original shop on Pitman Avenue in Ocean Grove is the place to go. The vintage window display, red signage and baby blue walls feel like you’re transported back in time.

Treat your Days Ice Cream order like you’re at an old fashioned soda shop. Try a heaping ice cream sundae, a signature ice cream float, or a soft serve cone dipped in sprinkles — or is it jimmies?

Gracie and the Dudes Homemade Ice Cream

Gracie The Dudes Homemade Ice Cream
Gracie and the Dudes was voted best ice cream in Sea Bright, NJ. Img src: Facebook

Venture to Sea Bright in Monmouth County for super premium homemade ice cream at Gracie and the Dudes. They have a cool name and even cooler decor — we love the oversized blue and white striped walls and brightly colored chairs.

Do you love sprinkles? Jimmies? Whatever you call them, they’re unlimited at Gracie and the Dudes for 60 cents. Put them on top of your parfait, which is loaded with decadent hot fudge.

Online reviews note the black raspberry ice cream as particularly good. Grab a pint to go — there’s a fun cartoon of the staff on every container!

Hoffmans Ice Cream and Yogurt

Hoffmans Ice Cream Point Pleasant Jersey Shore
No Jersey Shore trip is complete without a visit to Hoffman’s Ice Cream. Img src: Facebook

Hoffman’s Ice Cream is a tradition for Jersey Shore vacationers and locals alike. If you aren’t in Spring Lake or Point Pleasant Beach, perhaps you’ve seen their traveling ice cream truck in Belmar, Lavallette or Sea Girt.

With nearly 40 homemade flavors, you’ll never run out of ice cream options at Hoffman’s. One of their newest flavors, Lemon Pie, is certainly worth trying. Caramel Nut Cluster and Strawberry Bon Bon are other favorites.

We love their odes to the Jersey Shore, like Jersey Monkey (banana ice cream with peanut butter swirl and chocolate chips) and the Salty Shipwreck (vanilla cookie fudge swirl with waffle cone pieces and caramel truffle bites).

Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream

Springers Ice Cream Stone Harbor Jersey Shore
Stone Harbor’s favorite ice cream shop is Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream. Img src: Facebook

Springer’s in Stone Harbor dates back to the Prohibition era, and its homemade ice cream still endures as a local favorite. Some of their flavors are playful nudges to Prohibition — Cease & Desist, Prohibition Tradition and Drunken Cherry, to name a few.

The streets are packed outside Springer’s in summer, and it creates a fun atmosphere. The massive waffle cones are a local favorite, and frequent customers rave about the Banana and Butterscotch Brickle flavors.

The more adventurous you get with the menu, the more you’ll be rewarded at Springer’s. The Teaberry ice cream is outstanding, as is Almond Amaretto. Take note: Springer’s is cash only.

What’s Your Favorite Ice Cream in New Jersey?

Are you a fan of traditional homemade ice cream and milkshakes? Want to try a unique flavor or special edition sundae? Or do you want an award-winning creamery to make your custom ice cream cake? Whatever your sweet tooth wants, you’re never far from great ice cream in New Jersey.

Did we miss your local ice cream shop? Want to show love to a long-time favorite or a great new frozen yogurt spot? Leave a comment!

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