San Antonio’s Best Ice Cream Shops

I scream, you scream, and in San Antonio where the summers hit temperatures as hot as the surface of the sun, WE ALL scream for ice cream. It’s no secret that San Antonio is hot. Like, really hot. And while the businesses of the city do a killer job of air conditioning their buildings to sometimes arctic conditions, it isn’t always enough. After a long day of slogging through the city in 100+ degree temperatures, the thing that really hits the spot is a cold, creamy scoop of flawless ice cream. So, we have eaten our way through countless cones and cups in SA’s thriving ice cream scene to be able to share with you a map of San Antonio’s best ice cream shops where you can cool off and chill out. 

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
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A Map of San Antonio’s Best Ice Cream Shops

Lick Honest Ice Creams

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Artisanal Choice

Lick was born from the ice cream dream of two friends in Austin, TX who wanted to open an ice cream shop in which they could source every ingredient in their ice cream so that absolute freshness and quality were ensured. Their insistence on using seasonal and local ingredients made them a runaway hit in Austin and, with their subsequent expansion into San Antonio, they became the city’s first artisan ice cream shop. Lick Honest Ice Creams now operates three locations in the Alamo city.

Lick’s available flavor options are seasonally driven and span the spectrum from traditional (Chocolate, Caramel, and Mint Chocolate Chip) to unusual (Roasted Beets with Fresh Mint, and Goat Cheese with Thyme and Honey). The menu rotates frequently to offer whatever is fresh and currently available so there is always something new to try – like Orange Plumsicle, Horchata, or Fromage and Fig. Lick always has a few dairy-free and vegan ice creams on tap for those with a sweet tooth who also happen to have special dietary needs.

If you happen to find yourself in the Pearl Historic District, Lick is not only one of the best ice cream shops in San Antonio, but one of our favorite places to eat at the Pearl Brewery.

WEBSITE | Multiple locations

Buzzed Bull Creamery

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Boozy Option

For those who like their ice cream with a side of chemistry, Buzzed Bull is the place to go. Guests to Buzzed Bull are greeted by an enormous tank of liquid nitrogen that is used to flash freeze all the ice creams, ice cream sandwiches, and milkshakes that Buzzed Bull prepares. This means that everything is made to order, and super fun to watch, especially for kiddos who are eagerly awaiting their treats.

If that’s not enough, Buzzed Bull gets major props for possessing a liquor license which frees them up to infuse alcohol into any of their already tasty concoctions. Think Dreamsicle with orange and cake batter ice creams, waffle cone pieces, whipped cream, and an infusion of orange vodka, or the namesake Buzzed Bull with caramel ice cream, espresso, peanuts, whipped cream, and an infusion of bourbon.  

Buzzed Bull’s menu has a sizeable list of house specialty ice creams and milkshakes to choose from, but guests can also create their own from a list of 18 ice cream flavors (including the standards like Chocolate and Vanilla as well as a few fancy flavors like Cake Batter, Butter Pecan, and Pineapple), 20 toppings, and 7 liquors. We really liked the decadent specialty ice cream Tiger Stripes, with chocolate and peanut butter ice creams, peanut butter cups, peanut butter sauce, and an infusion of spiced rum.

Honorable mention in the boozy ice cream category goes to Boozy's: Creamery+Craft. Located in Southtown, Boozy’s Creamery offers alcohol-infused ice creams, coffees, and cocktails. The atmosphere at Boozy’s is considerably more adult than that of Buzzed Bull’s, with 21 and up only allowed after 8 pm on the nights they are open. Given that Boozy’s is functionally a bar, they are only open Thursday through Sunday.

WEBSITE | 2903 N Loop 1604 E, San Antonio, TX 78259

Black+White Modern Creamery

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Rotating Flavor Options

What Lick Honest Ice Creams is to Austin, Black+White Modern Creamery is to San Antonio. Black+White, which opened its doors in October 2020, is the sweet creation from Chocollazo owners Frank and Mary Collazo, who were dissatisfied with serving Häagen-Dazs in their specialty chocolate shops. So after years of making their own chocolate, they decided to have a go at making their own ice cream too. They took over the space next to Chocollazo just off Broadway and began churning their own ice cream in-house daily. The result is a novel ice cream shop with one-of-a-kind flavors that you won’t find anywhere else in San Antonio.  

Black+White Modern Creamery, definite emphasis on the word “modern,” is all about the flavors. You won’t find any traditional or run-of-the-mill options here; flavor choices are far out, we are talking WAY far out. A few of the flavors that were available on the day we visited included Lavender Milk Tea (super delicious!), Black Vanilla, Fruity Pebbles, Strawberry and Cream, Maple Bacon, Big Red Sorbet, and Honey Cornbread (which weirdly tasted just like fresh cornbread with honey).

The menu at Black+White rotates monthly and incorporates a great selection of both gluten-free and dairy-free options. We highly recommend ordering an ice cream flight in order to try as many of the wild flavors as you can. Each $13 flight comes with six scoops of your choosing and is an affordable, shareable treat. 

WEBSITE | 4011 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209

Arctic Ape Wild Desserts

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Frozen Yogurt

There’s got to be a little froyo on any “best of” list for ice cream, and Arctic Ape Wild Desserts is undoubtedly San Antonio’s best-frozen yogurt and also its most fun! Arctic Ape is owned and operated by Ron and Cathy Witcher who, after retiring to Windcrest, decided to open a business that would be enjoyable, benefit the local community and support primates at the local San Antonio Zoo (for whom the Witchers care about deeply). Today, a full-sized stuffed ape (Arctic Ape himself) sits right in the middle of the store and invites guests to come in and enjoy San Antonio’s best-frozen yogurt with a side of friendly service. 

Arctic Ape offers 18 different flavors of froyo, gelato, custard, Italian ice, coconut milk soft-serve, and sorbet. After choosing an ice cream or milkshake flavor, guests can then choose from more than 150 different toppings. And, as with most frozen yogurt shops, the price is determined by the weight of the cup so the only limiting factor is a person’s capacity to put away frozen yogurt drowned in candy, sauces, or fruits. Arctic Ape stocks board games and offers free Wi-Fi to its guests, making it more than just an ice cream shop, but a great place to take the family and spend a fun evening of treats and games.

Photo Credit: Facebook Arctic Ape

WEBSITE | 5221 Walzem Rd Suite 1, San Antonio, TX 7821

Paciugo Gelato Caffe

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Gelato

Hats off to Italy – when it comes to international cuisine, the Italians overshadow much of the world with their mouth-watering flavors and textures. And this holds just as true in the realm of ice cream; Italy dominates with its soft and flavorful gelato. Thankfully, this Italian treat has become easier and easier to find over the last 20 years and San Antonio now has a number of ice cream parlors where guests can indulge in a cup of perfect gelato. But among the many, our favorite happens to be Paciugo Gelato Caffé, located in the Alamo Quarry Market. 

Paciugo was founded by Italian Ugo Ginatta, who moved to the United States in 1999 in order to share his family’s recipe for gelato on a new continent. Paciugo was born and has since expanded all over the country while managing to maintain its standards of excellence in flavor.

The shop has a well-rounded offering of milk-based gelatos and water-based sorbets which can all be enjoyed from a cone or cup, or they can be blended into a smoothie or milkshake. In addition to their traditional ice cream stylings, Paciugo has a few really fun options like their spaghetti-style gelato. It happens to look EXACTLY like a plate of spaghetti and meatballs but is actually gelato that has been put through a pasta machine, so it looks like noodles, and is then covered in strawberry coulis, Ferrero Rocher “meatballs,” white chocolate flakes, and garnished with a lovely ladyfinger “breadstick.” If you are looking for a whimsical, shareable dessert, you have found it.

WEBSITE | 340 E Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209


Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Hong Kong Style

Hong Kong style ice cream got its start on the streets of Hong Kong where the puffy waffle has long been a fixture on the HK street food scene. These Belgian-waffle-sized waffles are made in street carts and when they are cooked, they puff up, looking something akin to giant bubble wrap. But while residents of Hong Kong tend to eat them plain without any add-ons, the Americans co-opted this food and filled it to overflowing with brightly colored ice creams and toppings. Because, how do you make an already yummy waffle taste even better? You add ice cream. And in San Antonio, Kuma is the go-to place for puffy waffle cones and vibrant ice cream.

Kuma’s menu hits on traditional ice cream flavors as well as Asian flavors like Ube (which is a bright purple color), Lychee, and Azuki (Japanese red beans). Guests begin by choosing their ice cream flavor, followed by a sauce, and then up to 4 toppings from their list of 23. By the end, the puffy waffle filled with brightly colored ice cream and toppings is nothing short of a work of art. And a tasty one at that.

Photo Credit: Yelp JaDee W.

WEBSITE | 7915 W Loop 1604 N Ste 120, San Antonio, TX 78254

Fahrenheit 32

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Rolled Ice Cream

One of the newest trends in ice cream is that of rolled ice cream. Rolled ice cream is made by pouring a liquid ice cream base onto a sub-zero hard surface where it freezes within a minute or two. It is then rolled out into a thin layer and then rolled up into a cylindrical tube that is sliced and placed in a cup or cone to be enjoyed. Given that rolled ice cream uses less sugar than traditional ice cream, it has grown in international popularity as a healthier alternative to its more sugary ice cream cousin.  This particular ice cream fad has found its way into a few SA area ice cream shops, including our favorite, Fahrenheit 32.

Fahrenheit 32 works to combine the flavors of Korea with Latin America by offering a variety of cold treats, as well as sandwiches, ramen, udon, and fried rice dishes.  They have 18 different flavors of delightfully named rolled ice cream cups to choose from including Purple Haze with Taro ice cream, Espress-Yourself with coffee ice cream, and Gotcha Matcha with green tea ice cream.

WEBSITE | 2527 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

Justin's Ice Cream Company

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Riverwalk Option

One of the first things any visitor to San Antonio does is hit up the Riverwalk. And after a few hours of huffing it around in the heat, people are looking for something cold and refreshing and a frosty treat to combat the heat hits the nail on the head. Thankfully, one of San Antonio's best ice cream shops is located right on the Riverwalk and does its part to keep guests cool and well-fed. Justin’s Ice Cream Company was founded more than 40 years ago and has been a San Antonio Riverwalk staple ever since.

While Justin’s location has certainly been a contributing key to its success over the years, quality ice cream that is made fresh daily is what keeps the shop going year after year. Justin’s offers a balanced menu of traditional and unique ice creams like the San Antonio-esque flavors you can’t find anywhere else including Cajeta, Mexican Raspberry, Oaxacan Chocolate, or the brightly colored Fiesta flavor. But if you happen to be there on a day when they have Mango sorbet available, DO NOT MISS IT. President Bill Clinton dubbed this particular ice cream a “national treasure” back in 1992. And he wasn’t wrong. 

Photo Credit: Facebook Justin’s Ice Cream Company

WEBSITE | River Level, 245 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Brindles Awesome Ice Creams

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Old Fashioned

Sometimes, all you want is that perfect, old-fashioned scoop of ice cream served at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Enter: Brindles Awesome Ice Creams, which not only is awesome but fits the old-fashioned box like a dream. Brindles makes all of their ice cream and gelato in-house daily and they offer a superb assortment of ice cream flavors, as well as scrumptious waffle cones. In short, their schtick is straight-up delicious ice cream and they more than accomplish this.

Brindles does a bang-up job of incorporating both classic and modern flavors into its repertoire. Over the years they have offered everything from Honey Bourbon Vanilla ice cream to Crème Brulee ice cream, and Avocado ice cream to Guinness ice cream. We tried a number of flavors while there and absolutely fell in love with Banana Cream Pudding and Cereal Milk. Both were perfectly creamy, spot on in their flavor, and had the right amount of sweetness. Brindles is a fantastic place to grab a freshly baked cone and try a new flavor of ice cream. 

WEBSITE | 11255 Huebner Rd, San Antonio, TX 78230

Freshest Ice Creams

Best Ice Cream in San Antonio
Best Ice Cream in San Antonio

Best Healthy Option

“Healthy” ice cream may be considered an oxymoron by most, but for the owners of Freshest Ice Creams, it is the ultimate goal. Freshest Ice Creams is all about natural ice cream made Colombian style with lots of fruit. All of the ice creams, slushies, and fruit salads available at Freshest contain only the best and highest quality ingredients like lactose-free milk and alkaline water, so you can be sure you are getting something that is, as the name suggests, fresh.

Flavors at Freshest lean heavily toward the fruit options like Lemon, Kiwi, and Strawberry. However, there are a few non-fruity choices like Chocolate and Almonds or Coffee that are available. We couldn’t get enough of the brightly colored Passion Fruit ice cream and pineapple-heavy Brazilian ice cream, which paired wonderfully well together. If you are looking for something small and light or want to try a few flavors, order a kid’s sized scoop (or 2 or 3…) to capture that perfect amount of sweetness without ordering more than you want to eat.

WEBSITE | 8053 Callaghan Rd, San Antonio, TX 78230

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