As the summer heat reaches its peak, there’s no better way to chill out than with a scoop of this classic sweat treat. Whether you’re looking to venture to a new shop, or just trying to mix things up by sampling some fun flavors at your go-to neighborhood spot, here are our picks for the top 20 local creameries.
Miss Twist Ice Cream Although this dessert haven on wheels is constantly on-the-go—making frequent appearances at the Baltimore Museum of Industry and The Gathering—Miss Twist is not your average ice cream truck, so don’t expect to see any cartoon-character popsicles on this mobilized menu. The truck specializes in creamy soft serve, thick milkshakes, banana splits, Italian ices, and its signature double cones. Be sure to use Miss Twist’s truck tracker to see where it’s headed next.
Standout Scoop: Vanilla-chocolate twist in a double cone
Lucky's Candy & Ice Cream Featuring every imaginable variety of nostalgic candy and a menu full of house-made ice cream flavors, this corner store is a one stop shop for a bona fide sugar high. Checkered floor tiles and bright walls give the space an old-school ice cream parlor feel, and the shelves boast everything from lollipops to scoop-it-yourself gummy worms. When it comes to the ice cream, guests can treat themselves to a single, double, or triple scoop of flavors like strawberry cheesecake, honey graham, and vanilla bean.
601 E. Pratt St., 410-752-2500
Standout Scoop: Key lime pie
The Charmery Known for its inventive offerings and frequent collaborations with other local businesses, the accolades keep on coming for this Hampden hangout—now boasts two additional locations. The lists of outside-of-the-box flavors go on and on, but to give you an idea, think Spanish saffron and olive oil, pomegranate molasses, and Saturday Morning Cartoons (a mix of Frosted Flakes and Lucky Charms).
801 W. 36th St., 410-814-0493.
Standout Scoop: Old Bay caramel
Bmore Licks This corner Canton ice cream shop has all the sweet treats you could possibly think of under one roof: soft serve, hard ice cream, snow balls, and even ice cream nachos and sandwiches. With a few dining tables inside and outside benches mostly inhabited by families and dog lovers, this place is packed almost every warm night of the week. We love creative flavors like Cookie Monster, cake batter, and coconut soft serve. 2437 Eastern Ave., 410-732-5425
Standout Scoop: Peanut butter Oreo
Kilwins Established in 1947, this renowned confectionary chain has been serving up its chocolate concoctions across the nation for decades. Locally, Kilwins sits in the heart of Fells Point, boasting glass show cases with everything from house-made caramel apples to chocolate-covered strawberries. The ice cream is top-notch, as well. With flavors like cinnamon, cake batter, and fudge brownie, the featured items make for a perfect harbor-side treat.
1625 Thames St., 410-276-9300.
Standout Scoop: Maryland mud
Pitango Gelato Head to this eye-catching mint green storefront while strolling around Fells Point’s cobblestone streets for some of the most unique gelato in town. In keeping with Pitango’s all-things-organic mantra, servers dish out creamy scoops of flavors made with fresh and local ingredients. Inventive options like cantaloupe, tangerine, black tea, and mojito, make for a refreshing summer snack. (Tip: Double scoops of different flavors are totally allowed, so feel free to mix and match.)
Standout Scoop: Pistachio and stracciatella (chocolate chip)
Vaccaro’s Italian Pastries This Little Italy haunt is the closest that we can get authentic Boot Country desserts in Charm City. Highlighting everything from cannolis to Tiramisu, the dimly-lit café is a great place to relax and enjoy coffee and dessert or to grab an after-dinner treat to go. It’s apparent that the colorful gelato selection is Italian-inspired, with featured flavors like Amaretto, Peanutto, pistachio, and Italian cookies and cream taking center stage.
Multiple locations including 222 Albemarle Street, 410-685-4905.
Standout Scoop: Baci (chocolate hazelnut)
Broom’s Bloom Dairy Adorned with rustic cupboards and window treatments, this 1700’s farmhouse-turned-café sits on a 120-acre farm in Harford County. The family-run business has been around for decades, serving up soups, salads, and sandwiches made with the area’s freshest bounty, but the ice cream continues to be Broom’s Bloom’s claim to fame. The old-fashioned treats are all hand-dipped, and the rotating menu typically features about 12 flavors at a time. Favorites include graham cracker cake batter, coconut, and butter pecan.
1700 S. Fountain Greene Road, Bel Air, 410-399-2697.
Standout Scoop: Black raspberry
Taharka Bros.As the subject of a recent Tribeca Digital Studios documentary about young entrepreneurship, this Clipper Mill-based creamery has been making headlines with its inspiring philosophy of using its ice cream as a mechanism for social change. Taharka Bros. products are currently sold at more than 75 restaurants, local farms, college campuses, and ice cream shops all over town, and with the help of a Kickstarter campaign—backed by celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal and Russell Simmons—you can now catch the Taharka team serving up scoops on its revamped “Change Maker Mobile.” Favorite flavors include white chocolate raspberry, toasted coconut, and bananas foster. 410-889-1885, taharkabrothers.com.
Standout Scoop: Honey graham
Hoffman’s Homemade Ice Cream Visit this Westminster creamery on any given summer night and you’ll find tons of locals kicking back in the parking lot enjoying its frozen concoctions. The quasi-convenience store and deli boasts a full-service ice cream shop in the back, highlighting house-made flavors available by the pint or scoop. Hoffman’s offers a rotating menu of seasonal varieties (stop in this month for a scoop of Christmas in July-themed Peppermint ice cream) as well as traditional favorites like peanut butter ripple and mint chocolate chip.
934 Washington Road, Westminster, 410-857-0824.
Standout Scoop: Orioles tracks (Vanilla ice cream dyed orange with fudge and mini peanut butter cups.)
JJ Hoffman’s Creamery With a signature “pet wall” lined with framed photos of regular customer’s furry friends, this Finksburg store is bursting with neighborhood charm. The shop is always featuring weekly specials on ice cream and deli sandwiches, and even offers house-made ice cream cakes and ice cream sandwiches made with freshly baked cookies. Enjoy floats, sundaes, milkshakes, and ice cream by the single, double, or triple scoop. (Tip: Get a free double scoop or milkshake if you bring in a framed photo of your pet.)
Standout Scoop: JJ Cruncher’s Ice Cream Bar (vanilla ice cream bar dipped in chocolate ganache and rolled in rainbow sprinkles)
Opie’s Soft-Serve & Snowballs Nothing says summer in Catonsville like a trip to this freestanding ice cream shack off of Edmonson Avenue. Head to the royal blue awning to experience iconic seasonal flavors mixed into sundaes, snowballs, and shakes. If the choice between rich ice cream and a fruity snowball proves to be a difficult one, Opie’s offers a signature concoction called a “Snowcream” which layers a snowball flavor of your choosing with soft serve.
1603 Edmonson Ave., Catonsville, opiesicecream.com.
Standout Scoop: Vanilla and chocolate soft serve with Orioles sprinkles
You Scream Ice Cream With an emphasis on hand-dipped flavors and creamy soft serve, this Catonsville haunt is a perfect place to retreat from the heat while strolling along Frederick Road. Stop in for traditional favorites like root beer floats, double-scoop ice cream cones, chocolate malts, or banana splits.
821 Frederick Road, Catonsville, 443-636-5008.
Standout Scoop: Moose tracks
Uncle Wiggly’s Deli and Ice Cream Although the business has expanded with two additional stores and deli and catering services since opening its first location on York Road in 1995, ice cream offerings remain at the forefront of the menu at Uncle Wiggly’s. Pay a visit to this Stoneleigh neighborhood eatery for a refreshing scoop of house-made flavors like salty pretzel, Berger cookie, and black cherry chip.
Multiple locations including 6911 York Road, 410-377-3373.
Standout Scoop: Honey graham
ScoopAHHdeedoo The whimsical vibe of this charming Ellicott City spot isn’t only reflected in its name, but also in its variety of ice cream flavors. Located along the picturesque Tonge Row, the space features a relaxing outdoor courtyard for guests to enjoy their sweet treats. Flavors of note include toasted coconut, Bailey’s Irish Cream, coffee, and mango sorbet.
3741 Hamilton Street, Ellicott City, 410-206-3658.
Standout Scoop: Berger cookie
Soft Stuff Ice Cream Known for its overflowing soft serve towers at prices that don’t break the bank, this longtime community favorite is a go-to dessert spot in Ellicott City. After 29 years as a freestanding ice cream shack located along Route 40, the business recently moved to a bigger space in the new Forest Green Shopping Center on Baltimore National Pike. Although it has a new home, Soft Stuff’s original recipe remains the same, highlighting its signature “flavor bursts” that fuse vanilla ice cream with flavors like banana and orange.
10039 Baltimore National Pike, Suite G, Ellicott City, 410-750-7561.
Standout Scoop: Coffee and cream
Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory Head to the red and white striped awning while strolling around Downtown Annapolis and take your pick of 46 quality flavors at this family-run shop. Although the line is often out the door when tourists take over, with flavors like s’mores, rocky road, and red velvet, the ice cream is worth the wait. Traditional shakes, floats, sundaes, and sodas are also featured.
130 Dock St., Annapolis, 410-263-3376.
Standout Scoop: Mint chocolate chip
Roll Ice Cream & Coffee Mix up your normal dessert routine at this Highlandtown hangout that offers rolled ice cream—a trendy treat with roots in Asia. After liquid anglaise is frozen on a cold slab at -25 degrees, the cream is mixed with customizable flavorings, pressed flat, and scraped into rolls before landing in a cup with DIY toppings. Swing by the shop to sample creative concoctions like “One Flew Over the Cocoa’s Nest”—chocolate ice cream mixed with brownie bits and chocolate chips.
3222 Eastern Ave., 443-595-7655.
Standout Scoop: Everyday I’m Trufflin’ with cake batter truffle
Prigel Family Creamery From frozen yogurt to seasonal pies, this Glen Arm creamery makes all of its products from scratch. Located on an organic farm that has been in the Prigel family for more than a century, nattily-dressed servers dish out house-made flavors like cappuccino chip, chocolate almond coconut, and caramel pretzel. The creamery also has its own catering company, Cream and Sugar Catering, which brings sundae bars and fresh ice cream sandwiches to you.
4851 Long Green Road, Glen Arm, 410-510-7488.
Standout Scoop: Caramel pretzel
Ice Cream Cottage Featuring a soundtrack of throwback tunes and checkerboards painted on every table, this Arbutus haunt screams old-school ice cream parlor. The quaint space offers a menu full of barbecue classics along with a wide variety of ice cream flavors. If checkers isn’t your thing, pull up an Adirondack chair and enjoy your sweet treat on the outside deck.
1348 Stevens Ave., Arbutus, 410-247-3620.
Standout Scoop: Mint chip