Strolling along Gray’s Lake Park’s trails with a cone of the best ice cream in Des Moines in your hand – I can’t think of a better way to truly soak in the essence of this city.
Best Ice Cream Spots in Des Moines
The sheer number of options in Des Moines when you desire a sweet treat is overwhelming. Here are some of the best picks to help you decide:
Black Cat Ice Cream
Referred to as ‘the best ice cream on Earth’ by SORTEDFood, there’s no denying Black Cat indeed serves terrific ice cream.
Interestingly, the name was inspired by a big, fat, black cat named Boo Bear (an adopted, tough street cat who would melt only for ice cream).
Their handcrafted small-batch artisanal ice cream comes in fabulous flavors. They have rotating seasonal flavors, gluten-free, and vegan options too, including Cream Cheese Lemon Cake, Coffee & Donuts, Honey Cornbread, Brown Butter Cookie Dough, Blueberry Waffle, Chocolate Ghost Chili, and Red Velvet Oreo.
They also offer donut ice cream sandwiches and sundaes. If you’re curious about their daily specials, especially the vegan options, check out their Facebook or Instagram page before you visit.
- Black Cat Ice Cream, 2511 Cottage Grove Ave, Des Moines, IA 50311
Snookie’s Malt Shop
A family business serving a variety of creative frozen desserts in vintage digs, Snookie’s has been a local favorite since 1986. You know it’s springtime in Des Moines when you see Snookie’s Malt Shop open for the season. It isn’t uncommon to see the line wrap around the building in the warm summer months
This walk-up and drive-thru shop serves ice cream, malts, shakes, and other delectable treats and is also a Beaverdale favorite. You can find the best soft-serve ice cream here, served with a range of toppings and dips.
Apart from vanilla or chocolate ice cream, there are also other options. Get a dipped cone with coating flavors ranging from Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter, and Butterscotch to Blue Raspberry, Chocolate, and Cherry.
Their over-the-top treats include the choice of Banana Split, Peanut Parfait, Brownie Delight, Strawberry Shortcake, Turtle Sundae, and Banana Delight.
If you bring along your furry friend, they’ll serve a free pup cone.
- Snookie’s Malt Shop, 1810 Beaver Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310
Classic Frozen Custard
This may sound wacky, but Classic Frozen Custard’s slogan is “Once you lick it, you’ll love it.” And, with good reason, too, they have the best custard in Des Moines.
The variety of flavors and toppings will have your tastebuds partying. If there’s one thing they’re known for, apart from their mouthwatering custard, it is the notoriously large portions they serve.
Ensure you visit them with a big appetite, for you’ll be dazed by their options of cones, shakes, malts, and sundaes. You can also watch the custard being made while you enjoy your treat.
Some of the flavors include Birthday Cake, Cappuccino, Mint Chip, Carmel Cashew, Lemon, Cookies n Cream, Black Raspberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla.
- Classic Frozen Custard, 4000 SE 14th St, Des Moines, IA 50320
An Eastside favorite, Dairy Zone is your one-stop shop for a quick bite, refreshing drinks, and some spectacular desserts.
Their sandwiches, meals, and sides will have you drooling at the mere sight. You can finish your meal with a cone, slushie, drink, malt, shake, sundae, or ice cream sandwich.
Their most popular treat is Turtle sundaes with pecans, hot fudge, and caramel. My favorite is the Oreo Twist Delight (with Oreo cookies, twisted ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallow cream, whipped cream, and a cherry).
- Dairy Zone, 2219 E University Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317
Satisfy your sweet tooth at this local ice cream shop, a Des Moines tradition since 1916. A classic soda fountain, Bauder’s makes some irresistible Peppermint ice cream bars they sell at the Iowa State Fair.
Wondering what these famous Peppermint bars are? They’re thick sandwiches made with homemade peppermint ice cream, hot fudge, and crushed Oreos.
The Ingersoll location features homemade ice cream and a soda fountain that will take you back in time. Thick sandwiches, great donuts (yes, they’re also a donut shop), and ice cream sodas await you at this popular spot.
You’ll find it all at the classic ice cream counter with the old-style rotating counter stools. They also have hard-pack selections to take home – the strawberry and peach ones are worth it.
Try their Black Raspberry flavor – absolutely mouthwatering and the chocolate ice cream soda is something you’ll remember for a long time.
- Bauder’s Pharmacy, 3802 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312
Other Places With Great Ice Cream in Des Moines
Here are some other great ice cream places in and around the Des Moines area you can stop by
- Cold Stone Creamery, 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy Ste 12516, West Des Moines, IA 50266
- Molly’s Cupcakes, 215 E 3rd St, Des Moines, IA 50309
- Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, 4650 86th St, Urbandale, IA 50322
- Waukee Ice Cream Shoppe, 530 Walnut St, Waukee, IA 50263
- Van Dee’s Ice Cream Shoppe, 5915 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, IA 50131
- Home Sweet Cone Ice Cream, 1188 SE University Ave, Waukee, IA 50263
- The Outside Scoop, 2410 SW White Birch Dr Suite 100, Ankeny, IA 50023
- Over the Top, 955 NE 56th St, Pleasant Hill, IA 50327
The cherry on top!
Whether you’re craving some traditional vanilla ice cream or banana splits or looking for your favorite flavor, the ice cream shops in Des Moines have it all. There’s no need to hunt for a frozen treat on a hot summer day; stop by any of these places listed here, and you’ll be more than satisfied.
They’re a delight for all ice cream lovers – young and old.