The small city of Princeton in New Jersey has been a center of learning and culture (1st capital of the USA!) throughout its over 200 year history. While this city is famous for its Ivy League Princeton University (Go Tigers!), more recently, it’s featured for having one of the best ice cream parlors in the whole of the USA.
Read on to learn about the best ice cream in Princeton NJ!
The Bent Spoon
The Bent Spoon in Palmer Square is the star the amazing ice cream shops in Princeton, NJ. Funnily enough, its name is based on the scene in “The Matrix” that has a child bending a spoon with her mind., after using it to eat ice cream, obviously.
This local favorite has constantly been in the spotlight with inclusion in the national lifestyle website, Thrillist, list of “The 40 Best Ice Cream Shops in the United States” and last year, the Financial Times “World’s Best Ice Cream Places.” What was a loyal cult following of ice cream lovers who preferred experimental flavors has following has grown into a nationally revered ice cream destination.
Matthew Errico and Gabrielle Carbone are the masterminds behind the artisanal ice creams and sorbets you can find every time you visit. Using quality seasonal, local ingredients and hormone-free dairy fresh milk, they create not only the best traditional flavors, but also some strange and fantastical flavors as well.
Think of this as a chemistry lab masquerading as a local ice cream store. Pumpkin with shiitake mushrooms, chocolate with ramps, Habanero chocolate, Sun Gold Tomato sorbet, and lavender mascarpone can pop up on their menu at any time. They have 24 flavors at all times with a whopping 550 on call.
Their Thanksgiving special stuffing ice cream is mushroom, celery, and sage flavored with chocolate-coated breadcrumbs! Vegan ice cream is on hand as well!
- The Bent Spoon, 35 Palmer Square W, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
Among the five locations of the Thomas Sweet outlets, their original one, located in Palmer Square West, opened in 1979 and was the only ice cream place there when I was at Princeton.
They’re truly the ‘Home of the Blend-Ins’, allowing you to use your imagination to create the perfect blended ice cream. So why settle for just chocolate or vanilla when you can make your own modic=fied classic with a single, double, and even triple blend>
You have a variety of flavors to choose from for scoops or blend-ins, including banana, coconut, hazelnut, mango, pineapple, pistachio, and tiramisu.
You might even go a little overboard from their range of wet and dry toppings – Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, Chips Ahoy, Kitkat, brownies, Butterfinger, gummy bears, rainbow sprinkles, health bar, Ghiradelli caramel, hot fudge, and more; you’ll be spoilt for choice.
They have amazing banana spilts too!
- Thomas Sweet, 183 Nassau St, Princeton, NJ 08542, and other locations
A cozy place with an homely feel, Halo Pub in Palmer Square off of Nassau Street has been serving some of the best ice creams in Princeton, NJ, since 1992. Its parent company, Halo Farm, a micro-dairy located cloee by, is where the ice cream is produced with hormone-free milk and cream.
They offer about 50 super-premium delicious flavors, each with only fewer than seven ingredients. Their classic flavors include Tahiti vanilla bean, chocolate, and strawberry, to the butter pecan, cashew and caramel, and chocolate peanut butter.
If you visit Halo Pub on a Saturday night from April to October, you can enjoy live music in their outdoor eating space. They also serve gourmet coffees from Philly’s La Colombe!
- Halo Pub, 9 Hulfish St, Princeton, NJ 08542, United States
Purple Cow Ice Cream
An old house turned artisanal ice cream shop, the Purple Cow, is a family-owned shop on Main Street, Lawrenceville, just outside of Princeton.
The Purple Cow signature flavor, black raspberry with chocolate chips, is amazing. Also, their signature baked cookie cones are worth the trip, plus their ice cream cakes!
The other delicious flavors include a Monster cookie, Banana Oreo, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Coffee Mud Pie, and Cotton Candy. They also have sorbets, sugar-free, vegan and dairy-free options, ice cream floats, and banana boats.
You’re bound to be delighted with their over-sized and generous scoops of ice cream.
- Purple Cow Ice Cream, 2685 Main St, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Gil & Bert’s Ice Cream
A few miles from Princeton, still in the Garden State, Gil & Bert’s ice cream shop is just a window on the side of a house in the town of Cranbury. Their hand-dipped, homemade ice creams have people driving down from near and far to enjoy.
You could sit in their outdoor seating area or stroll downtown to Brainerd Lake and enjoy your frozen treat. Their ice creams are reasonably priced and even let you taste a few flavors to pick the one you’d like.
From their local favorites of Viking Vanilla, Wicked Chocolate, and Cookie Dough to their unique flavors like Better Batter Cake Batter, German Chocolate Cake, and Holy Cannoli flavors, the chances are you’ll want more than a single scoop.
They also have gluten-free, sugar-free options, and their lemon, mango, and cherry ice are gluten- and dairy-free.
- Gil & Bert’s Ice Cream, 69 N Main St, Cranbury, NJ 08512
Captain Paul’s Firehouse Dogs
This is your one-stop destination on Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ, for some of the best sandwiches served on a torpedo roll, amazing hot dogs, and some of the best ice cream.
Since 2009, the place has been dedicated to serving the men and women of emergency services, the military, their families, and volunteers who help others. They have a lovely patio with a yard which is a great place to enjoy their delicious ice cream.
The sheer options of their Italian ice cream, soft serve, sundaes, and seasonal home-made hard ice creams, along with their range of toppings, make for the perfect finish to the delicious bites there. Their funnel cake, milkshakes, and root beer float are excellent too.
All this for extremely reasonable prices!
- Captain Paul’s Firehouse Dogs, 2230 Princeton Pike, Lawrence Township, NJ 08648
The cherry on top!
The small town of Princeton might not have a vast choice of ice cream parlors to offer, but it has some of the best ice creams in the whole country. Many visitors flock to South Jersey to try Thrillist-rated The Bent Spoon. It was the perfect place to study and eat some of the best homemade ice cream!