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Best Overall: Graeter’s Ice Cream at goldbelly.com
"The "French Pot process" ensures that very little air is incorporated into the final product."
Best Boozy: Tipsy Scoop at goldbelly.com
"Alcohol-infused treats inspired by cocktails."
Best Sustainable: Lick Honest at goldbelly.com
"Honesty extends to using straightforward ingredients, supporting local, family-owned dairy farms, and using compostable materials."
Best Gift: Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream at Amazon
"A well-known San Francisco ice cream brand whipping up out-of-the-box flavors."
Best for Parties: eCreamery at ecreamery.com
"Create completely custom flavors based on your own preferences."
Best Selection: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at instacart.com
"Super-smooth ice cream with endless flavor options."
Best Subscription: McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams at instacart.com
"Join the Pint of the Month Club to get three flavors a month."
Best for Outrageous Flavors: Salt & Straw at postmates.com
"Known for pushing ice cream flavors to their limits."
Best Mix-Ins: Ample Hills Creamery at instacart.com
"The majority of the mix-ins—like candy or crumbles—are made in-house from scratch."
Ice cream lovers rejoice! If you'd like to try more adventurous ice cream flavor options or support new businesses, you'll be happy to know many of the country's top ice cream shoppes can ship their ice cream straight to your doorstep.
Make no mistake, these ice creams are not your run-of-the-mill grocery store varieties. While you can find decent ice cream in most local freezer aisles, nothing beats the creamy texture and flavor of a freshly made scoop from a gourmet creamery. Plus, mail-order delivery is the best and most convenient way to sample some of the most innovative ice cream flavors from around the country.
Prefer ice cream made from premium grass-fed dairy? How about savory ice cream or a flavor spiked with your favorite libation? No matter what you're looking for, there's an ice cream shop that can deliver exactly what you want. We've researched which gourmet ice cream makers offer the best varieties and deliver nationwide. If you're ready to treat yourself to a little extra indulgence, here are the best mail-order gourmet ice creams.
Best Overall: Graeter’s Ice Cream
The folks at Graeter’s do things a little differently from other ice cream producers: They make their ice cream using something called “the French Pot process,” and they’ve been doing it that way since 1870. The French pots spin and freeze the cream in such a way that very little air is incorporated into the final product (while other brands’ ice creams could be half air). This incredible texture is why we've dubbed it our best overall.
Graeter’s makes 2.5 gallons of ice cream in each pot, with all the pots in a batch dedicated to one flavor at a time. Online, the company sells 31 different individual flavors, as well as pack selections that combine up to 12 pints. Choose from flavors like S’mores, Cookies and Cream, Oregon Strawberry and Dark Chocolate Brownie.
Best Boozy: Tipsy Scoop
For those times you're craving a grown-up cone, turn to New York-based Tipsy Scoop. The alcohol-infused treats consist of handmade ice cream inspired by and churned with actual cocktails. Think Mango Margarita Sorbet and Dark Chocolate Whiskey Salted Caramel.
We recommend the "Get Lit" birthday party set, featuring four fun-filled pints. Since these spiked sweets do contain alcohol (up to 5 percent by volume, to be exact), an adult signature is required at delivery.
Best Sustainable: Lick Honest
For this Austin shop, it's all in the name. Honesty extends not only to using straightforward ingredients but also to supporting local, family-owned dairy farms in Central Texas. Lick Honest shops use compostable cups, spoons, and napkins to reduce its impact on the environment.
Lick's got the basics—vanilla bean, chocolate-peanut butter, and salted caramel—but it does its city proud and keeps it weird with flavors like "Cilantro Lime" and "Lady Bird Lavender Crisp."
Best Gift: Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
This well-known San Francisco ice cream brand whips up out-of-the-box flavors that will make you question why you would ever waste your time on a boring scoop of chocolate. Some of the shop’s crazier flavors over the years have included ingredients like prosciutto, mushrooms, and golden beets.
Luckily, one four-pack of pints is a little more familiar. It rounds up some of Humphry Slocombe’s greatest hits: Secret Breakfast, Malted Milk Chocolate, Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, and Tahitian Vanilla. Secret Breakfast combines bourbon ice cream with cornflake cookies while Malted Milk Chocolate tastes like a classic malted milkshake. Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee uses famed Blue Bottle coffee, sweetened condensed milk, and chicory (a root that has a similar flavor to coffee), and Tahitian Vanilla has an intense vanilla flavor with a malty twist.
Best for Parties: eCreamery
eCreamery lets you become the ice cream artist—you can create completely custom flavors based on your own preferences. To begin, you choose a base of sorbet, gelato, or ice cream. Then, you select an available flavor from a list of over 40 that includes options like cake mix, maple, chocolate chip, and eggnog. Next, you’ll select mix-ins such as candy, nuts, fruit, swirls, or cookies. And, lastly, you choose to receive your creation as four pints, eight pints or 24 single-serving party cups.
You’ll be able to customize the color scheme of your pint packaging and come up with a unique name for your flavor. And if that all sounds like too much work, you can browse the bestselling flavors and personalize the packaging for those.
Best Selection: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams was born out of a small scoop shop in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. Now, there are over 30 locations all across the country. Thankfully, you can buy a few pints online no matter where you live.
This smooth ice cream doesn’t use synthetic flavorings, dyes, or pre-made mixes, and it comes in flavors that will have you eagerly digging into your pints as soon as they arrive. Ice cream traditionalists can stick to options like Darkest Chocolate, Strawberry Buttermilk, Roxberry Road and Green Mint Chip. More adventurous eaters can order creations such as Ricotta Toast with Red Berry Geranium Jam, Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet, and Salted Honey Pie. There are 36 flavors to choose from (with a three-pint minimum).
Best Subscription: McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams
McConnell’s has 70 years of ice cream-making experience (and the ice cream still comes straight from the original dairy). There are only four ingredients in the base—milk, cream, eggs, and sugar—and many of them come from family-run businesses. Into that base, McConnell’s adds in the jams, crumbles, nuts, and cookies that make every flavor unique.
Choose one of the 21 available flavors to taste this memorable ice cream for yourself. Grab a few favorites like Banana and Salted Caramel, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Dark Chocolate Chips and Nibs to ensure that you have something for everyone in the family. And if you just can’t decide, you can join the Pint of the Month Club to get three flavors a month for the duration of your membership (either three, six or 12 months).
Best for Outrageous Flavors: Salt & Straw
Salt & Straw is known for pushing ice cream flavors to their limits. In the past, it offered customers creative flavors like caramel potato chip cupcake, lemon & pepper white chocolate, and salted caramel turkey (for a Thanksgiving series). Some were flops—a baked beans flavor that didn’t go over too well—but many have become perennial hits. You can get five of these beloved flavors in a “favorite pints pack” or you can pick from 12 different flavors to create your own customized five-pack.
Best Mix-Ins: Ample Hills Creamery
Ample Hills Creamery is a Brooklyn-based shop that specializes in making playful ice cream flavors from scratch. The ice cream base is made from hormone-free cream and milk from grass-fed cows. And the majority of the mix-ins—like candy or crumbles—are made in-house from scratch.
Order a classic four-pack, which includes Ample Hills’ most popular flavors. The Munchies is pretzel-infused ice cream with bits of Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels, and mini M&Ms. Peppermint Pattie is peppermint ice cream with chocolate flakes and homemade peppermint patties. Chocolate Milk and Cookies is chocolate milk ice cream with pieces of chocolate sandwich cookies (basically Oreos but organic). Ooey Gooey Butter Cake combines vanilla ice cream and chunks of St. Louis-style Ooey Gooey Butter Cake. And if somehow those flavors don’t work for you, you can choose from nine others to mix and match your own four-pack.
Best Gelato: Gelato Fiasco
Venture into the world of gelato with Gelato Fiasco. Started by two proud Mainers, this company is passionate about giving back to the local community. It sources all of its milk and cream from family dairy farms and, over the past five years, has partnered with over 50 organizations that support the communities of Brunswick and Portland (the Maine locations where Gelato Fiasco has its scoop shops). So, when you buy a pint, you’re not only getting some dessert, you’re doing a little bit of good as well. Choose from two six-packs: a “Love Maine” option that sends out six of Maine’s favorite flavors and a custom six-pack chosen from among 18 available flavors.