Where To Get The Best Ice Cream In All Of LA

If you're looking for the good stuff in Los Angeles — the really good stuff — you're gonna want to dig a little further than the place with the tie-dye and cows, and you'll definitely need to ditch the "31 flavors." No rolling or mixing-in toppings on extra cold surfaces. Yeah, you can let go of the door to the freezer section, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, utter the term "fro-yo."

These are real ingredients, local farms, old school dairies, seasonal inspiration, actual cows, culinary geniuses, brothers and sisters, married couples, upstarts and traditionalists — all striving for the ultimate goal: The best ice cream in all of Los Angeles, California. With nearly 10 million people living in the county, in a state that eats the most ice cream of any, it's a big task.

But you're not here for some thoughtless list of icy, flavorless attempts at a so-called perfect scoop. That's why we've (happily) done our sweet, creamy, delicious homework. From the trucks to the pop-ups, the imports to the locals, the time-honored to the trailblazing, here's where to get the best ice cream in all of LA.

Carmela Ice Cream Co.

What happens when two people who have no idea how to make ice cream set out to craft the best farmers' market-inspired product around? You get really good ice cream from founders and real life married couple Jessica Mortarotti and Zach Cox of Carmela Ice Cream Co. It is so ridiculously creamy, people even order vanilla. On purpose.

Having begun their business by churning out the goods overnight in the back of a pizza shop, their initial efforts could be found tucked inside their tiny cart at a market or two. Fast forward to 2011, when they'd opened up a wildly successful creamery in Pasadena, California, where demand immediately smashed expectations.

"What sets the Pasadena-native apart from most ice creameries in Los Angeles," says the Beverly Hills outlet Highlights, "are the sweet and refreshing ice cream flavors." 

Here you can load up on scoops, not artificial ingredients. You can even take a class on how to craft your own batch, and walk out with two pints to take home. Try a bounty of flavors that celebrate the changing seasons, like Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, Pumpkin Spice, or Brown Butter Sage. Or hit up fan-favorites like Salted Caramel, flower-infused Lavender Honey, Strawberry Buttermilk in Spring and Summer, or the shop's very first flavor, Rose Petal, with genuine locally-sourced roses.

Mashti Malone's Ice Cream

Have you ever tasted Mint Chocolate Chip that is "2500 years in the making?" 'Tis divine. Meet Mashti Malone's, where founder Mashti Shirvani is cranking out old fashioned Persian ice cream and sorbet to the tune of roughly 1,000 gallons on the daily. He's happy to talk to customers about the ancient dawn of ice cream in Persia. As he once told Vice, "Less sugar and more flavor is my specialty. When you taste my ice cream, you can taste that [it] is natural."

When Shirvani opened his flagship location in Hollywood, he snagged an ice cream parlor that was formerly Irish. Too broke to replace the whole sign with one of his own, he changed "Mugsy Malone's" to "Mashti Malone's" and kept the lucky shamrock. But the treats are pure Persian persuasion.

According to the owners themselves, brothers Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani were the very first to conceive of multiple fragrant ice cream flavors (including cucumber, ginger rosewater, and lavender, as well as pomegranate sorbet). But if you're new to Persian ice cream, you don't want to miss out on the saffron rosewater with pistachio nuts and sweet, chewy bits of cream. It's amazing what you can do with a little sugar and a dream.

Magpies Soft Serve

Luxuriously decadent, silky smooth ice cream, Magpies Soft Serve does desserts and cones with a (literal) twist, by going beyond basic vanilla and chocolate and dispensing a kaleidoscope of culinary flavors. "We came up with the idea at the same time," founders/married chefs Warren and Rose Schwartz say of their inspiration. "'Let's do a chef-y Dairy Queen,' and the idea was born."

With a flagship outpost in a strip mall in the Silverlake neighborhood — and two more in Highland Park and Tarzana — the brand keeps it local, while lighting up taste buds like a Christmas tree. Along with soft serve ice cream pies like strawberry shortcake, vegan ube, tres leches, or birthday cake, cup-or-cone options are just as enticing. Go classic with Sweet Cream or Midnight Chocolate, or mix it up with Horchata, Mango Orange Creamsicle, or Graham Cracker. Flavors change often and feature scratch-made recipes with no funny powders. Add a final touch with an assortment of toppings including Butterscotch Krispies, chocolate shell, and chocolate-drenched honeycomb candy.

It's soft serve for the adult set, and it couldn't be more delightful for ice cream fans of any age. As one Yelper noted, "Think of Magpies soft serve as the grown up healthier version of that McDonald's soft serve."

Wanderlust Creamery

A cult favorite with a buzzy name, Wanderlust Creamery founders Jon-Patrick Lopez and Adrienne Borlongan (who invents all of the flavors) describe their company by saying, "Every flavor is made from memories, the flavors that remind us of our childhoods, the places we've been and the places we want to go." 

Boasting a bevy of shops that began with their first outpost in Tarzana, it might be their signature Pandan Tres Leches that best depicts the couple's Asian heritage and SoCal roots. According to Bella + Canvas, "It's a combination that works so well that bakeries and other ice cream stores have tried mimicking the soon-to-be Wanderlust trademarked flavor."

That might not be the only recipe they hope to keep close to the chest. Additional favorites include Ube Malted Crunch®, Japanese Neapolitan® with matcha, hojicha, black sesame flavors, and Vietnamese Rocky Road™ that tastes like Vietnamese coffee, marshmallows made of condensed milk, and caramelized french roast and cacao bits. Seasonal hits like Sakura Crunch, Swedish Semla, Elote, and Planoffee Pie keep fans coming back on the regular. As possibly the ultimate rave review in an era of Instagram-everything, one Yelper posted, "Guess I ate the ice cream so fast I forgot to take a picture..." Five stars.


Let's take a moment to mourn the shuttered Culver City outpost that once was Coolhaus the store. Luckily, most fans know the brand from their trucks, which you can find almost anywhere in L.A. But while the brand is available in the grocery store, don't just Postmates it. Go meet the people who make the thing and do the stuff. Ice cream is a culture — it's why they used to call them ice cream socials.

Wanna make some friends? Founders and married couple Natasha Case and Freya Estreller sold their first cookie ice cream sandwich at 2009's Coachella. The company notes of the pair, "They bought a piece of sh*t postal van masquerading as an ice cream truck on Craigslist for $2500 dollars and towed it to Coachella Music Festival using a triple A platinum membership — which included one free 200 mile tow! After debuting to the crowd of 100,000, the brand went viral."

From there, the duo created the ice cream of which they had always dreamed. Thrillist pegged Midnight Munchies pints and Gimme S'mores sammies as runaway hits, and Spoon University ranked the Snickerdoodle Cookie + Salted Caramel Ice Cream sandwich as number one. But you should probably still sample Street Cart Churro Dough, Farmer's Market Strawberry Cheesecake, and Dirty Mint Chip for yourself.

Saffron & Rose Ice Cream

You can't do Westwood without popping into Saffron & Rose. It all started with late founder Ali "Haji" Kashani-Rafye back in 1974. He traveled from Tehran, Iran to live near his son and gift UCLA undergrads — and everyone else in Little Persia — a top-notch ice cream formulation. The result is sweet, Middle Eastern velvet that you put in your mouth and never forget.

The shop is named after Haji's own ultimate flavors: saffron and rose. As his grandson, operator Farbod Freddy Papen recalled to the Daily Bruin, "If you take a spoon (of Persian ice cream) and pull it from a cup, it would behave like melted cheese. It stretches instead of breaking up." It may act like cheese, but it tastes like heaven.

Of course you'll want a big scoop of best seller Saffron with Pistachio; maybe go for a double with the Faloodeh, a traditional Persian treat featuring rosewater sorbet and the thinnest rice noodles — and don't forget the cherry syrup. The Pink Rose is perfectly bubblegum hued, and plays on rosewater and sweet California cactus pear. Make it a sandwich with "bastani e nooni" wafers, where the only limit is your wildest imagination.


For vegans, it's hard to beat West Hollywood's fully plant-based and gluten-free scoop shop, Awan. That is, if you can find it. 

Tucked inside a walk-up window on Huntley Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, you'll discover a wonderland of velvety, non-dairy delights. With a standard base of coconut cream, coconut water, sugar, and vanilla, the stunning flavors are an invention of chef Zen Ong, a native Australian with a thing for the culinary scene of Indonesia. The name Awan even means "cloud" in Indonesian.

Tapping local purveyors as well as importing vanilla beans from Bali — as one does — the solid list of offerings can sell out, change on a whim, or feature a tasty current obsession. There could be the Pink Dragonfruit flavor, Oishii berry, Spiced Persimmon + Graham, or the fan-favorite Valencia Pride Mango.

As health coach Syd Connely noted on Instagram, "Every flavor is just SUPREME — matcha, Oreo chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, orange. All of them. And they're as creamy as the best dairy-based ice creams out there."

Sweet Rose Creamery

Sweet Rose Creamery may have been born in 2010 as part of the deeply curated, upscale Brentwood Country Mart, but their company philosophy remains decidedly of, and for, the people when they declare, "Nothing smells better than a freshly-made waffle cone."

The brand devotes their efforts to celebrating all-farmers-market-everything, with a seasonal, rotating menu that features only top-notch ingredients. With a wide range of offerings, showcasing everything from ice cream cakes and hot fudge sundaes to cones, cups and Peanut Chocolate-Covered Bananas, there's something playfully indulgent for everyone.

Partners in ice cream ​​Josh Loeb, Zoe Nathan, Colby Goff, and Chef Shiho Yoshikawa knew they had a hit on their hands with the small-batch crowd who live for nostalgia. Meet your frozen soulmate with a pint of Birthday Cake, a push pop, or a double scoop of Coconut Raspberry Ripple Sorbet. Taste the best-selling Dairy-Free Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie, or keep it classy with Brownie Caramel Ripple, Fig Jam with Salty Crumble, or S'mores. Whatever you do, just don't miss what the Financial Times named one of the world's greatest ice cream shops.

Monty's Good Burger

Don't be diverted by the killer, 100% plant-based burger menu; skip dinner and heading straight for dessert. The flawlessly creamy Oatly brand oat milk shakes at Monty's Good Burger are something special. 

Nonstop killing it since 2018, with four locations and counting, Monty — who is a dog — knows exactly what folks want... as far as people food goes.

Before your eyes start rolling around in your head regarding the non-dairy, reviewers rave about the taste. One Yelper posted, "Just had a shake the other day — EXCELLENT. Can't even tell there's no dairy!" Another confessed, "The shake was honestly the best shake I have ever had."

Unafraid of an extremely brief rollout, Monty's limited edition white chocolate Just Like Heaven Shake appeared for a weekend in 2023 for the Just Like Heaven music festival. Travis Barker took a break from kissing Kourtney Kardashian and collabed on an Oat Matcha Shake. A Thin Mint Shake launched as a riff on Girl Scout cookie season. Finneas' Shamrock Shake dropped for St. Patty's, there was the strawberry Lovestruck Shake for Valentine's, and then a collab with Elton John for an English toffee Glitter Glasses Shake. Want just a taste of the magic? Get a 9-oz mini version filled to the brim with your favorite of the bunch.

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

Full disclosure: McConnell's Fine Ice Creams isn't exactly an L.A. native. Instead, it's a deeply treasured import from roughly two hours north in sunny Santa Barbara, California. But after launching the majority of its shops in Los Angeles, it has basically taken over the craft ice cream scene.

How was this cult-like status achieved? Just the usual milk, cream, eggs, 70 years of perfecting recipes over several generations, and sugar. Founded by husband and wife team Gordon "Mac" and Ernesteen McConnell in 1949, you can actually taste their passion for good food in every bite. It's so irresistible that one fan admitted to Fox5 San Diego, "I love ice cream so much that for Lent, this is what I was giving up."

The ingredients are top quality and deliberately preserved from dairy to spoon. Taking every advantage of the seasons, you'll find offerings that are sure to tickle your taste buds. Try the Matcha Coconut Crisp, Toasted Hazelnut Butter, Eureka Lemon & Marionberries, or Raspberry Cheesecake & Chocolate Crust. But you can't go wrong with any of their flavors. As one fan reacted to a new release on Instagram, "Ok new favorite! And we haven't even tried it yet, YUUUMMM!!!!!"

Kansha Creamery

Named after the word for "gratitude" in Japanese, Kansha Creamery takes delicious mindfulness to another level. James Tatsuya and his sister Elaine Yukari set out to celebrate the connection that dessert can inspire between people, and ended up linking friends around the world through "a single scoop of vanilla" as well as their charitable efforts.

Embodying the old school L.A. retail experience, Kansha is tucked into a strip mall in Torrance, right off the highway. Since their debut in 2015, they've handed over more than $300,000 to those in need, using 75 cents of every single scoop they sold. Having always hoped to create a way to give back, Elaine told Thrillist, "We were never in it for the ice cream, but we do have customers who love our ice cream, which is great, because I love our ice cream too."

Flavors often feature an Asian flair, and the freshly-churned menu rotates weekly. With a gallery of past and current offerings reaching into the hundreds, rest assured they won't be running out of ideas. Sample the Coconut Thai Tea, Yellow Brick Road with cornbread pieces and walnut brittle, or house-made chocolate chip cookies and cookie dough packed into their Cookie Reborn. Add shiratama and anko toppings and you'll be very grateful you came.

CVT Soft Serve

This one goes out to all the minimalists searching for a cool hit of nostalgia with zero extravagant frills. At CVT Soft Serve, you get vanilla, chocolate, or twist — as well as a little East Coast rock 'n' roll from founder Joe Nicchi. The brand clearly states: "CVT Soft Serve combines the perfect blend of creaminess and flavor. [...] We don't believe in hiding behind gummy bears. Our ice cream would be insulted." Don't worry. They're still okay with rainbow sprinkles.

From ice cream trucks — named Charlie and Frankie — that couldn't be any cuter, Nicchi dispenses the good stuff in cones, cups, or both at the same time, and is proudly not about any of that Tinseltown stuff. The mission? "To bring Los Angeles the highest quality east coast soft serve ice cream, and show a town full of smoke and mirrors just how much frozen yogurt sucks." Need proof of this rebel spirit? They charge influencers double the price.

In May of 2023, a buzzy new item from the brand hit shelves exclusively at Gelson's markets; CVT soft serve in a pouch. Tote your ice cream along with you in your bag, your backpack, or even your pocket. Just take the pouch out of the freezer, let it thaw a little, and you've got your soft serve favorite on demand.

Pops Artisanal Creamery

Get ready to go global. Pops Artisanal Creamery was becoming a thing before owner Marthin Ken was even born. It all started with his family's Rainbow Saloon in Belize, where they sold ice cream in a variety of local flavors like Soursop and Kriol Sweet Corn. Six generations of ice cream makers later, Ken still churns those small batch favorites today.

With a flagship outpost making its debut in San Fernando back in 2015, the shop has since opened outposts in Van Nuys and Santa Clarita. As Ken told Voyage LA, "I sometimes feel like the universe chose this path for me." The shop's rainbow of tastes include Pomegranate, Pink Guava, Mamey, Lúcuma, Almond Avocado, and Hibiscus.

With flavors that are popular with fans, and sweetly reminiscent of Ken's childhood, Pops even dishes out sundaes in pineapple or coconut shells. Not sure whether to go for the Papaya Candy, the Cherimoya, or the Kriol Peanut Fudge? One Yelper noted, "Seriously, hands down, best!...I can tell you this place is something different! My favorite is Guava Cheese! It has the best texture, the perfect proportion of sweet and creamy!" Well, now it looks like you definitely have to try the Guava Cheese, too.


Skipping the heavy cream and going strictly with kosher California dairy milk, Honeymee ice cream is dishing up the creamiest soft-serve vanilla twist, topped with fragrant raw honey and actual honeycomb from local, certified farms in Southern California. Since its Koreatown debut in 2014, the brand just keeps expanding. It's also quite Instagrammy.

As far as the paired-back menu concept, The Infatuation noted, "HoneyMee proves that good ice cream doesn't have to involve crazy flavors and a drunk toddler's choice of candy dumped on top." 

Purists can go for an elegant cup of vanilla with The Darling. Maximalists have their pick of the Dear Caramel (with Ghirardelli caramel sauce and sea salt), the Honey Affogato (drizzled with a generous helping of honey and coffee) or the Yuzu Affogato (with zero espresso, and the addition of Yuzu pulp and peel, corn flakes, and — of course — honey). There's even ceremonial grade matcha soft serve on tap, as well as a variety of limited edition creations.

Whether it's The Sweetie (topped with a slice of pound cake), the secret menu Black Sugar Boba, or taiyaki instead of a standard cone, Honeymee keeps loyal fans coming in the door. No matter what. As one Yelp reviewer confessed: "I am hooked! Who cares about lactose intolerance! I love their pure milk ice cream!"


Isn't Thrifty the ice cream shop located inside Rite Aid stores? With scoops that are oddly shaped like a cylinder? Which you then pay for along with a few rolls of Charmin, Advil, Chapstick, and deodorant? Yes it is, but you couldn't craft an L.A. list of the best ice cream without it.

Having amassed generations of loyalists, the nearly-100-year-old brand is still serving fans a bit of nostalgia in every scoop. Launched in 1929 inside Thrifty Drug Stores as 5-cent "poor man's ice cream," it was a strategic way of luring patrons into the store to buy other items as well. These days, the brand's factory cranks out enough product for an annual output of roughly 350 million scoops, with a typical listing of over 50 flavors posted on the menu. But enough with the math. Let's get some ice cream.

As The Infatuation's Jess Basser Sanders explained it, "If you grew up in Los Angeles, you grew up eating Thrifty ice cream. (If your parents didn't take you there, some other kid's less-responsible parents definitely did.)" As one Yelper noted about the prices back in the day, "My husband was a kid who used to walk home from school, and make long detours going home, just to pick up his scoop of ice cream for a quarter. I imagine he wasn't the only one." With prices that are still on the affordable side, you can easily throw it back with Rainbow Sherbet, step it up with Rocky Road, or go all out with a banana split. Feeling like all ice cream should be shaped like a can of Beanee Weenee? You can even get your very own signature Thrifty scoop.