Where to Get the Best Ice Cream in Raleigh (7 spots to indulge)

It’s HOT out there, but we know ya’ll love your ice cream in all four seasons and if you’re looking for the best ice cream in Raleigh, or searching on your phone for ice cream near me, read on as these places are where the locals love to go!

FRESH. Local Ice Cream. One of the best ice cream shops in Raleigh, NC
FRESH. Local Ice Cream, Cary

With the help of our kids, we’ve created this short list but we’d love for you to share your favorite Raleigh ice cream spots in the comments section down below as it’s helpful for future people reading this post and planning their food + drink explorations in Raleigh. 

As a summertime treat, nothing beats a scoop of ice cream and the below suggestions are some of our favorite spots to not only grab a cone, but indulge in creative milkshakes, ice cream sandwiches, and even ice cream flights.

Two Roosters Ice Cream

Two Roosters Ice cream
Savannah is a fan of Two Roosters

Two Roosters Ice Cream is a cool local story. Founded by an NC State University alum, it initially started by roaming the streets of Raleigh in a turquoise 1965 Ford truck. It was such a hit they opened brick-and-mortar locations in 2017 and was recently nominated as the best ice cream in North Carolina by Food & Wine Magazine.

Their popular handcrafted ice cream features unusual creations with seasonal and permanent flavors – often inspired by local events and restaurants. Popular flavors: Earl Grey Lemon Cookie Dough, Blackberry Hibiscus. Coffee Bourbon.

Two Roosters Ice cream

Bonus: if you’re lactose intolerant (and actually avoid dairy) they always have two non-dairy options and a vegan option. And, it’s located in our favorite neighborhood in Raleigh, North Person Street.

Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream

Another inspiring story that started all the way over on the Meditteranean Island of Cyprus and ends up in Raleigh is Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream.

This family-owned business is led by Andia Xouris, and after traveling to numerous cities around the US to learn the art of premium frozen dessert creation, this has become one of the most popular places to get ice cream in Raleigh.

They serve up their award-winning ice cream made from the highest quality milk and cream, and support family-owned dairy farms. 

On the menu are traditional classics like Chocolate and French Vanilla, plus unique flavors such as Baklava, Coffee Bean Crunch and Rose Pistachio. Our kids enjoyed their Garbage Can Sundae!

Oh, and you can’t miss their MONSTER shakes and crazy cake shakes, or consider their Oreo Cookies & Cream Sammie, or taste test with one of their ice cream flights!

Howling Cow

Howling Cow Ice Cream, Raleigh, NC

Here’s another NC State connection. Did you know they make ice cream on campus at NC State University? With a 329-acre dairy farm and a nationally recognized food science program, NC State’s Howling Cow makes delicious ice cream in their Feldmeier Dairy Processing Lab, part of the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science.

The milk and cream come directly from over 300 NC State cows on their farm in Raleigh. It doesn’t get more local than this! .

Our kids loved their mud pit sundae and banana split. Try their unique flavors like Cherry Brickyard or the Chancellor’s Choice to get the full Howling Cow experience!

If you’re looking for local ice cream in Raleigh, put them on your list – they have a cool porch area too. We recommend hiking before this at nearby Yates Mill County Park. Make the kids earn their treat!

FRESH. Local Ice Cream

You may have seen their ice cream truck around town, or visited one of their three locations, but if you haven’t grab your kids and get yourselves to a FRESH. Local Ice Cream shop in Cary, Apex or Raleigh.

Locally owned and operated with a huge variety of 15+ signature flavors, if you’re looking for ice cream in Cary or Apex or on Glenwood Ave, put your flavor of choice in a cup, homemade waffle cone, or cake cone.

Plus, they have monthly specialty flavors to keep you coming back for more, and ice cream soda floats, milkshakes, and they even make party cakes FRESH each week! 

Our kids love their Cookie Dough, Birthday Cake and Frozen Hot Chocolate flavors. Other popular flavors include the Carolina Crunch and Midnight brownie. 

All of the flavors are made FRESH in house using ingredients from local dairy farms, and they also offer a vegan selection.

Raleigh Rolls

Raleigh Rolls ice cream

Now, if you’re looking for unique ice cream in Raleigh spots, put Raleigh Rolls on your list – we love their background story too! Founded by Ramy who was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt till the age of 24 he has been living in the Triangle since 2006.

Raleigh Rolls was an idea that started with the start of the food halls trend, and Kristen (his partner) went to the owner of Morgan Street Food Hall with the idea of rolled ice cream – a concept of making fresh ice cream on a frozen surface in front of customers which she encountered in Thailand.

From there, Raleigh Rolls was born inside the Morgan Street Food Hall in the Warehouse District.

They make fresh made from scratch ice cream with endless amounts of flavors that can be created to suit all kinds of different palettes.

Popular flavors include; Chocolate Overload: a cookies and cream ice cream loaded with different toppings. And Benelux Biscoffee: a cold brew coffee made by our local favorite Benelux coffee shop mixed with Biscoff cookies and topped with whipped cream and caramel.

And look out for their seasonal creations like the Mix Berry in the summertime, and S’mores when it starts to get cold.

Captain Cookie and the Milkman

Captain Cookie ice cream sandwich
Image credit: Captain Cookie

The Morgan Street Food Hall has Raleigh Rolls, and the Transfer Co. Food Hall has Captain Cookie and the Milkman.

There are few things kids love more than an ice cream sandwich, serves up fresh, made-from-scratch cookies, dairy from local creameries, and made-to-order ice cream sandwiches.

Indulge in one of their ice cream sandwiches (vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate and choose which cookie goes on top and bottom – 8 to choose from), an edible cookie dough jar with five flavors to choose from, or a milkshake (vanilla, strawberry, chocolate).

Oh, and their cookies are mighty fine also – Kirk, the founder, made his first cookie at the age of 4 and has been obsessed ever since and his recipe is the result of over three decades of testing and tinkering! 

Lumpy’s Ice Cream

Lumpy's ice cream
Image credit: Lumpy’s

Located slightly north of Raleigh in the ever growing town of Wake Forest, Lumpy’s Ice Cream was founded by Buck Buchanan who moved from Vermont to Raleigh and the ice cream is adored by locals.

Buck has committed to sourcing ingredients locally and using full-flavored, all-natural ingredients. Their philosophy is: keep it simple and keep it local. 

His first batches were only available via hand truck in downtown Raleigh, but you can now find Lumpy’s in Wake Forest and across the area including the Raleigh downtown Farmers Market and all events at Koka Booth Amphitheater. 

Lumpy's Ice Cream
Pistachio. Image credit: Lumpy’s

Just some of the many flavors to choose from include the classics plus fun names like; Bernie’s Butter Pecan, Georgie’s Fuzzy Peach Dream, Bennie’s Bacon and Bourbon, Bubba’s Backyard Blackberry, Angel’s Apple Pie, and Wired Hippie (Coffee ice cream with trail mix).

Now it’s your turn, where do you think is the best Raleigh ice cream spot? Share in the comments below!

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