The Best Ice Cream in Sarasota & Nearby
If there’s one thing to know about me it’s that ice cream will forever be one of my favorite things. So naturally, anytime I move or visit a new city for an extended period of time I try to eat as much ice cream as possible so I can create entire articles on the best ice cream in that area. It’s research, okay!?
Logan and I recently moved to Sarasota, Florida where we have spent many years prior visiting, and I immediately knew I had to expand the list that has been years in the making. Many of these shops have dairy and non-dairy flavors so they are perfect for everyone! So without further ado, here is the best ice cream in Sarasota and nearby!
Main Street Creamery
Main Street Creamery has over 33 flavors of ice cream that are all made the old-fashioned way, in small batches right here in Sarasota! One of the things that make Main Street Creamery so unique is its soft-serve machine. While you can get old-fashioned scoops of any of their ice cream flavors in a cone you can also get many of the flavors churned in their soft serve machine!
Some of our favorite flavors are Orange Vanilla, Triple Peanut Butter, Banana Cream Pie, and Key Lime Pie (get this one soft serve!). For an extra sweet kick consider adding their homemade marshmallow meringue to top off your ice cream!
Location: 1359 Main St, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-10pm, Closed Sunday
Abel’s Ice Cream
Another Florida-made ice cream shop is Abel’s Ice Cream. Abel’s Ice Cream was founded in 2011 and currently has over 40 flavors of delicious ice creams to choose from. While they have many traditional flavors of ice cream they also have unique specialty flavors like coconut pineapple, chocolate raspberry truffle, and salty caramel peanut which is caramel ice cream with a caramel ribbon and salted peanuts. It’s like a PayDay in ice cream form!
Location: 1886 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12pm-9:30pm, Friday & Saturday 12pm-10pm
The Fat Donkey
The Fat Donkey has three locations in Florida and one is located in downtown Sarasota. They serve up creamy chocolate and vanilla soft serve but also scoop ice cream too. If you want something special then consider getting a scoop of the dulce de leche ice cream sandwiched between two crispy round churros or consider getting one of the gummy bear popsicles.
Location:1461 Main St, Sarasota // MAP (Has other locations in the Sarasota area)
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12:30pm-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday 12:30pm-11pm
Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream
When most people think of liquid nitrogen they are then back to high school or college science courses (I shudder just thinking about my college physics class tbh) but Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream takes that science and applies it to dessert! This method of flash-freezing ice cream became so popular it was even featured on Shark Tank. Now you can find Sub Zero in many locations all over the United States including Sarasota.
Sub Zero has many interesting combinations like Citrus Substance which has lemon and raspberry flavors with mixed berries and peaches or the Bernoulli Brulee which has caramel, dulce de leche, vanilla, and cinnamon mixed with Twix and Heath Bars. Of course, there is always the option to create your own flavor combination too!
Location: 4065 Clark Rd, Sarasota // MAP (Has another location in Sarasota)
Hours: 2pm-10pm daily
Rise & Nyes
Did you know that 80% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed? Well, Rise & Nyes is a coffee and artisanal ice cream shop that is hoping to change that and provide inclusion and equal opportunities for all. In addition to the jobs at Rise & Nyes, they have partnered with The Haven and Easterseals, two nonprofits that are dedicated to “enhancing the quality of life for individuals by encouraging independence, championing inclusion, and advocating for individual rights.”
Since Rise & Nyes offers artisanal ice cream flavors they do change periodically. But all are made with natural, fresh ingredients and are sure to pack flavor you’ve never experienced before. I recommend trying the almond butter crunch, peanut butter fluff, or mint chocolate chip. Even if you don’t like mint chocolate chip ice cream normally (it’s not my typical first choice) you have to at least give this one a taste. The use of fresh mint leaves makes this absolutely delicious.
If you aren’t feeling ice cream you can also get New Orleans-style beignets, cookies, one of the fresh pastry selections, or a bagel that is flown in directly from Zucker’s in NYC!
Location: 1534 State St, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday & Saturday 9am-10pm, Closed Sunday & Monday
Pete’s Sweet Treats
Pete’s Sweet Treats has delicious creamy ice cream, Italian ice options, and even adult ice cream flavors as well! For ice cream flavors try the Apple Pie, Coffee Oreo, or the Grand Marnier for an adult option. But if you’ve never had an Italian Ice then consider getting the strawberry lemonade or pina colada.
Location: 7515 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-10pm, Closed Sunday & Monday
Settimi’s Gelato is definitely the best gelato I’ve had in the United States thus far. It is located in St. Armand’s Circle and is a place I usually stop at least every few months. Once I even went there twice within four days. The gelato here is super creamy and packed with rich flavors in every decadent bite. Our favorites are the Stracciatella which is a milk-based gelato with Belgian chocolate, Nocciola – think Ferrero Rocher but in gelato form, and Cappuccino which has rich, Italian espresso and chocolate.
Location: 367 St Armands Cir, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: 10:30am-10:30pm daily
If you want a mega wild dessert then you have to check out Frozen World! Located in nearby Bradenton, Frozen World has teas, smoothies, crepes, mangonadas, and bubble waffles stuffed to the brim with ice cream! We got the birthday cake waffle with cookie monster and birthday cake ice cream. It was honestly big enough for four people and absolutely delicious! If you want a bit of savory to pair with your sweet then consider ordering one of the savory crepes or an arepa, a traditional Venezuelan snack food.
Location: 5108 15th St E #402, Bradenton // MAP
Hours: 11am-9pm daily
Paleteria Y Neveria La Mexicana
If you want to visit a place that has a large variety of frozen treats I recommend Paleteria Y Nerveria La Mexicana. This shop serves up yummy paletas which are a Mexican frozen treat on a stick usually made with fresh fruits and they have SO MANY FLAVORS! Pretty much any fruit you can think of you’ll find in a paleta here but they have some sweeter, creamy flavors as well like oreo and chocolate. Another great item to get at this paleteria is a mangonada which is a mango dessert with chamoy and tajin/chili powder!
Location: 1303 N Washington Blvd Unit A, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Sunday 10:30am-9:30pm, Monday-Saturday 10:30am-10pm
Island Scoops is a popular ice cream shop located on nearby Anna Maria Island. They have a number of ice cream and sorbet options using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Although you can get a traditional ice cream cone you could also try out an ice cream flight in order to try more than one flavor or some ice cream nachos which allows you to pick three flavors, sauces, and comes with homemade waffle chips.
Location: 103B Gulf Dr. N, Bradenton Beach // MAP
Hours: 11am-10pm daily
Pop Craft Pops
Pop Craft Pops uses no artificial preservatives, additives, corn syrup, or anything else of the sort. Instead, they use locally sourced fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and fresh milk. The flavor combinations are out of this world! Plus, with vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free options, they are sure to satisfy every customer. I recommend all of the flavors but the Peanut Butter Dipped in Dark Chocolate, Raspberry Rose Almond, and Blackberry Mango are perfection.
Location: 4515 Northgate Ct, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Monday-Friday 12pm-5pm, Closed Saturday & Sunday
Jeni’s Ice Cream
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has been taking over the artisanal ice cream industry with unique and delicious ice cream flavors in locations all over the United States including one in Sarasota! Jeni’s uses whole ingredients and dairy from grass-pastured cows making them a cut above. And what better way to try every ice cream flavor than with an ice cream flight, right? Some of my personal favorites are the gooey butter cake, wildberry lavender, and brown butter almond brittle. While many of the flavors are available year-round some are seasonal so be sure to stop in and see what’s new!
Location: 190 N Cattlemen Rd Unit 4, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Monday-Friday 12pm-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am-11pm
While Vampire Penguin doesn’t technically have ice cream, it does have a frozen treat that tastes similar! Vampire Penguin has fluffy, creamy shave ice flavors that will absolutely melt in your mouth! While you can build your own shave ice you should definitely take a look at their specialty snow options like the Halo Halo which has taro shave ice with red bean, white bean, jackfruit, and flan, or the Mexican Candy which is mango shave ice, fresh watermelon, chamoy, and tajin.
Location: 4976 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota // MAP
Hours: Sunday 12pm-8pm, Monday 3pm-8pm, Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-9pm
American Honey Creamery
While American Honey Creamery is located a bit outside of Sarasota it’s well worth a stop if you are in Palmetto or if you go do some shopping at the outlet malls in Ellenton. American Honey Creamery was started by two sisters who grew up in a family of dairy farmers so they know full well the commitment and patience it takes to provide good dairy products. They first started by selling homemade ice cream from a small food truck and now have a flagship store that has delicious ice cream, coffee, and other treats. My personal favorite menu item to share is the Ring of Fire which is a southern-style biscuit topped with American Honey ice cream and vanilla bean whipped cream and a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey!
Location: 4919 96th St E, Palmetto // MAP
Hours: 7am-8pm daily, Closed Sundays
Stay tuned for even more of the best ice cream in Sarasota as we continue to add to this list!