From charming local spots that have been around long enough to serve several generations to exciting up-and-comers taking the city by storm. There’s no denying that the best ice cream in Portland is in high demand. It’s not unusual for these beloved ice cream shops to host lines that wrap the block.
As a Portland local, allow me to share which Portland ice cream shops are worth the wait. Longtime readers of this website know I’m not good at small talk, so let’s dive right in!
Best Ice Cream in Portland Oregon
Salt & Straw
Slat & Straw was founded in 2011 with a simple mission in mind: make some of the best ice cream in Portland (by hand) using local ingredients. The unique flavors span the gamut, from tried-and-true classics like lavender honey to wild cards like bone marrow (a seasonal flavor now retired).
One of my favorite things about this local ice cream shop is the seasonal menu. Every month, like clockwork, you can expect to find a batch of interesting flavors crafted using seasonal ingredients. If interested, here’s a roundup of the current seasonal ice cream flavors.
Needless to say, Salt & Straw is an iconic Portland ice cream shop (and has the lines to prove it!). Lines are all but guaranteed during warm summer weekends, but getting your hands on these unique flavors it completely worth the wait.
Set on making some of the most interesting small-batch ice cream, Fifty Lick’s is the passion project of Chad Draizin.
What originally started as a retro ice cream truck in Portland quickly became a hot-spot for summer memories with the opening of a brick-and-mortar location in 2013 (and a second in 2017!).
Focusing on quality over quantity, the ice cream shop features a handful of thoughtfully-curated flavors like cornbread honeybutter and toasted milk. Fun flavors aside, the toppings alone make this one of the best ice cream shops in Portland.
You’ll get the usual suspects like sprinkles and cookie crumbs, but why not shake things up with freeze-dried corn?
Oh, also worth mention, Fifty Licks serves great ice cream floats alongside boozy sorbets. And yes, they serve some of the best vegan ice cream in Portland as well, making sure everyone can have a summer worth remembering.
Fifty Licks has three ice cream shops in Portland, check out the locations here.
Cool Moon Ice Cream
Peppered among charming boutique shops and art galleries in the Pearl District, Cool Moon entered the scene in 2008. A pioneer of sorts.
All the flavors at this Portland ice cream shop are made in-house using 100% natural ingredients. Don’t except to find obnoxious colors like electric blue and stark pinks because food dye isn’t used.
Innovation is the name of the game and their commitment to creating exciting flavors earns them a spot on this list of the best ice cream in Portland. Today, Cool Moon has released nearly 200 flavors of ice cream of which 26 are available at any given time.
I’m a sucker for the Bing Cherry Almond Chip (using locally grown Oregon cherries and Willamette Valley Hazelnuts). But you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors on the creative menu.
For those that are intolerant you’ll be happy to learn that Cool Moon keeps 2-4 sorbets on tap. Most are fruit-based, but I’m telling you, that chocolate sorbet is one of the best sorbets in Portland (don’t sleep on it!).
Cloud City Ice Cream
Cloud City was a longtime dream that finally came to fruition in 2011 out of the tragedy of loss. The owner, Bryan Gilbert, committed to reviving the neighborhood ice cream shop in his mother’s memory (after learning she was losing her battle with cancer).
He signed the lease the day after his mother lost her long battle with breast cancer. He honors her memory by creating flavors based on his mom’s famous desserts. You’ll find delicious flavors like marionberry crisp and bananas foster (Caramelized Banana Ice Cream) sitting alongside long-loved classics like classic chocolate and (bourbon) vanilla.
Anyway you slice it, this is some of the best ice cream in Portland. Heck, the Caramelized Banana Ice Cream alone is worth the drive.
Kate’s Ice Cream
Much like the other great Portland ice cream shops mentioned on this list, Kate’s ice cream makes some of the best vegan ice cream in Portland. The difference? Kate’s makes vegan ice cream exclusively, but between you and me — you could hardly tell the difference.
Inspired by her dairy-intolerant younger sister, Katelyn Williams began experimenting with plant-based ice cream in 2014. Striving to make ice cream accessible to all, she creates 100% plant-based and gluten-free ice cream using local ingredients sourced from farmers markets.
This is one of the best ice cream shops in Portland for elevated childhood classics (like cookies and cream or vanilla bean) and creative concoctions (like rose water cardamom almond and lemon blueberry cheesecake). Here’s the full lineup of current flavors.
Kate’s Ice Cream shop is located at 3713 N Mississippi Ave in Portland, OR.
Eb & Bean
Eb & Bean is my personal go-to when I’m in the mood for something tart and satisfying. This gem of a place serves exceptional frozen yogurt and soft serve that few can resist. Offering both dairy and plant-based frozen yogurt with mouthwatering toppings, you’ll be scheduling in a weekly visit in no time.
Is this some of the best soft serve in Portland? That’s an easy yes.
Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
No list of the best ice cream in Portland, Oregon is complete without mentioning Lovely’s Fifty Fifty. Though this is a wood-fired pizza joint first and foremost, you can’t afford to miss the ice cream.
Much like the other ice cream shops mentioned on this list, everything is sourced locally and seasonally from nearby farms. You can grab the ice cream to go or enjoy it after a proper wood-fired pie (but the wait to get seated is terribly long most days of the week).
Hell, grab a cone while waiting for a table. Regardless of the order of operations, your spoiled taste buds will be privy to Portland’s best ice cream.
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Known for making some of the best ice cream sandwiches in Portland, Ruby Jewel probably needs no introduction.
I first came across this beloved Portland ice cream shop by pure happenstance. A coworker treated a few folks in the office to life-changing ice cream sandwiches, as one does, and I haven’t been the same since.
Apparently I’m not the only one that thinks so! Ruby Jewel has four ice cream shops in Portland and is starting to expand on a national scale. Eager to bring classic Pacific Northwest flavors to ice cream lovers all over the country!
The star of the show is the lemon cookie and lavender ice cream combo. I’m telling you, it’s life-changing! If you gravitate towards traditional flavors you’ll find yourself perfectly pleased with classics like chocolate chip cookies + vanilla ice cream.
I suggest swinging by one of the locations to create your own concoction. You can customize the cookie/ice cream combo however you desire. Lest you forget, making hard choices is one of the requirement of adulthood.
Zeds Real Fruit Ice Cream
There’s no denying that Zed’s serves the most unique ice cream in Portland, and it all started with a trip to New Zealand. Nico Vergara traveled through New Zealand and found himself intrigued by the country’s distinctive ice cream style.
He found himself at an ice cream counter and landed on a flavor called hokey pokey (vanilla ice cream with honeycomb toffee toppings). Then something strange happened.
Rather than scooping the ice cream and toppings into a cup or cone, the ice cream and topping was instead dropped them into a funnel and smashed together. This in turn created a creamy blend of ice cream that resembles a similar texture to soft serve.
The final product is a beautiful thing! Ice cream served in a spiral peppered with colorful fruits and other toppings. Fret not, die hard loyalists, Tillamook ice cream is used for good measure and toppings are sourced locally.
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream
Handel’s is the only shop on this list of the best ice cream in Portland that doesn’t have local roots. Gripping about chains seems to be a favorite past-time, but sometimes the success is warranted. This is the case with Handel’s!
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream was started in 1945 by Alice Handel in Youngstown, Ohio. Her knack for creating delicious ice cream put her on the map and, as of 2022, there’s more than 90 locations across 11 states. Oregon is lucky enough to be one of them.
The best way I can think to describe this Portland ice cream is classic. It’s perfectly rich and creamy, evoking nostalgic childhood memories for anyone that ever split a cone with a friend on a hot day in August. The portions are generous and there’s plenty of flavors to choose from.
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream serves some of the best ice cream in Portland.
Portland, Oregon Best Ice Cream Shops (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick list of the best ice cream in Portland, Oregon. Hope you enjoyed!
- Salt & Straw
- Fifty Licks
- Cool Moon Ice Cream
- Cloud City Ice Cream
- Kate’s Ice Cream
- Lovely’s Fifty Fifty
- Ruby Jewel
- Zeds Real Fruit Ice Cream
- Eb & Bean
- Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream
Map of the Best Ice Cream in Portland
What do you think?