Warm tropical weather year-round means that in Hawaii, it’s always ice cream season! In the land of the popular shaved ice, ice cream still holds its own, with the below spots serving up fresh, homemade ice creams, gelatos and sorbets to satisfy any sweet tooth. With a big focus on tropical flavors, try something truly unique at these great ice cream parlors in Hawaii.
Wing’s (so called after owner Miller Royer’s middle name) is a truly inventive spot, always pushing the envelope by serving off-the-wall flavors like cheese, pizza, rose, green tea, concord grape with peanut butter or chai basil. You can even get a flight of ice cream that lets you experiment with three flavors for $4… you can go rogue on at least one of the three without trepidation.
Owner Dave Leong was one of only three licensed ice cream vendors in Hawaii when he began making ice cream in the early 1980s. Dave’s Ice Cream is now a franchise with locations all across Oahu. With close to 50 flavors in rotation, along with pre-packed pints, sherbets and yogurt, you can keep sampling until you find your favorite.
Lappert’s bring together two iconic flavors, ice cream and coffee, for everyone craving a caffeine and sugar rush. With locations in Po’ipu, Princeville, Wailea, Hanapepe and Waikiki, you’re never too far from your fix. Starting with vanilla and macadamia nut ice cream, Lappert’s expanded into more ice cream flavors, incorporated a coffee roasting facility, and began to offer delicious baked goods. All products are made daily in Hanapepe, Kauai, with fresh ingredients. Some favorites include the Kauai Pie, the Kona Lava Java, and the Heavenly Hana. You can also ship your favorites to the mainland U.S. (west of the Rockies)—they keep frozen on dry ice!
This place is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it—tucked away on a side street near Waikiki, folks rave about Henry’s flavors and textures, particularly their use of fresh fruit like mango and banana. For $5.25, you get a cup packed full of delicious homemade ice cream, which is refreshing in the Waikiki environment where mediocre restaurants often charge exorbitant tourist prices. Grab some to share and enjoy this cool treat on the beach.
Hawaii tends to offer plenty of organic and vegan options for its health-conscious population and ice cream is no exception. Coconut Glen’s offers organic vegan ice cream for those living in or visiting Maui. Made with coconut milk, rather than dairy cream, the texture is surprisingly creamy and rich and the flavor profiles are robust. As the only option for ice cream on the Road to Hana tourist route, the prices are a bit steep, but it’s a gem for anyone craving dairy-free ice cream options.
Tropical Dreams produces a “super-premium ice cream,” so described due to the 18 percent butterfat cream and mixing technique that results in less air churned into the ice and a dense, creamy texture. Check out their website to see all of the locations where Tropical Dreams is sold. Some of my favorite spots to get a scoop are the Kohala Coffee Mill in Hawi and Discovery Antiques in Kealakekua, where you can grab your favorite flavor and browse artwork, antiques and more.
This spot in Maui makes all flavors fresh daily, so not every flavor will be available each day, but with so many amazing flavors to choose from you will definitely find something to satisfy. Also made fresh daily are various baked goods that get incorporated into each flavor—cookies, cakes, shortbreads and more. They describe their product as a hybrid between ice cream and gelato, something light and smooth and unique called Island Cream. If you have not gotten to try island cream, make a point to add Island Cream Co. to your Maui itinerary.