National Ice Cream Day is here and it’s no secret that the Magic City is home to some of the best ice cream spots in the state! We’ve chosen some of our favorite local shops scooping up the best ice cream in Birmingham to share with you. From waffle cones to milkshakes, popsicles to shaved ice, this guide is for all of the ice cream lovers looking to beat the Alabama heat with refreshing treats this summer and year round.
Crestwood Pharmacy and Soda Fountain
5502 Crestwood Blvd Suit A Birmingham, AL 35233
Located in the heart of Crestwood, this unique soda fountain/pharmacy duo has something for everyone. After several years working for retail pharmacies, owner Taylor Trammell decided it was time to take the leap and open a place centered around community, a store where you could come fill your prescriptions and sip on a coke float at the same time. In 2017, Crestwood Pharmacy and Soda Fountain opened its doors to customers, turning a long time dream into a reality. They’ll take you back in time with their old school classics like lime rickeys, phosphates, coke floats, ice cream sodas, and Boston egg creams. Looking for something a little more traditional? They source their ice cream from Cammie’s Old Dutch Creamery in Mobile, which was recently voted best ice cream in Alabama by Mashed, and they always have a wide variety of flavors on the board. Customer favorites include lemon custard, banana pudding, red velvet (Cammie uses a whole red velvet cake to make this one!) cookie monster, creole praline, and word on the street is that their strawberry is the best in town! Whether you need a creamy hand spun milkshake to beat the heat or a refreshing cherry phosphate to sip on while you’re waiting on your prescription, Crestwood pharmacy and Soda Fountain will surely win you over with their neighborhood charm and family friendly atmosphere. Check out their Instagram and Facebook pages for weekly menu updates!
4000 3rd Ave S #104 Birmingham, AL 35222
Big Spoon Creamery made a name for itself fast when it joined the ice cream scene in 2014. What started off as a tricycle peddling around Birmingham offering their flavors to the city on wheels, this locally owned and operated creamery expanded first to an ice cream food truck and then to two store fronts currently located in Avondale and Homewood. In June of 2021, Big Spoon was named best ice cream in the state by Food and Wine magazine and ice cream lovers of Birmingham can all vouch that this award was well-deserved. Their ice cream is made in house and is crafted with a focus on seasonal flavors using local ingredients to really amp up their menu. While their flavors change with the seasons, Big Spoon customers seem to rave most about their Valrhona dark chocolate, goat cheese blackberry thyme, fior di latte, and the Magic City—a custom made for Birmingham flavor with a blend of vanilla bean, Valrhona dark chocolate, salted caramel swirl, chocolate cookie crumble, chocolate chip cookie dough, and chocolate covered potato chips. Talk about a mouth watering explosion of flavors! In addition to regular scoops, they also offer samies (their version of an ice cream sandwich), little spoon and big spoon sundaes with homemade dark chocolate rum brownies, regular and vegan milkshakes, malts, and floats.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
219 29th St South Birmingham, AL 35233
James beard award winning chef Jeni Britton first planted the seed for her ice cream shop in 2002. What started off as a small space in a public market in Colombus, Ohio, quickly grew into a booming business that now has over 65 store fronts and ships to all 50 states. Luckily for the ice cream lovers in Birmingham, one of these store fronts resides downtown right in the heart of Pepper Place. According to the Washington Post, “all it takes is one bite to get hooked” on Jenis ice cream, and based of the long lines constantly wrapped around their space at Pepper Place, we’d say the customers in Birmingham agree. Their flavors are extremely innovative, combing fair trade ingredients like peach jam layered between buttermilk ice cream with crumbled biscuits (sweet cream biscuits and peach jam) or bramble berry ice cream with orange and lavender swirls (wild berry lavender). While their combination of eccentric ingredients create an ultimate flavor explosion, it’s their ultra smooth butter cream texture that sets their ice cream apart from most! You can enjoy their scoops in a butter crisp waffle cone or bowl, or have their “trio” of 3 half scoops, or try their “flight” of 10 half scoops (if you’re really indecisive). They also offer a kid’s half scoop for the little ones to enjoy. While their space in pepper place is small, they offer covered outdoor seating, making for a more spacious and family friendly environment.
The Spun Cow
1821 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
Located downtown in the Pizitz Food Hall, the Spun Cow is currently creating a lot of buzz around the Magic City! Known for their milkshakes and cotton candy bar, this new spot is a sister company of the popular Cotton and Snow in Nashville. They offer handspun old-fashioned milkshakes with over 15 flavors to choose from, as well as simple scoops of the same flavors. Some of their most popular flavors include vanilla bean cream, pecan pralines and cream, espresso, and cake batter. What is most intriguing to me about this spot is their list of old-fashioned float options and their 50 rotating flavors of freshly spun cotton candy. Word around town is that their butterbeer float made with their in house soda mix is out of this world, and their blue raspberry cotton candy is finger-lickin’ good. Whether you’re looking for a traditional ice cream fix or craving more of a state-fair style snack with a modern twist, The Spun Cow has you covered. This new spot in town is making waves and living up to all of the hype!
K&J’s Elegant Pastries
2260 9th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
This one is for the milkshake lovers. And I don’t just mean fans of your average simple shake with whip cream and a cherry, I’m talking huge, colossal, bigger than your head milkshakes piled high, overloaded with flavor, and dripping with every topping you can imagine! This is what you can expect when you walk through the doors of K&J’s Elegant Pastries. Originally located in Alabaster, this full service pastry shop recently moved and has now set up their storefront in the Uptown district of Birmingham. Owner and operator Chef Kristal Bryant has over 18 years of experience in the culinary industry, and her unique attention to detail and use of the best quality ingredients are what sets her apart from other pastry shops. While they specialize in custom cakes, cookies, and cupcakes for any occasion, you can’t visit their store without trying one of their famous milkshakes. These jaw-dropping works of art are unlike anything we’ve seen from any ice cream shop here in Birmingham before. The shakes are made with indulgence in mind and are topped with slices of cake, suckers, oreos, cupcakes, cotton candy, etc. If you can name it, they’re topping a shake with it. Think New York’s iconic Serendipity Ice Cream sundaes but with a Southern, Magic City twist. I could talk about these shakes all day but neither my words nor the pictures will do this place justice. So, you’ll just have to stop in and experience it for yourself, but be sure to bring your fiercest sweet tooth and come ready to indulge.
2212 Morris Ave, Birmingham, AL 35203
One of the newest talks of the town is Cannella Gelato. They’re bringing Italy to Birmingham with their hand crafted gelato made in house with locally sourced ingredients. While they originally started off with a store front in the Brookwood Mall Food court, Canella Gelato is excited to have their new space on historic Morris Avence open to the public.
If you’re like me and didn’t really know the difference between Italian gelato and ice cream, let me share a few things that set the two apart. Gelato is made with much less butter fat than traditional ice cream, making it denser in texture. It’s also served warmer than ice cream, making it melt in your mouth much faster. Cannella Gelato has a smaller menu but their flavors are anything but basic! Their honey and goat cheese is a popular favorite, their basil is a mix of herby with hints of sweetness, and their seasonal peaches and cream will literally melt in your mouth. If you’re looking for non-dairy options, they also offer several flavors of sorbetto. Customers can choose from strawberry-lemonade, watermelon, peach, or mint. If you can’t vacation in Italy this summer, Cannella Gelato is the next best thing! Their flavor profiles truly taste like an Italian summertime explosion in your mouth.
Mountain Brook / Vestavia Hills / Homewood
Bendy’s Cookies and Cream
3029 Pump House Road Ste. 109 Vestavia Hills, AL 35243
The husband and wife team behind the business, Ben and Wendy (Bendy’s– get it?), first started serving their cookies and ice cream out of their home for friends and family to sample. After realizing they had some really sweet talent to share with others, they decided to start something big! In 2016, Bendy’s food truck hit the streets of Birmingham offering the ultimate sweet treat duo, cookies and ice cream. Their cookies and cream became so popular around Birmingham that they expanded to a store front in Cahaba Heights in 2019 and recently opened another store in the Trussville area. Bendy’s menu stands out from other traditional ice cream stores in that they offer freshly baked cookies with which to sandwich your ice cream. One of the favorite combinations among customers is sweet cream ice cream sandwiched between two snickerdoodle cookies. If cookies aren’t your thing, enjoy a simple scoop of not-so-simple flavors like cookie butter, ooey gooey cake, pistachio crunch, or dairy-free lemon. Prefer to skip the cream and indulge in a cookie? Might I suggest their white chocolate blueberry or their chocolate caramel pistachio. Whether you’re looking to visit one of their two store fronts (a great family friendly outing idea), or you decide to track them down while they’re out on wheels, Bendy’s Cookies and Cream has something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.
Doodle’s Homemade Sorbets and Ices
3236 Cahaba Heights Rd, Vestavia Hills, AL 35243
While this iconic Birmingham spot technically isn’t scooping up ice cream, per say, their homemade sorbets and Italian ices have been attracting customers to their Cahaba Heights store front for over 35 years. With more than 30 sorbet flavors and 16 Italian ice flavors to choose from daily, it can be challenging to choose just one! Luckily the staff at Doodles are very accommodating and patient for indecisive customers (like me!) who need to sample 1 or 10 of the flavors before deciding on which flavor or flavor combination to order. They use no processed ingredients and strive to always keep flavors fresh for their customers. I grew up visiting this place in high school and my go to order was always blue raspberry and cherry Italian ice! Other popular flavors include green apple, cotton candy, peach, piña colada, and even chocolate. If sorbet is more your style, choose from scoops of birthday cake, cappuccino, german chocolate, peanut butter cup, white chocolate chip, or key lime pie, to name a few. They also offer sugar free flavors. If you’re looking for something a little light and fluffy with a nontraditional approach to ice cream, Doodle’s is your place to visit!
Edgewood and Mountain Brook Creamery
Homewood: 936 Oxmoor Road, Birmingham, AL 35209
Mountain Brook: 2715 Cahaba Rd, Mountain Brook, AL 35223
The “creameries,” as they’re known around Birmingham, are what local ice cream lover dreams are made of. With one location in Homewood and the other in Mountain Brook, both shops offer that home town experience that we all crave. These sister shops have an extensive list of flavors, and their family-friendly atmosphere is enough to keep customers constantly coming back for more. Their ice cream cases hit you with a ton of flavors to choose from right when you walk in, with cases dedicated to chocolate flavors, miscellaneous flavors, and fruity flavors. Each flavor also offers a description labeled clearly on the window so you know what ingredients are in each flavor. While their Superman ice cream is one of the most popular flavors among the kiddos, Moose Tracks, blueberry cheesecake, and dulce de leche are other fan favorites. They also have dairy free sherbet and Italian ice. Also, they are one of the only shops that carry Only 8 frozen yogurt, which has only 8 calories per ounce, with no fat, and only natural ingredients. In addition to waffle cones, or scoops in a cup, both creameries offer milkshakes, malts, floats, ice cream cakes and ice cream pies! These two spots are a constant talk around the town and must stop when visiting the Birmingham area.
La Nueva Michoacana
104 Green Springs Highway, Birmingham, AL 35209
If you’re looking for the ultimate cultural experience with an explosion of Mexican flavors packed tight in the form of paletas (popsicles) and ice cream, then don’t walk, RUN to La Nueva Michoacana. Located off of Green Springs Highway, this Mexican heladeria (ice cream shop) is crafting up beautiful treats made in house with all natural ingredients. “Es natural,” or “it’s natural,” is actually part of the store’s logo!
When you walk through the doors at La Nueva Michoacana, you’re hit with bright colors, Mexican music on the loud speaker, and pictures of decadent treats on display. This inviting and vibrant atmosphere made me instantly nostalgic for the popular ice cream shops located in Mochacán, a state in west-central Mexico where owner Juan Sanchez is originally from. Their ice cream case is a mile long with over 28 flavors to choose from, ranging from creamy coconut to pistachio to caramel with fresh cajeta (imported caramel from Mexico made from goats milk). In addition to ice cream, fresh made paletas are what catches the eyes of most customers. While some of the pops are cream based with chunks of fruit swirled in, others are simply fruit based with unique ingredients like chamoy and chili powder added in to give an extra punch of flavor. You’ve heard the saying we eat with our eyes right? It’s almost impossible not to awe over the vibrant colors in these house-made popsicles. La Nueva Michoacana is a must visit if you’re looking for a Mexican-style frozen treat made with all natural ingredients!
North of Birmingham
Gardendale Sno Shack
1046 Main St, Gardendale, AL 35071
Nothing screams summer to me like a good old fashioned mile-high cup of shaved ice. You know the kind I’m talking about where the flavor board of syrups is a mile long and it’s unheard of to just pick one? If you’re catching my drift and in agreement that nothing beats a fresh shaved ice, then the Gardendale Sno Shack is a must visit! Located off of Mainstreet in Gardendale, this tiny spot is home to big flavors that keep customers coming back for more, especially during these hot Alabama summer months. Their menu is packed with a long list of 80+ ice flavors from Bahama Mama to Tiger Blood, Georgia peach to pink lemonade, and banana colada to sour cherry, to name just a few. Choose from sizes small to extra large cups for your packed tight syrupy ice treat, or if you’re anything like my family and have a kid who prefers ice cream over shaved ice, they also have a long list of traditional ice cream flavors to choose from, as well as milk shakes, floats, and malts. And the menu options don’t stop there folks! Sno Shack also offers several carnival themed treats like fried Oreos, fried cheesecake (yes you read that right!), hot dogs and Polish dogs, nachos, funnel cakes, and a banana split cake. Their store front may be tiny but their treats pack a big punch, making Sno Shack a fun family-friendly spot to visit.
South of 459
The Whole Scoop
1021 Brocks Gap Pkwy, Hoover, AL 35244
Located in Brocks Gap Village in Hoover, The Whole Scoop prides itself on being an ice cream shop centered around family. Setting the ultimate scene for a warm and inviting vibe, the store walls are lined with pictures of friends and family alongside ice cream spoons hand painted by customers. Served in a cup or a cone, customers can chose from over 44 hand dipped flavors, like krazy kookie dough, butterfinger, and salted caramel. Their menu also includes ice cream sundaes in which you can choose from over 32 ice cream flavors and over 20 toppings to add, or go with one of their specialty sundaes like the moon pie sundae! Other customer favorites include hand spun creamsicle or peppermint patty milkshakes, and ice cream cake sold by the slice or even whole—for holidays and parties. This family owned Hoover business is the perfect place to have your cake and eat it, too. . . with ice cream!
Burnette Farms Market and Cafe
8551 Helena Rd, Pelham, AL 35124
Burnette Farms is a fourth generation family farm located in Chilton County, but did you know that their Market and Cafe in Pelham is serving up delicious, homemade ice cream? Store owner Mike Burnette makes all the ice cream himself; he’s created over 100 different flavors and counting! Their most popular flavor is their peach ice cream. It’s also a sentimental flavor for the family because Mike’s son grows the very peaches that he uses to make it! Some more unique flavors you’ll find at Burnette Farms Market and Cafe are buttermilk, Play Dough, Cosmic Brownie, and Lucky Charms. Around Christmastime, you can even find homemade Little Debbie Christmas Cake ice cream! Mike loves experimenting and has only ever thrown out one batch of ice cream (“BLT” didn’t quite make the cut). If you’re looking for something more traditional, they serve tried and true favorites, as well. Enjoy your ice cream in their cafe or grab a pre-packed to-go container. Don’t forget to browse their market for fresh produce, incredible local honey, a wall full of jams, jellies, and salsas, with so much more! You can find their daily cafe menu on their Facebook page.
4025 Helena Rd, AL 35080
Freezy’s Creamery is a family-owned shop offering super premium, handcrafted ice cream in Old Town Helena. The Howe Family began Freezy’s four years ago “with a vision to create high-quality, premium ice cream” that “brings family and friends together.” All of their flavors are made in house, along with fresh waffle cones and jumbo chocolate chip cookies from scratch! Not only will you find fun flavors like Not Your Grandma’s Banana Cream Pie, Blackberry Birthday Cake, and Candy Apple Jolly Rancher Sorbet, but Freezy’s also offers their popular alcohol infused flavors for the 21+ crowd. Things like Honey Bourbon Praline, Irish Rover (Bailey’s ice cream with brownies), and Strawberry Champagne Sorbet. If you like sundaes, I highly recommend their brownie sundae. Choose your flavor and enjoy it on top of a warm, cake-like brownie, drizzled with hot fudge and whipped cream! Or if you’re feeling a little nostalgic, try one of their A&W Root Beer floats. In a hurry? Grab one of their pre-scooped grab’n’go pints to enjoy at home. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for new flavor announcements and comeback flavors, and to see which flavors they have on hand for the day.
Offering all natural Hawaiian shaved ice, Ono Ice is keeping customers all over Birmingham cool this summer with their shop on wheels. “Ono,” meaning delicious in Hawaiian, is just what this shaved ice is. With syrups made from scratch using natural ingredients, this isn’t your traditional shaved ice spot. Unlike other places offering snow cones made with crushed ice, Hawaiian style ice is made with very finely shaved ice which creates a fluffier texture that is more powdery and snow-like. Word on the street is that this type of shaved ice absorbs the syrup better, offering a treat packed with flavor! Ono Ice is catering to the summer season by serving up flavors like orange creamsicle, blueberry basil, and lemon cream. While they don’t have an official website, ice lovers can find their weekly schedule posted on their Facebook and Instagram pages. You can often find them posted up at breweries, local markets, and events around the Birmingham area. This truck is definitely worth following!
If you prefer your ice cream on a stick we’ve got a few suggestions of places serving up some of our favorite popsicles in Birmingham too!
Steel City Pops
329 Summit Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35243
3730 Lorna Road, Hoover, AL
2760 John Hawkins Pkway Ste 100, Hoover, AL 35244
Frios Gourmet Pops
Frios Birmingham is 100% mobile and they post their schedule on their social media accounts.
Was your favorite local shop on our list? Tell us where your family likes to get ice cream and frozen treats in Birmingham!
If you’re looking for other ways to keep cool this summer, check out our Guide to Birmingham’s Splash Pads and Pools!