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Best of Toronto

The Best Ice Cream in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / June 29, 2012

best ice cream torontoThe best ice cream in Toronto seems to seduce a lineup no matter what the weather. While parlours across the city are likely gearing up for the summer rush, the very best of Toronto's iced dairy crafters have kept their scoops in motion throughout the year. The best ice cream in Toronto isn't necessarily of a single creed; this list proves that soft serve can be as good as hard, custard as good as conventional, and plain old vanilla as tempting to the palette as a scoop of blue cheese ice cream or peanut butter chocolate chip. Winter or summer (but especially summer), Toronto loves its ice cream.

Here are the shops that offer the best ice cream in Toronto.

See also:

The best gelato in Toronto
The best frozen yogurt in Toronto

Note: This list was previously published in June 2011. Comments below made up until June 28, 2012 are in reference to the old list. We've purposely kept the archived comments here because we believe they (mostly) add value to this topic. If you don't want to have to wade through all of them, simply hit the "sort by newest first" link at the top of the thread.

Ed’s Real Scoop

Ed’s Real Scoop

Toronto’s love affair with Ed’s continues as we’re consistently seduced by the power of that waffle cone aroma. But the real treat, of course, is what goes inside the cone, with Ed’s Burnt Marshmallow, Coffee Toffee, and seasonal Pumpkin flavours leading the pack. Ed’s ice cream has some of the richest, creamiest ice cream varieties around, and with two Toronto locations, resistance is pretty much futile. More »

Greg’s Ice Cream

Greg’s Ice Cream

Greg’s Ice Cream has recently expanded into the Distillery District, granting a whole new community easy access to its incredible Roasted Marshmallow ice cream. Greg’s is known to do wonderful things with unusual flavours such as Grape Nut and Stout, while still mastering the classics with its chocolate and vanilla varieties. Expect lines, especially in the summertime. More »

Dutch Dreams

Dutch Dreams

Dutch Dreams is like a wonderland of sugary, nutty, and fruity goodness. Once you finally tear your eyes away from the kitsch and hone in on the ice cream offerings, you’ll get your pick of Rum Raisin, Birthday Cake, Chocolate Fudge and more, plus fresh fruit and whipped cream on top, of course. If you order a double-scoop, be prepared for an immense haul that’s big enough for two. More »

The Big Chill

The Big Chill

In an area where gelato reigns as the frozen dessert of choice, The Big Chill does its cream roots proud. Set against a backdrop of lime green and painted murals, and an alarming assortment of cow paraphernalia, The Big Chill delights visitors with its chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter, Bordeaux Cherry, and Brownie Toffee Crunch. The scoops are utterly huge, and the homemade waffle cones alone are a delicious treat. More »

Summer’s Ice Cream

Summer’s Ice Cream

Summer’s Ice Cream is a Yorkville favourite, and not just because it’s one of the only places to get homemade ice cream in the area. You’ll find dapper diners and plain Janes and Joes jonesing for some Chocolate Decadence and Toronto Pothole ice creams, best enjoyed in a homemade waffle cone. The lower-level spot can sport long lines in the summertime, though the great flavours (and people-watching opportunities) make it worth the wait. More »

Tom’s Dairy Freeze

Tom’s Dairy Freeze

Talk about an old faithful. Tom’s Dairy Freeze has been around for more than 40 years, serving the same classic soft serve that’s won over lifelong customers. While the retro spot does serve frozen yogurt and outsourced hard ice creams, the chocolate and vanilla soft serves are Tom’s main claims to fame. Real cream and natural ingredients, according to Tom’s, makes all the difference. More »

Sweet Olenka’s

Sweet Olenka’s

Goat Cheese ice cream? Sweet Olenka’s somehow makes it work (and makes it sweet!) prepared fresh on location on Lakeshore Boulevard in Etobicoke. The quaint candy and ice cream shop is known for its other extraordinary frozen flavours, which include Roasted Rum Banana, Black Forest Cake, and Chocolate Ginger. Olenka’s prices are also pretty good compared to some of the other spots on this list. More »

Delight Chocolate

Delight Chocolate

The adventurous ice cream-enthusiast might find satisfaction in Delight’s Blue Cheese ice cream, though most stick with its classic flavours such as Maple Walnut, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and traditional Vanilla. All of the ice creams offered at Delight’s two shops are made with organic ingredients, including the flour for its waffle cones and its signature fair trade chocolate. More »

Maple Leaf Dairy/St. Clair

Maple Leaf Dairy/St. Clair

Maple Leaf Dairy is one of those unchanged ice cream parlours that will load your cone up to capacity, and then some. Out on the east end of Danforth, Maple Leaf Dairy serves up classic flavours under its house label, St. Clair, with the odd green tea ice cream thrown into the mix. Definitely a bang-for-your-buck ice cream spot. More »

Jedd’s Frozen Custard

Jedd’s Frozen Custard

Semantics aside, Jedd’s Frozen Custard serves up some of the creamiest frozen “dessert” around. The custard is made with fresh eggs, cream, and sugar, prepared fresh daily and topped with fruits, nuts, and syrups. Don’t expect to find bubblegum or cotton candy flavours here. Jedd’s is all about the chocolate and vanilla, and maybe strawberry, too. More »

The Lansdowne Cone

The Lansdowne Cone

A newbie on the ice cream scene and already making its sprinkles-speckled mark on the Lansdowne community. The Lansdowne Cone opened to much, much community anticipation, and did not disappoint with its Maple Walnut, Dutch Chocolate, Cotton Candy, and Cookie Dough varieties. The ice cream comes from Maypole out in Etobicoke, and brings with it the owners’ memories of childhood jobs at the ice cream parlour. More »

Discussion

49 Comments

TO dweller / March 28, 2008 at 08:36 am
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My vote goes to Film Buff on Roncesvalles. Hands down the best ice cream by far.
Marina / April 2, 2008 at 03:50 pm
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Film Buff on Roncy is great, but Gelato Fresco is good for smooth take-outs...& I can't believe La Paloma on Lansdowne and St.Clair isn't posted. It's the best ice cream you will ever try. Way better than Greg's...
Marina / April 13, 2008 at 04:10 pm
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La Paloma is amazing for their ICE CREAM not just gelato...
lockley / September 14, 2009 at 10:27 am
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If anyones going north...go to a farmers market in Muskoka and find Belly Ice Cream Company
Seriously the best ice cream on the planet! The girl that owns it told me that shes getting into Mcewans new place, so keep an eye out for it....shes got a 'buttered scotch whiskey with salted caramel and smoked almonds' that I needed a private moment with! Apparently she gets all her product from the other vendors at the farmers markets shes in, so she can say, 'ya those peaches in that ice cream, he grew them, and picked them on tuesday'...(pointing at the farmer next to her)....bloody amazing!
lily / October 22, 2009 at 05:19 pm
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Film Buff on Roncesvalles! The BEST!
Patrick Jefferson / March 30, 2010 at 09:23 pm
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Greg's Ice Cream pales in comparison to Ed's Real Scoop. This list needs to be updated this summer. There's some great spots that aren't even on here.
joey / November 7, 2010 at 09:58 pm
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has anyone tried ice cream junction on dundas st.w west of keele st. best ice cream I ever had and a cool 50's look friendly people serving you two thumbs up.
shelley / December 16, 2010 at 09:03 am
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just read gregs ingredients....orange cream has neither cream or orange
Aydin / June 29, 2011 at 10:14 am
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Happy for Ed's Real Scoop. I have yet to taste better ice cream!
limone / June 29, 2011 at 10:40 am
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I'm really shocked La Paloma is not here. In any case, go try their limone or their Sicilian pistachio, and you'll wonder why anyone bothers to go to many of the other places on this list.
M / June 29, 2011 at 11:04 am
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I wish more places made their own ice cream in Toronto. Also, I wish there were more non-cows milk based options, like coconut milk, cashew, soy, etc. There are a lot of places with sorbet's for dairy-free types, but other than Delight's dairy free chocolate we don't have many options!
Pat D / August 23, 2011 at 11:54 am
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The Chocolatier on Roncesvalles, which makes amazing chocolate on the premises, has also been making its own ice cream cones, which are the best I've tasted. Better than Film Buff,etc.
Foodie / May 22, 2012 at 08:41 am
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Re: Delight Chocolate. I haven't tried the chocolate, but I was slightly disappointed by the ice cream here. Vanilla and chocolate were just mediocre, based on what I've had at Greg's and Ed's. (However, lotus bloom was an inventive flavour.) Most disappointing, however, was the texture: crumbly, and it fell apart very easily (all three flavours that we tried)--unlike anything I've ever seen among homemade ice creams. Not at all creamy and smooth the way good ice cream usually is. I've made ice cream at home in an electric machine, and have not encountered this problem, so am curious as to what was going on here.
Jim / May 28, 2012 at 06:57 pm
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Glad to see Ed's at #1, and no mention of Marble Slab. Last time I went to Slab I had to tell the girl behind the counter how to make a hot fudge sundae. Sheesh.
k mifsud / May 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm
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that soma is not on the list is beyond oversight
and someone should actually taste the ice cream from dutch dreams-
it would not be on any 'top' lists....
jer replying to a comment from k mifsud / June 29, 2012 at 03:22 pm
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I think they have a seperate "gelato" list. Isn't it just gelato at SOMA?
kat / June 29, 2012 at 03:26 pm
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This may sound like a stupid question, but I REALLY miss ice cream... does anyone know if any of these places have dairy free ice cream? I'm sure its not the same... but still.
King / June 29, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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Howdy. How 'bout Cool Hand Luc's over on the ol' King W? Do think you folks might have made some kind of terrible omission, just sayin'.
Aydin / June 29, 2012 at 06:52 pm
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Best ice cream I've ever had: Macaroon at Ed's Real Scoop.
2nd best: Tiramisu gelato at Ed's Real Scoop.
'nuff said.
MrsPotato replying to a comment from King / June 29, 2012 at 07:19 pm
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Hey King .. Cool Hand Luc serves Kawartha.
You can buy that at the supermarket.

I think we're talking about legit ice cream in this thread.
Skipper replying to a comment from kat / June 29, 2012 at 08:53 pm
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Hibiscus in Kensington make their own vegan (and soy-free) ice cream; it's delicious! Also, try Coconut Bliss from the freezer section of Essence of Life (has minimal ingredients and tastes great as well)
Redthomas / June 29, 2012 at 11:34 pm
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What about Marble Slab?
Rich / June 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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I think Ice Cream Junction deserves a mention:

blogto(dot)com/restaurants/ice-cream-junction-toronto
Roncy / June 30, 2012 at 03:08 pm
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The Film Buff serves Maple Leaf Dairy's ice cream.
Marcy / July 1, 2012 at 11:59 am
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Is there anyplace in Toronto where you can get hot fudge sundaes with waffles? The cheaper the better.
Roger / July 1, 2012 at 11:49 pm
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The Pinball Cafe has a few varieties of Greg's Ice Cream. Just sayin'.
Alex / July 3, 2012 at 08:52 pm
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Shout out for Boreal Gelato http://borealgelato.ca/ in Parkdale!

They always have a bunch of great unique flavors and half a dozen vegan sorbetto's to choose from.
nm replying to a comment from kat / July 4, 2012 at 04:46 pm
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the only one i liked when i was dairy-free for a while was a rice ice cream from whole foods, in a coffee flavour. it came in carrot cake and chocolate too, i think. didn't find anywhere take-out that had dairy-free ice cream though :( there might be somewhere in the annex that does vegan ice cream....
Christy Conte replying to a comment from M / July 9, 2012 at 08:35 am
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Hi, Kat, nm, Skipper and others...I have just started selling my non-dairy, vegan 'ice cream' in Toronto through Hollywood Foods on Ossington Ave in Toronto. I'm coming up with scrumptious new flavours regularly, including Dark Chocolate, Thai Basil Lime, Black Sesame, Ontario Rhubarb, and Maple Roasted Banana w/Bourbon. We're calling it a sorbetto, since the term ice cream applies to products with 10%+ dairy fat and our base uses coconut milk.

We're also selling sorbetto sammies: sorbetto middles sandwiched between two yummy gluten-free cookies.

Come by for a taste!
Rob / July 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm
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Dutch Dreams third? Seriously? They don't even make their own ice cream!
JP / July 14, 2012 at 11:41 am
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Dutch Dreams really sucks as great tasting ice cream goes. Haven't tried any of the others on the list, because I still miss my one true fave ice cream.... Does anyone rember when Le Marche in Yorkville was serving scoops in a waffle cone, and had a flavour called "Carmelita"? I don't care how fattening or bad it was for you, that ice cream was AWESOME!
Chow Hound GTA / July 14, 2012 at 11:45 am
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Please update this list ASAP, because we want to find the innovation in ice cream flavours and ice cream making.

"lockley" posted Muskoka Belly Ice Cream Company. That sounds intriguing!
MrPotato replying to a comment from MrsPotato / July 16, 2012 at 03:50 am
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Kawartha Ice Cream comes from a small dairy farm near Bobcaygeon, and is completely family-owned. So when I buy ice cream from Cool Hand, I always think that I'm supporting two small businesses, not just one!

Anyway, as others have mentioned, Dutch Dreams doesn't make their own ice cream, but they are on the list.

So I'm not sure what you mean by "legit" ice cream. If ice cream made from products on a small family-owned Ontario farm is not "legit", what is?
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm
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This may sound like a stupid question, but I REALLY miss ice cream... does anyone know if any of these places have dairy free ice cream? I'm sure its not the same... but still.
lucy / October 19, 2012 at 01:41 pm
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just because its not home made doesnt mean its garbage !!!i think that Kawartha Dairy ice crateam is great ice cream and it has a lot to choose from and its canadian made . I alays go to ice cream junction on dundas great ice cream and great service and they carrie dairy free .
Sam / December 20, 2012 at 08:30 pm
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Actually...
...the best premium imported Italian gelato and frozen yogurt have now arrived to Toronto!

Check out their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ci-Gusta-Canada/118970891590185 .

I found out that Pregel with ci gusta! were the ones that 'wrote the book' on gelato and frozen yogurt. They are one of the largest wholesale suppliers in the world too.

ci gusta! is launching stores across the country and hiring!
Sam / December 20, 2012 at 08:30 pm
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Actually...
...the best premium imported Italian gelato and frozen yogurt have now arrived to Toronto!

Check out their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ci-Gusta-Canada/118970891590185 .

I found out that Pregel with ci gusta! were the ones that 'wrote the book' on gelato and frozen yogurt. They are one of the largest wholesale suppliers in the world too.

ci gusta! is launching stores across the country and hiring!
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Vijaya / June 21, 2013 at 06:18 pm
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They might be a bakery, but Bakerbots Baking has by far the best Ice Cream I have eaten anywhere in the city.

They source ingredients locally, and I am pretty certain that most of their bases are 100% organic. You can never go wrong sandwiching a couple of their infamous flavours between 2 cookies to make the best ice cream sandwich you have ever eaten in your life.

With flavours like Banana Pudding, Orange Cardamom, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and London Fog, Bakerbots is not to be missed!
GKL replying to a comment from Vijaya / June 21, 2013 at 08:10 pm
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It's Ed's Ice cream
Vijaya replying to a comment from GKL / June 21, 2013 at 08:12 pm
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They no longer purchase from Ed's.

Everything is made fresh in-house. Check their Facebook and Instagram feeds, and you'll see all the raw ingredients, and hard work that goes into making their original ice creams :)
Kat / June 21, 2013 at 08:50 pm
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I sadly haven't tried any of these places and have now realized there is a large void in my life. I live near the Junction so typically go to Ice Cream Junction which serves Kawartha Dairy. Which is what dreams are made of.

Also, Marble Slab. I know we want to support the little guy, but it's made in house and makes the taste buds happy.
sam / January 28, 2014 at 11:20 am
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Best homemade Ice-cream is at Hibiscus. All natural ingredients, dairy free, gluten-free cone. Selection of 10 or more flavours. All made by nice people at Hibiscus.
Worth every penny!!!!
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