The Best Ice Cream Shops Across Connecticut (and What to Order)

buttonwood farm ice cream sundae connecticut
Credit: Idlewild Photo, with courtesy of Buttonwood Farm.

Going out for ice cream is one of the most quintessential American summertime traditions. There are so many great places to get a cone or a shake in the state of CT. While you can never go wrong with ice cream, we narrowed it down to the top six best ice cream shops and our favorite menu item to order at each location.

The Big Dipper

Prospect

The Big Dipper combines a classic, old-school ice cream shop atmosphere with some of the freshest homemade ice creams in the state! They have an ever-evolving list of at least 50 flavors, all of them delicious, and many of them quite unique. Our recommendation has to be the Banana Walnut Fudge Swirl. Something about the combination of chocolate, walnuts and banana just works so perfectly. For those with nut allergies while not seasonal, the eggnog ice cream is one of a kind. 203-758-3200

Credit: Idlewild Photo, with courtesy of Buttonwood Farm.

Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream

Griswold

Experience breathtaking, scenic views just a half hour’s drive from New London paired with a generous scoop of ice cream. Buttonwood Farm opened for the season this past March. They offer a range of classic and unique fun flavors to try for the whole family. A fun flavor for the kids is Penguin Tracks: vanilla ice cream with a fudge cookie swirl, and mint filled chocolates. Or, how about a scoop of Moose Munch? Don’t stop dreaming about this chocolate ice cream creation with caramel popcorn, marshmallows, chocolate chips, almonds, and pecans. For the adults, we recommend the Lavender Honey flavor. Advanced phone orders are currently available to customers. If you visit in autumn, you must check out their fun corn maze and cow train. 860-376-4081

Ferris Acres Creamery

Newtown

Ferris Acres has earned the status as a Dairy Farm of Distinction in Connecticut, and for good reason. This dairy farm makes every batch of ice cream in-house using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. The best part? You get to enjoy your treat next to where it was produced on a bucolic farm in the Fairfield County town of Newtown, Connecticut. Expand your horizons try such novel favorites as Elvis Dream, vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, banana slices, and chocolate chunks. Or, try a dessert translated into frozen dairy form: Blueberry Cheesecake ice cream with fresh blueberry swirls and real cheesecake pieces. 203-426-8803

Milkcraft

Locations including Fairfield, West Hartford & New Haven

With locations across Connecticut, and even a mobile ice cream truck that visits various locations and events throughout the summer, there is no excuse not to visit Milkcraft. Milkcraft has built its name on its inventive and unexpected menu, but perhaps the most unique offering they serve is their “bourbon breakfast” cone. It is homemade Madecasse vanilla ice cream in a homemade waffle cone topped with corn flakes and Whistle Pig maple bourbon. New Haven: 475-202-6482

Credit: Rich Farm Ice Cream

Rich Farm Ice Cream

Bristol, Brookfield & Oxford

A scenic drive through southwestern Connecticut will have you arriving at Rich Farm’s flagship location in Oxford. A favorite ice cream destination for locals for over twenty-five years, their diverse range of ice cream flavors are all made fresh daily on the premises. Many flavors rotate with the seasons and they also have special flavors of the day. Our favorite flavor for June, or National Dairy Month, is Brown Cow: chocolate ice cream with brownie dough bites. The best ice cream flavor around the holidays is Santa’s Christmas Cookie! It is crafted with vanilla ice cream mixed with chocolate chip cookies, red and green m&m’s. The also sell ice cream pies, Italian ice, cannolis, ice cream sandwiches, baked pies, and more. Oxford: 203-881-1040

Sweet Claude’s

Cheshire

Sweet Claude’s ice cream in Cheshire, CT has been creating some of the best, decadent homemade ice cream since 1988. They feature a large outdoor seating area and a rotating menu of seasonal flavors. Out of all their inventive flavors, our recommendation for adults only is Bailey’s Irish cream, made with real Bailey’s. For little ones, our top choice is Claude’s Cupcake, a cake batter ice cream with a buttercream swirl topped with blue and white sprinkles. Cash or check only. 203-272-4237