The 5 Best Ice Cream Parlors in St. Louis

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Jilly's Ice Cream Bar | Michelle Haven
Jilly's Ice Cream Bar | Michelle Haven

Summer is just a hop and a skip away. And if the hot, humid season isn't tailor-made for ice cream, nothing is.

To ensure you make the most of the season, we've assembled a list of the best independent ice-cream shops serving up the most supremely delicious treats. All of them create their ice cream in-house and from scratch. From classic flavors to inventive taste combinations to liquid nitrogen-frozen cream, they're all covered.

See also: The Five Best Frozen Custard Shops in St. Louis

Jilly's Ice Cream Bar (8509 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-993-5455)

Jilly's Ice Cream Bar is located next door to the original Jilly's Cupcake Bar and Cafe, and it's helmed by the same two chefs, Casey Shiller and Dana Holland Four -- both two-time winners of Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Not surprisingly, an entire section of the menu includes cupcake-inspired ice-cream flavors that contain bits of cake mixed right in, such as the "24-karat" cake with carrot cake and cream cheese ice cream, carrot cake morsels and a cream cheese ice cream swirl topped with sugar-roasted walnuts, toasted coconut and 24k gold-dusted white chocolate shavings. Four different waffle cones are also offered, all made from cupcake batter. Some of the newest ice cream flavors for the year include sopapilla cinnamon swirl and blood orange margarita sorbet sprinkled with lime salt. An expansive list of sauces and "chunkage" toppings includes such indulgences as marshmallow crème, cream cheese icing sauce, ghost chile caramel, toffee bits, Lucky Charms marshmallows and sour gummy worms. Adults, make sure to check out the boozy milkshake menu as well.

Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery | Greg Rannells
Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery | Greg Rannells

Clementine's Ice Cream (1637 South 18th Street; 314-858-6100)

Over the years, Clementine's Ice Cream has collaborated with several chefs at local restaurants to create some truly innovative flavors -- barbecue ice cream for Pappy's, vanilla bourbon with chunks of Kentucky pie for Old Standard, tahini for Elaia, sweet basil with candied ginger for Olio, blackberry cobbler for Cleveland-Heath and gooey butter Cake for Pi Pizza. The small batch micro-creamery will open a storefront in Lafayette Square on May 16: Clementine's Naughty and Nice Creamery. "Naughty" refers to a line of authentically boozy ice creams made with a patent-pending process that freezes alcohol into the ice cream at "levels that will knock your socks off," according to owner Tamara Keefe. The "nice" category is pretty incredible, too, pushing culinary boundaries by combining unique ingredients to make some creations like Madagascar vanilla, strawberry ice cream with balsamic vinaigrette, brown butter candied pecan and chocolate mole. All dairy is sourced locally from cows that are grass-grazed, pasture-raised and hormone-free.

Louisiana Strawberry Nitrogen Frozen Ice Cream at Ices Plain and Fancy | Max Crask
Louisiana Strawberry Nitrogen Frozen Ice Cream at Ices Plain and Fancy | Max Crask

Ices Plain & Fancy (2256 South 39th Street; 314-601-3604)

Building on a technique invented more than 100 years ago, Ices Plain & Fancy is the first ice-cream parlor in St. Louis to offer ice cream made with liquid nitrogen as the freezing agent. Premade ice cream bases are flash-frozen at minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit. After just a minute in a mixer and a nitfy vapor cloud, an extremely silky-smooth ice cream materializes, ready for eating. Seven classic flavors are offered year-round: vanilla, chocolate, mint chip, butter pecan, rocky road, salted dulche de leche custard and cherry cordial, plus rotating dairy-free and soy-free options. Chef Max Crask also creates seasonal flavors like toasted marshmallow campfire s'mores, persimmon, coconut milk key lime pie and Louisiana strawberry (pictured). The shop's newest addition, "Boozy Ices," including the boozy cherry not-so-cordial, are already a smash hit. They offer the same alcohol content as a cocktail thanks to the quick freezing process.

Turn the page for two more amazing St. Louis-area ice cream parlors.

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