When the temperature starts to (finally) climb, there's no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with the most nostalgic of summer treats — so, naturally, we've rounded up the best ice cream in Toronto. Whether you're efficient enough to have your scoops in a cone (good for you) or want to savour your sundae in a cup, nothing beats drippy ice cream or indulgent gelato on a hot Toronto summer day.

We sure have come a long way since the days chasing the tune-blasting truck to get our hands on the most extravagant dessert we could imagine at the time (a vanilla-chocolate swirl). And as we've grown up, so has the Toronto ice cream scene.

From the internet-breaking Ruru Baked to the pandemic-baby masterpiece that is Good Behaviour, we've got your ultimate ice cream bucket list to check off this summer in between trips to Toronto's top patios, amazing bakeries (some are even gluten-free) and sunny rooftop patios

Summer is back, baby. And we think it's worth celebrating with two scoops of peanut butter chocolate or a towering cone of softt-serve overflowing with all the toppings.

Toronto's best ice cream: 15 shops you need to try this summer

1. Ed’s Real Scoop

Multiple locations

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We’re big fans of Ed and his real good scoops. Since 2000, we’ve been following the smell of freshly made waffle cones to the front doors of Ed’s where fun flavours of small-batch ice cream like burnt marshmallow await. Now with four locations (The Beaches, Leslieville, Roncesvalles and Mimico) a cup or cone of Ed’s Tahitian vanilla bean or a double chocolate cookie sandwich is well within reach this summer.


2. Summer’s Ice Cream

101 Yorkville Ave.

Summer’s is basically a Yorkville landmark — it’s been around for 38 years, after all. You know summer has officially started when the line outside Summer’s starts to wrap around the corner. From Sour Patch Kids toppings to sprinkle-covered waffle cones and, of course, those ice cream sundaes, Summer’s feels instantly nostalgic. Not down for lines? They have pints of their famous flavours to enjoy at home.


3. Honey’s Ice Cream (dairy-free)

1448 Dundas St. W.

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Love the creamy rich taste of ice cream but don’t do the dairy part? No prob. Just get your dairy-free self beneath the white-and-green awning of Honey’s Ice Cream on Dundas West immediately. This adorable ice cream shop has a lot of fun with their monthly flavours — a drool-worthy Creme Egg dupe, crunchy Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crunch — and their house classics like ‘definitely not sorbet’ Strawberry and Atlantic Salted Caramel. A pint counts as your daily serving of vegetables, right? P.S. Honey’s also has gluten-free and vegan oat waffle cones.


4. The Big Chill

566 College St.

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Go back in time at this retro ice cream parlour on College Street. The Big Chill looks like it’s right out of a 1950s movie — checkered floors, shiny pink barstools, a vintage tin ceiling. Split a banana split sundae with your SO, or don’t share at all. Create your own cone with a combination of over 30 ice cream flavours and 20 toppings from hot fudge sauce to mini Oreos. Psst, they’ve been known to throw the occasional concert on their summer patio.


5. Fugo Desserts

205 Dundas St. W.

Ice cream here comes piled high with all the accoutrements. Behold the Cookie Monster: blue ice cream topped with mini Chips Ahoy cookies in an Oreo cone. Or the Skor brownie flavour coated with toasted marshmallows. While you’re there, grab a few of the specialty mini donuts that they’re known for. We like the mini donuts right on top of our handcrafted scoops.


6. Bang Bang Ice Cream

93A Ossington Ave.

It could be the rainiest, crummiest day, and there’d STILL be a line outside Bang Bang Ice Cream where decadent homemade cookies sandwich a generous scoop of small-batch ice cream. Their warm cinibun ice cream sandwich also makes for a treat worth wrapping your mouth around. Or swaddle your bundle of cold creamy joy in a puffy Hong Kong-style waffle cone.


7. Ruru Baked

659 Lansdowne Ave.

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Sweet-and-salty miso butterscotch, buttery matcha shortbread, house-made pineapple jam — each one of Ruru Baked’s custard ice creams is pure indulgence. Originally a pop-up that sold out of its imaginative flavours in minutes, you can now grab the city’s most sought-after scoops at their Lansdowne flagship where the menu changes daily.


8. iHalo Krunch

831 Queen St. W

You might recognize iHalo Krunch’s signature black cones from the charcoal craze that swept the city many moons ago. While that fad has melted away, these ice creams sure didn’t. You can still find them on West Queen West (or at Vaughan Mills) serving their unusual soft-serve flavours in hand-rolled charcoal cones. Go for that black-on-black look with the coconut charcoal flavour, or try something out of the ordinary with ube — a sweet purple yam.


9. Dutch Dreams

36 Vaughan Rd.

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Can you really call yourself a Torontonian if you’ve never been to this iconic spot? Once you’ve survived the queue, step inside the quirky house of frozen desserts and you'll be met with a hodgepodge of eclectic decor. It's wacky yet wonderful, kind of like their ice cream flavours. They've got everything from the classics (black cherry) to the over-the-top original (Toronto Traffic Jam).


10. Butter Baker

Multiple locations

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Dare we say that Butter Baker has the prettiest swirls in the city? Perfectly plump and symmetrical, the hand-crafted soft-serve here is the stuff of dreams. They’re always changing up their flavours to showcase the best of what’s in season. They even incorporate fresh fruit right into the soft-serve that’s piled high on top of a freshly baked vanilla waffle cone.


11. Roselle Desserts

362 King St. E.

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If good things come in small packages, then expect great things at this sweet spot in Corktown. After spending years honing their skills in Michelin Star restaurants, partners in life and business Stephanie Duong and Bruce Lee⁣ opened this petite pastry shop and never looked back. Their banana cream pie eclair and cake cups (cake... in a cup!) are second-to-none. But it's their housemade soft-serve topped with crunchy chocolate pearls we crave all season long. The Ontario peach parfait with buttermilk soft-serve screams summer.


12. Good Behaviour

Multiple locations

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What do you get when some of Toronto’s top chefs and hospitality pros put their bright minds together? Some damn good ice cream, that’s what. Good Behaviour was a pandemic baby that’s grown into three locations across the city. Imagination is on the menu at this chef-led creamery where you’ll find yummy creations like Torta Della Nonna with a lemon and ricotta base, Honk Kong milk tea and bourbon butter pecan. 


13. Taverne Bernhardt’s

202 Dovercourt Rd.

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OK, so we know Bernhardt’s has some phenomenal rotisserie chicken (amongst an entire menu packed with seasonal goods), but this Dovercourt neighbourhood fave also has the swirliest of soft-serve ice cream. Order a twirl or two under the twinkly lights of their front patio and you’re really living this summer.


14. Bunner's Bakeshop (dairy-free)

Multiple locations

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Gone are the days when vegans and the lactose-intolerant would have to stare longingly at their dairy-full friends enjoying ice cream. All the treats at Bunner’s Bakeshop are 100 per cent vegan and gluten-free. Their oat milk soft serve is creamy and dreamy and stands up to its dairy counterparts.


15. Nadège Patisserie

780 Queen St. W.

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While you’re chilling and sipping (ahem) at Bellwoods this summer, make sure you stop by the side of Nadège’s Queen Street location where they’ll be doling out gourmet ice cream and sorbet for the season. They’re known for their legendary macarons, which you can get as tiny toppings on your cone or cup. At their in-store locations, they have ice cream bars dipped in milk chocolate and coated with crunchy goodies.