City Cast

🍦 Madison's Best Ice Cream

Hayley Sperling
Hayley Sperling
Posted on August 29   |   Updated on September 12
There's no shortage of ice cream in Madison. (Hayley Sperling/City Cast Madison)

There's no shortage of ice cream in Madison. (Hayley Sperling/City Cast Madison)

There’s no shortage of ice cream in Madison — we are in the Dairy State, after all. But with so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Thankfully, nearly 200 of you chimed in to give the scoop on Madison’s best ice cream. Let’s dish.

  • Ice Cream Social started as an Instagram project meant to raise money for Madison organizations fighting for social and racial equity. The page exploded in popularity, often selling out quickly. The brand opened a brick-and-mortar location in March 2022 on University Ave.
  • Flavors to try: Cherry Styles, Movie Theatre Trash Can, Chocolate Buttermilk. Pro-tip: You can get a flight of flavors for the days when you just can’t decide.
  • The combination ice cream shop and cafe is a fairly recent addition to downtown’s food scene. Aside from ice cream and other sweet treats, the shop also offers breakfast and lunch items.
  • Flavors to try: Fig & Honey, Blueberry Honey Lavender, Chocolate Hazelnut.
  • Calliope Ice Cream was born in the basement of the Weary Traveler Freehouse in 2011. In 2019, the brand opened its first shop at Garver Feed Mill where it serves its seven original flavors and a rotating batch of flavors.
  • Flavors to try: Mexican Hot Chocolate, Brandy Old Fashioned, Hot Peanut Butter.

Bonus: Get your custard fix

We can’t talk about ice cream without also mentioning its creamy cousin, custard. For those wondering, the difference between the two comes down to one ingredient: egg yolks. Ice cream is made with milk, cream, and sweetener. While frozen custard contains the same ingredients, plus egg yolks. You can find the sweet treat at Culver’s and Michael's Frozen Custard.

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