The best ice cream in New Jersey is, of course, subjective. New Jersey is a great state for an ice cream fan. There are so many places to try. I sampled ice cream from eleven different ice cream shops around the state and have chosen my top three and listed what stands out the most to me about the shop.
- Denville Dairy in Denville, NJ–the creamiest soft-serve ice cream.
- Magnifico’s in East Brunswick, NJ–best cherry-dipped cone.
- Cookman Creamery in Asbury Park, NJ–delicious vegan options.
There are some long lines at Ice Hot Teppanyaki on the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ, but they are not as long as the lines for this type of ice cream in New York City. So I could finally try it. It is as fun watching these guys make the ice cream as it is to eat it. The cream is poured onto a freezing metal surface and manipulated with a spatula until it starts to harden.
Other ingredients are added in,
then it is rolled into a cylindrical shape,
put into a cup, and topped with fruit or cookies, etc. This style of ice cream seems to have originated in Thailand but it is called teppanyaki because a Japanese teppanyaki pan is used to make it. Teppanyaki is food that is cooked on a griddle like what you get at a Japanese steakhouse.
It’s very pretty and very tasty.
Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream opened in 1975 by Cliff Freund.
It serves both hard and soft ice cream. For those who prefer soft serve, there are a lot of flavors here to choose from.
The hard ice cream menu is quite extensive and a lot of flavors sounded interesting to me, Smurf not being one of them. I liked Bavarian Creame Raspberry Truffle. My friend did also, so we both got two scoops. As you can see from this photo, my friend’s scoops were a lot larger than mine and they had truffles, which you couldn’t see in mine.
Despite these inconsistencies, the ice cream was good.
Denville Dairy has been around for 50 years, so you know they are doing something right. The shop was created by Jack Fine, who passed away in 2013, and is now run by his children. They serve hard and soft ice cream as well as ice cream sandwiches, cakes, pies and more. I had to go for a vanilla soft serve here because I had a feeling it was going to be creamy and delicious. I was right. This was one of the best vanilla soft serve ice creams I have ever had. It has that wonderfully creamy mouthfeel and slight tang that I look for in vanilla ice cream.
Cookman Creamery is a newcomer on the New Jersey ice cream scene, but it is no novice.
The ice cream here is artisanal with standard flavors like vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan alongside more creative ones. They sure do love their Oreos with three unique flavors: Nutter Brudder with peanut butter Oreos, peanut butter Chips Ahoy, fudge swirl, and peanut butter swirl; Cookman Monster with Oreos, Chips Ahoy, and fudge swirls; and Lemon Cookie with lemon pudding, lemon Oreos, and lemon zest. They also have a nod to the city’s most famous son, Bruce Springsteen, with the salted caramel-and-chocolate covered pretzel Thunder Road.
What really stands out here is how they cater to people with allergies and alternative diets. They have a large selection of vegan ice cream and quite a few gluten-free options. I also felt the staff was knowledgeable and clarified with me what was vegan and traditional.
I ordered a scoop of traditional vanilla and a scoop of vegan maple bacon. Both were good, but the vegan was the standout. This flavor was really unique and delicious. It was so creamy that I couldn’t tell it was nondairy.
As You Like It Ice Cream has been in Raritan, New Jersey, since 1985. They serve both hard and soft ice cream in mostly standard flavors. One of their flavors is a salted caramel called Jersey Shore.
On my visit, I had just eaten DeLucia’s pizza nearby and wanted some dessert. So I got orange cream, which was a tasty option.
Kohr’s The Original began serving up frozen custard on the beach in Coney Island in 1919. According to its website, the Swiss Kohr brothers created frozen custard by adding eggs to ice cream so that it wouldn’t melt so quickly from the salty sea air. There is some discrepancy as to which brother patented the ice cream machine and first made the frozen custard. It’s detailed in a 2000 article in The New York Times that I won’t attempt to retell here.
I stopped by a location of the Original on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, NJ. I got vanilla soft-serve frozen custard. I must admit, frozen custard is not my first choice in the ice cream department, but Kohr’s is still creamy and yummy.