From ice cream and gelato to Thai rolled ice cream and Italian ice, OKC has a wide array of fantastic frozen treats! It’s National Ice Cream Month, so what better time to explore all of these delicious cold and creamy options? Though, to be honest, I can eat ice cream all year round!
Support local businesses and cool off with this list of 7 different kinds of icy sweets! You’ll even find tasty dairy-free and healthier choices! Plus, learn about local events going on to celebrate the month!
1. Classic Ice Cream: Braum’s & Capitals
Braum’s Ice Cream: A Longstanding Oklahoma Favorite
You can’t overlook Braum’s when compiling a list of the best local ice cream places in OKC. It doesn’t get much more local than this – the milk for the ice cream comes from Braum’s dairy farms in Tuttle, Oklahoma!
Expect generous portions for ridiculously cheap prices. I didn’t know how much I had been spoiled here in Oklahoma until I compared Braum’s to other ice cream stores in my travels. Believe me, you can rarely find a large single-scoop cone for just over a $1 at other places around the country.
Each Braum’s store rotates through a large number of flavors of ice cream, sherbets, and frozen yogurt regularly. I’m a huge fan of their cherry limeade sherbet. And pineapple almond and salted caramel cashew. Well, the list goes on.
Every year Braum’s rolls out special new flavors just for the summer. For 2019, these flavors include cookie monster (chocolate chip cookie dough with chocolate chip cookies), oatmeal cookie, PB&J, strawberry blondie, spicy mango raspberry sherbet, and deep raspberry ganache.
Capital’s Ice Cream: A New Twist!
This trendy new ice cream store in Midtown OKC has been getting rave reviews! Capital’s takes your mix-in’s and puts them with ice cream into a magical machine of goodness, which transforms it into a new blended creation. They then stud the ice cream with toppings for quite a fun effect!
Each month the store features 6 specials with at least one that showcases a Oklahoman landmark or person. For example, currently you can find a special dedicated to Edgemere Park: chocolate ice cream, German chocolate cake, and coconut pecan drizzle. Uh, why are you still reading? This is only available for a limited time!
Mix-in’s range from fresh fruit and cereals to cookies and even whole pieces of pie. If you don’t want a special, you can also create your own and even pick a dairy-free option.
We’ll forgive them for using the Oregon-based Tillamook ice cream (rather than local), because, well, it’s so good.
2. Thai Rolled Ice Cream: Rolling Ice Cream
Originating from Thailand, rolled ice cream is both a beautiful masterpiece and a tasty treat. It’s dessert and a show, as you get to watch it be created when the cream hits the freezing cold stone and your mix-in is added and then shaped into little rosebuds.
To get an idea of how it works, check out this video of rolled ice cream in Thailand that went viral here in the US:
My favorite flavor at Rolling Ice Cream & Salad Bar in Edmond is mango. Because there just aren’t many places you can get fresh mango chopped into your ice cream! The resulting dessert has a more intense rich flavor than regular ice cream. You can choose from a variety of add-ins and toppings, if mango isn’t your thing.
Rolling Ice Cream also serves crepes with ice cream and other fillings!
3. Sno-Cones / Shaved Ice: Katiebug’s Sips and Sweets
There’s something nostalgic for Oklahomans in the summer to line up behind a sno-cone stand and get that crushed ice soaked in your syrup of choice and topped with gummy bears.
Whether or not you’re a big fan of shaved ice, let me introduce you to someplace special: Katiebug’s Sips and Sweets. Katiebug’s started as a popular food truck and now has a permanent location in a cute and whimsically decorated little house located near downtown OKC.
The mother/daughter team that owns Katiebugs makes their shaved ice with natural and even organic ingredients for a fresh and light flavor you don’t often get from sno-cones. My passion fruit/raspberry combo was a perfect balance of sweet, but not overly sweet.
They also sell freshly baked goodies and in the winter their specialty is hot chocolate with massive homemade marshmallows.
Go celebrate Christmas in July on July 25, 2019 at Katiebug’s with all kinds of frozen holiday-inspired treats and even falling “snow!” Besides, you’ll get to enjoy their adorable place with its twinkling lights on the trees outside and fresh flowers on the tables inside.
If you can’t make it, check their Facebook page for other upcoming events, like their Harry Potter themed party!
4. Gelato: Il Dolce
Il Dolce Gelato is a family-owned gelataria in Norman that makes their gelato daily on location using ingredients from around the world! Owners Neil and Sommer Buss trained in Italy prior to opening the shop and they offer many authentic flavors, such as cioccalato scuro (dark chocolate), pistachio, tiramisu, stracciatella (similar to chocolate chip), and biscotti.
With 20 gelato and 4 sorbetto flavors that change regularly, you’ll be hard pressed to choose! Thankfully even the smallest option gives you the chance to try two. They also sell affagatos, if you’d like to try coffee with your gelato.
Gelato has an intenser flavor than ice cream and is surprisingly much healthier, because it uses less cream and often no eggs for lower fat content. A small amount can definitely fill you up!
Il Dolce has been a longtime favorite of mine; the cozy store has a great atmosphere for sitting and chatting with friends, too!
5. Frozen Custard: Rusty’s Custard Factory
When I lived in Norman, it wasn’t officially autumn until Rusty’s Custard Factory served their pumpkin frozen custard. This local favorite offers a seasonal flavor alongside the typical chocolate and vanilla.
The list of sundaes and concretes are mouth-watering. The Flying Elvis concrete with bananas and peanut butter. The Patriot sundae with strawberries and blueberries. My Razzmatazz concrete featured chocolate frozen custard with raspberry sauce and Oreos and you can could taste the bits of raspberries. So good!
This Sunday, July 21, 2019, in honor of National Ice Cream Day, Rusty’s will be celebrating in style with a full-on block party, complete with an ice cream sundae eating contest and live music. I’m told there will even be free frozen custard cones given to the earliest arrivals!
6. Mexican Ice Cream: Neveria la Azteca
I’m not usually a vanilla ice cream person; I like something a bit more exciting. But I have to admit that the vanilla ice cream at Neveria la Azteca, located just south of the Wheeler District in OKC, is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. So flavorful! I did go ahead and get vanilla with strawberry, but I could have just had the vanilla by itself.
The types of ice cream range from the classic vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry to the more unique like mango con chamoy.
If you want non-dairy or healthier cold options, try one of their many agua frescas (fruit waters) or fresh fruit (including papaya, pineapple, watermelon, jicama, mango, and even cucumber). You can top the fruit with add-ons like coconut or granola, if you like!
I’m still thinking about that vanilla ice cream. Definitely need to go back soon…
7. Italian Ice: Tino’s Italian Eats and Sweets
When Valentino and Victor Pistilli moved from Philadelphia to Norman, Oklahoma as teenagers, they were disappointed to not find some of their favorite hometown foods here. Hence, when the opportunity arose, they were quick to open a Philly sandwich shop, Tino’s Italian Eats and Sweets, in downtown Norman.
Now we can get to benefit, because not only does Tino’s sell amazing Philadelphian / Italian style sandwiches, but also another Philly classic: Italian ice.
Italian ice, also known as Italian water ice, is similar to a sno-cone in that it is made with shaved ice and syrup, but the ingredients are combined in a machine before the ice is frozen. The result is a smoother and denser texture than shaved ice, yet not nearly as firm as the packaged Italian ice you find in stores. It has been hugely popular in Philadelphia for over a century.
I recommend sampling the different kinds of Italian ice at Tino’s before you decide; you may be surprised what you like! For example, I really enjoyed the melon ball, because it was so cool and refreshing! But my top favorite was the tangy lemon, though you might also like the pina colada or raspberry.
In the interest of research for this blog post, I sampled nearly all 10 flavors. You’re welcome.
The good news is that even a small serving of Italian ice at Tino’s includes 3 scoops, so you can choose multiple kinds. And the prices are very reasonable!
Stay cool this summer and have a fun time supporting OKC’s amazing local ice cream shops!
Interested in learning more about OKC’s food scene? Check out my blog posts on The Best Middle Eastern Food in OKC: Sharing My Heritage and how to Eat Your Way Through OKC’s Asian District!
Update August 2020: Rolling Ice Cream in Edmond has unfortunately closed, but you can still find Thai rolled ice cream in OKC at Freezing Cow OKC Rolling Ice Cream.