Cool off with these ice cream and frozen treat shops in the Des Moines metro area
See how the famed peppermint ice cream bars are made each year for the Iowa State Fair from the small ice cream kitchen at Bauder's in Des Moines.
Whether you like hardpack or soft serve, frozen yogurt or gelato, there are plenty of summertime sweet shops around Des Moines serving frozen desserts all summer long.
Here's a look at shops in the metro that specialize in our favorite frozen treats:
This local favorite features an old-time soda fountain behind its nostalgic bar. Its popular peppermint bars — thick sandwiches made with homemade peppermint ice cream, hot fudge and crushed Oreo cookies — are served both year-round and at the Iowa State Fair. These treats and other seasonal hard-pack selections are made at its Ingersoll location like peach and strawberry. Don't forget about the chocolate soda. Treats start at $1.85.
Location: 3802 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; closed Mondays
Contact: (515) 255-1124; Facebook
Big Açaí Bowl
This healthy restaurant started out as a local food truck. Enjoy refreshing açaí sorbet bowls sprinkled with organic toppings like berries, nuts, bee pollen, spirulina and granola. Dairy-free smoothies come in a variety of flavors. And be sure to try the new line of sourdough toasts with avocado or pumpkin spreads.
- 1711 S.W. Plaza Parkway, Ankeny; (515) 776-7129
- 117 5th St., West Des Moines; (515) 608-2816
Hours: Vary by store.
Billy's Ice Cream Store
This little shop in Adel serves a variety of flavors in both hardpack and soft serve. In fact, it's one of the only ice cream shops in central Iowa that serves lemon-flavored soft serve. Enjoy banana cream pie, lemon cream pie and strawberry shortcake in the form of sundaes, along with Chilly Dillys — a blended ice cream concoction with your choice of toppings. Milkshakes come in fun flavors like butterbeer and scotcheroo. Frozen treats start at $2.50.
Location: 308 Nile Kinnick Dr., South, Adel
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 238-2302; Facebook
Black Cat Ice Cream
Dispel the notion that black cats are unlucky with these innovative ice cream flavors from this shop located near Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Black Cat Ice Cream has new hard pack flavors every week — including vegan ice cream. You'll cross paths with fresh fruit sorbets and flavors you won’t find anywhere else in Des Moines like Black Velvet Oreo, Blueberry Pancake and Cream Cheese Lemon Cake. $5 for two scoops.
Location: 1501 Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays. Look for expanded summer hours in the weeks ahead.
Chocolaterie Stam specializes in gelato and sorbetto made locally with fresh ingredients and milk from Picket Fence Creamery. You'll find 50 flavors at any given time from a rotation of over 80 like forest berry, strawberry, chocolate-pepper, jalapeno-peach, grapefruit and Nutella. Other gourmet varieties include merlot, pistachio Milano and champagne. All frozen treats are made locally and served in a choice of cups and cones (small, $3.95; medium, $4.50; large, $5).
- 2814 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines; (515) 282-9575
- Valley West Mall, 1551 Valley West Dr., West Des Moines; (515) 457-8464
- 739 Bass Pro Dr., NW Suite 555, Altoona; (515) 282-9575
Hours: Vary by location.
Classic Frozen Custard
Watch custard being made while you enjoy a sweet treat on Des Moines' south side. Along with generous scoops served in sugar or waffle cones, you can order sundaes, shakes, malts, banana splits and sodas in a wide assortment of flavors that constantly rotate, including chocolate mint cookie, black raspberry, watermelon, birthday cake and New York cheesecake. One of the house favorites is the turtle sundae with hot fudge, pecans and caramel. Treats start at $2.55.
Locations: 4000 S.E. 14th St., Des Moines.
Hours: Open daily, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Contact: (515) 287-1194; Facebook
Cole's Restaurant recently reopened after a devastating fire in April. The restaurant serves both hardpack and frozen yogurt from Picket Fence Creamery and Blue Bunny, along with soft serve in vanilla, chocolate and swirl. Get your ice cream in a cup or a cone or blended with toppings in a concoction called a Cyclone.
Location: 101 E 6 Ave., Slater
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Contact: (515) 473-1336; Facebook
The Creamery Bar at Smash Park
Play games and eat ice cream at The Creamery Bar inside Smash Park. Enjoy a wide variety of Homer's hard pack ice cream served by the scoop or in shakes and floats. Over 15 toppings include mini chocolate chips, Andes mints, Fruity Pebbles cereal and mango boba. Treats start at $3 for a single scoop.
Location: 6625 Coachlight Dr., West Des Moines
Hours: Monday-Thursday 4 p.m.-11 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 1 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.-10 p.m.
Dairy Zone is a neighborhood institution, serving up soft serve in vanilla, chocolate or a twist of the two in a variety of creative frozen treats. Turtle sundaes are the most popular treat but hold out for a specialty like the Oreo Delight with twist ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallow cream, Oreo cookies, whipped cream and a cherry. Or try a Tornado — your choice of toppings and flavorings, blended into a cool combination. Treats start at $1.79.
Location: 2219 E. University Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Contact: (515) 265-7824; Facebook
Ding's Rolled Ice Cream & Crepes
This new ice cream shop in Jordan Creek Mall features both crêpes and rolled ice cream. Choose one of eight specialty flavors and let the ice cream mixmasters prepare your ice cream treat before your eyes. Get the Oreo or S'Mores flavors. Or try the Mango with whipped cream and mango syrup or the matcha tea with mochi — pounded sticky rice — and whipped cream. There are plenty of extra toppings to add if you so desire. Treats start at $6.98.
Location: 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy., West Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 822-0150; Facebook
DSM Brew Coffee Co.
Along with a wide selection of coffee, gelato is also served at DSM Brew. Enjoy flavors like Caribbean coconut, Argentine sea salt caramel, cookies and cream and stracciatella (Italian chocolate chip). Gelatos are served in cups or on waffle cones. For a pick-me-up, go for an affogato — a scoop of vanilla gelato topped with a shot of hot espresso. Treats start at $4.05.
Location: 300 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy. #140, Des Moines
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Funky Cow
Enjoy soft serve in vanilla or chocolate and a limited assortment of hard pack ice creams like Superman, moose tracks, amaretto-cherry and Michigan pothole — chocolate ice cream with dark fudge "tar" and chunks of "asphalt," or fudge cups. Sundaes, shakes, malts, cones and custom ice cream cakes are all found here, along with Twisters — blended frozen desserts in an assortment of flavors like Butterfinger, turtle and banana split. Or try a Big Sky cookie ice cream sandwich. Treats start at $2.
Location: 7025 Douglas Ave., Urbandale
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 410-1444; Facebook
Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe
This little spot in Prairie City is known for its popular tenderloin sandwich. But Goldie's also has soft serve ice cream in vanilla, chocolate and swirl flavors. And an extra 'surprise' flavor rotates every week like black walnut, blue raspberry and orange cream. Popular items include Twisters, customizable blended ice cream treats with more than 40 toppings you can add. A must-try is the Monster Cookie — a Twister with cookies, M&Ms, peanut butter and granola. Frozen treats start at $1.25.
Location: 304 W. 2nd St., Prairie City
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Granny's Sweet Freeze Shoppe
This tiny soft serve shop is another neighborhood favorite, with single and double vanilla cones. Enjoy a wide assortment of dips and toppings, or go for the flavor of the week. The menu features something for everyone, like sundaes, malts, shakes, sodas, floats, slushes and ices. Arctic Swirls are Granny's answer to a blended ice cream treat with Granny's own secret recipe combinations like apple pie, cherry bon-bon and French silk pie. Treats start at $1.10.
Location: 3417 Hubbell Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 266-0887; Facebook
You can find both hard pack and soft serve at this little ice cream shop in Grimes. Sugar cones and waffle cones can be dipped in chocolate or cherry. Or go for one of the specialty crunch shakes, blended with hard crunchy cone dip. One of the house favorites is the Black Raspberry Explosion made with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and black raspberry syrup. Treats start at $3.
Location: 105 E. 1st St., Grimes
Hours: Monday through Friday, 2 to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 986-5407; Facebook
LJ's Burgers and Ice Cream
Soft serve ice cream can be found at LJ's close to downtown in vanilla, chocolate or a twist of the two. A full line of sundaes, blended frozen desserts called Avalanches, shakes and malts are available. Try a classic treat like a banana split, brownie sundae or a parfait. Or go for a caffeinated pick-me-up with a frozen blended coffee in vanilla, caramel or mocha flavors. Treats start at $1.90.
Location: 3702 2nd Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Contact: (515) 288-8430; Facebook
El Michoacano Ice Cream and Mexican Food
Cool off with some Mexican ice cream in strawberry, coconut, pistachio and vanilla flavors or go for an exotic flavor like mamey, guayaba or nuez. Sorbets include lime, watermelon, melon and mango. Try some esquimales (popsicles) coated with coconut, chopped nuts or sprinkles. Aguas frescas can be found here along with malts and shakes. Treats start at $1.50.
Location: 2922 Merle Hay Rd., Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Tuesdays; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Contact: (515) 277-1826; Facebook
Molly's in the East Village offers a line of homemade ice creams made on the premises just in time for summer. Enjoy cupcakes and ice cream in the same location. Classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate will be on hand but stay on the lookout for its "filled" ice cream flavors like vanilla cake batter and caramel. Treats start at $3.25 for a cup with two and a half scoops.
Location: 215 E. 3rd St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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Since 2010, this ice cream shop in Indianola has been serving scoops of homemade hard-pack ice cream in 75 flavors. Two ice cream trucks help to share that variety throughout the metro. Enjoy 24 rotating flavors in its shop at any given time including a dairy-free option. Dutch letter, goat cheese roasted cherry and salted caramel are just a few of the options, and the homemade waffle cones draw a crowd from miles around. Sundaes, shakes, malts and blended frozen treats called Storms help to mix things up. Treats start at $3.25.
- 2410 S.W. White Birch Dr., Ste. 100, Ankeny; (515) 444-8234
- 602 N. Jefferson Way, Indianola; (515) 444-7864
- Ankeny - Open daily, 12 p.m.-11 p.m.
- Indianola - Monday through Friday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Extended summer hours from June 1-August 21 are Monday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Over The Top
Take a trip to Pleasant Hill to cool off with some hard pack ice cream in cups and cones in a full roundup of regular flavors like Happy Wife Happy Life — dark chocolate fudge with Heath bar and chocolate-covered almond pieces with a caramel swirl. Or go for a dairy-free vegan option like watermelon sorbet. There are plenty of options like sundaes, shakes and floats. Treats start at $3.66.
Location: 955 NE 56th St., Pleasant Hill
Hours: Open daily, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Paleteria La Michoacana
This Mexican ice cream shop is a hidden surprise in the Capitol East neighborhood, specializing in hard-pack ice creams, or cremas, and sorbets, or aguas. Cremas range from the familiar — like caramel, banana, strawberry and vanilla — to the unique, like mamey, a fruit from Cuba and Central America. Try the rompope, a crema made with an eggnog-like drink. Aguas come in various fruit flavors like pineapple, lime and mango with chile. Treats start at $1.60.
Location: 1552 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines.
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 265-0696; Facebook.
Snookie's Malt Shop
This Beaverdale favorite has been serving soft serve since 1986. And it's used in all sorts of Snookie's creations like cones, cups, dips, shakes and malts. For a fun treat for the kids, get a peanut butter-dipped cone with animal crackers. Treats start at $2.35.
Location: 1810 Beaver Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 255-0638; Facebook
Sweet Swirls Rolled Ice Cream
This ice cream craze from Thailand swooped into the metro by way of an ice cream truck, and it's fully customized. First, you choose the size and the ice cream flavor like vanilla, chocolate or coffee. Then you choose your mixers like candy bars, cookie dough and marshmallows. Watch as the ice cream is swirled and frozen right before your eyes on a cold plate by an experienced mixmaster. Treats start at $4.
- 303 S.W. School St., Ankeny; (515) 964-2111
- 7246 University Ave., Des Moines; (515) 274-0655
- 5525 Merle Hay Rd., Ste. 180, Johnston; (515) 276-4171
Hours: Hours vary by location.
Contact: (515) 964-2111; sweetswirlsrolledicecream.com
Ice cream sandwiches are the thing at Thelma's. Anderson Erickson ice cream is sandwiched between two freshly-made cookies in a winning combination. Try the Signature Snickerdoodle cookies with vanilla ice cream, Peanut Butter cookies with banana ice cream, or Cayenne Chocolate Chip with vanilla ice cream. Sweet treats start at $3.
Location: 2323 Hubbell Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Saturdays and Sundays.
Van Dee's Ice Cream Shoppe
A Merle Hay landmark, this shop serves soft serve in a wide variety of options including sugar and waffle cones in vanilla, chocolate or twist flavors. Super sundaes come in eight varieties like the fudgy-nutty turtle and the crunchy salted nut roll sundaes. Classic specialties like peanut parfaits, banana splits and hot fudge sundaes make the menu, too. Drink your ice cream with malts, shakes, sodas and freezes in flavors like cherry, chocolate and caramel. Treats start at $1.90.
Location: 5915 Merle Hay Road, Johnston
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Contact: (515) 276-1040; Facebook
Waukee Ice Cream Shoppe
This new little ice cream shop in Waukee serves a rotation of Kemp's 24 ever-changing flavors of hard pack ice cream and 75 flavors of soft serve. If you're more traditional, soft serve comes in vanilla, chocolate or a twist of the two. And there are plenty of flavorings and toppings like caramel, hot fudge and pineapple to personalize your flavor of choice. Banana splits, sundaes, floats and blended frozen treats called Blitzes are all found here. Treats start at $1.
Location: 530 Walnut St., Waukee.
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 3 to 8 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m.
Contact: (515) 987-8504; Facebook
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Ice cream chains
Here is a list of ice cream chains in the Des Moines metro:
Baskin Robbins: 7666 Hickman Rd., Urbandale; (515) 276-5227
- 2437 Adventureland Dr., Ste. A, Altoona; (515) 957-8814
- 1631 SW Main St., Ste. 102, Ankeny; (515) 264-5565
- 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy., Ste. 12516, West Des Moines; (515) 223-1227
- 2535 Adventureland Dr., Altoona; (515) 967-2818
- 2305 SE Delaware Ave., Ankeny; (515) 963-9191
- 5941 SE 14th St., Des Moines; (515) 285-2373
- 8660 Plum Dr., Urbandale; (515) 270-8699
- 455 E. Hickman Rd., Waukee; (515) 410-9530
- 101 Jordan Creek Pkwy., West Des Moines; (515) 224-9191
- 1820 22nd St., West Des Moines; (515) 440-0308
- 736 8th St. SE, Altoona; (515) 957-0557
- 418 S. Ankeny Blvd., Ankeny; 515-964-4786
- 1321 E. University Ave., Des Moines; (515) 262-0319
- 5415 Douglas Ave., Des Moines; (515) 278-1847
- 3408 SW 9th St., Des Moines; (515) 282-8823
- 1319 Army Post Rd., Des Moines; (515) 285-2619
- 6842 University Ave., Des Moines; (515) 274-3011
- 6150 Merle Hay Rd., Johnston; (515) 278-5904
- 300 N. Jefferson St., Indianola; (515) 961-4725
- 220 E. Hickman Rd., Waukee; (515) 987-7801
- 308 Grand Ave., West Des Moines; 515-255-0373
- Valley West Mall, 1551 35th St., #138, West Des Moines; (515) 225-6469
- 2020 Grand Ave., Ste. 100; West Des Moines; (515) 225-1089
- 3418 8th Street SW, Ste. 1, Altoona; (515) 967-0403
- 2105 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines; (515) 288-3410
- 4825 EP True Pkwy., West Des Moines; (515) 223-7800
- 1350 NW 18th St., Ankeny; (515) 963-1857
- 1905 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines; (515) 369-5323
- 4650 NW 86th St., Urbandale; (515) 727-5323
- 9250 University Ave., West Des Moines; (515) 987-4444
- Iowa Events Center, 730 3rd St., Des Moines
Is your favorite ice cream or frozen treat shop not on this list? Contact Brian Carlson to have it added.