Your Ultimate 2020 Summer Ice Cream Guide

AlexRaths / iStock

At this point in shelter-in-place, we're solidly in month five of the pandemic in the Bay Area. Maybe all of your kitchen gadgets have been used to make bread, desserts and sweet treats. Maybe kitchen apathy has you craving without wanting to put in the effort.

We have good news: Many ice cream spots around the Bay Area are open, with a variety of options for delivery.

Here’s how to get a pint delivered while sheltering in place. Guidelines and restrictions are constantly changing, so it’s best to check social media or websites before ordering. (And if you still want to make ice cream yourself? Jump to our home recipes.)

Delivery

Baked Bear

This chain best known for its create-your-own ice cream sandwich offers delivery via third-party apps in both of its Bay Area locations. The Fisherman’s Wharf location offers delivery through Uber Eats, while the Columbus Avenue location offers delivery via Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash and GrubHub. 

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CREAM

Similar to Baked Bear, CREAM also offers its cookies and ice cream for build-your-own sandwich kits via delivery from DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats and ezCater at all of its Bay Area locations. 

Curbside Creamery

Though this Oakland soft serve shop’s preferred method of purchase is in-store pickup, it offers delivery via Caviar. 

Humphry Slocombe

The high-end ice cream known for unique flavor combinations is available at grocery stores, but it's also available via Caviar, Postmates, DoorDash and Goldbelly (with $20 off your first purchase if ordering via Goldbelly). The Mission District and Berkeley locations have ice cream cakes and pies available with a 72-hour notice for that birthday or other celebration.

It’s-It

Want to stock up or host a socially distant ice cream party? With a minimum order requirement of five cases (120 It’s-Its) for same-day delivery, the iconic San Francisco dessert can be delivered to San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano, Monday through Friday. It’s-It also offers online ordering without the five-case minimum, but delivery is overnight, not same-day. 

KoolFi Creamery

This Indian-inspired spot offers delivery with a four-pint minimum through its website. Featuring flavors ranging from Blueberry Goat Cheese to Jackfruit Pudding, the San Leandro scoop shop from Priti Narayan and Madhuri Anji has complex flavors that go beyond what is traditionally perceived as “Indian flavors.” 

Little Giant

This Telegraph Avenue local creamery offers delivery with a $30 minimum. Options include pints, mini pints, floats, cookies, brownies and cones. 

Mitchell’s Ice Cream

The iconic San Francisco scoop shop on San Jose Avenue offers delivery via Postmates. Online ordering of cakes is available for pickup. 

Miyako

The old-fashioned ice cream shop at 1470 Fillmore St. in San Francisco has been a staple of the neighborhood for the last 28 years, with a loyal clientele. After a break-in this past April during which cash and stock were stolen, a GoFundMe campaign organized by the New Community Leadership Foundation raised $20,000 to help recover damages and keep the business afloat. Delivery is available via Grubhub and Seamless within San Francisco.

Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous

With flavors ranging from Chicory Coffee to Sloe Gin, this San Francisco ice cream parlor changes their hours and days of operation often, so it's best to call ahead before ordering via Postmates or Grubhub.

San Francisco Hometown Creamery

“From farm to cone” is the motto, and it claims to be the first creamery in San Francisco to make small-batch ice cream from scratch on-site. The 9th Avenue shop takes online orders via Grubhub. 

Salt & Straw

All three locations (Pacific Heights, Hayes Valley and Burlingame) are open for pickup or delivery via online ordering. Scoops, cones and pints are all available. 

Smitten Ice Cream

Known for an almost theatrical made-on-the-spot creamery, Smitten offers pickup, delivery and shippable pints at the Hayes Valley, Mission District, Rockridge and Santana Row locations. Delivery is available via Caviar, DoorDash, Postmates and UberEats. 

Steep Creamery & Tea

Known for its rolled ice cream, this Brannan Street spot offers order-ahead and limited delivery options within San Francisco (usually on Sundays). Contact ahead via their website. 

Uji Time 

Known for its Taiyaki cones and soft cream, Uji Time charges a modest $5 delivery fee with no minimum order. The menu includes “Comfort In Place” kits that include quarts of ice cream, toppings, waffle cones and mochi (in one option). Mochi ice cream is also available for delivery. 

 

Recipe Inspiration

For those still on the DIY train, here’s some recipe inspiration to try at home. Most of these recipes from KQED are for ice cream that's fairly easy to churn without an ice cream maker.

Strawberry Ice Cream

strawberry ice cream
Denise Santoro Lincoln

With strawberries in season, this recipe is the perfect answer to summer. Load in the fresh strawberries and use more for toppings. There are three main ice cream bases: the custard (cooked ice cream base), eggless (may or may not involve cooked ice cream base) or the no-churn (read: don’t cook). This follows the custard style. It is generally recommended to use an ice cream maker with this method, but similar results can be achieved without a machine. 

Ice Cream Cones

iStock

If you've got time, this recipe makes cones and sprinkles, and keeps the kids occupied with a weekend project. Pro tip: A zip-top bag can be used as a substitute for piping bags. 

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. Photo: Michele Kayal for NPR
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. Photo: Michele Kayal for NPR

This is a quick and easy one, and the blueberries can be swapped for any fruit on hand. Top with crumbled graham crackers or cookies for an extra sweet kick and texture. 

Dairy-Free

Denise Santoro Lincoln

Using almond milk, these three dairy-free options pack in flavor and richness without the use of animal-based milk. 

Make your own extracts for ice cream

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Extracts are simple to make at home. They're also an easy and potent way to flavor ice cream with the no-churn method (whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form, add in flavoring, place in air-tight container and freeze). The key ingredients are time, a high-proof alcohol, and a good amount of mint, vanilla bean or any other flavoring. Vodka and bourbon make good starts. Essentially, take the mint (or whichever flavoring ingredient you prefer), put it into a sealable container, add alcohol and seal and wait six weeks. Strain and save the liquid.