Here’s the full scoop on TWO Pittsburgh ice cream shops with delicious, plant-based offerings. Warning: reading this might make you feel like a kid again.
When I was asked to write an article about the best vegan ice cream in Pittsburgh, I…
- Leapt for joy, questioning if this was actually real life (it was)
- Drastically underestimated how tough it would actually be to come up with a winner
The latter forced me to split this review into two “categories” based on your ice cream mood:
- The Best Vegan Ice Cream That’ll Make You Feel Like a Kid Again
- The Best Vegan Ice Cream for a Grown-Up Palate
In terms of vegan ice cream options, we live in a very good, delicious timeline. Not only are there a ton of different store-bought choices from major grocery stores–Aldi’s vegan ice cream is actually quite delicious–but local ice cream shops have now started to dip their
toes scoops into the vegan ice cream arena.
As you may have guessed, we’re focusing on local vegan ice cream choices today. My belly is now full of all of the coconut-, hemp-, and cashew-based ice creams you can find in Pittsburgh, and here are my two winning shops:
The Best Vegan Ice Cream That’ll Make You Feel Like a Kid Again
My clear winner in this category is Sugar Spell Scoops in Sharpsburg. It’s an edgier, vegan-only ice cream shop with toppings and flavors galore.
Sugar Spell Scoops is unique for a few reasons:
- They change their 100% vegan menu every single day
They offer four flavors each day, all homemade, and you can find their flavor offerings on Instagram.
The day we went, they had Chocolate Chip, Coffee, Dragonfruit Sorbet, and Iced Pumpkin Loaf. After trying them all, we got single scoops of the Chocolate Chip, Coffee, and Iced Pumpkin Loaf flavors.
Mine was Iced Pumpkin Loaf, and it was packed with fall spices and marbled with a vanilla icing. It was sweet–I don’t think I could have had more than one scoop–but it totally satisfied my dessert craving.
- They have your favorite childhood ice cream toppings (and more!)
One of the most exciting things about Sugar Spell Scoops is their toppings. I mean, who doesn’t love trashing up their ice cream with colorful, crunchy, and sparkling fun?!
They have cookies, candies, nuts, sprinkles, and sauces, all ready to make your treat a little more special. We tried their signature Glitter Sugar Sprinkles on the Iced Pumpkin Loaf, their caramel sauce and graham cracker crumbles on the Coffee, and their peanut butter magic shell on the Chocolate Chip.
Each topping was less than $1, so be sure to scope out your faves or try something new!
- They have epic sundae and specialty ice cream options
While a scoop of one of their flavors-of-the-day with a topping is delicious, perhaps you want to go a little crazier at Sugar Spell Scoops.
They typically offer a featured sundae that is beyond creative–I’ve seen them advertise a “Taco Salad Sundae” with coconut lettuce, chick-o-stick cheese, and crispy cocoa rice meat, as well as a “Friday the 13th Sundae” featuring a chocolate machete, bloody raspberry sauce, and Crystal Lake sugar crystals.
Not only that, they offer other sweet treats like s’mores sandwiches, sketti & meatballs, and chocolate wands.
The creativity at Sugar Spell Scoops is completely unmatched, and as a vegan, it’s just such a treat (pun intended) to be able to walk into an ice cream shop and be able to order anything. Sugar Spell Scoops is doing vegan ice cream right!
The Best Vegan Ice Cream for a Grown-Up Palate
If you’re looking for some elevated flavors, outrageously creamy bases, and the cutest aesthetic, Millie’s is for you.
I’ve worked with Millie’s in the past on some Instagram content, and if you haven’t tried their ice cream, boy are you in for a treat (literally!). While a lot of Millie’s menu isn’t vegan, a lot of it is! And the flavors are just out-of-this-world creative.
Their Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate is my all-time favorite ice cream. I’ve never had a chocolate ice cream so rich and decadent before; in fact, it’s almost savory in the best bittersweet chocolate way possible. It’s as creamy as melted chocolate, and if you look in a dictionary for the word “chocolate,” chances are you’ll see a big ol’ picture of a scoop of Millie’s Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Ice cream there. In my opinion, it’s the ice cream. No question.
Millie’s other classic vegan flavors include Dairy-Free Mint, Dairy-Free Bananas Foster, and Dairy-Free Mango, but they also introduce new vegan flavors all the time. Most recently, they’ve announced two new vegan fall-forward flavors: Mulled Wine and Pear Sorbet and Maple Bourbon Pecan!
I mean…if those flavors don’t pair perfectly with cozy sweaters, knee-high boots, and infinity scarves, I don’t know what does.
Small-batch, high-quality, and Pittsburgh-proud is Millie’s game, and I couldn’t love them more if I tried.
Find Millie’s at their Shadyside, Market Square, Bakery Square, and University of Pittsburgh locations, or at some local grocery stores.
Story and Photos by Alexa Peduzzi. Follow Alexa on Instagram.