The Raleigh area's agricultural background and vibrant artistic culture are together helping local chefs create unique spins on everyone's favorite summertime treat. With fresh and local ingredients such as milk from local grass-fed cows to ripe peaches and strawberries from the local farmers, Raleigh's ice cream makers are creating desserts you can't miss on a trip here.

Sunni Sky's Homemade Ice Cream

For a humble ice cream shop tucked away nearly twenty miles south of downtown Raleigh in Angier, N.C., Sunni Sky's and owners Scott and Staci Wilson sure have made a name for themselves. The shop's Cold Sweat ice cream flavor—made with a variety of chili peppers and hot sauces—has been dubbed the "spiciest sweet on the planet" and earned attention from Food Network, Good Morning America and beyond.

With hours that stretch until 11pm seven days a week during the warmer months, the shop, along with the front porch and signature rocking chairs waiting outside, is nearly always packed (with a line that moves quicker than you'd expect thanks to a hustling staff). More than 120 homemade flavors are crammed onto the menu—Blueberry Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie, Coconut Fudge, Sour Apple Sherbet and plenty more (ask to taste as many samples as you'd like and they'll happily oblige). With super low prices (it's just $4 for a triple cup or cone—cash only, by the way), it's no wonder why this ice cream parlor is a favorite for so many.


A post shared by Kessa Stevens (@kessaeatsalot) on


Two Roosters Ice Cream

Roaming the streets of the Raleigh area in a turquoise 1965 Ford truck since 2014, Two Roosters Ice Cream is hard to miss and easy to love. Founded by North Carolina State University alum Jared Plummer, the locally-sourced ice cream truck was such a hit that they opened their first brick-and-mortar location (where every day is a wonderful day for ice cream) in summer of 2017 to better serve the masses. The ever-changing menu is a mix of seasonal and permanent flavors—we’re big fans of the blackberry hibiscus and roasted strawberry and honey flavors from the "forever" selections.


Lumpy's Ice Cream

The brainchild of chef Buck Buchanan, Lumpy’s Ice Cream is based on a simple philosophy: keep it simple and keep it local. A chef by training and restaurateur by trade, Buck first made his ice cream as a treat for his kids. After seeing how much they loved it, he took a year off and studied the ins and outs of ice cream making. His first batches were only available via hand truck in downtown Raleigh but you can now find Lumpy's across the area.


A photo posted by Ryan Thomas (@officialryanthomas) on


Goodberry's Frozen Custard

Not technically ice cream but a frozen treat staple in Raleigh! Opening its doors in 1988, Goodberry’s Frozen Custard focuses on pure, honest ingredients to make their frozen treats. In the beginning, not many Southerners knew what frozen custard was, but the concept of their "concrete" quickly caught on. The term “concrete” comes from the fact that their custard is whipped until there is little to no air left, resulting in a thick, creamy texture. So thick, in fact, that you can flip your cup upside down and the custard will not pour out (as pictured in the header photo up top). Made fresh hourly, locals know to check out the flavor of the day online and customize their concrete with a variety of toppings and sauces.


A post shared by Goodberry's Creamery (@goodberrys) on


North Carolina State University (Howling Cow Ice Cream)

North Carolina State University's (NCSU's) own Howling Cow ice cream is one of Raleigh’s hidden gems. NCSU business and marketing manager Carl Hollifield was instrumental in bringing the Howling Cow brand (and product) to life. He created the name, logo and emphasized their use of only fresh milk from NCSU-raised cows. You can find this Raleigh-made treat at various locations throughout campus, including at D.H. Hill Library, Talley Student Center and James B. Hunt Jr. Library. If it's your first visit, try a cup of Wolf Tracks, featuring a fudge ripple and peanut butter cups–students swear by it!


FRESH. Local Ice Cream

Brett Hillman and his wife began their ice cream journey back in their hometown in N.Y. where they owned a Carvel franchise. A few decades later, the couple brought their love of the frozen treat to Raleigh where they knew they could find local organic farms and a strong community that would love their product as much as they did. They took over Fresh Local Ice Cream on Glenwood Ave. in 2011 and business boomed. Their ice cream base comes from a nearby farm, ensuring that their flavors are made fresh daily. They also recently opened a location in Cary!


A photo posted by RDU Baton (@rdubaton) on


Andia's Homemade Ice Cream

Andia's is a local family business that's woman-owned and operated and proud to serve up its national award-winning ice cream made with premium ingredients (pictured in header). The shop offers a wide variety of decadent flavors as well as a vegan flavor and two sorbets, always available for their lactose-intolerant and vegan friends. Give them a try while you're in town!"


Foodie events ahead in the Raleigh area:

Note, May 27: Due to COVID-19, the hours or operational status of some of the items below have changed. We have included current... View More

Please note: City of Raleigh parks facilities have been operating with some changes due to COVID-19. While parks, greenways and... View More

Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts. The week after Raleigh, N.C.,... View More

Barbecue. Barbeque. Bar-b-que. BBQ. No matter how you spell it, we can agree on one thing: with a plate of barbecue in hand, all... View More

There are a whole bunch of ways to celebrate warm weather in the Raleigh area—one of our favorites is to combine relaxing... View More

Note, May 11: Juniper Level Botanic Garden will host spring open house weekends from Thurs.-Sun., May 14-17 and May 21-24. Thurs.... View More

Chef-musician-small business owner Cheetie Kumar was named a James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef: Southeast on Mon., May 4,... View More

Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown,... View More