Get the Dish on Tucson’s Sweet Side

5 must-visit ice cream and gelato shops in Tucson are dishing up cool, sweet treats.

Flavors run the gamut at Tucson’s frozen treat shops: mango sorbet, dark chocolate and green tea gelatos, coffee toffee, bourbon almond brittle and oatmeal cookie dough ice creams. Is your mouth watering yet? 

The round-up of must-try locales include a Tucson-originating gelato shop that has expanded to national—even international—locations, a creamery that pasteurizes its grass-fed cow’s milk on-site and another that uses homemade cashew milk for its dairy-free ice cream lineup. 

Worried about the calories? Don’t be (besides, a few of these are arguably “healthy”). Indulging in a dish of ice-cold creamy goodness from time to time is good for the soul, and it’s just another side of the city that’s well worth getting to know. 

Frost, a Gelato Shoppe

Two University of Arizona graduates opened the first Frost, a Gelato Shoppe location at Casas Adobes Plaza in 2005. A business venture initially inspired by a visit to an Italian gelateria, Frost has since expanded to two more Tucson locations, plus dozens of others across the country and reaching as far as Egypt, Kuwait and Lebanon. Among a long list of gelato and sorbet flavors, the more unique varieties include caramel macchiato, cinnamon apple pie, green tea, Guinness, marble black cherry, pumpkin, blackberry cabernet, and a strawberry and champagne combo. No-sugar-added chocolate, espresso, hazelnut and fruit flavors are churned here, too. 

Frost, a Gelato Shoppe
(Courtesy Frost, a Gelato Shoppe)

The Screamery

A husband-wife team opened its first ice cream shop in 2014 after an at-home mission to create an all-natural ice cream proved wildly successful. The Screamery does things a little differently—grass-fed cow’s milk is pasteurized right inside the shop and natural, wholesome ingredients are incorporated into the recipes. Stop into any of The Screamery’s three locations for a lineup of delicious flavors, which may include coffee toffee, "Bacon & Bourbon," honeycomb, almond fudge and orange screamsicle.  

HUB Ice Cream Factory

Situated downtown, across the street from its originator HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery, this ice cream shop churns out rich flavors like s’mores, bourbon almond brittle, Mexican wedding cake and oatmeal cookie dough, along with seasonally changing flavors. Dairy-free and fruit popsicles are made in-house and Whoopie Pies, Choco Tacos and donuts are a few factory specialties. 

HUB Ice Cream Factory
(Courtesy HUB Ice Cream Factory)

Cashew Cow

Lactose-intolerant ice cream lovers rejoice at Cashew Cow—where made-in-house cashew milk is used in the creamy, dairy-free lineup. The regularly changing flavors may include strawberry, chocolate chip cookie dough and lemon poppyseed. Located in a quaint Midtown neighborhood along Broadway Boulevard just west of Country Club Road, consider beginning with a (cheese-less) Marinara pizza from Falora before hopping over to Cashew Cow for dessert. 

Tazzina di Gelato

A UA graduate sought out professional training in Bologna, Italy before returning to Tucson to open Tazzina di Gelato. Flavors rotate weekly and names are often comical like "Death By Chocolate," "Grim Reaper" and "Cookie Monster." Standouts include the "Frutti di Bosco" and "Chocolate Orange Liqueur," but honestly, you can’t go wrong with any selection here.