There’s no denying that ice cream is great pretty much anytime. And it’s even better in July, because it’s National Ice Cream Month! That’s fantastic news for those who have no issues with dairy. But what about us Michiganders who can’t eat dairy or eggs due to health issues or ethical practices, or those of us with additional sensitivities to soy or nuts or gluten? Fear not — I’m here to give you the scoop on where to indulge your frozen food fantasies this month and every day! Here’s my list (in no specific order) of the best joints for Michigan vegan ice cream.
Grand Rapids Area Vegan Ice Cream Finds
Furniture City Creamery
958 Cherry St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Since 2014, Furniture City Creamery has been dishing up fantastic dairy-free, vegan ice cream. Everything in this East Hills ice cream shop is handmade, including the dairy-free cones, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. Everything in their 500 square-foot store is made in small batches and with local products, such as Rowsters coffee. Some of their vegan flavors include licorice, peppermint pattie, brownie sundae, pink lemonade, dark chocolate, and no-bake cookie. Owner Rachel Franko creates her amazing vegan ice cream flavors with coconut milk and regular sugar. On the run? Grab one of their vegan ice cream sandwich cookies!
Frosty Boy (Grand Rapids and Rockford)
1757 Plainfield Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Frosty Boy might be my favorite ice cream stand ever. Not only do they have gluten-free cones and toppings, but they’re also known throughout Grand Rapids for their many rotating vegan soft serve flavors. Their vegan vanilla soft serve is almond milk based, while the chocolate is from a soy and coconut milk base. They also sell their vegan soft serve by the pint, and they keep almond, rice and coconut milk available for shakes. Looking for a vegan flurry? They also offer vegan cake and cookie mix-ins for flurries from Kind Crumbs! These amazing options are also available at their Rockford location on Belding Rd., though other Frosty Boy locations do not offer these vegan options, as they are independently owned.
Love’s Ice Cream
435 Ionia Avenue SW Stall 106
Grand Rapids MI 49503
Love’s Ice Cream in Grand Rapids makes hand-crafted vegan gelato. They utilize a variety of coconut, cashew and almond milks as a base for their gelato, which gets made into some amazing gelato flavors like Son of Soulful Ginger and Lavender Blueberry! Love’s Ice Cream shares the love with their fellow local businesses, using locally roasted MadCap Coffee for their Cof-vee vegan ice cream. They also reached outside the Great Lakes border when they launched their Mitten Pop at SXSW in 2015. The love seems to be mutual, as Love’s Ice Cream won an MSU as “Start Up to Watch” award that same year. You can find these vegan, chocolate-covered ice cream pops at their stand and at events around Grand Rapids.
Mid & Northern Michigan Vegan Ice Cream Finds
Milk and Honey
240 E Front St
Traverse City, MI 49684
Milk and Honey in Traverse City is known in Northern Michigan for their hand-crafted gluten-free ice cream. They ventured into making vegan ice cream after much customer demand. On a recent Memorial Day weekend trip, I sampled their seasonal Mumbai Spice vegan ice cream. What a delight! They always have four vegan flavors, which are made with almond & coconut milks. They sweeten these non-GMO vegan ice creams half with dates and half with organic sugar. You can always find their vegan vanilla (soy and coconut) , chocolate, and matcha vegan ice creams. Keep an eye out for their other seasonal vegan ice creams!
SubZero Ice Cream & Yogurt **Permanently Closed**
11419 S Saginaw St
Grand Blanc MI 48439
SubZero in Grand Blanc is currently the only Michigan location for this national chain. Most national locations offer choices between soy and rice milk for vegan ice cream. However, the owner of the Grand Blanc location is the father to children with multiple food allergies. He understands the need to offer safe options for everyone! Therefore he always offers an almond milk base, but also tries to carry a coconut or cashew milk base as well. They use agave nectar to thicken the base, as well as to provide a sweeter taste. SubZero is similar to Cold Stone Creamery, in the sense that you get to add any mix-ins to your ice cream that you want. They create each batch of vegan ice cream in its own clean bowl, so there’s little chance for cross contact. Also, on request, they can retrieve mix-ins from the back, out of a new package, if you are concerned about cross contact with milk or egg with the mix-ins already on the line.
Turtle Tom’s Ice Cream Shoppe
142 S Main St
Eaton Rapids MI 48827
Turtle Tom’s in Eaton Rapids strives to provide a great dessert experience according to the dietary needs of their customers. A short 6-minute drive from the famous English Inn, Turtle Tom’s carries soy, almond, and coconut milk based vegan ice creams. Their flavors sometimes rotate, but they attempt to keep vanilla, chocolate and strawberry in stock at all times. When my step-mother went on a vegan ice cream reconnaissance mission for me, she was able to enjoy soy-based chocolate chip ice cream in a gluten-free cone. Pay them a visit and tell them you learned about them here on The Awesome Mitten!
Detroit Area Vegan Ice Cream Finds
Dairy Twist Cafe
2660 Benstein Rd
Walled Lake MI 48390
Dairy Twist Cafe boasts the “Largest Selection in Oakland County of VEGAN Soft Serve & VEGAN Hand Dip ice cream.” Their soft serve is 100% dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free and peanut & tree nut free. They freeze the soy-based vegan soft serve in a separate machine to avoid contact with milk or egg products. The hard scooped vegan Black Cherry ice cream they carry was created especially for their location. Many love this flavor made from almond milk! Their remaining hard-scooped vegan ice creams are soy based. Flavors include Butter Pecan, Espresso Oreo, Choc Chip, Ultimate Oreo and Raspberry Chocolate chip. My husband was a BIG fan of the Espresso Oreo vegan ice cream!
22965 Woodward Ave
Ferndale MI 48220
In the words of my friend Erica, Treat Dreams is a “Ferndale Institution,” known for their unique and eclectic flavors. In November they make a “Thanksgiving Dinner” ice cream with turkey in it. True story. Treat Dreams vegan ice creams are made with rice milk or soy milk, and are clearly labeled and in their own section. My friend Erica stated that their Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter vegan ice cream made from rice milk “was amazing,” and is one of Treat Dreams top sellers, vegan or not. Her second favorite was their Cinnamon Whisky vegan ice cream, which actually contains real whiskey. Their flavors do rotate, so you’re likely to find a vegan ice cream at Treat Dreams to tickle your fancy.
Sweet Earth Yogurt Shop
141 W Maple Rd
Birmingham MI 48009
The vegan soft serve at Sweet Earth Yogurt Shop is topped with all of your favorite things. How do I know? At this yogurt shop, you pay per the ounce, and the vegan flavors change frequently, so you’ll have to stop back often. They offer the traditional chocolate and vanilla (which are also gluten-free), but sometimes you might find strawberry, banana, coconut, or soy latte flavors. You can top your ice cream with a variety of fruits and vegan toppings like carob chips!
Michigan Made “Ice Cream Plant” Vegan Pints
Ice Cream Plant isn’t an ice cream parlor. Rather, you’ll find this vegan ice cream company at Detroit-area vegan eateries such as Om Cafe, Seva, Detroit Vegan Soul, Chive Kitchen, The Lunch Room and Vedge Cafe. This vegan ice cream is dairy, egg, gluten, soy, peanut, tree nut, and corn free. (A word of caution – Ice Cream Plant makes their vegan ice cream in a shared facility where these allergens are present. They are currently looking for a new production facility free of these ingredients.) Ice Cream Plant makes their vegan ice cream from a coconut milk base. Their constant flavors are Maple Bourbon, Dark Chocolate, and Cinnamon. Other flavors, such as Blue Moon, are made on a seasonal basis. You can also find their vegan ice cream at some farmer’s markets, and it is sold in pint at Holiday Market.
There are so many other options for those who are vegan, that it would take forever to list them all. There are many handmade popsicles at farmer’s markets such as MI Pops. Plus, at some ice cream stands you can find Dole Whip which was made popular at Disney World. Suffice to say, the ice cream industry has caught on to the fact that those of us with food sensitivities want to scream for ice cream too, and there are many Michigan businesses doing a great job of meeting our needs!
Where’s your favorite vegan ice cream spot? Help us add to our list in the comments!