HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >


Best ice cream in Maine

Bar none, the best ice cream in Maine can be found at Tubby's on Rte 133 in Wayne. Variety of interesting flavors along with the classics.
Everything is homemade with premium ingredients, including the to-die-for hot fudge. They even have a lactose-free selection (quality doesn't quite match the rest, but it's wonderful to have an option for Lactose-intolerant spouses.)

They also have footlong chili dogs and lobster rolls (only surpassed in my experience by Red's Eats in Wiscasset.) It's located near the bridge between Pocasset and Androscoggin Lakes, so there's a very pretty spot with picnic table for sitting and enjoying your food. There's also a dock and spot for public swimming. We often take friends for a summer swim and lunch.
Take it from a Mainer. I know what's good.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, since it's all about taste, I can't say, "you're wrong." But I've had Tubby's, and for all the characteristics you identify as important, I'd put Ben & Bill's, Bar Harbor, a notch above. And I'm sure there will be other Maineahs only too eager to suggest theirs.
    Fortunately, choice is good, and it's not hard to travel throughout the state and find high quality ice cream.

    1. Well, I don't think you can say "bar none" until you've tried all 30 flavors at all 30 homemade ice-cream stands in Maine. But there's one thing we can all agree on..........IT'S ICE CREAM TIME AGAIN IN NEW ENGLAND, BABY !!!!!!

      1. I would have to recommend Dorman's in Rockland and Tubby's in Wayne. Luckily I live in Rockland and have family in the Lewiston/Auburn area. Cote's in Lewiston/Auburn was the place to go when I was young, their Black Raspberry or Butter Pecan were legendary according to my grandparents (who have long since passed).

        I vaguely remember going to Cote's in Lewiston (or Auburn) and getting a cone. Walking away from the counter with my cone, the ice cream completely falls off my cone, While upset (and my sister laughing at me) the girl at the counter rushes out and tells me that she'll get me another cone and not to worry about it.

        These are the memories that stay. While I am closer in location to Dorman's and Tubby's now, Cote's will always have a place in my heart.

        8 Replies
        1. re: zeph74

          I seem to remember a place in Turner with custard. I am totally blanking on the name but I do remember it being a good half hour drive out of Auburn...It was a little bigger than a farm stand but not much. Does anyone know what I'm talking about??

          1. re: lasouriante

            Hodgman's in New Gloucester, maybe?

          2. re: zeph74

            I remember going to Cote's when I was at Bates. Is it not there anymore?

            1. re: la ciclista

              There's a cote's in Brunswick, by Bowdoin.

              1. re: Farnam897

                Do you know if Dorman's in Rockland has Sweet Cream ice cream?

              2. re: zeph74

                Were is Dormans lcated, new to the area :)

                1. re: Mainecuisine

                  Dorman's is on Rt. 1, S. Thomaston, roughly opposite the cinema complex.

              3. I live not far from Wayne so we will be sure to try Tubby's this summer. We eat a lot of Gifford's ice cream. I did try a place summer before last that I want to get back to again and it is called Classic Custard. It is on US 1 in Freeport. They make all their own ice creams and they are wonderful. I especially want to have the fresh ginger flavor again. It was incredible.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Buttercupmaine

                  Toots in North Yarmouth is on a farm with a dairy herd and lots of other animals that kids will like. The ice cream store is in an old train car which is why it's called Toots. I moved from Boston area which has a huge selection of ice cream places and Toots can give all of them a run for their money.

                2. A relatively newcomer (2 yrs old) is Mount Desert Ice Cream in Bar Harbor. Creative flavors as well as the usual. I particularly like the sorbets...cucumber lime, tarragon grapefruit, basil blueberry and cabernet.

                  1. Tubby's is good, but it's just one of many Maine places--most of which are the same caliber, I've yet to pass a stand selling homemade ice cream without stopping: Among my favorites: Mt. Desert Ice Cream, Bar Harbor; Morton's, in Ellsworth , which also makes decadent gelatto; Gelatto Fiasco, in Brunswick; Round Top, Damariscotta; Dorman's, Rockland; the two farms on Route 26 just south of Norway; North Street Dairy Cone, Waterville; Ben & Bill's; Butterfield's in Guilford. Is Kennebec Kreamery still around in Anson? How about Shaw's near Sanford or those two places around Biddeford/Saco, one on Route 1 and the other heading down to Camp Ellis? As for Toots, given the big Hershey's sign out front, I don't think it's making its own. I believe Cotes moved to New Hampshire, but as of last summer it still had a stand on Maine Street in Brunswick, up by First Parish Church. My pref. will always be for made on the premises. Honestly, I don't know how B&J survives in Maine--must be all the from-aways who don't know any better.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Mainegal

                      Yikes! Toots isn't making their own ice cream anymore? I hope that's not true!

                      1. re: Mainegal

                        You missed Browns Old Fashion Ice Cream in York - near the Nubble Light.

                        1. re: humin

                          I absolutely agree that Browns Ice Cream in York is one of the best!

                        2. re: Mainegal

                          I just came from Toots and their ice cream is still homemade. Nothing seems to have changed from last year.

                          1. re: Mainegal

                            Morton's has been sold, but the new owners are supposed to keep the old recipe. And there is Blueberry Hill in Ellsworth, where I got my thrill. Why is blueberry ice cream so good and blueberry ale, not?

                          2. I agree. Cote's was one of the best homemade ice creams in Maine, but that was years ago. High butterfat content. There was a small place that made their own ice cream near Vassalboro, and then there was Smiley's in Waterville. But they could all be gone by now. Smiley's small cone was at least a pint of ice cream! Also homemade... Giffords is commercial ice cream, not too bad for commercial, but not like Round Top or Cote's.

                            1. Raymond's Custard in Casco - just before you get into Naples on Route 302 is outstanding. That being said, it IS sometimes hard to know exactly where the ice cream being served is being made, unless its trumpetted LOUDLY. You don't have to look far to find a 14yo kid serving scoops and saying "we make our own", when in fact its Giffords or Round Top or Beals or some other local manufacturer. Perhaps the best way to qualify an ice cream is as "small batch" defined as made on the premises and NOT served anywhere else.

                              I remember having ice cream made with duck confit at Hugo's. That was special...

                              1. Round Top fan here. More flavors than you can get through, big servings, low prices, great ice cream! In the fall, their pumpkin or indian pudding flavors are not to be missed. They close by Columbus Day.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: guineverek

                                  Well, I hate to be a heretic, but I find that all Round Top tastes the same, as if they haven't adapted the base to a particular set of flavours, just dumped in some extra ingredients.

                                2. Can anyone give me a sense of what's in Gifford's ice cream? Their website doesn't seem to actually list ingredients, but if someone's seen a supermarket package, I'd love to know what it says . . . Also, does anyone know if Gifford's is avail in supermarkets outside ME If so, I could investigate myself . . . had some at a local shop here in CT and want to know what's actually in there . . .

                                  1. Went screaming-for-ice-cream over the weekend and here is my report.

                                    Best: Len Libby Candy Store, Scarborough. Coconut Chocolate Chip was full of big square choc chips and Cashew Caramel Swirl had good ratio of nuts. Thumbs way up.

                                    The rest:
                                    Sundaes At The Beach, Ogunquit/Wells: Good grapenut, interesting maple-cookie flavor, but consistency is a little weak, kinda rubbery. Didn't try the "sundae bar" because it only had 2 ingredients that interested me, hot fudge and real whipped cream.

                                    Shaw's Ridge/ Sanford: Nice consistency, good value, but just nothing that stood out. Same old "cookie dough" that everyone else serves. Not worth the 20 minute round trip from the turnpike, though their upcoming "seasonal raspberry" and "seasonal fresh blueberry" sound promising.

                                    Daily Scoop, downtown Kennebunk. Good service and only $2 for a small, which is the size of a medium at other places. Coconut Choc Chip Needham, and Maple Walnut both had pretty good flavor, but not standout.
                                    Consistency just the same as Sundaes/Beach and Mrs/Me in Kittery and Shaws. Do these places all buy the same mix and use the same flavoring recipe , or what. Nobody seems to have their own "standout flavors" anymore. It's like they all went to the same ice-cream-making seminar. And boy do I hate those hard little squares of so-called "cookie dough" that they all use.

                                    Toot's in Yarmouth: No interesting flavors like "NEEDHAM" or "Ma's Apple Pie" this time around, but it is early in the season. I went for the strawberry-rhubarb swirl and it proved worth the 15 minute round trip off 295.

                                    Shain's of Maine! Yeah! They get extra credit for making their own cookie dough. But needs a little more brown sugar if it wants to compete with cookie dough champion NOrth Street Dairy in Waterville.

                                    more to come...................

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jackattack

                                      "Shain's of Maine! Yeah! They get extra credit for making their own cookie dough. But needs a little more brown sugar if it wants to compete with cookie dough champion NOrth Street Dairy in Waterville"

                                      Shain's made a chocolate cookie dough last year that was even better.

                                      1. re: jackattack

                                        John's Handmade in Liberty/Lake St. George on Route 3......interesting flavor that I don't think I've ever seen before, Cranberry Ice Cream. It tasted like a more tart version of Raspberry Ripple, and it was pretty darn good. Also tried Banana with a peanut butter swirl, good but not enough peanut butter for me. Probably enough for other folks though, I'm a pb lover.

                                        1. re: jackattack

                                          Stopped at Tubby's in Wayne tonight and it was not worth the trip. Interesting "Tree Hugger" flavor featuring maple and oatmeal, sounds bad but it worked extremely nicely. Coconut Ice Cream was a disaster however, did they even taste this stuff before serving it? I think they forgot the cream and just used milk. Maybe they were trying for an asian-inspired coconut ice? Tasted like it had melted COMPLETELY and then re-froze. Black Raspberry was reportedly pretty good, only about 15 flavors to choose from.

                                      2. Been to alot of ice cream stands and i have to say that Shaker Pond Ice Cream in Alfred ranks up there with the best. New stand in Alfred that makes their own ice cream and has over 50 flavors. Cookie Dough is great and they make their own cookie dough. It's right on 202 just past the center of alfred. Everybody needs to check this one out!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dortiz

                                          Thank's for the head's up about Shaker pond, it was REALLY good !

                                        2. Someone posted a great ice cream link on the "Best Ice Cream in CT" thread. The Roadfood crew went to 50 New England creameries and rated Tubby's one of the best http://www.roadfooddigest.com/IceCream/. They spoke highly of Tree Huggers, Cinnamon Trail and the Hot Fudge Sauce.

                                          They also gave high marks to Shaw's Ridge Farm in Sanford for Coffee, Indian Pudding and the Hot Fudge Sauce.

                                          1. I also don't think Tubby's is even close to the best, and it's by far the closest ice cream place to where I'm located and the owner is my electrician. Even with its location, I avoid it.

                                            I wholeheartedly endorse John's, especially for interesting and delicious fruit flavors. Not that the other flavors are bad, I just haven't tried them because their fruit stuff is so good. Last year I had strawberry rhubarb and blueberry, and both were amazing.

                                            I've also been eating Hodgman's frozen custard since I was a small child, and I love it, though it's different from traditional ice cream. We stopped there on Sunday night, and it was the same as ever. Kind of comforting in these crazy times.

                                            Happy eating, everyone!

                                            1. Painted Pepper Farm's lemon zest or mocha chip, but especially the lemon zest. Made from the milk of Nigerian goat. It's so clean, clear and crisp in flavor and very creamy. You can purchase it at their farm in Steuben or at the Bar Harbor Farmer's Market on Sunday mornings. It's great on top of fresh Maine strawberries; and I imagine it will be beyond fabulous when paired with fresh wild blues.

                                              1. I didn't even have to read all the posts (but might later). Browns at Nubble Light in York, Maine. It's an All-American treat in a great location