Top 5 Dessert Shops in Orange County

by Nikole Weber

Hanna Lobet grimaces as she takes a gulp of her grass-colored concoction. Cold-pressed greens are a beach body tonic for Southern California natives, but the junior Biology major cannot help but wish her vegetable juice was replaced with a tantalizing ice cream cupcake from her favorite dessert shop, Sprinkles. Lobet is the first to admit it: She has got a bad case of the sweet tooth. And while healthy, organic and raw food has grown in popularity in Orange County, dessert lovers need not fear. Sweet shops have been popping up all around the beach cities to satisfy cravings with their unique confectionary inventions. These five innovative shops in Orange County will change the way you think about dessert.


1.     Sprinkles

The renowned Newport-based bakery, Sprinkles Cupcakes, has developed a new way to enjoy the namesake dessert by introducing ice cream last summer. Students were eager to test the new spinoff, having already fallen in love with the classic Sprinkles cupcake.

“At Sprinkles, you can add cool things on the side like the top of a cupcake. It’s basically like eating cake and ice cream, but Sprinkles quality,” said senior Health Science major, Jordan Adajar.

Choosing a cupcake flavor has never been more difficult now that ice cream has joined the mix. Customers can formulate the perfect combination of cupcake and ice cream flavors, plus a variety of toppings, to build a tower of stacked sweets.

“The Sprinkles sundaes are absolutely delicious, and my favorite combination is red velvet cupcake with raspberry ice cream,” said Lobet.

Sprinkles also has seasonal ice cream flavors that change out every month, such as the April’s specialty, cookie dough. Sprinkles also celebrates the holidays by featuring festive choices such as candy corn around Halloween.

“It’s like crack,” Lobet said.

Sprinkles Ice Cream

952 Avocado Ave, Newport Beach, CA 92660

(949) 718-9400


2.     Afters

Afters is where Ice cream meets donut. The shop has combined two of America’s most loved desserts into a culinary masterpiece that has kept locals coming back for more. Choose an ice cream flavor, toppings, and a plain or glazed donut coined “milky bun” to enclose the creamy goodness into a spoon-free eating experience.

“I have a huge sweet tooth, so when someone told me that there was a place that served ice cream inside a donut, I had to try it. There aren’t any other places like it,” said Andrew Schreyer, a senior Business Administration, Philosophy, and French triple major.

Since the store’s debut in February, Chapman students have continuously flocked to Afters to test the creation that’s garnered heavy press attention.

“When I went, it was only open 11 days and there was already a 50 minute line. Their hand-crafted ice cream is the best ice cream I’ve ever had,” said Adajar.

While the long lines can be irksome, Adajar insists that Afters is well worth the wait, especially for first-timers.

Afters Ice Cream

18030 Brookhurst St. Fountain Valley, CA 92708


3.     Snow Monster

Macaroons and ice cream and snow—oh my! Snow Monster, known for its colorful treats and Mason jar drinks, has gained a loyal following of Chapman students. Word has quickly spread that this Westminster shop is heaven-sent. Snow Monster prides itself on its macaroon ice cream sandwiches, elaborately decorated shaved ice (called snow) and boba milk tea.

“I got peanut butter flavored snow topped with Oreos, graham cracker, chocolate and caramel. I got the ‘small’ size. It could have easily fed two people, but I devoured it because it was so good,” said junior Public Relations and Advertising and Business double major, Charlie Stephens.

The snow comes in seven distinct flavors, including mango, coconut, taro, and green tea.

“It’s like a flaky ice cream that sort of melts in your mouth. It’s like a cross between fro-yo and gelato,” Stephens said.

Endsley Eggert, a senior Television and Broadcast Journalism major, favors the vibrantly hued giant macaroons with ice cream.

“It’s really hard to find gluten-free desserts, and macaroons are naturally gluten free, so that’s what attracted me to try Snow Monster in the first place. [Ice cream and macaroons] are two of my favorite desserts, so I was obviously in heaven,” said Eggert.

And the best part, Eggert said, is if you order an iced tea, paying two dollars extra allows you to take the oversized Mason jar home for future use.

Snow Monster

9600 Bolsa Ave. Westminster CA, 92683


4.     Creamistry

Creamistry is ice cream made to order. Using liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees, Creamologists, as they are called, rapidly freeze customized liquid flavors into a rich solid right before their customers’ eyes. 

“I like being able to see them hand-mix the flavor of ice cream I want with the cream—or whatever they do—and then freeze it, and do it all right in front of me,” said Kelsea Rossi, junior Business Marketing major.

Aside from the traditional cream base, this shop offers alternative options such as coconut milk and sorbet for those who prefer dairy-free indulgences. On top of that, Creamistry has more than 50 flavors and toppings so that each person can create their own signature blend.

“I’d eat there every time for ice cream if it wasn’t so expensive. It’s super rich and creamy,” Rossi said.

Creamistry contrasts traditional ice cream shops by vowing to never have premade cartons waiting in the freezer. For the magical experience and fresh flavor, Rossi promises that Creamistry is worth the extra cost. 


3972 Barranca Parkway #D Irvine, CA 92606


5.     Dad’s Original Frozen Banana

One of Balboa Island's best kept secrets, Dad’s is a must-have for a late night pit stop. The street-side stand, though nestled among a busy row of shops, is not easily missed. A bright yellow banana frames the name “Dad’s Original Frozen Banana,” and a long line of locals can be seen awaiting their chocolate fix every night of the week.

Although it is known for the frozen chocolate-covered bananas with an array of topping options, Dad’s also makes colorful sugar cookies and ice cream bars from scratch.

“My favorite dessert is the Balboa bar. It’s an ice cream bar dipped in chocolate. I usually prefer to have only sprinkles on top, but you can also get nuts and other things,” said Lauren Rhodes, a junior Biology major.

It is the perfect ending to a night exploring the pier, and its quaint yet entertaining atmosphere makes the trip worthwhile.

“I’m a huge fan of Dad’s and will wait as long as possible to be served,” Rhodes said.

Dad’s Original Frozen Banana

318 Marine Ave Newport Beach, CA 92662

Dessert has transitioned from traditional staples such as pastries and ice cream to hybrid combinations that keep taste buds guessing. While health and nutrition are primary concerns for many Southern Californians, there is always room for dessert. Next time you have an urge to satisfy your sweet tooth, why not try a new kind of dessert, right here in the good old OC. 

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