The Best Desserts and Ice Cream in Dubuque, Iowa!

I love dessert.  So it’s no surprise that I’ve been hunting down Dubuque’s best dessert spot!  Being a fairly big town, of course Dubuque is full of all the national chain restaurants.  There’s Cold Stone Creamery, Culvers Frozen Custard, Red Robin and Buffalo Wild Wings that all serve dessert, but this list will highlight the small businesses that deserve some recognition!  Did you know that for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 will stay in the community, whereas $100 spent in a chain restaurant only $43 will go back to the community?! (Source: L May Eatery)

Ice Cream in Dubuque Iowa

Betty Jane Candies

3049 Asbury Rd, Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 582-4668

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Betty Jane Candies Ice Cream

Gremlin-Nilla & English Almond Toffee Ice Cream

Betty Jane Candies was established in Dubuque in 1938, as well as selling homemade candies and chocolate, in the summer season they make ice cream too!  FYI, it’s AMAZING and I believe, the best value for money out of all the places listed in this post!  I had a 2 scoop waffle cone and was impressed by the size of the scoop…proper scoop size!

I visited because I wanted to try the Gremlin ice cream.  Gremlins are one of their signature chocolates, pecans that are topped with caramel and chocolate.  These are smashed up and mixed into both vanilla and chocolate ice cream!

Ice Cream U Scream

198 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001

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Superman Ice Cream at Ice Cream U Scream in Dubuque Iowa

Superman Ice Cream

Ice Cream U Scream is an ice cream shop along Main St. The scoops are absolutely ginormous…looking back I probably should have got a bowl, as I managed to get it all over my hands, shorts and shoes! They have some unique flavours, such as the Superman Ice Cream which is a mix of cherry, blue moon (fruity flavour, not beer flavour) and vanilla.


2300 Rhomberg Ave, Dubuque, IA 52001

Seasonal: March – October

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Dairy Queen Dubuque fried bread

Fried Bread

Yes Dairy Queen is a chain, but the Rhomberg Ave location is a little different. It’s independently owned and operated, so the menu isn’t exactly the same as other branches. It’s also a walk up shop, you order via an outside window (a bit like a human drive through!), because of this, it is also seasonal, shutting throughout the winter. I like to order the deep fried bread which is served with jelly/jam.

Shot Tower Inn

390 Locust Street, Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 556-1061

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Shot Tower Inn Dubuque

Deep Fried Ice Cream

The Shot Tower Inn has been in Dubuque since 1967 and was named after the Historical Shot Tower that still stands near the Mississippi River in Downtown Dubuque.  The Shot Tower Inn building stands out slightly from the rest of the buildings in Dubuque as it looks like a wooden log cabin!

I wanted to try the deep fried ice cream because something in me was confused at how ice cream could be put into a boiling hot deep fryer, surely it would melt?! But nope, it was still a solid (rather large) ball of cold ice cream!  The ice cream is rolled in oats and this is the part that obviously sees the inside of the fryer for literally seconds!  It’s served with a fried tortilla, cream and topped with a cherry!

L May Eatery

1072 Main Street, Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 556-0505

(closed Tues & Wed)

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L May Eatery Dubuque Iowa

Betty Jane Candies Dessert Du Jour

L May Eatery is an example of how independent, small businesses will partner with other businesses in the local community to source their food.  They recently created a dessert with Betty Jane Candies!  The Betty Jane Candies Dessert Du Jour is a chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate cup, topped with chocolate and caramel sauce, crumbled up Betty Jane treats and served with slices of orange, cream and mint leaves!  Very rich, but very tasty!

Inspire Cafe

955 Washington Street, Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 583-8338

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Afternoon Tea Scones at Inspire Cafe

English Afternoon Tea (Lemon & Ginger Scone and Currant Scone)

My first Afternoon Tea was hosted by Inspire Cafe but I have since been back for another one!  Inspire Cafe is a coffee shop and bakery located in the historic Millwork District in Dubuque!  Their Afternoon Tea features scones with cream and jam and several bite sized desserts as well as finger sandwiches.  The bakery sell regular individual cake servings but Afternoon Teas traditionally have the smaller portions.

Candle Ready Cakes

197 Main Street, Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 845-0794

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Candle Ready Cakes Dubuque Iowa

Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcake

Candle Ready Cakes are a catering company as well as having a physical store location on Main Street!  Their cupcake menu is huge and can be taken out or eaten in store (the tables have dry erase markers if you feel like doodling!).  I tried a Hot Fudge Sundae that was topped with icing, sprinkles and a cherry and filled with fudge sauce!  Several of their cupcakes have various fillings as well as toppings.  They also sell full sized cakes, cake pops and macarons (feature image at the top of post)!

The Spot

356 Main St, Dubuque, IA 52001

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The Spot Bubble Tea Dubuque Iowa

Bubble Tea (Lit Tea)

The Spot mainly sell milkshakes and ‘lit’ teas. The drinks are fairly expensive, but they include extra vitamins and nutrients to help with various things, such as metabolism and digestion. It’s not like normal tea, it tastes more like juice. Every day they share on social media the ‘flavour of the day’ for the teas. Usually there are two options and for an extra $1 you can add boba to the tea. The day I visited there was ‘Berry Margarita’ or ‘Mango Passionfruit’.

I love bubble tea, usually the boba is tapioca pearls which are a chewy jelly like ball, but at The Spot they have liquid filled boba, which I think I prefer. Although bubble tea isn’t usually served with ice, so you have to fish around to actually get to the boba, as the ice cubes get in the way!

On the Radar

Habits Coffee & Mini Donut Co.

1072 Locust St, Dubuque, IA 52001

Habits Coffee & Mini Donut Co. is exactly what it says on the tin. Coffee and mini donuts. The mini donuts are fresh and made to order, and sold either by the dozen or half dozen. There are various different flavours to choice from, basic or specialty. Of course I’ve got my eye on the specialty toppings which come in flavours such as: Iowa Backroad, Sandy Beach, El Churro, Happy Campers, Boston Cream and more!

Do you have any favourite dessert spots in Dubuque? Let me know in the comments below!  Any excuse for a pig out!

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The Best Desserts and Ice Cream in Dubuque Iowa USA
The Best Desserts and Ice Cream in Dubuque Iowa USA

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