Red Circle’s Crawfish Ice Cream Is Better Than You Think

The limited-run ice cream (which contains no actual crawfish) is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and spicy.

By Meredith Nudo March 28, 2023

The unique ice cream flavor was first launched in 2019. 

Image: Meredith Nudo

Spring in Houston means two things: One of the only opportunities we have to enjoy decent weather, and the return of Red Circle's crawfish ice cream. 

It started when Red Circle owner Nickey Ngo, who launched the flavor in 2019, went out for a crawfish dinner with her husband. “The juices were flowing down my fingers. I own an ice cream shop, so the natural lightbulb moment came on and I said, ‘This would make a great ice cream flavor.’” 

Despite the name, no crawfish were harmed in the making of the dessert (although we have a handy list just in case). Rather, Ngo managed a careful balance of salty, sweet, and spicy. Old Bay, garlic, and paprika start things off with a joyful, robust pop of umami alongside a milky, buttery sweetness, while a touch of cayenne takes a moment before tickling the tongue. 

Again, no crustaceans are in the actual recipe, but Red Circle offers a range of garnishes, including an actual crawfish, which Ngo points out is the most popular accoutrement. Pro tip: after cracking open the crawfish to get at its tail meat, fill the head with ice cream so you can suck it out for a totally unique experience.

Other pairing options include macarons, churros, and Hong Kong–style bubble waffles. We especially loved the chocolate churro, with the bitter undertones bringing out the ice cream's spices in a way sweeter counterparts simply can't. For sweet tooths, the waffle with Fruity Pebbles layer on the sugar. 

Red Circle offers its crawfish ice cream at its three locations in Chinatown, Pearland, and Sugar Land, but only for a limited time every year to coincide with spring break. The flavor sells out quickly so it's best to call ahead to see how much crawfish ice cream is still available. And if you miss out this year, well, there's always next spring.

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