All About Egg Creams and Where To Get Them in New York City

Wherever Lynn and I go, we never skip an opportunity to try local specialties. New York City is no different, other than the fact that it has a ridiculous number of them. Whether it’s pasta and pizza or bagels and babka, New York City has it all, and you can be sure we’re on the hunt for it. You might have read about my not-so-closeted obsession with the venerable soda fountain. Here’s a fun fact about me: when I get into something, I tend to go deep—bananas deep. I’ve made no exception with one of the quintessential soda fountain concoctions: Egg Creams. And Egg Creams are, without a doubt, a New York specialty.

Now, there’s a lot of history and nostalgia involved with this magical elixir. There’s also a lot of debate, from its inventor to the origin of and reasoning behind the name (a misnomer: as it contains neither eggs nor cream). And, of course, there’s the incredible diversity of recipes. However, I’m reluctant to launch into the background, particularly since our good friends recently gifted us a copy of Julia Wertz’s fantastic Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City, which has an entire section devoted to Egg Creams. In an illustrated guide, no less! (If I may be so bold, this book should be a mandatory addition to your coffee table if you are a self-professed lover of all things New York City.)

Instead, what I’m going to do is suggest three iconic establishments in Manhattan where you can order an Egg Cream, on its own or along with your meal. All three spots are conveniently located in close proximity to each other in the Lower East Side, so here’s a handy guide based on how famished you are.

If you’re very hungry…

Have a Pastrami Sandwich with your Egg Cream at Katz’s Deli

Interior of Katz's Deli in New York City with customers at tables and pictures on the wall via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Salami counter of Katz's Deli in New York City with Cutter slicing meat via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Katz's Deli Pastrami Sandwich and Egg Cream in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Katz’s is legend, and an Egg Cream is exactly what you need to wash down a plate of pickles and 13-plus ounces of pastrami jammed precariously between two slices of afterthought rye bread. (If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll say you won’t eat it all in one sitting, but of course you will.)

Pro Tip: Order your Egg Cream at the grill before you go up to the Cutters for your Pastrami Sandwich. Also, each person gets handed a ticket when you enter Katz’s. Hang on to each ticket even if you combine your orders. You have to surrender all tickets when you leave, even the blank ones (to prove nothing else was ordered). There is a “lost ticket” fee of $50.

205 E Houston St

Monday-Wednesday: 8:00am-10:45pm
Thursday: 8:00am-2:45am
Friday: 8:00am-Open all night!
Saturday: Open all day!
Sunday: Open until 10:45pm

If you’re moderately hungry…

Have a Bagel Sandwich with your Egg Cream at Russ & Daughters

Interior of Russ & Daughters Store in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Russ & Daughters Bagel and Lox Sandwich with Gaspe Nova and Cream Cheese captured outside the store in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Russ & Daughters Egg Cream captured outside the store in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Not to toot my own horn, but my Russ & Daughters game is pretty strong. I take a ticket for the crowded fish counter where they make the bagel sandwiches, and while I wait for my number to be called, I go to the snack and beverage counter and secure my Egg Cream. Trust me, having an Egg Cream in hand makes the time go by much faster.

Note that Russ & Daughters isn’t only iconic for its delicious offerings, but also for its amazing history. Soak that up while you’re there.

179 E Houston St

Monday-Wednesday: 8:00am-6:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am-7:00pm
Friday-Sunday: 8:00am-6:00pm

If you’re mildly hungry…

Have a knish with your Egg Cream at Yonah Schimmel

Interior of Yonah Schimmel Knishery in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Close-up of a row of knishes and a sign stating "Yonah Schimmel Knishery Handmade & Baked Knishes Since 1910..." via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Potato knish and egg cream at Yonah Schimmel Knishery in New York City via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Yonah Schimmel is, in my humble opinion, the TOP of the knish game in town. A single knish, heated for you when you place your order, is a meal in and of itself. An Egg Cream is the perfect accompaniment, and they do it right at this institution.

For the uninitiated, a knish is a filled dough wrapper. Yonah Schimmel offers a number of savory vegetarian options such as potato, spinach and mushroom. But don’t miss out on the sweet cheese versions that are coupled with fruit fillings.

137 E Houston St

Daily 9:30am-7:00pm

If you’re just looking for a salad…

You’re reading the wrong blog. 😉

If you don’t live in or near New York City…

Make your Egg Cream at home

New York Egg Cream from Brooklyn Farmacy via Mad Hatters NYC Blog

As I stated before, recipes for Egg Creams abound. And, for the most part, they’re similar at the core. The sticking point is the list of ingredients used. Sure, you can skimp in a pinch, but why deny yourself the real deal? Below I’ve included a basic recipe for the classic Egg Cream with the traditional ingredients. Drink up!

Classic Egg Cream Recipe:

2 tablespoons Fox’s U-bet Chocolate (for Brooklyn-style) or Vanilla (Manhattan-style) syrup
1 ½ ounces whole milk
6 ounces of seltzer (I prefer Vintage, Hal’s or Schweppes, but the main thing is lots of fizz)
A soda fountain glass (for best results)

Pro Tip: If you have specific dietary requirements, Fox’s U-bet offers a gluten free and real sugar version (a little higher priced, of course).

*This post contains affiliate links that may result in a commission to Mad Hatters NYC at no additional cost to you.

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Four pictures of egg creams, some paired with food, at different restaurants with the title "Where to find our favorite egg creams in New York City".

– J.

17 thoughts on “All About Egg Creams and Where To Get Them in New York City”

  1. Great post – I love the inclusion of the recipe and the categorization by “levels of hunger” lol. I have wanted to try an egg cream since moving here (almost three years ago now!), but something about mixing fizzy water with milk always threw me off a bit so I’ve never fully committed to the venture…you guys sure know how to make it look enticing though, might just have to give it a go sometime soon! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lauren. Sounds like us, doesn’t it? You should try it, for sure. If made properly, it’s not overly sweet or creamy, so don’t let that turn you off. The seltzer adds juuuust the right balance.

  2. I gotta try an Egg Creme now. The name threw me off at first, but you rekindled my New York “got try it” attitude. Going to Katz!! Good post

    1. I’m so glad you’re going to try one out, Tip! Now, you’ve been to Katz before, right? I don’t believe for a second you needed to rekindle that NY “gotta try it” attitude. You don’t lose that. It’s a state of mind.

  3. What a deceiving name!!!
    If not for your recipe, I would have just pushed it aside as something I would never have, not really being fond of eggs!
    Neither am I a seltzer person, but you make a good sell, calling it a ‘New York specialty.’
    Love that I always get to know something new from you guys!

  4. There’s another great egg cream in downtown Brooklyn – at Henry Public. A fun and unique solution to order at the bar when you’re not drinking!

    1. Thanks, Chau! We’re never ones to turn down a good recommendation. Henry Public will definitely be added to the tab on the list of “next time we’re in that neighborhood” places to visit. And you’re absolutely correct, it’s the perfect drink to order when you’re not looking to imbibe.

    1. Hey there, Cynthia! You absolutely could do all three, as long as you have an eating companion along for the ride. It would still be a sizable amount of food, but I think sharing would do the trick. As for the recipes, I’ve been making Egg Creams at home every weekend. I’ve got it down to a science at this point.

  5. Noooo, you’re killing me! There is nothing like any of these places out here, in my opinion. I think you have to go to LA. Thanks for posting. I think. 😉

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