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Best Rita’s Water Ice Flavors for the Summer

Try the best flavors of Rita’s Italian Ice

If you’re looking for the perfect place to cool down on a scorching summer day, there’s no better option than Rita’s Italian Ice.

Rita's Italian Ice is a chain

As the name suggests, this restaurant focuses on two things: Italian ice and frozen custard. There are plenty of flavors to choose from when you’re picking off Rita’s menu, but which ones are worth using your taste buds to try? 

Rita’s offers more than sixty flavors, many of which are not available at every location or time of the year, which can make finding a favorite flavor even harder. 

Best Rita’s Italian Ice Flavors

From classics like blue raspberry and cherry to more inventive flavors like Swedish Fish or root beer, here are the best Rita’s Italian Ice menu items that I recommend trying the next time you visit your local Rita’s Italian Ice. 

Blue Raspberry

As one of the most popular flavors you can get your Italian ice in at Rita’s, the blue raspberry flavor is not only a classic but it’s sure to leave your tongue blue as well.

This flavor gives me plenty of nostalgia  – it’s not unlike those blue push-pops you’d get from the ice cream truck as a kid. 

Keep in mind that blue raspberry may not be as sour as some of Rita’s flavorings, but it certainly has a sour tang to it, so if you’re not a fan of sour-sweet treats, you may want to pick another flavor on this list. 


Cherry

Blue raspberry may be a classic, but the real OG treat from Rita’s has to be their cherry Italian ice flavor.

While this classic cherry flavor doesn’t pack a lot of surprises, it’s a great choice if you’re someone who appreciates fruity treats but doesn’t want all the extra sweetness that other flavors  – like cotton candy or sour patch kids – have.

And, this just so happens to be Rita’s second most popular flavor. 

If Rita’s original cherry flavor isn’t as adventurous as you’d like, I’d recommend trying their Wild Black Cherry flavor, which kicks things up a notch. 


Cotton Candy

If you’d like a little nostalgia about spending time at the carnival, there’s no better flavor than Rita’s cotton candy.

It’s worth noting that this bright blue treat is definitely one of Rita’s sweeter choices, but if you don’t mind a little extra sweetness in your Italian ice or custard, then cotton candy is definitely worth a shot. 

Rita’s originally launched this flavor at the end of summer, but it’s been popular enough to stick around and become of the shop’s most popular flavors.

The pretty light blue color that your Italian ice will turn is just a bonus. 


Lemon

Ever feel like drinking a glass of lemonade, but one that’s frozen?

With Rita’s lemon flavor, you’ll get the best of both worlds: you’ll get all the same sweet, tart flavors you’d get if you were downing a glass of Country Time lemonade, but there are no plastic straws to be seen. 

For anyone who loves a sour and sweet combination but isn’t a fan of sour patch kids or other traditional “sour” treats, Rita’s lemon flavor is a great alternative.

I’d also recommend it for anyone who wants to pick a flavor that they are sure they’ll love. 


Mango

Cherry may be Rita’s second most popular flavor, but it still falls behind their most popular choice: mango.

It’s not hard to see why mango has made the top of the list for Rita flavors. Not only is it refreshing and delicious, but there’s no mistaking their mango flavor as anything else  – every bite is fruity, mango-goodness. 

Another advantage to picking a popular flavor like mango is availability.

With over sixty flavors, Rita’s doesn’t offer every flavor all of the time, and some of their less popular choices may not be available.

However, if you opt for a popular choice like mango, you’re likely to be able to try this flavor regardless of which day or store you go to. 


Strawberry

Another classic flavor that you can’t go wrong with, Rita’s strawberry flavor never misses, and it’s extremely flavorful.

This flavor is actually modeled after the strawberry starburst flavor, but whether you like the candy or not, this popular Italian ice flavor is still worth checking out. 

You may also notice that their strawberry flavor is an even brighter red than the cherry Italian ice, so you should be careful not to mix the two up. 


Swedish Fish

Coming in just behind mango and cherry, Swedish Fish is Rita’s third most popular flavor, and I’d recommend this one for anyone who’s a fan of the candy.

While Swedish Fish candy comes in several flavors, Rita’s flavor is only modeled after one: the red Swedish Fish candy. 

Not only does Swedish Fish taste identical to the candy, but the texture of the Italian ice really brings out the flavor of this one.

Technically, the Swedish Fish flavor is a “berry” flavor, but with all the added sweetness, there’s less fruitiness than you’d get with the cherry, mango, or strawberry flavors. 


Wild Black Cherry

Rita’s wild black cherry flavor is based on the cherry varietal, black cherries.

Many people consider black cherries to be sweeter than regular cherries, and after trying Rita’s interpretation of this fruit, I’ve got to agree. 

This Italian ice’s color is not only darker and sweeter, but it contains another added bonus that you won’t see in every flavor: tiny chunks of real cherry bits in almost every bite.

Even if it’s not the most popular flavor, I’d consider wild black cherry to be one of Rita’s most authentic flavors, and certainly worth a try if you haven’t already. 


Florida Orange

Why opt for an orange flavor when you could have a Florida orange?

If Florida’s known for one thing, it’s their oranges  – Florida oranges thrive under the hot, humid climate, and tend to grow juicier and sweeter.

That’s exactly the example that Rita’s has used in their Florida Orange flavor. 

While it hits all the same notes you’d expect from orange ice cream or Italian ice, it’s consistently sweeter, juicier, and feels like it’s bursting with flavor.

If you’d like to take things a step further, you can combine vanilla custard and Florida orange ice to create a Misto shake. 


Guava

If you’re interested in fruity flavors but you’d like to be a little more adventurous than the traditional cherry or strawberry, why not opt for Rita’s guava flavor in their Italian ice?

If you’ve never tried guava fruit before, it’s generally sweet and tastes similar to a strawberry and pear hybrid. 

Rita’s interpretation of the guava fruit captures this perfectly, and may just inspire you to pick up a real guava fruit at the supermarket. 


Island Fusion

Why try to pick between strawberry, cherry, mango, watermelon, or other fruity flavors when you could have them all?

Well, if you opt to try Rita’s island fusion flavor, you won’t have to make the choice.

While Rita’s doesn’t specify every single fruit that goes into their island fusion flavor, I’d compare the taste to a delicious fruit cocktail. 

It’s fruity, sweet, and if you’re looking for something that’ll taste great after a hot day (or remind you of better, hotter days), you definitely can’t go wrong with island fusion. 


Mint Chocolate Chip

Do you love Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies or mint chocolate ice cream that you can buy at the store?

If the answer is yes to either of those, you’ll probably also appreciate Rita’s mint chocolate chip flavor in their Italian ice as well. 

Many people refer to this flavor as “cream ice,” because the texture tastes a little different than other Italian ice flavors.

Mint chocolate chip tends to be more creamy than icy, and if you’re used to traditional mint ice cream, it could take a minute to get used to. 

Another bonus of buying this flavor is the tiny little chocolate chips that you’ll get with every bite. 


Passion Fruit

Another exotic fruit flavor you may want to check out, Rita’s passion fruit doesn’t disappoint.

If you haven’t had a chance to try real passion fruit, the actual fruit tends to have a strong smell and a sweet, tarty flavor.

While the flavor is very unique, it’s not completely different from a kiwi or a pineapple.

When it’s in Italian ice, Rita’s passion fruit has that same strong, sweet, and tart flavor.

While I’d recommend trying this flavor at least once, its strong taste tends to be a little polarizing. Some people love the passion fruit flavor while others won’t take a second bite. 


Peanut Butter & Jelly

Introduced over ten years ago, Rita’s peanut butter and jelly flavor certainly turned a few heads when they created it, but it’s managed to stick around for quite a while – even though it is considered a limited-time flavor.

Along with peanut butter, this flavor also includes real strawberries, and the restaurant chain claims that it’s “just like mom used to make.”

While it may seem like an odd combination, this is still one of the best Rita’s italian ice menu items, but it can be hard to find. 

With limited availability, not all Rita’s shops make this flavor every day, so if you manage to find it somewhere, I definitely recommend trying at least once. 


Piña Colada

You may not be sitting at the beach, but if you want to feel like you’re in paradise, you can try ordering Rita’s Piña Colada flavor.

Originally, this flavor was part of Rita’s “mocktails” lineup, but it’s been popular enough to stick around for more than a little while. 

While you can’t go wrong with their colada flavor in Italian ice, you can also order a creamier version as a custard  – and I personally appreciate it both ways.

Of course, this limited-time flavor may not be available at every location all the time, but it’s popular enough that you’ll find it on most menus (especially during the summer).


Root Beer

If you’re a fan of root beer floats, you may appreciate Rita’s own flavor inspired by the soda.

While the Italian ice has all the sweetness of drinking a regular root beer, the texture of the ice makes it taste like you’re sipping a slurpee. 

The only thing that’s missing when you order the root beer flavor is the characteristic fizzy bubbles you’d get with a real root beer or float.

Bonus tip: while Rita’s doesn’t offer their root beer flavor as a float, you can make things interesting by ordering this Italian ice flavor with a small vanilla custard and combining them on your own. 


Sour Patch Kids Red

If you liked the Swedish Fish flavor, you’re almost certainly going to like the Sour Patch Kids Red flavor that Rita’s offers.

Just like their Swedish Fish, the Sour Patch Italian ice is only modeled after one flavor: the cherry red Sour Patch gummy. 

Even if you’ve never been a big fan of the candy, you may still want to try this flavor if you like cherries or sour treats.

As sour (and sweet) as this flavor is, the base flavor is still reminiscent of cherries and fruitiness. 


Best Rita’s Italian Ice Flavors

  1. Blue Raspberry
  2. Cherry
  3. Cotton Candy
  4. Lemon
  5. Mango
  6. Strawberry
  7. Swedish Fish
  8. Wild Black Cherry
  9. Florida Orange
  10. Guava
  11. Island Fusion
  12. Mint Chocolate Chip
  13. Passion Fruit
  14. Peanut Butter & Jelly
  15. Piña Colada
  16. Root Beer
  17. Sour Patch Kids Red

Final Thoughts

With more than sixty flavors that are constantly changing, it can be difficult to nail down the best Rita’s Italian Ice menu items, but the seventeen picks I’ve listed above are a great place to start. And, for more information about ingredients or calories for these flavors, you can ask your local Rita’s shop. 

From traditional, popular flavors like mango or cherry that you’re bound to find at every location to riskier picks, like peanut butter and jelly or mint chocolate chip, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds to enjoy. 

More of an ice cream person? Check out the most popular Haagen-Dazs flavors for a different sweet treat!

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.