Sundae, sundae, sundae!

By Vanessa Greaves and Caitlyn Diimig, RD
Updated May 28, 2021
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overhead shot of a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings for a DIY ice cream sundae party
Credit: Brie Passano

How to Stock a Super Sundae Bar

Dish up a sundae bar, ice cream sandwiches, and tasty floats for a stress-free outdoor party. Everyone will enjoy creating and customizing their choose-your-own ice cream adventures that rival any ice cream shop. Here's everything you need to make a sundae bar at home.

Ice Cream

You can go two ways here. Either set out three or four ice cream flavors to mix and match, or stick to one basic flavor and let everyone use it as a blank canvas for their sweet masterpieces. Whichever way you go, keep ice cream frosty cold by setting the containers into deep baking dishes, buckets, or bowls filled with ice. Make sure each flavor has its own dedicated ice cream scooper. Or try this: Scoop and freeze individual servings of ice cream in cupcake liners.

Want to Make Your Own Ice Cream?

Raise the sundae bar by making your own ice cream. Let Chef John show you how to made rich, delicious strawberry ice cream (and you don't have to cook custard!).

Need "nice cream" options for your dairy-free/vegan/paleo pals?

Related: Check out all the ice cream recipes you could possibly want, and get tips to make your own ice cream.

Dream Machine

Cuisinart ice cream makers get high marks all around from our Allrecipes Allstars.
Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, and Sorbet Maker
$69.95
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I use the Cuisinart 1½-quart ice cream maker and I highly recommend it. The freezer bowl needs to be frozen a day in advance, so plan ahead. The mixing paddle aerates the mixture to a wonderful consistency, and mixing in any nuts or chocolate chips at the end works perfectly. – Deb Crowell (@Deb C)

Ice Cream Sundae Toppings

Here's your chance to be a kid in a candy shop, literally. Set out a variety of sauces, crushed candies, sprinkles, nuts — the combinations are almost limitless.

ice cream sundaes with a variety of toppings
Credit: Brie Passano

Related: Try 28 outrageous ice cream sundae toppings, or boozy fruit sauces for grown-ups only.

Sandwich It

Serve ice cream sandwiched between two cookies (we used the Cracked Sugar Cookie). Roll or dip in sprinkles, nuts, or chocolate to take them over the top.

variety of homemade ice cream sandwiches on a serving tray
Credit: Brie Passano

Get the Scoop

Our Allstars love the Zeroll Original Aluminum Ice Cream Scoop.
Zeroll Original Aluminum Ice Cream Scoop
$18.43
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The Zeroll scoop has a liquid-filled, heat-conductive handle that makes scooping and releasing ice cream easy. It also makes perfectly round balls of ice cream. —Pamela Treadwell (@Spyce)

Cups and Cones

Let everyone choose whether to build their sundaes in cups or cones, or both. Bowls or wide-mouth jars make it easier to pile on the toppings, but cones are so much fun to eat afterwards. Maybe they'll want both! To dress up your cones or waffle cups, dip the edges in melted chocolate, and top with sprinkles. Set on waxed paper to harden.

Ice Cream Cone Sundaes in bowls
Credit: Meredith

Related: Try your hand at homemade ice cream cones.

Float On

Create a float station using a variety of ice cream, sorbets, bubble beverages, and toppings. Footed glasses and paper straws add to the fun.

trio of homemade ice cream floats
Credit: Brie Passano

Extras

An ice cream sundae bar that's a visual delight makes for memorable photo-ops. Choose a bright color pallet and express it in all of your sundae accessories.

  • Cover a long table with colorful (and easy-to-clean) oilcloth or long sheets of white or brown craft paper.
  • Embellish your table with crepe paper streamers or colorful paper flags.
  • Set out straws, spoons, napkins, and bowls in coordinating colors.
  • Write up your ice cream flavors and topping choices on a chalkboard.

More Freezy Fun

Portions of this article appeared in the June/July 2021 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.