Summer is here and what better way to enjoy the outdoors than with picnics, bonfires, and s'mores? If you're looking to add some fun to your next [socially distanced] get-together, try creating your own sundae bar! It's really easy to get creative and mix and match ice creams with lots of delicious toppings. A make-it-yourself ice cream sundae bar also gives your guests a lot more freedom to choose what they want to eat.

DIY Sundae Bar

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:2 mins
  • Total Time:22 mins
  • Servings:10
  • Easy


  • Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt Base
  • Waffle cones
  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Fun Toppings like sprinkles nuts and candy
  • Cute serving cups
  • Reusable Utensils and Napkins
cream, ice cream, ice, chocolate, Black sesame, lychee, taro, Sundays and Cones
Rica Beltran

First of all, it's important to pick a good base. Ice cream comes in many varieties so even depending on your guests and your budget; you have a lot of options. If you want to get super DIY, you can make your own homemade ice cream using condensed milk or this vegan coconut milk version.  If you want an easier vegan ice cream, try making frozen banana 'nice' cream by blending up a frozen banana with a 1/2 cup dairy free milk and adding in cocoa powder and peanut butter or other frozen fruits.

If you're hosting a larger group, you're going to want to stock up on ice cream. Try BlueBunny (or a similar brand) Vanilla or Chocolate since it comes in quarts! A normal serving is about 2 scoops per person, so try to plan accordingly (having a little extra is normally better than running out).  A few tips on choosing your ice cream: try to pick more basic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, or coffee. Since the excitement is in the toppings, it's good to not go for the crazy complex flavors. You should also consider how sweet the base of the ice cream is, since the topping will add new flavors and textures. 

If you want to get fancy,  Ben and Jerry's is always a good bet (and I'm not just saying that because I'm from Vermont). They offer vegan options as well!  Haagen Dazs also has a lot of great options (strawberry and dulce de leche are my favorites). If you want something on the low-calorie side, Enlightened and Halo Top are two solid choices. If you have someone in your party who's gluten-free, you might also want to check out ReThink: a company that makes gluten-free, keto-friendly ice cream with no sugar alcohol. Alden's Organic is another company with delicious dairy-free and dairy-based ice creams. Their company is small-batch and super delicious! 

chocolate, ice, cream, ice cream, chocolate ice cream, waffle, wafer, gelato
Amelia Hitchens

Next you need something to put your ice cream in! I love a good ice-cream cookie sandwich (fondly known as a chip-wich) and you can get pretty creative with the cookies as well. Chocolate chip cookies are a classic, but sugar cookies with sprinkles also work really well. If you're not a cookie person, brownies are a classic sundae choice. Feeling more traditional? Go with a bowl- maybe one that's edible? 

chocolate, Healthy, almonds, brownie and ice cream, brownie with ice cream, brownie, ice cream, VEGAN ice cream, dessert, vegan brownie, Vegan
Laura Subiaur

Finally the fun part: toppings! For fruit, chop up strawberries, bananas, and serve various berries alongside ice cream. You can also caramelize apples by slicing up a few and cooking them in a pot with water and cinnamon sugar for about 15 minutes.

For sauces, chocolate sauce and caramel are classics (although Butterscotch deserves an honorable mention). If you have access to a warmer, you can have a small crock-pot of hot fudge for your guests to pour on to their ice cream. 

Other good toppings are nut butters, roasted or raw nuts like almonds, peanuts, pecans, chia seeds, and walnuts. Chocolate chips or various candies of your choice chopped into smaller pieces can add some extra sweetness and a perfect contrasting crunch. You can also go classic and have rainbow sprinkles and jimmies (chocolate sprinkles). Homemade (or store bought) whipped cream and cherries are a must. 

candy, sweet, chocolate, cake, sprinkles
Emma Fein

Remember to have reusable or compostable plates and utensils along with napkins for your guests. For those who don't want a cone or cookie (or when chip-wiches start to melt), have some bowls or cups available. Be sure to set out some hand sanitizer, get some music going, and have fun!

My personal favorite sundae is Halo Top's dairy free oatmeal cookie mixed with chocolate chips and peanut butter either sandwiched between oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or on top of peanut butter brownies with some sliced bananas and a dash of whipped cream. Yum! Tell us your favorite sundae creation below!