Create the ultimate DIY ice cream sundae bar at your next party or special occasion for a fun way to serve dessert in an interactive way! Put all the ice cream, toppings, and cones in one place and have your very own ice cream sundae bar party without much work at all!
Next time you’re hosting a party whether it be a birthday party, summer party, even girls night, or really any occasion – try out this fun DIY ice cream sundae bar! You put out all everyone’s favorite toppings, some ice cream, and ice cream bowls and you’ve got an amazing build your own ice cream sundae bar!
You could make it a full on ice cream sundae party or just use this as dessert for your next party, doesn’t have to be an ice cream party at all! Everyone loves ice cream or if they don’t, they’ll still probably like one of the toppings you have out to put on the top of the ice cream!
It’ll be like having your own mini ice cream parlor right at home and the most fun part about this diy ice cream bar is that people get to make choose their own favorite treats for the their own ice cream sundaes!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- So much fun – not only does this look beautiful, it’s actually a really fun way to serve dessert too because people get to interact with the diy sundae bar while creating their own sundaes. It’s way easier than just eating a slice of this strawberry ice cream cake (or even this Oreo ice cream cake).
- Personalized – the best way to make sure everyone enjoys dessert is to let them choose different toppings and flavors so it’s what they personally want! Plus, everyone has a better time eating something they made themselves!
- No bake – I know it goes without saying that this is a no bake dessert, but it’s honestly the best part in my mind – it’s so simple to put together! You’re just pouring toppings into small serving bowls, adding some ice, and putting out pints of ice cream. It’s as simple as it gets!
What Goes On An Ice Cream Sundae Bar
An ice cream sundae bar should be loaded with everything you need for the perfect ice cream sundae!
The six main components of an ice cream sundae bar include:
- Cones or cups – make sure to include some sort of ice cream cones, waffle bowls, and cups for anyone who prefers to skip the cone! Make sure to add spoons for anyone who’s eating their ice cream out of a cup or bowl!
- Ice cream – choose 3 to 4 popular flavors to include in your ice cream bar and store it on ice to keep it nice and cold! Homemade ice cream (if you have an ice cream maker) or store-bought works great.
- Toppings – choose as many toppings as you have space for making sure to include a variety of types, flavors, and textures for the ultimate sundae combinations! I have an entire list in the FAQs at the bottom of this list if you need more ideas than you see on my board! You could do everything from peanut butter cups to graham crackers and even gummy worms!
- Sauces – different from toppings, sauces are something to drizzle on top after the toppings are all in place! I like to include a variety of options including a chocolate option, fruity options, and caramel or butterscotch! You could even go with different sauces and spreads like peanut butter or marshmallow fluff too!
- Whipped cream – you can’t forget the whipped cream – homemade or the canned spray stuff works great!
- Cherries – you can’t forget the cherries for on top! While some people may not add one to their sundae, some people might add five. It’s the ultimate finisher for any ice cream sundae and an important part of the ultimate ice cream sundae bar!
As long as you incorporate all of these things in some way, your ice cream sundae bar will be a huge hit with all your guests!
How to make an ice cream sundae bar
This soon-to-be favorite dessert board starts with a large oval bowl placed in the center of a large charcuterie board or tray. This will hold your ice cream so leave it empty until you’re ready to serve.
You can use either a round tray like I did, a square one, or even a long one. Or if you don’t want to use a tray or board at all, you can always just set this up on a table as an actual ice cream sundae bar if you want!
Fill small bowls with your favorite ice cream toppings such as crushed cookies, mini M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, chopped nuts, cherries, strawberries, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce. Pretty much anything goes! I’ve got an entire list of ice cream sundae toppings below to give you some ideas!
Then arrange the small bowls around the large oval bowl, trying to break up the different colors of toppings like I did with my Halloween dessert board.
If you have toppings that are better served warm or chilled like hot fudge or whipped cream, add bowls as placeholders on the board so you know where they go. Then you can either just add the fresh toppings to those bowls last minute or even just carefully swap out the bowls altogether with the filled ones right before serving.
Place the waffle cones and any larger toppings such as candy bars, cookies, or marshmallows directly on the board, filling in the space between the bowls.
Add spoons and serving utensils with the toppings as necessary. I love little spoons and serving scoops like this set to make it seem even more like an ice cream sundae bar you might find at an ice cream place!
Add nugget ice (or any ice will do) to the large oval bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over the ice, to help keep the ice cream cold. It can also be helpful to make indentations using cups or bowls in the ice so you don’t overfill and end up with ice going all over the place when you add the ice cream later.
Place the ice cream containers in the ice and serve immediately. If you’re not going to serve right away, wait to add the ice and ice cream until you do!
I also recommend putting either a bowl of fresh whipped cream with your ice cream sundae bar or put out some cans of the spray whipped cream if you want to go that route.
Give people a bowl and let people go through the make your own sundae process with whatever flavors of ice cream and whatever toppings they want!
Ice Cream Sundae Bar Tips
Here are just a few of my tips for setting up the perfect ice cream sundae bar whether you’re doing it on an ice cream charcuterie board like this or not!
Have a variety of toppings so everyone can choose what they like best! The fun of having a make your own bar is being able to customize your own dessert just how you like it!
Have different ice cream scoops for each of the ice cream flavors. Having an ice cream scoop for each flavor helps keep the different flavors from getting completely mixed. This is especially important if you have people who may not want nuts or may not want cookies or may not want chocolate mixed into their vanilla ice cream. If you don’t have more than one, ask nicely to borrow a couple!
Prep everything on the board ahead of time then add the ice cream last minute. The ice will help keep the ice cream cold for a while but depending on the temperature, it will likely still begin to melt quickly if you’re serving this during the summer months.
Add empty ice cream cups, ice cream cones, and even waffles bowl to the ice cream board or around it so people can choose which one they prefer!
Add larger cookies that would be a good base for a cookie sandwich then people can make an ice cream sundae or an ice cream sandwich!
Choose a variety of flavors that are universally liked and always include vanilla. I like to include four different flavors that are popular with most people. Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, cookie dough and birthday cake ice cream all make great options.
If you’re planning to serve this immediately then put the ice cream away, then no, you can skip the ice. If you’re planning to have it set out for more than 15 minutes, the ice will help keep the ice cream cold, and I do highly recommend the ice. I like nugget ice because it wraps around the ice cream better but really any ice will do.
There are so many great topping options you could put on an ice cream bar. Some topping ideas include crushed cookies, crushed Oreos, mini chocolate chips, chopped Andes Mints, chopped nuts of any kind, sprinkles (rainbow and chocolate sprinkles are both great), chopped candy bars, mini marshmallows, gummy and fruit candy, fresh fruit, waffle cone pieces, maraschino cherries, and more! You could even do some other non-traditional toppings like sea salt, salted caramel, toffee bits, crumbled bacon, maple syrup, peanut butter, and more!
You’ll also want to include a variety of sauces including hot fudge sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, homemade raspberry sauce, strawberry sauces, and more. And don’t forget the whipped cream and cherries to finish it all off!
Ask yourself who is going to be eating ice cream and what other desserts (if any you are serving). If you’re serving other desserts and the ice cream sundae bar is just an added sweet, you can probably get away with 1/2 cup servings per person since people will likely do a small sundae. If you’re only having an ice cream sundae bar, I would recommend 2/3 or 1 cup servings, which would be 4-6 servings per quart of ice cream. If you’re doing this for kids, same thing – you can probably go with 1/2 cup servings.
If you’re prefer to pre scoop the ice cream for the ice cream sundae bar, you can totally do that, it just won’t look as pretty! Scoop ice cream and place it into cupcake liners in a muffin tin and freeze. Then when you’re ready to serve, just move the cupcake liners into the bowl in the center of the ice cream charcuterie board and people can grab their choice and dump the scoops right into their bowl! It definitely saves time, just isn’t as pretty!
Put ice cream on ice, ideally nugget ice, that has been sprinkled with salt. The salt will help the ice last longer, and the ice will help keep the ice cream from melting.
More Easy Make Your Own Bar Ideas
If you like the idea of this ice cream sundae bar, you should check out these fun DIY bar ideas too!
- Nacho bar – tons of fun DIY nacho bar ideas that are perfect for football parties, Taco Tuesday, and Cinco de Mayo!
- DIY s’mores bar – everything you need to setup your very own s’mores bar! Plus, ideas for a gourmet s’mores ideas!
- Hot chocolate bar – a fun hot chocolate bar setup with free printable hot chocolate bar signs!
- Caramel apple nacho bar – a fun way to serve caramel apple nachos! Or you can try this caramel apple board instead!
- Halloween dessert bar – this is a super fun way to serve Halloween desserts that look like little graveyards!
Ice Cream Board
- 4 pints ice cream (various flavors)
- waffle cones
- crushed cookies (Oreos, chocolate chip,etc)
- mini M&Ms
- chopped nuts
- mini marshmallows
- mini chocolate chips
- candy bar pieces (milk chocolate bars, Reese's, Snickers,etc.)
- strawberries (sliced or diced)
- ice cream syrups/sauces (chocolate, caramel, strawberry, hot fudge,etc.)
- Place a large oval bowl in the center of a large charcuterie board or tray. This will hold the ice cream so leave it empty until ready to serve.4 pints ice cream
- Fill small bowls with your favorite ice cream toppings such as crushed cookies, mini M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, chopped nuts, cherries, strawberries, chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce.crushed cookies, mini M&Ms, chopped nuts, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, candy bar pieces, cherries, strawberries, ice cream syrups/sauces
- Arrange the small bowls around the large oval bowl and place the waffle cones and any larger toppings such as candy bars, cookies, or marshmallows directly on the board.waffle cones
- Add ice to the large oval bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over the ice, this will help keep the ice cream cold.
- Place the ice cream containers in the ice and serve immediately.