Sundae Bar Ideas to Beat That Ice Cream Craving

June 23, 2020

If you ask me, the only real cure for hot, summer days is ice cream. I’m one of those people who could eat my favorite frozen treat for every meal these days. But when I was a kid, I actually hated it! I preferred to just eat bowls of toppings without the actual ice cream. The good news is you can please everyone with these sundae bar ideas, from ice cream lovers, to those who just want a bowl of whipped cream and sprinkles.

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How to Choose Ice Cream for a Sundae Bar

How much ice cream you’ll want depends on your guest list. In general, having at least two flavors can make your sundaes a little bit more fun. For a larger crowd, you can have even more.

If the sundae bar is your main event, you’ll want to go with two pints or one quart for every 4 people. However, if you’re having a larger dessert spread, a full meal, or other munchies, you could get away with less, or for a hungry group provide a little extra.

As for flavors, I suggest to keep it fairly basic. Remember, you’ll be smothering these in toppings. Starting with a classic like chocolate or vanilla gives your sundae an excellent base.

For something a little more fun, try cookies and cream, coffee (Here’s my favorite recipe), or mint chocolate chip. Or have everyone build their sundaes on top of ice cream sandwiches!

You may also want to consider your guests’ dietary restrictions. There are tons of options out there for plant-based, low-carb, and lactose-free ice creams. Your friends and family will always appreciate you thinking of them.

To serve your ice cream, you’ll need a large cooler or bucket to fill with ice to keep your frozen treats cold. Also, be sure you have a different ice cream scoop for each flavor. You can get these fun colorful ones so they don’t get mixed up!

The Best Toppings for Ice Cream Sundaes

After ice cream comes my favorite part of a sundae: the ooey, gooey, sticky, dripping sauces. I’m talking about fudge, caramel, strawberry sauce, marshmallow, peanut butter, and more. Here are a couple recipe ideas you’ll definitely want to check out:

You can serve these directly from their jars, or mason jars for homemade versions. Get some long-handled spoons to keep everyone’s hands from getting too sticky. For a more precise drizzle, try a set of squeeze bottles.

Then don’t forget the dry toppings: mini chocolate chips, nuts like chopped walnuts or pecans, fresh cut fruit such as kiwi or berries, shredded coconut, mini marshmallows, crushed cookies, and small candies like gummy bears.

You certainly don’t need them all, but have a variety of at least two per ice cream flavor. And be sure to serve them in cute little bowls, like these colorful ones, and have demitasse spoons available for perfect portions.

And of course you can’t forget: sprinkles. The basics are rainbow and chocolate, but you can have a little fun with it! There are so many different varieties of sprinkles in all kinds of shapes and colors. Try unicorn sprinkles, a rainbow of sparkling sugars, or a patriotic mix. The options are truly endless!

The best way to beat the heat this summer is to set up an ice cream bar! And it’s so easy with these great tips.

How to Set Up a Sundae Bar

If you’re outside, be sure that you have an area in the shade where you can keep your ice cream, and plenty of ice available so everything stays chilly. Then, arrange everything in the order below, to get the best experience for building the perfect sundae.

  • Start with your serving containers: such as small colorful bowls, fancy sundae glasses, or mismatched dishes from thrift stores.
  • Then have all your different flavors of ice cream. You can use mini chalkboards to label the available flavors.
  • Follow up with your wet toppings, and then all the options for dry and crumbly toppings.

  • Whipped cream is a total must. You can have some cans, or mix up your own. There’s nothing like freshly whipped cream on top of a sundae!
  • Cherries and sprinkles top it all off. Maraschino cherries are the classic, but if they are in season, you can have freshly pitted sweet cherries.
  • Last, provide spoons (like these long-handled ones) and some paper napkins to catch any melting drips.

Ice Cream Themed Accessories and Decorations

For all the ice cream lovers out there, here are a few fun little ideas to add some character to your sundae bar or your home. Plus you can use some of these as party favors or table centerpieces.


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13 thoughts on “Sundae Bar Ideas to Beat That Ice Cream Craving

  1. We were planning to have an ice cream sundae party this summer. You‘ve just convinced me to go all out and get decorations and real sundae glasses. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Oooo this looks so yummy! What a great idea. We’re in the hot season in Chicago, so this definitely look inviting. It makes me want to eat ice cream right now, but it’s only 9 am!

  3. So, I’m getting ready to start a keto diet, and I told my husband that the one thing I’m most bummed about missing out on is ice cream. I know there are keto options, but it’s just not the same. I think I need to do a sundae bar before officially starting this lifestyle, don’t you think? 😉

  4. Oh, this looks so good! It reminds me of when I was a kid and every once in awhile my parents would do “Sunday Sundaes” and get a bunch of toppings out. That combo of chocolate chips and coconut looks great. I have an ice cream maker so I love making homemade ice cream – I just made a Reese’s PB cup ice cream last week!

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