Saturday, May 25, 2024
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How to make a better ice cream sundae

Aaron Hutcherson

THE WASHINGTON POST – It’s unclear when and where the first ice cream sundae was made, but I would like to thank whomever topped scoops of ice cream with sauce for this marvelous invention. Since that first glorious concoction, people have taken the sundae to outrageous heights.

I favour a more minimalist approach. No, there aren’t really any rules when it comes to constructing an ice cream sundae – any way you build it will surely be a tasty treat – but I encourage you to practice restraint so there aren’t too many competing flavours and textures, resulting in a muddied mess.

The tips below will help you to build a better ice cream sundae, to enjoy by yourself or for setting up an ice cream sundae bar for a crowd.


The standard sundae glass is a classic for a reason. The tall, not-too-wide serving dishes are great for building layers of flavour and texture – a must for a great sundae.

If you don’t have these specific dishes, you can build your sundae in a drinking glass, mug or bowl with tall sides to the same effect.

To keep the ice cream from melting too quickly, put the dishes in the freezer for at least an hour before serving to help keep the sundaes cold.


For an individual serving, two to three scoops of ice cream are all that you need. Vanilla and chocolate are always good options, but any flavour of creamy frozen dessert can be used.

And you don’t need to stick to just one flavour – feel free to mix and match whatever flavours sound good to you. Perhaps chocolate and coffee, or strawberry and pistachio?

The only limit is your imagination, but I’d keep it to two different flavours max, so there isn’t too much competition.


It’s not a sundae without a sauce. Like with the ice cream itself, limit yourself to one, maybe two sauces so the flavours don’t get too muddied. When building, put some sauce between the scoops of ice cream – and maybe at the bottom of the glass, too – for better distribution.


While toppings obviously bring flavour – don’t forget about salty and savory items – I’m more excited about the textures they can introduce to a sundae. Here are some to consider:

Crunchy: toasted nuts, granola, chopped candy bars, crushed pretzels, cookie pieces, potato chips.

Chewy: brownies, dried fruit, gummy candies, shredded coconut

Fluffy: whipped cream, crème fraîche, marshmallow fluff, yogurt

Juicy: various fruits and berries


Unlike Coco Chanel telling you to take one thing off before you leave the house, when it comes to ice cream sundaes, one last piece of flair – be it sprinkles, chocolate shavings, fresh herbs and/or piece of fruit – can be the (literal) cherry on top to take it from good to great.

So while I encourage restraint, don’t be afraid to finish with a bang.