Here’s How to Make a Parlor-Style Sundae at Home

Few things are more fun than an ice cream sundae! And it's even better when you're able to create your own sweet masterpiece at home. Check out these tips on how to build a parlor-worthy ice cream sundae yourself.

Build-your-own ice cream sundae bars are a tasty sunny day activity—and we’ve got the ultimate checklist to create your own ice cream sundae. But before you decide on the best flavors, sauces and toppings, there are a few important tips to follow to construct the perfect sundae:

  • Use old-school sundae cups, ice cream bowls or mason jars to hold your masterpiece together. Or treat yourself to even more flavor and texture with a waffle cone bowl.
  • Lay a homemade chocolate brownie or a buttery chocolate chip cookie at the bottom of your dish for a sweet surprise.
  • To get a perfectly round scoop of ice cream without straining your wrists, use this handy, ergonomic ice cream scoop by OXO.
  • And don’t forget the atmosphere! Turn up the oldies, put away the screens and share the fun of creating something indulgent with your friends and family. Bonus points for getting really into the theme with these soda jerk hats.

Step 1: Select Your Scoops

Let’s start with the base. Whether you’re a fan of ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt or gelato (what’s the difference?!), it’s important to pick a flavor that will complement the sauces and toppings. If you’re feeling daring, experiment with two to four different flavored scoops in the same sundae bowl.

Make your own tasty ice cream at home with these easy recipes.

  • Traditional: chocolate, vanilla
  • Nutty: pistachio, peanut butter, amaretto, maple, coffee
  • Candy: cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, bubblegum, butterscotch, cotton candy
  • Fruity: strawberry, cherry, lemon, key lime, peach, orange
  • Trendy: matcha, lavender, whiskey, Blue Moon, rhubarb, red velvet
  • Seasonal: cinnamon, pumpkin, peppermint, birthday cake, eggnog, gingerbread

Step 2: Choose Your Sauce

Get saucy! Hot and cold sauces add sticky, smooth sweetness to sundaes. Pair traditional toppings with ice cream flavors (chocolate + chocolate = love) or mix and match a fruity sauce with a nutty scoop for delicious contrast.

Recreate your favorite ice cream shop treat at home or add a fun twist you’ve never tried before. You truly can’t go wrong.

Step 3: Pick Your Toppings

Time for the finishing touch! Toppings add texture to sundaes—crunchy, chewy, smooth… Whether you opt for just a couple or a dozen, there’s almost no such thing as too many toppings. Here are some of our all-time favorites:

  • Nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts
  • Chocolate candy: chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, crumbled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (Make your own!), Andes Mints
  • Fruity candy: gummy bears, gummy worms, Skittles, jelly beans
  • Berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • Sliced fruit: strawberries, bananas, kiwis, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges
  • Cookies: crushed Oreos, crushed chocolate chip cookies, edible cookie dough bits, stroopwafel
  • Sweet: butterscotch chips, marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, granola, brownie bits, candy corn
  • Salty and savory: instant coffee grounds, bacon crumbles, potato chips (Don’t knock it ’til you try it!)
  • The Grand Finale: whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles, maraschino cherries

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Get Inspired By Our Favorite Sundae Recipes
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Ceara Milligan
Ceara “Kiwi” Milligan is a professional marketing strategist and copywriter who is proud to call Milwaukee home. She loves baking, cooking, writing, listening to music, dancing, playing and hosting trivia, watching college basketball (Go Marquette!), telling lame jokes, and petting every dog that crosses her path.