There’s no wrong way to eat ice cream—in a cup, on a cone, straight from the carton with a spoon. But when you’re feeling a bit more inspired, try these creative yet easy ice cream dessert recipes, including sundaes, cakes, sandwiches, and more.
The best part is, you can use whatever base flavors you like (homemade or store-bought). And with a few creative add-ins, you can replicate the craziest, most flavorful ice cream creations right at home; forget the fancy scoop shops.
Here are 15 easy ice cream recipes to get you started on building your ultimate summer dessert:
Instead of eating one good thing, why not eat four? This decadent summer dessert tops chocolate cake with cookies and cream ice cream, then piles on whipped cream and an Oreo cookie for good measure. No, you don’t have to be five years old to love this. Get our Ice Cream Cupcakes recipe.
Trudeau Structure Silicone 12-Cup Muffin Pan, $16.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond
These are a breeze to use even without baking cups.
Related Reading: 17 Muffin Pan Recipes That Aren’t Muffins (Or Cupcakes)
If you love Boston Cream Pie, then this version will have you running to the kitchen. The traditional vanilla pastry cream is swapped for vanilla ice cream. We’ve kept the tender yellow cake and rich chocolate ganache layer so the flavor is familiar but the taste is pure summer. Get our Boston Cream Pie Cake recipe.
Sometimes we wish we could have our ice cream and drink it too. And then we realized, we can! This very adult version of an ice cream float pairs your favorite ice cream flavor with your favorite alcohol. Now if only someone would open a bar-cum-scoop shop. Get our Drunken Affogato recipe.
The idea of a cookie ice cream sandwich isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it sure is delicious. Next time you get an ice cream craving, one-up the cone by baking some soft and chewy cookies and sandwiching your ice cream in between them (bonus points if it’s cinnamon ice cream). Get our Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwich recipe.
Related Reading: 11 Incredible Ice Cream Sandwich Combos You Need to Try
The best way to elevate a basic pint of ice cream is to turn it into a sundae. This recipe might sound simple, but the flavors are fantastic together. Broken chunks of salty pretzel mingle with a creamy, sweet caramel sauce and custardy vanilla ice cream. Get our Carnival Ice Cream Sundae recipe. See more sundae recipes for other creative combos.
Roasting fruit is a simple way to amplify its flavor, but when the BBQ is already lit, try grilling the bananas instead. Either way, the caramelized flavor, melting texture, and warmth are dynamite topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Get our Roasted Banana Split Sundae recipe.
If you love that crunchy layer of chocolate cookies in your ice cream cake, use rice cereal treats as the base for an even better twist. Layer on your favorite ice cream flavors for an easy but impressive summer birthday cake. Get our Rice Krispies Ice Cream Cake recipe.
A milkshake is always a satisfying way to enjoy ice cream—as long you don’t skimp on the star ingredient. And if you blend in some tasty extras (in this case, vanilla wafer cookies), even better! Get our Strawberry Shortcake Milkshake recipe.
Related Reading: The Simple Secret to Perfectly Thick & Creamy Shakes
Homemade ice cream bars are dangerously easy, and you can dip any flavor you like (not to mention make the chocolate shell as thick as you like). Get our Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Bar recipes. Or go for smaller format Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Bites.
10. Mochi Ice Cream
11. Lalla Rookh
If you’re feeling fancy, try this blast from the past (we’re talking late 1800s), in which ice cream and booze are crowned with whipped cream. Simply pack your ice cream into your cutest coupe, make a well and fill it with the alcohol of your choosing, and cover it up with a cloud of cream. Get our Lalla Rookh recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Places to Order Alcohol Online
It doesn’t take much to take ice cream from good to sensational. Assembling a parfait is a clever way to transform simple ice cream into something sophisticated. Just layer crumbled brownies, fresh raspberries, and whipped cream with your ice cream and you’ve got a dinner party-worthy dessert. Get our Brownie Ice Cream Parfait recipe.
Icebox cake meets ice cream cake in this no-bake dessert perfect for summer. You can make all the components from scratch, or combine good store-bought vanilla bean ice cream and fudge sauce. Don’t forget to torch the marshmallows for that authentic s’mores flavor. Get the No-Bake S’mores Icebox Cake recipe.
Magic Shell is a beautiful thing, and now you can make it at home. It turns out to be extremely simple: just a few ingredients and you’re on your way to ice cream nirvana in your very own kitchen. Get our Homemade Magic Shell recipe for a classic chocolate option, then see more flavors when you want to branch out.
Grilled fruit tastes complex, as if you spent hours in the kitchen whipping up dessert. In reality, it takes no time to make, especially if you’re already grilling dinner. Topping ice cream with grilled fruit is an easy and smart way to make a sundae that tastes out of the ordinary. Get our Grilled Fig Sundae recipe.
Related Video: This Easy 4-Ingredient Ice Cream Is Made in a Mason Jar
Posie Harwood wrote the original version of this story in 2015; it has been updated with additional images, links, and texts.
Header image by Chowhound.