Header image: Brownie Ice Cream Parfait from CHOW

Forget fancy scoop shops – with a few creative add-ins, you can replicate the craziest, most flavorful pints right at home. Start with a base of vanilla (or whatever flavor you like), then do a little prep and start mixing. Here are 13 recipes to get you started.

1. Ice Cream Cupcakes with Chocolate Cake


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.

2. Boston Cream Pie Cake


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.

3. Drunken Affogato


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.

4. Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches


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. Get our Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sandwiches recipe.

5. Carnival Ice Cream Sundae


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.

6. Brownie Ice Cream Parfait

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 fancy. 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.

7. Banana Bread Ice Cream

Top with Cinnamon

Healthy and still delicious? We’ll take it. This recipe mimics the classic flavors of banana bread by blending frozen bananas into an ice cream base. The addition of vanilla and baking soda is a smart baker’s trick that helps recreate that baked good taste.  Get the recipe here.

8. Roasted Strawberry Sundae

Simple Bites

Roasting fruit is a simple way to amplify its flavor. Strawberries and stone fruit are particularly well-suited to this technique, and once you’ve roasted them, it only makes sense to spoon them over vanilla ice cream. Get the recipe here.

9. Lemon Curd-Pistachio Sundae

Martha Stewart

Lemon curd absolutely makes every dessert better, and ice cream proves this rule. Start with a store-bought vanilla ice cream to keep things simple and top it with whipped cream, chopped nuts, and a sweet and tangy lemon curd. Get the recipe here.

10. Caramel Popcorn and Butterscotch Sundaes

Dustjacket Attic

Caramel popcorn is a brilliant topping for ice cream. It has sweetness and crunch, adding excellent texture to an otherwise creamy and smooth dessert. This recipe gives you a rough guide for sundae-building, but feel free to add extra popcorn. We did. Get the recipe here.

11. Bourbon-Nectarine Ice Cream Sundaes with Pound Cake Croutons

Food and Wine

Okay, let’s all stop and appreciate the concept of pound cake croutons. Slicing pound cake (or any cake) into cubes and toasting it makes it a perfect topping for ice cream sundaes, and a little bourbon certainly doesn’t hurt either. Get the recipe here.

12. Homemade Magic Shell

Country Cleaver

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 the recipe here.

13. Grilled Fig Sundaes


Grilled fruit tastes sophisticated, 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 Sundaes recipe.

Posie Harwood is a New York City-based writer and photographer. She grew up on a farm and likes raw milk, warm bread with butter, and plenty of fresh air. Follow her on Instagram, and her blog 600 Acres.
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