Now that it’s summer, you’ve probably been chowing down on a lot of ice cream. But maybe you’ve had your fair share of chocolate or vanilla. Or even if you’ve experimented with more complex flavors (blueberry cheesecake ice cream, anyone?), maybe you want something a little less…sweet. Savory desserts are always a tricky, seemingly oxymoronic proposition, but now you can have it both ways. Whether you like salt, spice, or anything in between, here are some unexpected ways to elevate your ice cream game. Add an extra kick to your next sundae with these unconventional toppings.

Pretzels

Cake Over Steak

Let’s start with a basic topping, one that you probably have sitting in your kitchen cabinets already—pretzels. They’re a great way to add a salty crunch to any sundae. Pretzels work particularly well with salted caramel, chocolate, and/or peanut butter ice cream as they give the sweetness an extra dimension.

Basil

Good Life Eats

Fresh herbs are a summer staple. But beyond the standard salads and sandwiches they’re typically used in, they can also be used with dessert. Basil is especially versatile and pairs best with lemon ice cream, giving it a fragrant, peppery punch that complements citrus particularly well.

Bourbon

Vinepair

Booze up your ice cream with bourbon. The liquor lends a biting edge that’s perfect for a more adult take on malts, milkshakes, and floats. Get this vanilla bourbon milkshake recipe and see for yourself. Or just pour a shot over a sundae and call it a day.

Bacon

Barbecue Bible

Elevate your ice cream with a smoky hint of bacon. Add a drizzle of maple syrup to keep with the breakfast theme. Check out this recipe for bacon sundaes for the perfect way to top off your brunch.

Pepper

Chowhound

If you can’t get enough of spicy flavors, try adding hot pepper on top of your ice cream. We’re partial to habanero paired with vanilla and pineapple sauce. But if you want something with a little more zing, use chili powder, which is best paired with chocolate.

Potato Chips

Chowhound

Try breaking up potato chips for extra salt and crunch, or if you’re feeling especially hungry, just scoop globs of ice cream and chocolate syrup onto individual chips. Think of it as dessert nachos.

Olive Oil

Chowhound

This one might sound completely strange and unnecessary, but some people swear by it. By coating ice cream with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, preferably that of the extra virgin variety, you get a slick, rich texture. Add a pinch of sea salt and you will never think of vanilla as boring or plain ever again.

Related Video: Ice Cream Topping Insanity

Header image courtesy of the Barbecue Bible.

Jessica is an Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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