Ice cream bars are one of the truest signs of summer, on a stick or otherwise. Rich, creamy, and incredibly convenient, these frozen treats are beyond simple to make at home and you can effortlessly customize the flavors and coatings—whether you use a store-bought base or make your own ice cream. Why figure out what you would do for a Klondike bar when you can satisfy your craving with a few of these easy recipes?
We threw in a few healthy twists too, but you can make any ice cream bar dairy-free if you just pick a non-dairy pint and appropriate coating ingredients.
What You Need to Make Ice Cream Bars
As far as ingredients go, there are very few:
- 2 pints (4 cups) ice cream, any flavor, softened until just spreadable but not melted
- 2 pounds semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil (optional; see step 6 below)
And the equipment is all probably sitting in your kitchen right now:
- A 9-inch square baking pan
- A measuring cup
- Plastic wrap
- A large bowl
- A flat spatula
- A sharp knife
- A medium saucepan
- A fork
- Two baking sheets
- Parchment paper (or wax paper)
- A chocolate thermometer (optional; see step 6 below)
Parrish Magic Line 9-Inch Square Pan, $19.09 from Amazon
A straight-sided pan with a smooth interior is best, but it can be glass or metal.
How to Make Ice Cream Bars
Here’s a step-by-step overview of the process for Klondike-style bars that you can apply to any flavor ice cream you want:
1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap, overlapping as needed to completely cover the bottom and sides, leaving a 5-inch overhang. It’s best to use a pan with straight sides.
2. Place the softened ice cream in the lined pan in large dollops to make it easier to spread, then use the spatula to evenly spread it to all corners of the pan.
3. Fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the ice cream and use the bottom of the measuring cup to press it down and smooth the top until it’s packed into the pan in an even layer. Freeze for at least three hours, or until solid.
4. Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Tape the corners of the paper down so it stays in place and freeze the baking sheets until well chilled.
5. When the ice cream is solid, remove the pan and one baking sheet from the freezer. Grasping the plastic wrap, remove the ice cream slab to a cutting board. Discard the plastic. Use a sharp knife to cut the slab into 9 even squares. Using a flat spatula or fork, transfer the squares to the baking sheet and place back into the freezer until solid.
6. Prepare the chocolate coating for the ice cream bars. To do this, you can melt and temper the chocolate following the directions in any of our recipes below, which does require a candy thermometer and some amount of fuss. Or, you can make a double batch of our homemade Magic Shell recipe by adding oil to the chocolate, which is far easier and still ensures a crisp coating, though it will not be as thick or snappy as a tempered chocolate shell.
7. Dip the ice cream bars in the chocolate coating. No matter which method you use to prepare the coating, the dipping process is the same: Remove the second baking sheet from the freezer and get a fork and spatula ready. Remove the baking sheet with the ice cream squares too. Working quickly, use the flat spatula to drop one ice cream square into the melted chocolate. Use the fork to flip the square so it is completely coated, making sure to cover the edges too. Lift the square out with the fork and tap the fork on the edge of the bowl or pan to even out the coating, then scrape the bottom of the fork along the edge to remove excess chocolate. Place the coated square on the empty baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ice cream squares (if they start to melt, return them to the freezer and wait for them to harden before continuing).
8. Freeze the chocolate-covered ice cream bars until the coating has set and the ice cream is solid, at least two hours. To store, wrap each one in plastic and then in foil, and keep in the freezer for up to two weeks.
If you practice stricter portion control, you can also make ice cream bites with the same basic method. And if you want ice cream bars on a stick, insert wooden craft sticks in step 5 when the ice cream squares are cut and softened; you may prefer to use molds for the classic oblong shape.
Ice Cream Bar Recipes
There’s really no limit to the flavor combos you can play with, but here are some of our favorites, with some easier alternative methods demonstrated too. If you’re going the homemade Magic Shell route, you can also experiment with flavors other than chocolate for the coating.
The classic Rocky Road combination–chocolate ice cream, nuts, and marshmallows–makes for a great ice cream bar base. But to make sure it’s the freshest, most delicious bite ever, we start with plain chocolate ice cream (the best quality, of course) and mix in freshly toasted walnuts or almonds and squishy mini marshmallows just before spreading it in the pan. Get our Chocolate-Dipped Rocky Road Ice Cream Bars recipe.
This homemade Klondike bar really puts the original to shame. Forget preservatives and a thin chocolate shell; this version has 2 full pints of homemade vanilla ice cream (or substitute with your favorite full-fat brand, such as Häagen-Dazs) and two pounds of melted milk chocolate to dip the vanilla squares in. Get our Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Ice Cream Bars recipe.
Related Reading: Can You Make Good Ice Cream without Eggs?
If you’re looking for a lighter alternative to our decadently rich ice cream bars, this raspberry sorbet bar is the ticket. Use 2 pints of homemade raspberry sorbet (or substitute with a high-end store-bought brand) and use bittersweet or dark chocolate to pair with the sweet-tart berry flavor. Get our Chocolate-Dipped Raspberry Sorbet Bars recipe.
Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Sorbet and Sherbet?
Chopped up pieces of crème-filled sandwich cookies are mixed with vanilla ice cream and coated with semisweet chocolate. Dip the finished bars in chopped nuts or sprinkles for added texture and a bit of crunch. Get our Chocolate-Dipped Cookies-and-Cream Ice Cream Bars recipe.
Recreate the classic Snickers bar in frozen form with caramel, salted peanuts, and vanilla ice cream—all dairy-free, though you can certainly use this as a template with your favorite dairy-based ice cream and chocolate. This would also make a great large format ice cream cake that is a stellar alternative to a traditional birthday cake for any summer babies. Get the Snickers Ice Cream Bars recipe.
An easy press-in graham cracker crust, no-churn chocolate ice cream, and toasted marshmallow topping make for a fun and tasty take on a traditional s’more. If you don’t have a mini kitchen blow torch, try these s’mores ice cream bars (with oven-roasted marshmallows), but if you’ve been wanting a new gadget, this is the perfect excuse to buy one. Get the S’mores Ice Cream Bars recipe.
Related Reading: 8 Ways to Make Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Machine
Matcha ice cream made from scratch is poured into ice pop molds and then coated in a mixture of chocolate chips and coconut oil that forms a homemade version of Magic Shell. Before it sets, dip the ice pops in chopped almonds for extra crunch and flavor. Get the Matcha and Toasted Almond Ice Cream Bars recipe.
Like the Good Humor bars you used to get from the ice cream truck, but way better. These are made from an easy 2-ingredient ice cream recipe plus fresh strawberries, and coated in crunchy cookie crumbs mixed with strawberry powder for an extra fruity punch and classic ruby hue. Get the Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars recipe.
This healthy take on an ice cream bar is made with avocado, coconut milk, honey, vanilla bean paste, and pistachios. Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor and freeze overnight. Cover with chopped raw pistachios and serve. Get the Raw Pistachio Ice Cream Bars recipe.
Original story by Chowhound Editors, updated by Caitlin M. O’Shaughnessy and Jen Wheeler.