Throw Your Own Ice Cream Social

serving ice cream scoops on cold tray
Step up this 200-year-old tradition with adult ice cream sundaes and bubbly summer beverages. We even have tips for preventing melty messes!

Throw an Ice Cream Social Party

Here's the scoop: Throwing an ice cream social is an age-old tradition. Like 200 years old. Fast forward to today, and ice cream is easy to serve for a casual yet creative party with your friends! This ice cream social features fresh flavors and simple, pretty decor, plus lots of opportunities for mingling between mouthfuls.

We had help from Jeni Britton Bauer, the founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio. Read on for some of her favorite recipes plus invitations and decorating ideas for this chill social occasion.

Ice Cream Social Invitations

The invitations kick-start the nostalgia. A pretty scooped ice cream pattern has a perfect spot for a tuck-in wooden spoon. Print our pattern onto cardstock; trim the design as shown and use the pattern to cut invites from pretty colored paper.

Set (and Show!) the Menu

Welcome guests with a fun chalkboard sign listing all the options at your social. The drink of choice to include on your menu? Rosé champagne, a perfect palate cleanser and complement for ice cream.

Serve Homemade Ice Cream

Making homemade ice cream can be just as fun as eating the finished product. But don't stick to just vanilla or chocolate—making your own unique flavors easier than ever! Churn up a batch of classic sweet cream ice cream, then customize with your favorite add-in. Feeling buzzy? Try coffee and donuts! Or how about boozy? Give sangria a go. Or, come up with your own flavor combination! 

Build a Sundae Bar

To make things easy, set up a full sundae bar for your guests! Set out all the essentials, like toppings, spoons, and of course the ice cream. Add pretty dish towels, fun serving spoons, and an ice cream scoop, and let guests help themselves.

Add Sweet Decorations

Simple banners made from pretty patterned paper or fabric scraps serve as room warm-ups. Simply cut material into a triangle, fold over a bit of the short edge and stitch or tape, then string wire or twine through the opening. For a little more flair, we love fun honeycomb ice cream cones! Use glue to attach paper cones to a set of colorful honeycomb balls, then scatter them around the party or string them on a piece of ribbon to make a fun garland for the wall.

 

Get Creative with Toppings

Get creative with your toppings! You don't need to set out a bunch of large bowls for small toppings like sprinkles or candies—small jars or muffin tins are the perfect containers, and they'll make your display cute as ever. Don't forget small spoons for serving the toppings!

DIY Cone Covers

Keep hands clean and dress up your dessert with pretty cone covers that come together in less than a minute. Start with a set of empty waffle cones and our free cone template; wrap each cone with pretty patterned paper and secure with tape. Guests will love this extra touch! 

Flavorful Fruit Sauce

The taste of fresh summer pies inspired these delightful ice cream combinations. Let your favorite summer fruit be the star in this zippy plum-pie ice cream creation. We like this recipe with plums, peaches or apricots, but you can use any fruit you like.

Themed Decor

Make a DIY fringed piñata for your ice cream-theme gathering. It's seriously so easy to make your own—and, added bonus, this oversize ice cream cone won't melt! 

Pre-Scooped Ice Cream

This ice cream hack will keep your ice cream from melting too fast. Don't let tubs of ice cream sit out while each of your party guests scoops their own sundae. Instead, prep the ice cream before the party starts! Scoop several flavors onto a lined baking sheet and keep it in the freezer until party time. When you're ready to serve the ice cream, just transfer the individual scoops to each guest's bowl with a spatula.

Oatmeal Ice Cream Pies

Pre-assembled ice cream pies can accompany the occasion. The best part is they can be made ahead and frozen. Our recipe makes 12 to 20 pies, so you can invite a crowd!

Ice Cream Favors

Let your guests take the party home with them. Give them the recipe for Ugandan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (recipe, below, or use your own favorite), a wooden spoon, and a pint-size container with a pretty holder.

Jeni's Ice Cream Book

Love these recipes? Get more with Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. The book has more than 100 recipes alongside Jeni's tips and techniques (published by Artisan).

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