Throw an Ice Cream Sundae Bar Party
Celebrate summer with a sweet and savory ice cream bar! This DIY sundae bar is surprisingly simple. Skip the mess at this party with our helpful tips to serve toppings and keep ice cream cool for your guests, and use our expert party planning tips to make sure your party goes off without a hitch. Don't forget the ice cream scoop!
Build Your Own Sundae Bar
The first step of a DIY sundae bar is creating a fun space to serve the ice cream and toppings. We used a serving tray to hold spoons, and set out empty jars for guests to fill with their sundae creations. Various bowls and dishes hold the toppings. Fill in with colorful dish towels, serving spoons, and ice-cream-related decor to add a fun touch this ice cream social. We recommend serving a few flavors of ice cream to make sure everyone gets something they love; you can even try making one of our irresistible homemade ice cream recipes at home.
Use Fun Servingware
Have fun with the utensils! We love the idea of using patterned spoons or brightly colored bowls to bring a pop of color to your display. Keep the servingware as bright and fun as the topping bar. We added neutral toppings (like marshmallows and white chocolate chips) to colorful or patterned bowls and let bright toppings (like fruit or sprinkles) add color to white bowls.
Pick Unique Ice Cream Sundae Toppings
The best part of a sundae bar is the toppings! When you’re shopping for toppings, get all the basics—sprinkles, cherries, nuts—and don’t be afraid to have a little fun with them. Adding savory toppings like flavored almonds or salted caramel can help balance all the sweetness. We topped off our sundae bar with bright candies, fruit, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.
Creative Dessert Display
If you end up with more toppings than bowls, get creative with what you have in your kitchen. Look for unconventional containers that will hold small amounts of sprinkles, candies, fruits or nuts—plain jars or muffin tins will turn into festive serving dishes once you fill them with bright and colorful treats. Let the toppings and dishes bring color to your sundae bar, then fill in with DIY party decorations. We love these fun honeycomb ice cream cones! Use glue to attach paper cones to a set of colorful honeycomb balls, then scatter them around the sundae bar or string them on a piece of ribbon to make a fun garland for the wall.
Pre-Scooped Ice Cream
Keep the ice cream cold longer! Instead of letting ice cream tubs sit out while each of your party guests serves themselves, prep the ice cream before the party starts. Scoop a variety of flavors onto a lined baking sheet and pop it in the freezer until party time. When guests are ready for a sweet treat, take the tray out of the freezer; guests can transfer the individual scoops with a large spoon or spatula.
Fun Coffee Floats
This fun float station combines two of our favorite things: coffee and ice cream. Make a tray of delicious coffee cone affogato treats (complete with chocolate-coated cones!) and provide a mini ice cream scoop and fresh hot coffee so guests can create their own floats. For the ultimate coffee float bar, use a dual coffee maker like the Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker, which allows you to brew a full carafe as well as individual servings so guests can choose their own flavors.
Sundae Recipe Idea: Fruit and Nut
A double-berry sundae hits the spot on a hot day! Start with fruit-based ice cream, like classic strawberry or a fruit sorbet—a great option for dairy-free guests. We topped our ice cream with dried strawberries, chocolate chips, salted almonds, and a cherry. Yum!
Sundae Recipe Idea: Sweet and Salty
You can’t go wrong with classic vanilla ice cream topped with fresh berries. This simple sundae packs a big punch of flavor; fresh blueberries and white chocolate chips add a sweetness that contrasts perfectly with salted almonds. Experiment with different fruits and other kinds of chocolate or candies to find your perfect combination!
Sundae Recipe Idea: Candy Confetti
This take on the classic sundae is almost as fun to make as it is to eat. Start with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and top with every fun topping on the sundae bar. We used sprinkles, chocolate candies, and sour candies for a bright and fun sundae—topped with a cherry, of course!
Sundae Recipe Idea: Berries and Chocolate
Double chocolate and delicious berries—what’s not to love? Start with a generous scoop of chocolate ice cream and top with fruit and chocolate chips. We used white chocolate chips and a combination of fresh and dried fruit to add some texture to this yummy creation.