The Most Creative Ice Cream Toppings

The Most Creative Ice Cream Toppings
The Most Creative Ice Cream Toppings


Do those sprinkles seem shopworn? Is the thrill of aerosolized whipped cream gone? After all these years, has your chocolate syrup come to look like nothing but sad brown sludge? Making a sundae shouldn’t fill you with existential dread. Ice cream is, after all, a treat, and treats are special. Why let your dessert become a perfunctory, desultory experience? Don’t you owe it to yourself and your taste buds to reach out for something new? It’s okay to appreciate the classics, but we must push ourselves ever forward with new and exciting things, from exploring challenging great literature all the way down to putting weird stuff on our ice cream sundaes. Break up the ennui with some of the most creative ice cream toppings we can think of.

Friends in High Places and Fries in Odd Places

You read right. Over at Pittsburgh’s famed Primanti Brothers sandwich shop, the specialty is a sandwich loaded with meat, cheese, coleslaw, and…french fries? They shouldn’t be there, it shouldn’t work, but it works. Give your sundae the spirit of the Steel City and their love for surprise fries by topping your ice cream with a few. Just like a Primanti’s sandwich, it sounds strange, but it has that sweet and salty flavor profile that’s so in vogue. And let’s be honest: who among us has never gone to Wendy’s, ordered a Frosty with their meal, and furtively (or not-so-furtively) dipped their fries in that chocolate more-than-milkshake?

Lavender-Infused Honey

Okay, so maybe your palate has become a little too sophisticated for all that. Adding some fresh or dried lavender flowers to clover honey can give an already nuanced flavor some additional floral notes. Lavender may seem unconventional, and it is—we smell them, not eat them—but it just may become your favorite flavor of the summer.

Day-Old Donuts

It’s a crime to let good donuts go to waste. Just as we can resuscitate stale bread by transforming it into deliciously eggy french toast, we can crumble up donuts that have lost their freshness and turn them into an ice cream topping that combines sweetness and richness. Whether you prefer dense cake donuts or fluffy, traditional, yeast-risen donuts, a scoop or two—or three—of ice cream can rescue a great donut from going tragically unenjoyed.

Quick Hits

Still looking for ideas? With all these options, you can get a whole unorthodox sundae bar going for you and your friends. Here are a few more of the most creative ice cream toppings.

  • Toasted coconut flakes: just give them a few minutes in the oven and enjoy the caramelization.
  • Crushed pistachios: an interesting alternative to peanuts that’s perfect for your next serving of gelato.
  • Freeze-dried fruit: let the moisture in your ice cream bring berries back to life.
  • Espresso beans: finely grind your finest beans for the coffee lovers of the world.
  • Balsamic reduction: the complex flavors in this glaze atop French vanilla couldn’t be more decadent.
GOOD MANNERS: Table Settings
BAD MANNERS: Taboo Food


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