When it comes to desserts, few food items are coming close to taking the crown from a good ice cream.
This frozen dessert, since it was taken from simply being the reserved dessert of society’s elite, has become the favorite frozen treat of people around the world, whether they are young or old, sophisticates or chasers of the simple pleasures.
And, like any other kind of food item, there has been a lot of change to how ice cream is eaten and presented.
And probably nothing, in terms of serving ice cream today, matters as much as what toppings you choose to throw on your frozen dairy product!
Basically, if it can be turned into something small enough to be tossed onto ice cream, it has become an ice cream topping.
Which also means that there are A LOT of potential toppings out there for you to pick from.
Which is why we have put together this list of the best extra fixings, sauces and other toppings you can throw on your favorite ice cream, from 14, down to number one!
(At least, in our eyes anyway!)
So, rounding out the start of our list, and coming in 14th place, we have a good old-fashioned nut. Or, more specifically, any kind of nut-based food.
This isn’t to say that nuts are a bad topping to throw on your ice cream, not by a long shot.
Nuts actually beat out a lot of other treats that we ha considered for making this list, from Hershey’s chocolate pieces, baked cookies, and even Twix!
But nuts add a specific texture that we think really compliments ice cream.
That solid chunkiness that they have helps a mouthful of it and ice cream sit in your mouth that much longer, allowing you to appreciate their flavors just a little bit more in your mouth.
For our money, broken walnuts are the way to go, or perhaps some crushed too!
I mean, perhaps it’s cheating to throw in a category as broad as fruit into the mix with these other items.
It can certainly feel like you’re lying a little to yourself when throwing fruit in a bowl, thinking you’re being healthy by adding 10 strawberries to a bowl of high-sugar dessert.
But for us, that’s exactly what makes fruit as a whole such as good option for a good ice cream sundae!
With so many kinds of sweetness being covered in fruit, you’re pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to toppings here.
Pineapple and ice cream creates an exotic, tropical combo that will make your afternoon feel like a vacation.
Bananas have a more subtle sweetness that doesn’t overpower the flavor of your ice cream of choice, all while being soft enough to mesh and mix with it too.
And, of course, who can deny the genius flavor combo of strawberries and cream?
And why stop at just the one fruit? Add whatever combo you want, from citrus to berries, and see what flavors work for you!
3. Waffle Cone
Now, we’re moving up to the classic toppings that we usually associate with a good ice cream topping.
Waffle cone is practically synonymous with ice cream at this point.
After all, if you’re at an ice cream parlor, and you’re not using a bowl, then chances are that it’s a high-quality waffle cone that’s stopping that ice cream from melting onto and ruining your clothes.
Just as much as it is used as a vessel for ice cream, the waffle cone is also a great topping to add too.
There’s a hint of savory with a good piece of waffle cone, which goes very nicely when combined with the sweetness of ice cream.
Plus, there are a few ways that you can add them to your ice cream. Broken up crumbs and fragments make for a great addition in terms of texture and flavor.
Or alternatively, you can have just one big flake of waffle cone with your ice cream, which works quite well as a tasty substitute spoon!
This one might seem a little out of left field.
After all, while milk and cereal is nothing new to us, throwing it on our favorite frozen treat is a little different.
However, just consider how sweet many of our favorite cereals are, and you’ll start to see how well they work as a topping.
Brushing aside what that means for our morning eating habits, this also opens up a world of new toppings and flavors that are open to you.
Want to see how mini-sized cereal cookies taste on your ice cream? Go for it!
Want to add a little crunch to your bowl of vanilla dessert? Throw some crushed corn flakes in there!
Want some extra color in your frozen treat? Fruit loops are the way to go!
Cereals are a great topping for those ice cream lovers that want to try something REALLY different!
5. Melted Marshmallow
Again, something like marshmallow isn’t exactly revolutionary to throw on your ice cream, although we do love to add some marshmallows to a mixing bowl of this frozen dessert.
But Melted marshmallows? That’s something else entirely?
However, if you’re looking to make a gooey and creamy s’mores in a bowl dessert, then you might want to consider trying to melt those tasty marshmallows down to a spongy topping for your ice cream.
Top it off with some hot fudge sundae sauce, and you’re set for sweet flavor heaven!
6. Hard Chocolate Sauce Coating
Finally, we’re approaching the top ten toppings (again, in our humble opinion. Like what you like, it’s all in good fun and flavor).
And finally, we have our first true chocolate topping in this list too!
There really is nothing quite like hard chocolate topping sauce.
One minute, you’re pouring this gooey liquid over your favorite ice cream sudden, the next, your dessert is encased in a hard chocolate shell!
That’s a novelty that we don’t get tired of, that’s for sure.
While it’s just a sauce that makes use of some good chemistry, where the cold of the ice cream simply cools the liquid chocolate into a solid, we love just seeing it happen before our eyes.
Plus, it is still chocolate, so you know it tastes great all the same!
7. Chocolate Chips
Following on from our last chocolate-themed entry, we can’t exactly pass up using some classic chocolate chips as a topping for our ice cream, can we?
While many people might prefer their chocolate chips in cookies and other desserts, they mix in very nicely with just about every flavor of ice cream out there.
… Okay, maybe not sorbets, but that’s it!
While other toppings for ice cream might come and go, chocolate chips stay simple and true, making a reliable option that will certainly not be leaving our bowls anytime soon!
8. Whipped Cream
But you know what could improve your already creamy dessert?
That’s right, whipped cream is one of our favorite topping that you can use on ice cream, even if it kind of just is ice cream again, but with more air this time!
The lightness of good whipped cream, coupled with the subtle sweetness it has, means that it makes for a great topping for pretty much any flavor of ice cream you can imagine, from vanilla, to chocolate or strawberry, or something of the more out-there flavors, from honeycomb to bubblegum!
For a reliable topping, you can’t go wrong with whipped cream
9. Cookie Dough
Speaking of keeping chocolate chips in cookies, like we mentioned earlier, why not just through the whole mix in there?
Despite how popular it is today, it’s still a little mind-blowing that raw cookie dough has become such a popular topping on ice cream.
Okay, obviously it’s not raw. It’s been well-mixed by the time it goes on your ice cream or other dessert, but still!
However, that soft, slightly grainy texture, is exactly the kind of variety that goes well with the cold smoothness of ice cream.
And because you can change the ingredients that go into a good cookie dough mix, you can also add a little extra variety in there too, from classic chocolate chip, to red velvet mixes!
Yes, call us basic, but we know what we like when it comes to a good ice cream topping!
Oreos seem to be in every recipe these days, from milkshakes to cheesecakes.
Are they a little overused, especially when other ingredients are cheaper and probably easier to source?
Oh, most definitely!
But that’s how you know that you’ve made it as a confectionary item. When people turn away from traditional ingredients to get a little extra cocoa flavoring, you’ve made it as a cookie.
And the same is true for ice cream toppings too!
Talking of confections that have made it to the top of the artificial food chain, M&Ms are another peak example of a candy that has made its way into every conceivable dessert recipe.
So, you know that we’re going to throw it in a bowl of ice cream too!
The food coloring also give your ice cream a beautiful rainbow of colors as it melts too!
12. Caramel Syrup
Next to chocolate, caramel has to be one of the go-to dessert flavors.
So you’d better believe that we also love it on our ice cream too!
For our money, you can’t go wrong with a little salted caramel sauce!
At number two, we have a favorite topping that was pre-built to be thrown on ice cream, the humble sprinkle.
With so many options in terms o colors and flavors, how could someone not like a few of these bad boys on an ice cream.
An almost undisputed king of toppings.
14. Hot Fudge Sauce
Yes, hot fudge is at the top of our list! What of it?
When it comes to a runny sauce that will mix with your ice cream well, we wouldn’t have anything else at our number one spot!
Whether on just a dollop of ice cream, or part of a sundae, it’s the best ice cream sauce out there!
Of course, these are just our personal favorites.
There are so many flavors for you to try adding your ice cream out there (see also ‘The 16 Best Ice Cream Flavors You Can Get At Cold Stone Creamery‘)!
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Hi, my name is Jenna and I have been a professional chef for almost the entirety of my adult life. What started as a hobby in college quickly turned into a passion with which I surrounded my life.
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Ice Cream Toppings
When it comes to ice cream, the choice of toppings can significantly enhance the overall experience. From classic options like nuts and fruit to more unconventional choices like cereal and melted marshmallow, there's a wide variety of toppings to explore. Here's a breakdown of the different concepts used in the article about ice cream toppings:
Nuts: Nuts add a specific texture that complements ice cream, providing a solid chunkiness that enhances the overall flavor and mouthfeel. Broken walnuts or crushed nuts are recommended for their texture and flavor.
Fruit: Fruit offers a broad range of sweetness and flavors, making it a versatile option for ice cream toppings. From tropical pineapple to the subtle sweetness of bananas and the classic combination of strawberries and cream, fruit toppings provide a variety of flavor profiles for ice cream.
Waffle Cone: Waffle cones, synonymous with ice cream, not only serve as a vessel but also make a great topping. The hint of savory flavor and the various ways to incorporate waffle cones, either as broken crumbs or a large flake, add texture and flavor to the ice cream.
Cereal: Sweet cereals add a unique and crunchy texture to ice cream, offering a range of flavors and colors to enhance the dessert experience. From mini-sized cereal cookies to crushed cornflakes and fruit loops, cereals provide a different and exciting topping option for ice cream.
Melted Marshmallow: Melted marshmallows create a gooey and creamy topping for ice cream, especially when combined with hot fudge sundae sauce, offering a delightful flavor combination.
Hard Chocolate Sauce Coating: Hard chocolate topping sauce creates a novelty by encasing the ice cream in a solid chocolate shell, providing a visually appealing and flavorful addition to the dessert.
Chocolate Chips: Classic chocolate chips mix in nicely with various flavors of ice cream, offering a reliable and familiar topping option.
Whipped Cream: Whipped cream, with its lightness and subtle sweetness, serves as a great topping for almost any flavor of ice cream, adding an extra creamy element to the dessert.
Cookie Dough: Raw cookie dough, when mixed with ice cream, provides a soft, slightly grainy texture that complements the cold smoothness of the ice cream, offering a popular and versatile topping option.
Oreos: Oreos, a popular choice for various dessert recipes, add a rich cocoa flavor to ice cream, making them a widely used and beloved topping option.
M&Ms: M&Ms, known for their vibrant colors and sweet taste, add a colorful and flavorful element to ice cream, making them a popular choice for toppings.
Caramel Syrup: Caramel syrup, especially salted caramel sauce, offers a delightful and rich flavor that complements the sweetness of ice cream, making it a go-to topping option.
Sprinkles: Sprinkles, available in a variety of colors and flavors, add a fun and visually appealing element to ice cream, making them a popular choice for enhancing the dessert's appearance.
Hot Fudge Sauce: Hot fudge sauce, a runny sauce that mixes well with ice cream, is considered the best ice cream sauce, offering a rich and flavorful topping option.
In summary, the article provides a comprehensive list of ice cream toppings, ranging from classic choices like nuts and fruit to more unconventional options like cereal and melted marshmallow, offering a diverse range of flavors, textures, and visual appeal for ice cream enthusiasts.