A DIY ice cream sundae party is a great idea for a summer party, but also consider an ice cream bar for birthday party, a sleepover party snack bar, classroom ice cream sundae party, or even an ice cream bar ideas for graduation party! See our list of the best toppings for ice cream sundaes, party setup tips and ice cream melting tips, and more!
Best Ice Cream Sundae Party Ideas
Whether you need an ice cream bar for birthday party or fun ice cream bar ideas for graduation party (it’s even fun for a casual ice cream bar for engagement party!), ice cream sundae bar ideas are tons of fun for a party theme any time of year or party activity.
How to make an ice cream bar for a party?
- Choose a variety of ice cream flavors, including popular ones such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, as well as unique ones like mint chocolate chip or rocky road (optional).
- Offer a selection of toppings, such as sprinkles, chopped nuts, candy pieces, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, and fresh fruit.
- Provide a range of sauces, such as hot fudge, caramel, strawberry, and butterscotch.
- Have waffle cones and bowls available, as well as regular cones and cups.
- Have some dairy free ice cream options (like dairy-free ice cream or sorbet) for people with lactose or dairy issues and also dairy free ice cream topping bar ideas (like fresh fruit).
- Have a variety of drinks available to pair with the ice cream, such as water, soda, milk, or coffee. If you’re having a grown up ice cream party you can even make an ice cream themed drink!
- Make sure to have plenty of spoons and napkins on hand. (More than you think you need!)
- Have hand wipes available. (Ice cream is sticky and so are toppings for ice creams party!)
- Label each of the ice cream bar topping ideas and ice cream flavors to make it easy for guests to customize their desserts.
- Provide different sizes of ice cream containers (larger waffle bowls to small cups) to accommodate different appetites.
- Offer cones, waffle bowls, and paper bowls so guests can pick how they want to eat ice cream.
- Keep the ice cream cold by placing it in a cooler, bowls of ice, or a fun ice cream cart.
KEEP SCROLLING for the full list of ice cream parties ideas, including creative toppings for sundaes and more — not just ice cream toppings for party!
How Much Ice Cream For A Party?
How much ice cream do you put in a sundae party?
Sometimes planning how much ice cream for sundae bar or an ice cream party can be difficult.
An ice cream sundae bar for adults may require more ice cream than for a kids’ party or a children’s birthday party because kids eat smaller scoops (usually).
Here are some general guidelines for buying ice cream for sundae parties…
How much ice cream do I need for 60 people?
As a rough estimate, you can plan for about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of ice cream per person, depending on how many toppings you will be serving. Assuming you plan to offer 2-3 scoops of ice cream per sundae and a variety of toppings, a safe estimate would be to have 15-20 quarts (or 3.75 – 5 gallons) of ice cream for 60 people.
How much ice cream do I need for 15 guests?
For a sundae party with 15 guests, you can plan for approximately 4-5 quarts (or 1-1.25 gallons) of ice cream. This assumes that each guest will have about 2-3 scoops of ice cream in their sundae, and that you will be offering a variety of toppings.
It’s also a good idea to have a little extra ice cream on hand just in case.
How much ice cream for 30 kids?
For a sundae party with 30 kids, you can plan for approximately 8-10 quarts (or 2-2.5 gallons) of ice cream. This assumes that each kid will have about 1-2 scoops of ice cream in their sundae.
Keep in mind that kids may have smaller appetites and may not eat as much as adults, so you adjust the estimate if you are having a kids only party.
PARTY TIP: You may want to use small ice cream cups like this to prevent kids from creating a gigantic sundae that they can’t eat!
How To Make An Ice Cream Bar For A Party (Buffet Ice Cream Bar Ideas)
Ice Cream Bar Ideas For Party
Here are fun ice cream party themes:
- DIY Sundae Bar: Provide a variety of ice cream flavors and a range of toppings like whipped cream, hot fudge, caramel sauce, candy pieces, cookie crumbles, and fruit for guests to create their own delicious sundae.
- Ice Cream Sandwich Bar: Set up a station with a selection of cookies, brownies, and waffles, along with ice cream and toppings, and let guests create their own customized ice cream sandwich.
- Float Station: Offer a range of soda flavors and ice cream flavors for guests to create their own delicious ice cream floats.
- Waffle Cone Taco Bar: Provide waffle cones and fillings like ice cream, fruit, whipped cream, and toppings to create a fun and tasty “taco.”
- Sorbet Bar: For a dairy-free option, offer a range of refreshing sorbet flavors and toppings like fresh fruit and non-dairy toppings.
- Ice Cream Cupcake Bar: Provide cupcakes, ice cream, frosting, and toppings, and let guests create their own ice cream cupcakes.
- Ice Cream Tasting Bar: For a more sophisticated party (like adult ice cream parties) offer a range of artisanal ice cream flavors and an unusual ice cream sundae topping list for guests to taste and compare.
- Ice Cream Cake Bar: Provide cake layers, ice cream, frosting, and toppings, and let guests create their own ice cream cake masterpiece.
EXPERT PARTY TIP: Don’t want to coordinate everything on your own? Look up ice cream bar party rental near me! (See below for ice cream sundae bar toppings list!)
How do you set up an ice cream sundae bar?
Ice cream bar party set up:
- Choose a location: Select an area in your home or party venue that is spacious enough to accommodate all the ice cream sundae bar supplies and guests to build a sundae.
- Keep it cool: Make sure to keep the ice cream and toppings cool by placing them in a cooler or party ice cream cart. You can also use a shallow pan filled with ice to keep the toppings chilled.
- Provide the ice cream: Offer a variety of ice cream flavors for guests to choose from. You can either serve them in tubs or in individual scoops in waffle bowls or ice cream cups.
- Offer toppings: Offer a variety of toppings such as sprinkles, chopped nuts, candy pieces, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, and fruit. Arrange them in bowls or jars and label them with small signs or tags so that guests know what they are. Get creative with your sundae bar toppings ideas!
- Provide sauces as part of your ice cream with toppings: Offer a range of sauces such as hot fudge, caramel, strawberry, pineapple, and butterscotch. Arrange them in squeeze bottles or bowls and provide spoons for guests to scoop them out.
- Have cones and cups: Offer a range of cones and cups, including waffle cones and bowls, regular cones and cups, to cater to everyone’s preferences. You can also provide a variety of sizes to accommodate different appetites.
- Don’t forget the whipped cream: Provide whipped cream for guests who want to add a creamy touch to their sundae.
- Label everything: To make it easy for guests to navigate the sundae bar, make sure to label everything, including the ice cream flavors and toppings.
- Provide utensils: Provide spoons, napkins, and bowls for guests to assemble their sundaes.
Fun Game For Parties With Ice Cream: How To Play The Sundae Game
Ice Cream Sundae Bar Supplies
- Ice cream scoops (for as many types of ice creams you have or 1 scoop per ice cream)
- Scoop holders
- Ice cream bowls and cups
- Spoons and napkins
- A variety of ice cream flavors
- Toppings such as sprinkles (jimmies), chopped nuts, candy pieces, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, and fruit (see the full ice cream sundae toppings list below)
- Sauces such as hot fudge, caramel, strawberry, and butterscotch
- Waffle cones and bowls, as well as regular cones and cups
- Unique mix-ins such as brownie pieces and crushed candy bars as part of an ice cream bar toppings list
- Whipped cream
- Labels to identify the different flavors and toppings
- Coolers or ice cream carts to keep the ice cream cold
- Serving trays and containers to organize the toppings
- A tablecloth or runner to create a festive display (bonus points if you get the kind of tablecloths you can wipe off!)
- Decorations to go with your party theme (ice cream birthday party or ice cream grad party, etc.)
Don’t forget about your ice cream sundaes toppings / ice cream bar toppings. It’s one of the most important parts of this theme party!
You don’t need 100 ice cream toppings for your party, but provide enough variety so party guests can get creative making a sundae with unique toppers.
Here are fun ice cream topper ideas and topping ideas for ice cream sundaes — a mix of traditional ice cream sundae topping ideas and creative toppings on ice cream, enough to make an awesome ice cream toppings list!
55 Best Ice Cream Sundae Toppings For An Ice Cream Topping Bar
Ice Cream Sundae Toppings Bar Ideas:
- Hot fudge
- Caramel sauce
- Fruit syrups (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, pineapple sundae topping, etc.) – must-have ice cream sundae toppings ideas!
- Whipped cream
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Maraschino cherries
- Chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, chopped walnuts, etc.)
- Chocolate chips
- Marshmallow fluff
- Nerds candy
- Crushed cookies (Oreo, chocolate chip, etc.)
- Brownie chunks
- Pound cake
- Angel food cake
- Fruity cereal (Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Trix, etc.) – these toppings for ice cream bar are always a huge hit!
- Gummy bears
- Chocolate sauce
- Crushed candy bars (Butterfinger, Snickers, etc.)
- Peanut butter cups
- Fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) – favorite toppings ice cream!
- Pineapple chunks
- Coconut flakes
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Mini marshmallows
- Mini chocolate chips
- Cookie dough bites
- Cinnamon sugar
- Toffee bits
- Heath bar pieces
- Fudge brownie bits
- Maple syrup
- Mochi balls
- Dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, etc.)
- Crushed waffle cones
- Candy-coated chocolate pieces
- Chocolate-covered pretzels
- Jelly beans
- Gummy worms
- Mini marshmallows (colored marshmallows)
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Mini Reese’s Pieces
- Chopped Andes mints
- Butterscotch chips
- Crushed graham crackers or
Get creative with your ice cream topping ideas! You don’t have to stick with sundae topping basics! Have fun with your ice cream toppings bar!
If you have favorite toppings for sundae bar that you don’t see here, let us know and we’ll add them to our ice cream topping list!
How To Display Ice Cream At A Party
Here are ideas for an ice cream bar to display ice creams and keep them from melting!
Keep Ice Cream Cool In Fun Ice Cream Displays
The most important thing for your ice cream sundae bars is keeping the ice cream cold so it doesn’t melt!
Make sure to keep the ice cream in a cooler or freezer until it’s time to serve.
You can also use a large tub filled with ice to keep the ice cream cool while serving.
You don’t have to go crazy with a ton of different ice cream flavors, but you do want to offer enough variety of ice cream flavors to cater to different tastes. Offering vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and strawberry may be plenty, especially since you’re offering different toppings for sundaes.
EXPERT PARTY TIP: If you’re worried about kids taking too much ice cream and not eating, scoop the ice cream for them instead of allowing them to scoop ice cream themselves.
Best Way To Arrange The Ice Cream Toppings
The toppings for an ice cream bar for a sundae bar are important!
Include sprinkles, chopped nuts (optional, but be aware of any allergies), candy pieces, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, fruit, and more.
Display the sundae bar toppings in bowls or jars with mini scoops like this for bulky toppings and use shaker jars like this for sprinkles. (Those shaker jars have worked great at our ice cream sundae bar toppings parties, especially with young kids!).
PRO PARTY TIP: Arrange sundae ice cream bar toppings on both sides of the ice cream. If you are having a large party, this will allow people to work quickly with their best sundae toppings ideas and creations. Also, allow people to access both sides of the table so you have two lines moving around it.
Provide Different Ice Cream Bowls and Sundae Dishes
Offer a range of cones and cups, including waffle cones and bowls, regular cones, and cups, to cater to everyone’s preferences.
For your sundae topping bar, provide a variety of sizes to accommodate different appetites.
You may even want to have these old-fashioned sundae glasses! If you’re using tall sundae glasses, be sure to get long ice cream spoons like this.
Keep Your Ice Cream Table Organized And Stocked
To make it easy for guests to navigate the ice cream station, organize the toppings and cones in a logical order and provide small signs or labels to indicate what each item is.
You may also want to have a designated ice cream table person that helps people (especially for a kids party) and also immediately cleans up spills.
(Remember, if this is an outdoor party you’ll attract bees, ants, and more with all these sweet treats!)
The designated ice cream man or woman can also make sure to keep the ice cream and toppings stocked throughout the party!
(Bonus points if you make your ice cream helpers wear this or EVEN BETTER WEAR THIS! It will be just like a real sundaes ice cream shop!)
How long can ice cream sit out?
Don’t leave ice cream at room temperature for more than 2 hours. If the temperature is very hot, above 90°F (32°C), don’t leave it out longer than 1 hour at the most.
For an ice cream party or picnic outdoors, make sure that you have ways to keep the ice cream cold, like a cooler full of ice that you only use for the ice cream tubs.
PARTY TIP: Grab these to fill with ice. Then, you can sit the ice cream containers right into the ice to keep it colder for longer! Then, arrange the topping for ice cream bar next to them.
If ice cream has been left out for longer than 2 hours, it should be discarded to avoid the risk of food poisoning because refreezing the ice cream will not kill any bacteria that may have started. (Plus, it’s probably going to melt by then anyway.)
It’s important to always store ice cream in a freezer below 0°F (-18°C) longterm to ensure its safety and quality.
ALSO CHECK OUT THIS BACKYARD PARTY IDEA: HOW TO HAVE AN OUTSIDE MOVIE PARTY
What do you need for an ice cream sundae party? (DIY Ice Cream Sundae Party Supplies)
Ice Cream Sundae Party Invitations
Need fun names for your ice cream party to put on an invitation? Try these!
27 Names For An Ice Cream Party:
- Sundae Funday
- Scoops of Happiness
- Chill Out Party
- Ice Cream Social
- Brain Freeze Bash
- Sweet Treats Soiree
- Freeze Fest
- Ice Cream Dream Team
- Meltdown Madness
- Frozen Frenzy
- Sundae Serenade
- Ice Cream Jubilee
- Sprinkle Spectacular
- I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream
- Cool Carnival
- Brain Freeze Bonanza
- Frozen Delight Fiesta
- Chillax with Chillness
- Scoops of Fun
- Scoop-tastic Party
- Waffle Cone Wonderland
- Ice Cream Craze
- Frozen Fantasy Fest
- Ice Cream Odyssey
- Sundae Frenzy
Ice Cream Sundae Party Decorations
- Ice cream cone balloons: These colorful balloons look like ice cream cones and can be hung around the party area.
- Ice cream-themed garlands: Make garlands with cutouts of ice cream cones, sundaes, and popsicles to decorate the walls.
- Ice cream truck centerpiece: Use a toy ice cream truck as a centerpiece for the dessert table or on top of a cake.
- Giant sundae prop: Create a giant sundae prop using cardboard, tissue paper, and other craft supplies, and place it in a prominent location for selfies and photo opps.
- Sprinkle-covered tablecloth: Use a plain white tablecloth and cover it with multicolored sprinkles for a fun ice cream theme.
- Ice cream cone lights: Hang lights shaped like ice cream cones around the party area.
- Ice cream sundae bar sign: Create a sign for the ice cream sundae bar using a chalkboard or poster board. List the types of ice cream and different toppings.
- Ice cream-themed photo booth: Set up a photo booth with ice cream props like cones, scoops, and popsicles. (These are also fun!)
- Ice cream cone piñata: Have a piñata shaped like an ice cream cone and fill it with candy and small toys.
Ice Cream Sundae Party Favors
- Ice cream scoops: Give your guests ice cream scoops to take home and use for their own ice cream parties. (These are super cute and great if you’re having a small party and don’t need a lot of party favors.)
- Ice cream cone lip balm: Lip balm shaped like an ice cream cone is a fun and useful party favor. (These are cute for girls ice cream party favors.)
- Ice cream cone keychains: Keychains shaped like ice cream cones make cute and practical party favors.
- Ice cream-themed socks: Socks with ice cream cones or sundaes on them make a fun and functional party favor. (These would be cute to give away as a party prize!)
- Ice cream cone stress balls: Stress balls shaped like ice cream cones like this are a fun and playful party favor.
- Ice cream cone bubble wands: Bubble wands shaped like ice cream cones are a fun and playful party favor for kids. (These ice cream cone bubble necklaces are cute!)
- Ice cream-themed temporary tattoos: Temporary tattoos with ice cream cone or sundae designs are a fun and temporary party favor. You can even have someone giving kids ice cream tattoos at the party.
What to serve with an ice cream sundae bar?
Consider adding some regular foods to your party (in addition to your ice cream bar).
- Hot dogs and hamburgers: Grilled hot dogs and hamburgers are always a crowd-pleaser, are easy, and can be served with simple toppings like ketchup, mustard, and relish.
- Veggies tray: Offer a variety of vegetables and dips for a healthy option.
- Chips and dips: Serve a variety of chips and dips, such as this easy homemade salsa, guacamole, and hummus for a savory snack option.
- Cheese and crackers: Set up a cheese and cracker platter with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and fruits for guests to enjoy.
- Graze board: Make an easy charcuterie board like this for some protein to balance all that sugar!
- Fruit skewers: Create fruit skewers with a variety of fruits such as pineapple, strawberries, and kiwi for a refreshing snack option and great for guests who don’t want ice cream.
- Salad: Offer a simple green salad or a simple pasta salad for guests who are looking for a lighter option.
Also Check Out More Party Food Ideas: Easy Sleepover Snacks
Enjoy your ice cream party!