12 Must-Have Recipes for the Best Ice Cream Social

Let's throw an ice cream social! Here's everything you need, from favorite ice cream recipes and to toppings to major sundae upgrades.

8 Best Ice Cream Recipes

There are two things I love in life: Gathering people together to socialize and have a grand old time, and ice cream. Put the two together, and you’ve got one happy Claudia. It’s simple math, really.

Hosting ice cream socials is one of my favorite things to do! I love it so much that last year I bought a fun ice cream maker and a waffle cone maker, and with the help of my oldest daughter, we made waffle cones for days.

This summer, she’s been selling the ice cream at her neighborhood ice cream stand, and I keep some of the supplies for myself to have friends over for a fun, summer treat.

What flavors should you serve? Strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla are all classic flavors and you can’t really go wrong. Don't have an ice cream maker? We have no-churn options. Don't want to make your own ice cream? Buy it from the store!

Double scoop of homemade chocolate ice cream cone set in a dish.
Alison Bickel

Toppings Are a Must !

You can’t have an ice cream bar without toppings!

  • Fresh fruit is always fun.
  • If you really want to impress your guests, homemade cookie crumbles would be delightful.
  • Easy toppings like nuts, marshmallows, pretzels, chopped up Oreos, and sprinkles are ready to go and always well received.
  • Whipped cream and maraschino cherries add the final touch!

It's an Ice Cream Party—Have fun!

The whole purpose of an ice cream social is to just enjoy the moment with those you love. Don’t stress yourself over making things perfect. Trust me, I’ve done it so many times, and when it comes down to it, people are just happy to be together and will love anything you put together.

Sara Bir joins Claudia in compiling this list.

  • Strawberry Ice Cream

    Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe
    Sally Vargas

    You will literally be tasting strawberry fields forever with this recipe. It boasts that freshly picked berry flavor that just seems to scream SUMMER IS HERE!

  • Chocolate Ice Cream

    homemade Chocolate Ice Cream in glass bowl
    Chocolate Ice Cream. Elise Bauer

    Chocolate is such a classic and this recipe is chocolatey enough to make even Willy Wonka jealous.

  • Vanilla Ice Cream

    Side view of a bowl of the best vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and ice cream cones set behind it.
    Ciara Kehoe

    This recipe has a rich, deep flavor thanks to a custard base and vanilla beans. I think you’ll be as crazy about those flecks of vanilla bean as I am!

  • Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
    Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Megan Gordon

    This is a must for any of your dairy-free a friends. If you’re intimidated by the thought of making ice cream with coconut milk, don’t be! This recipe has simple, every day ingredients is churned like regular ice cream.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • No-Churn Peach Cobbler Ice Cream

    peach cobbler ice cream in cones
    Marta Rivera

    Sweetened condensed milk is the secret weapon to this creamy ice cream—simply blend, freeze, and scoop. The hardest part is waiting it to freeze.

  • How to Make Butterscotch Sauce

    a spoonful of homemade butterscotch sauce
    Shuna Lydon

    You'll never return to the cloying stuff in the jar after making this magical sauce. It has the deepest, truest butterscotch flavor from brown sugar and butter cooked until they magically transform, (SB)

  • Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches

    Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert - ice cream sandwiches in a row
    Simply Recipes Team

    Homemade fudgy brownies sandwiching creamy vanilla ice cream? You'll be the star of the neighborhood with these beauties. The biggest plus is how you can make them ahead. (SB)

  • Caramel Sauce

    Homemade Caramel Sauce
    Elise Bauer

    I always recommend keeping this on hand in case of emergency. You just never know when you’re going to need a little caramel fix, but this is also a must for drizzling over ice cream! It would pair really well with our chocolate, French vanilla, and butter pecan ice creams!

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • Sugared Pecans

    A glass jar tipped over with sugared pecans spilling out from it.

    Simply Recipes / Cambrea Gordon

    No fancy skills required for these crispy nuts. Simply coat pecans in whipped egg white with sugar and spices, then bake. For an extra-special treat, scatter on top of ice cream! (SB)

  • Brownie Ice Cream Cake with Fudge Sauce

    A slice of brownie Ice cream cake with fudge sauce
    Cindy Rahe

    Okay, okay...an ice cream cake is not expected fare at an ice cream social, but no one can turn down this alluring treat, especially when it's laced with crushed Oreos. The cake tastes best when it's not ice-cold, so remember to pull it from the freezer about 20 minutes before your party gets rolling. (SB)

  • Best Chocolate Brownies

    Best Chocolate Brownies
    Elise Bauer

    Nothing is better as a base for ice cream than chewy brownies. Top with any ice cream (vanilla is always my choice) and drizzle with caramel!

  • How to Make Whipped Cream

    A person tipping the metal bowl of a stand mixer to show the whipped cream inside.
    Alison Bickle

    Whipped cream is a must if you want to do banana splits. Scoop this into a Ziplock baggie, snip the corner and pipe onto your ice cream. If you’re on the hunt for a a dairy-free option, go for this Coconut Whipped Cream!