How to Build the Best Ice Cream Sundae Bar for Under $30!

Blog | July 13th, 2022

Aside from being out of school and other summer vacation plans, July has something else pretty sweet to offer! The 25th of this month is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day which happens to fall in National Ice Cream month! Stories have it that a pharmacy in Wisconsin served the first sundae way back in 1881. It is said that a customer ordered an ice cream soda on a Sunday but sales of soda on the Sabbath were prohibited. The druggist and the customer were up for a compromise, so ice cream in a dish was prepared without the soda. It was then topped with chocolate syrup and fitting with the day of the week, this masterpiece was given the name “sundae”! Though others claim the fame for this long-lived dessert, the bottom line is, it has been around for well over a century and is the cherry on top of ice cream celebrations everywhere! Make your plans to celebrate in unique ways while building the best ice cream sundae bar for under $30.00! 

The Basics For Success

  • Use high-grade ingredients, not the cheap stuff. It truly is quality over quantity when it comes to a great sundae. 
  • Prepare baked goods and any other possibilities ahead of time. Store in airtight containers until serving time. 
  • Set up your bar in a convenient manner. Place pre-dipped ice cream in the middle with at least two bowls of each topping, one on each side of the bar. 
  • Pre-scoop rounded portions of ice cream and place on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Re-freeze until serving time. This will make any bar, especially a kids version, so much easier than the messy carton scooping process.  
  • Pick up clear condiment bottles like these and fill with chocolate and other sauces such as caramel and strawberry. Make them thin and easy to squeeze by immersing in warm water as they thicken.
  • Purchase red cutlery to match the cherry, or white that goes with anything creamy. Put them in the dishwasher and use them, again and again, to get a repeated bang out of your buck! (These literally cost a dollar per pack  if purchased at Walmart) Cute dishes and condiment bottles can be used for years, reducing costs so you can pack the spending into the sundae itself! 
  • Specific recipes aren't really a thing when it comes to a good, gooey sundae. Just set up your bar with delicious ingredients, get creative and enjoy!

Let’s get started on those affordable bars, keeping in mind costs vary as do the amounts needed…depending on the number of guests. These sundae bars should easily come in at under $30.00, basing the shopping list at Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Amazon. Of course, this goes without saying, always put a cherry on top!

The Basic Bar

In keeping with tradition, all you need is the following:
  • Vanilla ice cream  
  • Hot fudge sauce  
  • Caramel sauce  
  • Toasted pecans 
  • Whipped Cream  
  • Maraschino Cherries

The Keto Bar

Keto is trending and weight loss isn't found in a sundae, but adding this one to your menu allows everyone to enjoy!
  • Halo Top or Rebel Ice cream  
  • Pecans 
  • Maxine's Heavenly Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunk Cookies, crumbled  
  • Lily's Semi-Sweet Style Baking Chips 
  • Keto Factory Rainbow Sprinkles  

*Be aware that the sprinkles and pecans can likely be used several times bringing the total in below target!

The Elvis Bar

Elvis is known for his love of peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwiches. For dessert, make it a sundae!
  • Vanilla ice cream 
  • Two or three large bananas, sliced  
  • Jif Natural peanut butter warmed to a squeezable consistency  
  • Fresh bacon crumbles, about six slices, cooked crisp  
  • Whipped Cream

The Summer and Kids Bar 

Campfires, S'mores, and ice cream…what could be better for a summer, kid-friendly treat? Plus, kids will love these dishes for serving special, just for them sundaes!
  • Vanilla ice cream  
  • Graham crackers coarsely broken  
  • Mini marshmallows toasted slightly in the oven on a cookie sheet then transferred to a serving bowl.  
  • Hot fudge sauce
  • Whipped cream

The Birthday Bar

Everyone will make a wish with this celebration sundae!
  • Strawberry ice cream 
  • Whipped cream
  • Birthday cake crumbles
  • Sprinkles
  • One candle per sundae

The Gender Reveal Bar

As you scoop the ice cream into balls, before freezing, nest a blueberry in the middle if it's a boy and a raspberry for a girl. Of course, let the “mom and dad to be” dig in first!
  • Vanilla ice cream  
  • Berries, frozen work best, organic
  • Chocolate syrup  
  • Whipped cream
  • Multi-colored sprinkles on top for confusion 😉

The Wedding Bar

Add the traditional wedding treats to ice cream for a perfect match to compliment the wedding cake!
  • A chocolate fountain would be beautiful and festive for a tasty touch to your toppings. Although a bit costly, it is another item that can join many additional celebrations for years to come!
  • Mints, the traditional pastel party mints  
  • Nuts 
  • Coconut, shredded, organic  
  • Rice Krispies, since throwing real rice isn’t a realistic option anymore
  • Magic shell chocolate topping (It hardens so it's less likely to drip on all those fancy clothes and wedding attire!)

Mix and match your sundae toppings in a way that is all you, no recipe or rules required! Just relax and enjoy your spin on tasty, fun-filled summer celebrations in a bowl!