DIY Ice Cream Bar Ideas to Make Now

Get sweet satisfaction on a stick.

September 01, 2020

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Few things taste better than ice cream on a hot day, and it’s even better when you’ve made it yourself. Whether you’re looking for fruity refreshment or a full-on dessert-on-a-stick situation, these ice cream bars deliver sweet satisfaction.

Feeling Fruitful

Berries are a fan-favorite addition to all kinds of frozen treats, and ice cream bars are no exception. Two cups of berries go into every batch of these Berry Ice Cream Pops so they’re studded with summer flavor. But before they’re folded into the ice cream base, Erin Jeanne McDowell macerates the berries in lemon juice and sugar until they collapse into their own syrupy juices.

Adding herbs to your ice cream is an underrated but beloved chef trick, as these Blueberry, Thyme & Sweet Cream Ice Pops demonstrate. Fresh thyme simmers with milk creating an herbaceous bite to complement pureed blueberries and lemon.

A double dose of coconut — milk and shredded fruit — plus fresh citrus bring a tropical touch to these easy Coconut Pops. Dave Lieberman’s four-ingredient Creamy Banana Pops are an excellent way to use up ripe bananas and deliver a concentrated dose of fruity tropical flavor, too. For her Mango Lassi Ice Pops, Katie Lee takes a cue from the popular blended Indian drink by blending thawed frozen mango chunks and condensed milk with fresh ginger, cardamom and lime to create a creamy, refreshing ice pop base.

If you’ve got a little extra time to spend prepping your fruit, these Grilled Cantaloupe Frozen Yogurt Pops are a real show-stopper. In her Food Network Kitchen app class, Erin Jeanne McDowell shows us how to turn the grilled melon into refreshing fro-yo pops (use full fat Greek yogurt for the richest and creamiest consistency).

Classic Dessert Inspo

Let these tried-and-true dessert flavor combinations inspire your next DIY ice cream bar project. With a lush lemon curd filling, these Lemon Ice Cream Bars call to mind lemon bars and lemon meringue pie. To bring them into frozen dessert territory, the curd is layered in a pan atop a lemon-zest scented shortbread that’s spread with vanilla ice cream, then frozen till firm. These over-the-top Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bars transform strawberry shortcake into a luxurious creamy frozen confection by layering a buttery shortbread cookie crust with strawberry jam and no-churn strawberry ice cream. The ingredient list for these Peppermint Ice Cream Pops might read like Christmas came early, but the minty frozen delight eats like a chocolate-peppermint patty.

Ice cream sundaes can be built into a portable frozen dessert, too. Master these Banana Split Push Pops and they’ll become your go-to party trick. Discs of pound cake are layered with rounds of banana-split-flavored ice cream, banana slices, a dollop of hot fudge and whipped cream garnished with all the fixings. Freeze ‘em till firm then prepare to welcome a chorus of oohs and aahs. Giada De Laurentiis draws on the timeless brownie sundae for these dreamy dessert-in-bar-form Frozen Brownie Sundaes. Bake up some brownies, let cool (sneak a bite, we won’t tell) and then layer with caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce and freeze. Serve squares wrapped in parchment paper for a more casual take, or plate them and drizzle with the accompanying strawberry sauce for a fancy finish.

For a low-lift ice cream bar take on classic cookies and cream, try these Two-Ingredient Cookies and Cream Ice Pops. Simply divide a couple cups of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies among ice pop molds then fill with cream and freeze till solid.

Raid the Pantry

Check your cupboards! Whether it’s your morning cereal collection or candy stash, raiding your pantry (and freezer!) can reveal clever ice cream bar inspiration whenever the mood strikes.

For these Ice Cream Freezer Pops, Ree Drummond transforms store-bought ice cream using a simple hack: five-ounce paper cups and popsicle sticks. Crushed cookies, peanut butter cups and candy-coated chocolate pieces are spooned into the bottom of each cup, then topped with ice cream that’s been mixed with crushed cookies. Add a popsicle stick then freeze till the ice cream’s solidified, then tear off the paper cups to serve. (File this recipe away for clever ways to use up leftover Halloween candy, too).

Trisha Yearwood is also a fan of the paper-cup-and-popsicle-stick method, filling cups with a trio of cereals — peanut butter, cinnamon and corn — plus cereal-infused milk to bring a nostalgia-tinged sweetness to her Cereal Ice Pops. For these Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, peanut butter cereal and crushed chocolate wafer cookies create a coating to doctor up store-bought ice cream bars, all held in place by peanut butter-flavored hardening ice cream sauce.

Need instant gratification? Raid your freezer to see what ice cream you have on hand and spin them into these 10-Minute Ice Cream Pops. Slice a pint into frozen rounds, insert a wooden popsicle stick into each, then dip in a quick chocolate sauce and chill in the freezer till the sauce hardens into a shell.

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