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Classic Banana Split Dessert

If you’re looking for an over-the-top dessert to celebrate summer, look no further than a classic banana split. It’s easy to assemble the old-fashioned ice cream treat at home: All you need is a trio of ice cream flavors, a few fun toppings (sprinkles are a must!), and a ripe banana for the base.

While the classic version starts with scoops of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice creams, once you have the formula down, the possibilities are endless. Here’s how to do it.

What Is a Banana Split Made Of?

Banana splits consist of three primary components: a ripe banana, three flavors of ice cream, and a bevy of toppings. Here’s what you need to know about each.

The banana: Ripe bananas with no brown speckles are best for banana splits. Super-speckled bananas are too soft, since the fruit’s firm texture should contrast the creamy ice cream.
The ice cream: For the classic look, opt for a pint each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice creams. If you’re making sundaes for one, a carton of Neapolitan ice cream works just fine.
The toppings: First up is hot fudge, which is a better choice than chocolate sauce because it’s thicker and more indulgent. Whether you make it from scratch or buy it is up to you — just be sure to warm it until it’s pourable, but not hot. Next, add colorful sprinkles and chopped peanuts for crunch, then dollop on whipped cream and top with stemmed maraschino cherries.
These toppings and ice cream flavors are classic, but there’s no reason not to make this sweet treat your own. Spoon salted caramel sauce or simmered summer berries over the ice cream, or swap peanuts for macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, or almonds. Alternatively, skip the nuts altogether and sprinkle with crushed cookies, toffee bits, or sweet cereal.

The Best Serving Dish for Banana Splits

Old-fashioned soda fountains served banana splits in oblong glass dishes designed specifically for these sundaes. Their narrow shape cradles the banana, forming a fruity futon for a trio of ice cream scoops.

But instead of investing in dishes that serve a single purpose, I recommend serving the splits in individual au gratin dishes. These dishes have the ideal oval shape and shallow form for banana splits, but can be used year-round for potato sides, vegetable gratins, or baking individual chicken breasts.

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1 banana, split lengthwise
3 scoops of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry)
1/4 cup hot fudge sauce
1/4 cup strawberry sauce
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
Whipped cream
Maraschino cherries
Chopped nuts or sprinkles
Fresh strawberries, for garnish


Prep the Banana: Peel the banana and slice it lengthwise. Place the banana halves in a shallow dish or banana split boat.
Add Ice Cream: Place a scoop of each flavor of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) between the banana halves.
Add Toppings: Drizzle hot fudge sauce and strawberry sauce over the ice cream scoops. Add pineapple chunks on top.
Garnish: Top with generous dollops of whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and a sprinkle of chopped nuts or sprinkles.
Serve: Garnish with fresh strawberries and enjoy immediately!

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