Grilled Donut Ice Cream Sandwich

Hacks to Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at or in her cookbook, One Pan Whole Family.

It’s summer and you are officially invited to relax. No need to bake pies or cakes or churn ice cream. Just assemble these festive and fabulous, make-ahead ice cream sandwiches for your next cookout or outdoor fiesta and you’ll never need to think about any other summertime dessert. There’s no end to the flavor combos and the ideas below are, well, ideas. That’s really all you need to make these icy treats. You might even come up with ice cream combinations of your own but the ice cream dreams to follow will get you started.

The Messy (But Delicious) Sandwiches

For detailed recipes, click the bolded titles below. 

There’s definitely an ice cream sandwich for everyone in the offering below. If you’re feeling energetic and don’t want to take it super easy, there’s an amazing brownie sheet cake recipe here that is so chocolatey and fudgy you’ll never be happy with a store-bought ice cream sandwich again. It makes lots so odds are you’ll have some leftover in the freezer for the next time you have people over. The options are limitless of course, but I’ve included plans for a creamsicle, a mint chocolate chip and a strawberry version to get you started. The dips of jimmies, chocolate chips and freeze-dried strawberry add color, texture and taste but you could omit them if you’re keeping it simple and these dessert sandwiches will still be the best summer dessert ever.

Sheet Cake Sandwich

If you don’t want to make the brownie cake, you can always go the no frills but still fab route and use graham crackers. The recipe below utilizes vanilla ice cream, crushed Heath Bars, and Nutella but feel free to swap out the vanilla for coffee ice cream plus chocolate chips or peanut butter ice cream with chopped Reece cups for a twist. This graham cracker version is surprisingly good as the frozen graham crackers offer crunch but not so much that they are difficult to eat.

Graham Cracker Sandwich

I would be remiss not to include the idea of using those Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies in an ice cream sandwich. For this version I’m offering the idea of a lemony tart and boozy limoncello ice cream filling for the adults in your life. A simple blend of jarred lemon curd and limoncello mixed into vanilla ice cream transforms simple vanilla into a taste you’ll crave again and again. Why not keep the bottle of limoncello in the freezer and offer a frozen shot on the side of this refreshing and satisfying and, yes, after dinner cocktail of a dessert?

Other ready-made cookies like pizzelles, waffle cookies, ladyfingers, or soft baked cookies from Heinen’s bakery made a great base for ice cream sandwiches as well.  Heinen bakery’s Brownie Burst Cookies are a perfect example and have a surprise filling of either chocolate, raspberry or lemon filling with a soft cookie exterior. They make a perfect ice cream sandwich to keep on hand and nothing could be easier or more delicious.

These types of ice cream sandwiches will keep for months in your freezer but they won’t last that long. All of the crust or cakey parts I’ve listed here are soft and easy to eat. I avoid recipes that call out to use frozen chocolate chip cookies which freeze too hard to bite into. This is a good place to make a note about chocolate chips and nuts. Though delicious, nuts and chips can be frozen solid land mines in an ice cream sandwich. In order to avoid an emergency trip to the dentist, use mini chips to soften the blow to your molars and chop all nuts finely. You’ll thank me.

Finally, the piece de résistance, last minute, grilled donut ice cream sandwiches are a revelation and quite easy to pull together at the last minute, especially if you’re already grilling the main course. Just toss the halved donuts on the grill after the burgers and dogs are all toasty in their buns and grill for just a few minutes. It’s easy to scoop ice cream, slab it on the grilled, still warm donuts and eat immediately. You’ll be so glad you’re outside as they can be messy. We ate ours standing in the yard, bent over so they didn’t drip on our feet and they were marvelous.

So, no matter how much time you want to devote to dessert, these frozen treats are a must-have to keep in your freezer this summer. I know I’ll have a red white and blue decorated version for the Fourth of July ready to go and waiting in the deep freeze. A new summer tradition is born.

Carla Snyder
Posted by: Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes. Look for Carla on Facebook, Twitter (carlacooks), Pinterest and at where she blogs about everything from cooking for two to easy weekend entertaining for a crowd.

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