Ice cream on its own is a perfectly delicious dessert; there are so many flavors you can make or buy. It's also great in milkshake form or served atop your favorite pie, cake, or brownie, but we'll always have a soft spot for the ice cream sundae. There's something so delightful about loading up on your favorite toppings.
As our palates have matured, so have our topping choices. Here are 18 of our favorites right now.
1. Saucy Set, $30 for 3 from Jeni's: Why limit yourself to chocolate sauce when you can enjoy Jeni's famous salty caramel sauce and honey butterscotch as well? If you prefer, they are also available individually.
2. Animal & Stars Sprinkles, $4.99 from Wilton: Upgrade your sprinkles with these fun shapes. Bears, dinosaurs, and sharks, among others, are guaranteed to make those sundaes more festive.
3. Bittermans Halen Mon Gold Smoked Sea Salt, $14 from Sur la Table: There's something about a pinch of salt that brings out the best in your sweet treats. Just a pinch of this smoked sea salt will do wonders for your favorite vanilla ice cream.
4. Bickford's Iced Coffee Syrup, $4.99 from World Market: Yes, you could use this to make iced coffee, but we think it's better used to make coffee soda, which would make a delicious ice cream float.
5. Maple Syrup Flakes, $20 from Mouth: Don't be fooled into thinking that maple is just for breakfast foods. These maple flakes add the perfect amount of crunch and warm, syrupy flavor to your favorite scoop.
6. Luxardo Maraschino Cherries, $19.95 from Williams-Sonoma: Fancy cherries aren't just for your cocktails. They make a great addition to any ice cream sundae — especially when there are mountains of whipped cream.
7. Crack Cookies, $12.99 from Farm to People: Salty crackers, rich caramel, dark chocolate, what more could you want? Crumble these cookies on top of vanilla ice cream, and your sundae is complete in one fell swoop.
8. Coconut Dulce de Leche, $12.50 from Fine & Raw: There are great vegan ice cream options out there, and vegan toppings, too. This dulce de leche is made with coconut milk and sugar and, trust me, you'll want to slather it on everything.
9. Rare Bird Preserves Passion Fruit Curd, $13.25 from Mouth: Balance the sweetness of ice cream with a mouth-puckeringly tart passion fruit curd. It might be too strong for some, but for anyone who loves a good sweet-and-sour combo, it's a winner.
10. Chocomaker Marble Chocolate Curls, $3.99 from World Market: Chocolate curls are so decadent, and marbled chocolate curls even more so. Add these to vanilla ice cream or berry-flavored scoops.
11. Tequila Spiked Chocolate Sauce, $14.50 from Mouth: Want a sundae with a bit of a kick? Add this tequila-spiked chocolate sauce to your ice cream. It's great over Mexican chocolate ice cream.
12. Thai Cashews Mix, $30 for 6 packs, from Amazon: Flavored with lemongrass and sake, this cashew and peanut mix brings an unusual flavor to your ice cream sundae. Try it with vanilla ice cream and a bit of high-quality chocolate sauce.
13. Roasted Coconut Chips, $1.99 from Trader Joe's: Wider than your traditional shredded coconut, these chips make for the perfect ice cream topping. If you don't have a TJ's near you, they are also available on Amazon.
14. The Ginger People Crystallized Ginger Chips, $8.95 from Sur la Table: Ginger might not be the first thing you reach for when it comes to ice cream, but these crystallized chips add just the right amount of spiciness. Try them on chocolate or honey ice cream.
15. Bosco Strawberry Syrup, $2.99 from World Market: Bosco is a total throwback, as is their strawberry syrup. It might not be the most gourmet topping, but it gets serious points for nostalgia.
16. Liddabit Sweets Pecan-Brown Sugar Brittle, $13.75 from Mouth: Nut brittle makes a great sundae topping or mix-in for homemade ice cream. Just make sure you break it into small-enough chunks so no one cracks a tooth!
17. Dark Chocolate Covered Toffee Nibs, $4 from Farm to People: You've had cocoa nibs, but what about toffee nibs? These crunchy little bits are covered in dark chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder. They add just the right amount of buttery crunch to your ice cream.
18. Appollonia N. 29 Chocolate Popcorn, $8.50 from La Boite: This isn't just any ol' chocolate popcorn; it's infused with orange blossom and the flavors of honey and clove. We love it with peanut or pistachio ice cream.