We scooped, sprinkled, and drizzled our way through four dozen favorite fixings to build the sundae bar of your dreams.

By Betty Gold and Sari Kamp
Updated July 16, 2019
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If there’s one roundup of shortcuts we can sink our spoons into, it’s one filled with the best ice cream toppings on the market. But all hot fudge is not created equal. Real Simple took one for the team by doing a blind test test of all the different types of ice cream toppings: it’s the only way to be sure what’s good and what’s not so hot.

First, we narrowed down our must-have sundae ingredients: a creamy all purpose vanilla ice cream, crunchy rainbow sprinkles, gooey hot fudge, not-too-sweet caramel, whipped cream that tasted like homemade, and classic maraschino cherries (that wouldn’t turn our insides red) to top it off. Then, the blind taste test. As usual we were surprised how wrong our pre-conceived sundae notions were. The vanilla we thought was our favorite? Too assertive. Our go-sprinkles? Tasted like no more than sugar and food coloring. Read ahead to find out which six winners licked the competition.

threetwinsicecream.com

1
Best Vanilla Ice Cream: Maxine’s Vanilla Ice Cream

This ultra-rich and creamy pick is good enough to eat alone—but go ahead and add the works. The larger size makes it more shareable than a pint.

To buy: $8 for 48 oz.; threetwinsicecream.com.

hardcoresprinkles.com

2
Best Rainbow Sprinkles: Vanilla Funfetti Hardcore Sprinkles

These sprinkles stood out with their cute, irregular shapes and pretty colors. Plus, they taste like real vanilla, not just sugar.

To buy: $10 for 1 oz.; hardcoresprinkles.com.

stonewallkitchen.com

3
Best Cherries: Tillen Farms Merry Maraschino Cherries

Thanks to fruit and vegetable concentrates, these cherries are magically vibrant without artificial colors or flavors.

To buy: $8 for 13.5 oz.; stonewallkitchen.com.

walmart.com

4
Best Whipped Cream: Cabot Creamery Whipped Cream

If we hadn’t held the can in our hands, we would have sworn this light and fluffy topping was homemade.

To buy: $2.60 for 7 oz.; walmart.com.

williams-sonoma.com

5
Best Hot Fudge: Williams Sonoma Hot Fudge Sauce

Ooey and gooey, this dark chocolate pick becomes perfectly pourable when heated and decadently fudgy once it hits cold ice cream.

To buy: $17 for 17 oz.; williams-sonoma.com.

traderjoes.com

6
Best Caramel Sauce: Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce

This luscious sauce lends just the right salty-sweet note. Drizzle it warm or spoon it straight from the jar.

To buy: $3.50 for 10 oz.; amazon.com.