Everyone loves fun facts, and everyone screams for ice cream; this is bound to be a fun time. 

Of all the random things you can read about on the Internet, we’re so glad you’re choosing to learn more about ice cream sandwiches. Sometimes it’s random knowledge, like these fun facts, that make for the best conversation. No one really cares to hear how you feel about the upcoming weather, but hearing that the first ice cream sandwich was made with sponge cake? Now they’re listening.

Let’s start at square one, because why not. “Ice cream sandwich:” a frozen dessert consisting of ice cream between two biscuits, skins, or cookies. Ok, so “skins” doesn’t sound too appetizing, but once you hear the evolution of the sandwich and all the different ways it’s made, “skins” is rather suitable. 

We love, love, love ice cream sandwiches here at home in America, but they’re also loved worldwide. From country to country, this dessert picks up many different nicknames: giant sandwich, chipwich, cream between, vanilla slice, slider, and more! Whatever you call it, one thing’s for sure: the ice cream sandwich is one of the best inventions of all time. 

Without further ado, here are six facts you might not know about ice cream sandwiches.  

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

Anything as cool, creamy, and oh so delicious as an ice cream sandwich is definitely deserving of a national holiday. I scream, you scream, and all of America screams for ice cream sandwiches (annually) on August 2nd. This year will be the sandwich’s 122nd birthday. But they’ve never looked better. 

Just as the summer heat starts wearing us down in those mid-summer months, boom, national ice cream sandwich day saves the day. If you weren’t planning on it already, this is your sign to eat an ice cream sandwich on August 2nd. We know it’s still a while away, but it’s something to look forward to. 

(Well, now that ice cream sandwiches are going to be on your mind, August 2nd may seem dreadfully far away. Good thing there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from going ahead and have one (or a few) between now and then.). 

The First Recorded Recipe Used Sponge Cake

The first ice cream sandwiches started showing up in the 1890s, and the first recorded recipe called for sponge cakes as the outer sandwich “slices.” We don’t know for certain the exact when, where, or who elements of the true “invention,” but doesn’t a little mystery make them taste even better?

An 1894 recipe is the first written account of this sweet treat, and it explained the creation as vanilla ice cream stuffed between two slices of sponge cake. Sweet, fluffy sponge cake and creamy vanilla bean ice cream? This sounds incredible; someone should bring this back into fashion ASAP.

So, if ice cream sandwiches started out using cakes as the outside, how did we get to cookies?

For the first 30 years, ice cream sandwiches were being enjoyed with sponge cake, chocolate wafers, and other types of biscuits. Today, the “default” ice cream sandwich is assumed to be made with cookies as the outside layers, and we have San Francisco to thank for this. 

In 1928 an ice cream vendor (and apparent genius) decided to put a scoop of ice cream between two oatmeal cookies. But get this, he didn’t stop there; he then dipped the whole thing in chocolate. Wow. 

The chocolate dip didn’t really catch on (it’s a lot more work, you know?) but using cookies definitely did. Cookies became the new favorite “outside material,” and this allows for so many more combinations of sandwich design. Thank you, California. 

Ice Cream Sandwiches Made Their First Move in New York City

A trip down memory lane brings us to New York City. Ice cream sandwiches started building a name for themselves in 1900 when a street vendor began selling them in the Bowery neighborhood, NY. 

This particular sandwich consisted of vanilla ice cream between two graham crackers and was sold for a single penny. This one-coin transaction model made selling the sandwiches speedy and efficient, allowing the vendor to serve many customers at once and not having to bother with change. And yes, efficiency mattered because obviously, the lineup was always around the block. 

Other Countries Have Put Their Own Twist On It

The classic ice cream sandwich as we know it – vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies – is the all-American way (and technically the “actual” way, since we invented it). Still, other countries have made their own variations, too. 

In Iran, there’s the bastani-e nooni, meaning “bread-ice cream,” which is made with Persian ice cream (usually saffron) between two syrup-flavored wafers. In Vietnam, street vendors sell bánh mì kẹp kem, a sweet treat of smashed ice cream between slices of bread, commonly topped with nuts. In Japan, taiyaki is a fish-shaped “cake” filled with soft serve. 

Ice cream sandwiches are loved worldwide by countries like Australia, Israel, Singapore, Germany, Uruguay, and so many more. Ice cream doesn’t discriminate; ice cream is all about love, and we’re yet to find a geographic version of this sandwich that we don’t love, too. 

They Can Be Plant-based

Ice cream sandwiches are highly adaptable; they can be cool, creamy, and cream-less!

America has been shifting towards ditching dairy for a few years now, and it’s increasingly becoming a “get on board or get left behind” type of thing for several food producers. Just a few years ago, coming across anything dairy-free was few and far between, but times are changing; just about every dairy product under the sun now has a dairy-free alternative, including ice cream sandwiches.

It’s pretty simple, really; vegan ice cream substitutes traditional ice cream, and for the outer cookies, there are so many wonderful plant-based cookies on the market to choose from. With everyone spending more time at home these days, you may even want to try making homemade vegan ice cream! It’s easier than you might think, makes healthier ice cream, and is a fun activity to do with friends or family. (Pro tip: it’s all about the mix-ins – think outside the box, be creative, and be curious to try something new!). 

Life Is Better with Ice Cream

Here’s another fun fact: Summer is right around the corner, and nothing says summer quite like an ice cream sandwich does.

Try switching it up this summer and stepping outside the vanilla-ice-cream-chocolate-chip-cookie sandwich box. There are too many mouth-watering flavors and combinations in the world to limit yourself to basic sandwich compositions. 

Maybe you want to invite your best friend over and make an activity of homemade ice cream sandwich making. If you’re feeling adventurous and creative, how about trying the OG method of dipping your sandwich into melted chocolate? Mmm, even the thought of a crunchy outside layer of chocolate makes tummies grumble. 

Aren’t you excited to share your new ice cream knowledge the next time you’re enjoying this cool, sweet treat with friends or family? This is your sign to plan an ice cream date in the near future. 

There are two types of people in this world, those who think the inside (ice cream) is the best part, and those who think the outside (sandwich layers) is the best part. Which team are you on? 



National Ice Cream Sandwich Day | National Today 

Teriyaki Ice Cream is the Fish-Shaped Japanese Ice Cream Cones | Thrillist

The Story of the Bánh Mí | Backpackerlee