Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

By Ann Fulton

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these crowd-pleasing treats are easy to make and will be the star of any party or potluck!  
Jump to Recipe

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  


Who doesn’t love a classic ice cream sandwich? The memory alone takes me back to my childhood. It was the perfect summer treat and exactly what I wanted when I heard the distant melody of the ice cream truck. 🎶

As it turns out, chewy, fudgy brownies have the potential to create (dare I say?) an even better ice cream sandwich. Plus, they’re easy to make with minimal ingredients, can be made in advance, and customized to taste.

The bars taste like a handheld brownie sundae and are sure to be the star of birthday parties, backyard barbecues, and festive occasions throughout the year. They also have a good freezer life – perfect for stashing in the freezer and enjoying when dessert cravings call.  

As I type, I’m planning an 80th birthday cookout for my mom in a few days. Last week, I made a double batch of these tasty bars, gluten-free and regular, with a variety of ice creams I knew would make everyone happy.

I stored them in my chest freezer, and then…

…when I opened the freezer yesterday to retrieve something, water ran off the lid. Not a good sign!

I quickly discovered that everything had thawed. Sure enough, the freezer, which did have a long life (it belonged to my husband’s grandmother!) had taken its last breath. 

It pained me to lose much of the food, but coincidently, my younger son came home from his summer job later that day and asked if he could have some friends over for a cookout that evening. He said he’d go to the store to get what was needed.

But as luck would have it, there were thick steaks and a package of sausages that weren’t fully thawed, so I knew they were safe to eat – even a package of brioche hot dog rolls.

What are the chances he’d plan an impromptu cookout on the day this happened? A silver lining in the messy ordeal…and we have a new freezer on the way! 

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

This dessert also makes it easy to cater to family members or guests with various eating preferences and dietary restrictions, as it’s easy to make dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free versions that everyone will love.

A quick photo overview of the process: 

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

The simplest of ingredients create a crowd-pleasing dessert! Use a favorite box brownie mix or a homemade recipe. Just be sure to use one that is designed to be baked in an 8×8 pan – and then distribute the batter over TWO 8×8 pans to get the right thickness. Alternatively, one 9×13 pan or two 9-inch cake pans could be used.

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

Freezing the brownies before assembly prevents the softened ice cream from melting as quickly. The frozen brownies are also easier to handle. 

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

After the ice cream is scooped over the surface of the brownie – remember to have the good side of the bottom brownie facing the counter – smooth the ice cream into an even layer, right up to the edges of the brownie.

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

Then place the second brownie, good side facing up, on top.

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

Lightly press on the top brownie, and then smooth the edges with a dinner knife. Pro tip: Once the sandwich is frozen hard, you can fill in any gaps with some of the remaining ice cream. I think it’s easier to do that rather than worry about perfection when initially spreading the softened ice cream. Do allow the edges to firm up again before slicing.

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

You could dip the edges in sprinkles, but I seldom do as the ice cream sandwiches taste delicious as is. 

Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

Vanilla is classic, but you can customize these handheld treats with your ice cream of choice. When entertaining, it’s fun to make several batches using a variety of flavors. It keeps everyone happy and looks pretty!

If you make this recipe, please comment and give it a 5-star review if you deem worthy. The feedback is always appreciated! 💚

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Prep Time: 30 minutes + cooling/freezing time
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes + cooling/freezing time
Yield: 10 ice cream sandwiches (may cut into 9 squares or smaller bites)
Best described as a handheld brownie sundae, these make-ahead treats will be the star of any party or potluck!  

Be sure to use a box mix or homemade brownie recipe designed to be baked in an 8-inch square pan. For these ice cream sandwiches, I double the baking surface to create brownies that are half the usual thickness. This makes a perfect top and bottom layer and is much easier than evenly slicing a standard batch of brownies in half.
  • Brownie box mix (plus egg, oil, and water to make it) or homemade recipe designed for an 8-inch pan
  • 15 ounces (or a little over 3 cups) vanilla, mint chocolate chip, or favorite ice cream flavor (about ½ a 1.44 quart container – you can eyeball)

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line two 8-inch square baking pans or a 13×9 metal baking pan with parchment paper, creasing well at the edges and corners and leaving enough overhang on the sides to lift the brownies out when cooked.

In a mixing bowl, prepare the brownies according to the box or recipe directions.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s), smoothing it into an even layer with a rubber spatula or the back of a standard spoon. (If using two 8-inch pans, add half the batter to each pan. If you only have one 8-inch pan, you may bake in 2 batches. Just take care to make them even.)

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until set in the middle. (Tip: Many people like to undercook brownies, but for ease of working with and best texture once frozen, you want these to be fully cooked – yet not too firm around the edges, which can make the sandwiches difficult to cut and eat.) Remove the brownies from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes in the pan. Freeze the brownies in pan, uncovered, until completely cool, at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. You could freezer longer but cover after an hour or so. Freezing the brownies now simply makes them less pliable/more sturdy to work with and prevents the ice cream from melting as quickly during assembly.

Once chilled, lift the brownies out of the pan. Remove the parchment, but for easier transfer later, keep a sheet of parchment under the brownie during assembly. If you used the 9×13 pan, cut the brownie in half so you have two squares.

Meanwhile, just before removing the brownies from the freezer, remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften. Depending on freezer and room temperature, this usually takes 5-10 minutes.

Place one brownie square (good side down) on another piece of parchment, cardboard, a cutting board, or back in the baking pan (this will make transfer back to the freezer easier) and scoop the softened ice cream onto the brownie. Using a spatula or back or a spoon, quickly spread it into a thick and even layer.

Carefully place the other piece of brownie on top of the ice cream, good side up, making sure the edges line up. Gently press it into the ice cream to help it stick.

Return to the freezer, making sure it sits flat, cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 6 hours – overnight is best – and up to 1 week. Pro tip: If you’d like really clean edges, when firm, soften a little extra ice cream and fill in any gaps along the sides.

Once firm, place the brownie on a cutting board and, with a long, sharp knife, cut into 10 bars, 9 squares, or whatever your desired bar size may be. Tips: For clean cuts, it’s helpful to rinse the knife in hot water—and quickly dry—in between cuts. Also, remember that you can put the bars back in the freezer if at any point the ice cream becomes too soft.

Enjoy immediately or wrap each sandwich individually and return to the freezer.

Storage: Wrap each sandwich individually in parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap, and then store in a zip-top bag or airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month. They will likely keep longer if they are well wrapped and stored in the bottom/back of the freezer, where the temperature tends to stay constant and discourage freezer burn. If they’re frozen hard, let the sandwiches sit at room temperature for a few minutes before enjoying.

Notes & Tips

For a hint of salty-sweetness, very lightly but evenly sprinkle the surface of the brownies with flaky sea salt before baking.

Helpful hint: Once assembled, give the brownies sufficient time to freeze. That way, they will slice into neat rectangles or squares and the ice cream won’t ooze out when cutting.

Ice cream details: Premium ice creams with a higher butter fat level will freeze harder, so I recommend a grocery store brand like Turkey Hill or Edy’s. Non-dairy ice cream may certainly be used.

For a gluten-free dessert, I use my homemade brownies (the base recipe without the Halloween candy option in the linked recipe; a handful of chocolate chips mixed into the batter is fair game though) and use a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour like King Arthur Flour’s Measure for Measure.

When using a store-bought brownie mix, I typically use Ghirardelli brand although all the major brands will work well. For proper thickness, just be sure to use the 8×8 size.

More On YouTube More on Instagram
Tried this recipe?Post a picture on instagram and we will repost it! Mention @fountainavenuekitchen or tag #fountainavenuekitchen!
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

More popular make-ahead, frozen dessert ideas…

Everyone loves a chipwich, so why not make it easier – and more fun – by making a sheet panful? There's even a simple trick for a cookie that isn't rock hard when frozen, and the science behind it is fascinating! 

Chipwich Bars offer another crowd-pleasing, make-ahead dessert, and this recipe offers a trick that prevents the cookies from freezing rock hard. Interestingly, most traditional brownie recipes don’t freeze as hard as chocolate chip cookies do.

Easy Mud Pie-A true winner! The quick homemade crust adds something special (and allows for a gluten-free option) but a store-bought cookie crust works well, too

Easy Mud Pie is perfect as is, but you can fill the foolproof Oreo crust with your favorite ice creams and toppings for an endless array of cold treats. Gluten-free Oreos work perfectly for those who need a GF option.

Guaranteed to be the hit of the party, this copycat of my favorite Dairy Queen ice cream cake includes fudge filling, chocolate crunchies, and all. There’s also a worthy gluten-free option for those who need it—and nobody will detect a difference!

My Copycat Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake is yet another longtime favorite with family and friends. Again, you may use gluten-free Oreos and ice cream flavors as needed. 

Leave a Reply

Make it? Rate the recipe:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *