Layers of fresh banana, ice cream, hot fudge, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. It’s the ultimate summer dessert.

The Ultimate Banana Split

The heat this summer is relentless. We’ve been trying to escape it as much as possible, whether it’s to the fountain at the park or an afternoon hike through the mountains. A few Sundays ago we decided to take a drive through some mountain passes and ended up in a small town cafe, where we enjoyed an old-fashioned banana split out on the patio.

It was nostalgic and delicious. I can’t remember the last time I had one. Before we had even licked the bowl clean, I was plotting to make my own ultimate banana split.

The Ultimate Banana Split

Sure, I could have taken the easy way out— just purchased everything from the grocery store and assembled it at home. But where’s the fun in that? I did cheat and use store-bought ice cream though, because I didn’t want to do that many dishes.

“Ultimate” is definitely the right word to describe this treat, as it holds nothing back. Bananas topped with ice cream, topped with hot fudge and strawberry sauce, topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and nuts, and finally finished with a cherry. Whew! You’ll think you’ve died and gone to ice cream heaven.

The Ultimate Banana Split

Now that I’ve let the banana split back into my life, I don’t think it’s ever leaving.

The Ultimate Banana Split The Ultimate Banana Split

The Ultimate Banana Split
Layers of fresh banana, ice cream, hot fudge, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. It's the ultimate summer dessert.
Yield: 2 generous servings
For the banana splits:
  • 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 scoops strawberry ice cream
  • Hot fudge sauce, recipe follows
  • Strawberry sauce, recipe follows
  • Whipped cream, recipe follows
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sprinkles
  • Maraschino cherries
For the hot fudge:
  • ¼ cup (21 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, not dutch process
  • ⅓ cup (71 grams) dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (115 ml) light corn syrup
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the strawberry sauce:
  • 1 pound (455 grams) strawberries, hulled
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grand marnier or other orange liqueur (optional)
For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup (237 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the fudge sauce:
  1. Combine the cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, salt, and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
  2. Serve warm. Store leftovers in the fridge.
To make the strawberry sauce:
  1. Purée the strawberries and lemon juice. Pour into a small saucepan and add the sugar and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add the orange liqueur, if using.
  2. Serve warm or cold. Store leftovers in the fridge.
To make the whipped cream:
  1. Beat the heavy whipping cream until thickened. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat just to stiff peaks. Use immediately.
To assemble the banana splits:
  1. In either 2 small bowls or 1 larger bowl, lay down the sliced bananas. Cover with the scoops of ice cream. Drizzle with hot fudge and strawberry sauce. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with nuts and sprinkles. Place a maraschino cherry on top. Serve immediately.
The hot fudge sauce is adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook.

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16 Responses to The Ultimate Banana Split

  1. Gorgeous Banana Split, Annalise! Love the photos, too. Nothing like sharing banana splits in the summertime, whilst enjoying the outdoor breeze. So nostalgic and always hits the spot! Thanks for sharing! xo

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks Stacy! I was so happy to stumble across one again after so many years without banana splits to make my summers complete. Never again!

  2. Sarah says:

    UMMMMM. This looks like the banana split of mah dreamz! I want someone to give me one of these, when they ask me to marry him.

  3. This really is the perfect sundae! Awesome recipe!

  4. Oh Damn. I need to make this right now. I have never had a traditional ice cream spilt before! I have not lived until I make this.

  5. Oh, banana split! It’s probably one of the first American desserts I had heard of back to the times when I started getting interested in cooking! Actually I’ve never tried it myself but I think the time has finally come!

    xo, Elisa

  6. carrian says:

    We so need to do this. We have a little voice always begging for banana splits and we have yet to do it!

  7. I have not had a banana split in years and this looks like it’s the time to break that dry spell!

  8. This sounds DIVINE! But I have to tell you I can not eat a banana split without pineapple topping, I love the way it mixes with the chocolate and the strawberry topping to me it’s not a banana split without it. I am saving your recipe and maybe will try to come up with my own home made pineapple topping to add to it. No store bought toppings for me, just not the same. I am so hooked on Sonic’s real ice cream Pineapple sundaes that store bought pineapple topping just doesn’t do the trick anymore. So thanks for posting, and will save until I can find a recipe for the pineapple topping.

    • Annalise says:

      How could I overlook the pineapple topping?! While I haven’t had it on top of all of the banana splits I’ve enjoyed, it really does add a certain something. Let me know if you find a good recipe for a homemade topping, I’d love to try it. And my apologies on the oversight!

  9. Nessa says:

    On my god! This is amazing 🙂

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