Tin Roof Sundae

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Long before the “salty-sweet” craze that took over the culinary world several years ago, there was a delicious dessert called the tin roof sundae. This soda fountain classic of salty Spanish peanuts, vanilla ice cream, and warm hot fudge sauce, has been around for over 100 years. As a girl growing up in the 60s, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor served all sorts of fabulous ice cream treats.

Tin roof sundae.

While my brother would opt for the “trough”, or a banana split, I always chose the tin roof sundae. (This post was originally published on August 6th, 2013. Updated on July 10th, 2023. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)

Where did the tin roof sundae originate?

Legend has it that the original tin roof sundae was created in 1916 at the Potter Drug Co. in Potter, Nebraska. While the original “black and white tin roof” had both chocolate and vanilla ice cream and hot fudge and marshmallow sauce. Farrell’s tin roof sundae did not. Clearly Potter Drug is the original, but I think you’ll still enjoy this much simpler version.

Why is it called a “tin roof”?

How it got its name depends on which of the two stories you believe. One story claims it’s because of the tin ceiling in the drug store, and another says it’s because the stable across the street had a “tin roof”. Potter Sundry still exists today and you can still order a tin roof sundae!

Tin roof ice cream

Turkey Hill makes a tin roof ice cream and has the components I remember; vanilla ice cream, layers of fudge ripple and “choco peanuts”. Some versions have chocolate covered peanuts. Close, but not the same as a tin roof sundae.

Easy homemade hot fudge.

What’s in a tin roof sundae

  • Your favorite creamy vanilla ice cream. I love vanilla bean or French vanilla ice cream and always keep plain vanilla ice cream on hand for “emergency” desserts!
  • Red skinned or Spanish peanuts are key. Regular salted peanuts just don’t have the same impact as those salted Spanish peanuts.
  • Hot fudge or chocolate sauce. You can certainly purchase a good quality hot fudge or make your own chocolate sauce. Making your own means there won’t be any extra additives like high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavor.

The whole sundae is topped with real whipped cream, a scattering of red-skinned Spanish peanuts, and a maraschino cherry.

How to make a tin roof sundae

For each sundae, you’ll need two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Have the hot fudge and whipped cream ready.

  • It’s easier to get a perfect scoop, if you let the frozen ice cream sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  • Layer each sundae glass with some of the warm hot fudge.
  • Sprinkle some of the peanuts over the fudge, then add a scoop of ice cream.
  • Repeat.
  • Top the sundae with a swirl of fresh whipped cream and a cherry.

Ice cream sundae supplies

If you’re scooping out a lot of ice cream this summer, here are a few fun items to make your sundaes more fun!

If you’re like me and love the simplicity and versatility of vanilla ice cream, you might like these vanilla ice cream based desserts.

Tropical Bananas Foster is an impressive and easy dessert that takes less than ten minutes.

bananas foster.

Poire Belle Helene is another easy ice cream dessert that will have you dreaming of Paris.

Poire Belle Helene, poached pears with chocolate sauce

Raspberry Sherbet

raspberry sherbet in elegant glasses.

tin roof sundae.

Tin Roof Sundae

An American classic. This version is based on the Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor Tin Roof Sundae, with layers of hot fudge, rich vanilla ice cream, salty Spanish peanuts and fresh whipped cream.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 serving
Calories 886 kcal


  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/3 cup hot fudge sauce warmed
  • 1/4 cup Spanish or red skinned peanuts
  • 1/4 cup Whipped cream for garnish
  • 1 maraschino chery


  • Drizzle some of the hot fudge in the bottom or a sundae glass. Top with 1/3 of the Spanish peanuts and one scoop of vanilla ice cream. Repeat.
  • Top sundae with a swirl of fresh whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.


Serving: 1sundaeCalories: 886kcalCarbohydrates: 105gProtein: 20gFat: 45gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 616mgPotassium: 857mgFiber: 7gSugar: 66gVitamin A: 663IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 273mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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