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.
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.
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.
- 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!
- Tulip shaped sundae glasses. These classic sundae glasses will make you feel like you’re in the malt shop!
- Ice cream spoons. These are extra long, so you can get every last drop out of the bottom of the glass.
- Whipped cream maker. This gadget is perfect for making your own whipped cream. No artificial flavors or additives.
- Ice cream scoop. A really good ice cream scoop is a must!
- Maraschino cherries. Keep a jar in the fridge just for sundaes!
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.
Poire Belle Helene is another easy ice cream dessert that will have you dreaming of Paris.
Tin Roof Sundae
- 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.