Homemade Turtle Sundae Recipe – Easy Ice Cream Sundae!

It’s simple to make a Turtle Sundae at home using your favorite ice cream and a few tasty toppings. Enjoy the iconic Turtle chocolate candy but in ice cream sundae form! If you love a good Dairy Queen Turtle Sundae, you’ll be thrilled to learn how to make your own at home.

A small turtle sundae in a footed glass dish.

Why is this called a Turtle Sundae? I promise that no turtles were harmed in the making of this tasty dessert! In fact, the Turtle Sundae is named for turtle candy.

A “turtle” is made from soft caramel. Four pecans are added to the caramel and then the whole thing is topped with chocolate. The nuts look like legs, and the chocolate and caramel make a turtle shell-like shape.

So, to replicate all of that goodness and make it into a classic turtle sundae, we’re adding caramel sauce, hot fudge, and chopped pecans to a big bowl of ice cream and we’re topping it with a maraschino cherry.

It’s a combination of a hot fudge sundae and a caramel sundae, and it’s delicious.

The Best Turtle Sundae Recipe

You can make this recipe using store-bought ice cream and syrups, but for a really amazing dessert, consider making your own ice cream and toppings from scratch.

My Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe is perfect for sundaes. No Churn Vanilla Ice Cream also works. Grab my easy recipes for Fudge Sauce and Caramel Sauce while you’re looking around.

The ingredients in a turtle sundae, viewed from overhead, including pecans, caramel, and ice cream.

Ingredients You’ll Need

The formula for making a turtle sundae is simple: Ice cream + Caramel + Chocolate + Nuts. Whipped cream and a cherry complete the perfect dessert!

  • Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream – Vanilla is always the perfect backdrop for a sundae packed with tasty toppings. You might also enjoy this with chocolate ice cream. Each sundae should start with 2 or 3 scoops, depending on how hungry you are.
  • Caramel Sauce and Fudge Sauce – Sweet, salty, and buttery hot caramel is just divine when paired with rich hot fudge. You can also add any of your favorite toppings.
  • Pecans – While you can add any kind of nuts to an ice cream sundae, pecans are the traditional nuts used to make turtles.
  • Toppings – Whipped cream and maraschino cherries, please! If you’re feeling extra fun, add some sprinkles too.

For the complete list of ingredients and instructions on how to make a turtle sundae, please see the recipe below.

a turtle sundae in a glass dish with a cherry on top

How to Heat Toppings for Ice Cream

If you’re using store-bought hot fudge and caramel sauce, check the instructions on the bottle for the proper instructions. Typically, the instructions say to put the toppings in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50% power for 15 seconds. Stir the sauce, and repeat the process if needed.

Do I Need to Heat Hot Fudge and Caramel?

It’s really up to you! Most fudge sauces and caramel sauces are pourable or thin enough to be drizzled at room temperature, so it’s not entirely necessary to heat them up. You can also use dark chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup.

Some may like the contrast between the hot toppings and the cold ice cream, while others are happy to have everything in their sundae cold.

Tips for Making This Turtle Sundae Recipe

  • Keep the Ice Cream In the Freezer – While you’re getting ready to make ice cream sundaes, be sure to keep your ice cream in the freezer until the very last minute. If you pull it out first, it will get too soft while you prepare the other sundae toppings.
  • Toast the Pecans – To get the best flavor from the nuts, toast them gently in a dry frying pan before adding them to the sundae.
  • Drizzle – When you’re adding caramel sauce or hot fudge to an ice cream sundae, use a spoon or even a piping bag to drizzle the syrup over the ice cream. You want some of that sauce in every bite! If you like extra fudge on your sundae, you can drizzle fudge on the inside of the glass as well.
  • Get Creative with Sundae Bowls – You don’t need any fancy dessert dishes to make ice cream sundaes! They will be just as delicious if you make them in cereal bowls, coffee mugs, or a pint glass.
homemade caramel nut sundae, viewed from above.

More Homemade Ice Cream Desserts

Whether you love making ice cream from scratch or would prefer to buy your ice cream already made, there are so many fun desserts you can make with it!

You can even add scoops of ice cream to a chocolate chip Pizookie or a delightfully easy Pumpkin Pie without Evaporated Milk.

LET’S GET SOCIAL, you can follow us on Pinterest or leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Did you make a Turtle Sundae using this recipe? Leave a Comment Below letting us know what you thought and if you added any additional add-ins.

A glass bowl filled with a chocolate caramel ice cream sundae, topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, and two maraschino cherries. More ice cream sundaes of different varieties are in the background.

Ice Cream Sundae

Yield: 1 sundae
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Learn how to make the very best ice cream sundae with this easy tutorial and helpful tips and tricks.


  • 1 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • 1 tbsp caramel sauce
  • 2-3 scoops ice cream of choice
  • ¼ cup whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp salted nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp rainbow sprinkles
  • 1 maraschino cherry


  1. Drizzle the inside of the sundae glass with chocolate syrup and caramel sauce. 
  2. Place 2-3 scoops of ice cream of choice into the glass. 
  3. Top with whipped cream. 
  4. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and sprinkles. 
  5. Top with a maraschino cherry. 
  6. Serve immediately.


    • While you're getting ready to make ice cream sundaes, be sure to keep your ice cream in the freezer until the very last minute. If you pull it out first, it will get too soft while you prepare the other sundae toppings.
    • When you're adding syrups to an ice cream sundae, use a spoon or even a piping bag to drizzle the syrup around the inside of the glass and over the ice cream. You want some of that sauce in every bite!
    • If you drizzle the sauces around the glass well, it's not even necessary to add sauce to the top of the sundae.
    • You don't need fancy dessert dishes to make fun ice cream sundaes. Try making them in a coffee mug, pint glass, or a regular cereal bowl.
    • Try other toppings! See the post for a giant list of sundae topping ideas. Choose 1 to 2 different sauces or syrups, and as many other toppings as you can fit in your dish!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 788Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 4gSugar: 74gProtein: 14g

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