HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Ice Cream: Thoughts on Cones

Was at an ice cream stand in Southern NH last night, watching a parade of cones go by me as I demurely ate my sugar free Italian ice.

Waffle cones, waffle bowls, chocolate chip cones...the whole nine yards.

When I was a little girl, the "plain" cone was what my family ordered at ice cream stands. Its airy, flaky texture and neutral flavor were a good foil to the homemade (in house) ice creams in sweet flavors like native strawberry, blueberry, etc.

I first discovered the sugar cone from an ice cream truck--the "king Cone" that came fully formed, in a sugar cone with a chocolate "stopper" at the lower tip. I used to order the sugar cone when I ordered a slightly "salty" ice cream flavor, like tangy lime sherbet.

Do you have a cone preference? Does your preference vary by ice cream flavor? Nowadays, I'm an Italian-ice-in-a-cup gal, but when I saw the stand charging 4 bucks for a waffle bowl, I had to ask the 'Hounds.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I love the good old fashioned sugar cones. I love how they taste with strawberry ice cream. A marshmallow makes a good stopper too!

    I like waffle cones, but depending on the flavor and size of them, they can overwhelm the ice cream if you're just getting a scoop or two. Waffle bowls sound great for banana splits or tin roof sundaes though! :)

    1 Reply
    1. Kids like cones; adults don't generally want to waste the calories.

      1. even as a kid I wasn't a big fan of cones. If a cone was the only option, and I had a choice I'd get the sugar cone.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jujuthomas

          I still enjoy a cake cone (the non-sugar variety). Sugar was always too ... sweet.

          1. re: jujuthomas

            Ditto. I am not a big fan of crunchy sweets/cookies in general, and cones definitely fall in that category. Cake cones taste like styrofoam to me, so I prefer sugar cones, but generally speaking I go for a cup if at all possible.

          2. I love both. I love how the sugar cones add sweetness to ice cream, and also love the contrast of the plain cone and sweetness of ice cream.

            1. When I was a kid, I used to like to bite a hole in the bottom of the cone and then try to eat all the ice cream quickly before it started melting and dripping out. For some reason, that really pissed off my mom.

              Nowadays, I'd rather have my ice cream/Italian ice/gelato in a nice safe cup or bowl, to avoid any danger of dripping.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                I used to do that, too! My mother would say "Could you eat like a human being?"

                The sugar cones in our area come with paper wrappers on the lower half...we would just wrap a napkin around ours back in the day, but I'm sure it's for sanitary reasons. Anyway, at our local stand they have a "doggie sundae" which is simply a small dollop of vanilla soft serve with a sugar cone and a Milkbone stuck on top. I could.not.peel.off. that paper cleanly for the life of me. The dog had a couple of bites from the top of the cone and the Milkbone, and the rest went in the trash. The paper wouldn't have killed him, but still. Not nice.

                So that's another thumbs up on the bowl/cup.

                1. re: pinehurst

                  Is the sugar okay for dogs? My husband loves to buy the dog ice cream from Kroger and they love it.

                  1. re: holypeaches

                    Probably bad for their teeth. Does your dog get dental checkups?

                  2. re: pinehurst

                    It's a 2-3 times a summer thing, usually once at an ice cream stand and once with the McDonald's soft serve.. Yes, he's a hound, and a lot of hound breds (esp sight hounds) need to get regular dental checkups, moreso even than other breeds. I also brush his teeth, but that's because he's spoiled rotten, OT.

                    1. re: pinehurst

                      In our house weekly brushing with bacon flavored paste is mandatory. As an owner of small breeds, typically meaning longer life, teeth has been an issue. Fortunately (not really) I no longer have the hair brushing "project" (3 Pomeranians simultaneously).

                2. I like sugar cones for hard ice cream and cake cones for soft serve. I find that the cake cones break when the scoopp on hard ice cream is pressed in.

                  That said. I detest cones that are pre-wrapped with paper. It is a pin to peel and bits stick to the cone.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bagelman01

                    do you mean you need a pin to peel it:)

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      Completely agree. Cale for soft serve, sugar for hand dipped, ice cream or custard.

                      Sprinkles (jimmies, shots) only on soft serve.

                      1. re: melpy

                        Agreed re: Sprinkles. For me, only rainbow, and only in vanilla soft serve. Dairy Queen does it best.

                    2. I'm a boring adult, and I get it in a cup. I'll occasionally eat a waffle cone or the regular cone, but that's pretty rare. Cones are messy for me because I'm not a fast eater.

                      I do hate those cheap cones. They have the flat bottoms, and taste like nothing.

                      1. There is a place here where I live that serves homemade ice cream in a variety of cones, most notably a pretzel cone. The salty cone with the ice cream works really well together. Sometimes the cone can be baked a little too hard, though.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: deeman

                          i would love to try a pretzel cone! I'll have to keep an eye out at our local shops.

                        2. the one with the chocolate "stopper"

                          1. Sugar cone with three scoops of jamocha almond fudge, please.

                            1. What is the difference between sugar cones and waffle cones? I like the ones that are slightly sweet, crunchy, conical, and pointy. No waffled texture like on the bowls. Is that a sugar fine?

                              Like bagelman, I also don't mind the cake cup "cones" for soft serve.. but never for hand dipped!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                The waffle cones are thicker and more toothsome, I think, but taste similar to sugar cones.

                                Bagelman and you both have a good point about the cake cup cones for soft serve. Only peeve with these was when the server didn't make an attempt to "fill" the cone, so all the soft serve sat on top of the cone. Really disappointing to get past the lip of a flaky cake cone and bite into nuthin but air.

                              2. When I was a kid it was sugar cone upside down in a cup.

                                  1. A vote for the old-fashioned cake cone, if that's what you're calling the basic one from the past 6 decades. I do, however, have a soft spot for Drumsticks and their chewy waffle cones. There's just something, in both cases, about the textural contrast. Ice cream in a dish is a different animal.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Sugar cone. I like the crunch.

                                      The idea of a chocolate inner lining sounds good, but I know know about the chocolate stopper. Part of the fun of eating an ice cream cone is biting off the bottom and sucking the ice cream through the bottom.

                                      1. We grew up with sugar cones and they are still my favorite today. The plain cones were only for soft serve but they really have no flavor. Now that I'm older I can't eat as fast so I get ice cream in a cup with a cone on top so I can fill the cone myself.

                                        1. If the ice cream shop makes their own waffle cones on site, then I go with that. Otherwise, I choose sugar cones. Cake cones are only for McD's and Dairy Queen.

                                          1. Recently, I ordered a cone that was made from pretzel dough. The ice cream didn't soften the cone at all and eating the cone after the ice cream was gone wasn't all that enjoyable. So for me, a pretzel cones was a fail.

                                            I don't have a cone preference but then I realized at some point more of the frozen good stuff (the dispensed portion) comes in a cup.

                                            1. I like to lick ice cream rather than spoon it so cone is preferable. I had a reaction to the stabilizer in cake cones as a kid, however, and stopped eating them : -(. Now I get the cake cone, lick the goodness off the top and use a small spoon to get whatever's hiding in the bottom. Cone goes in the bin.