Banana Split Ice Cream Dessert History, Origins & Best Toppings

Banana Split Ice Cream Dessert

What earned the banana split its sugary prestige? It has been a delicious treat on a warm summer's evening and the ideal dessert to enjoy on a date. This dish is not only delicious, but it does have a long history that includes a good bit of controversy. The debate over who created the banana split has raged for years, but who discovered this delicious treat may not be proven (or recognized, based on someone's viewpoint).


What is a Banana Split? 

A banana split is an ice cream-based American delicacy made with a peeled banana sliced in two vertically and ice cream and sauce sandwiched between the two halves. Although there are numerous variants, the standard banana split consists of three scoops of ice cream (one each of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry). The ice cream is poured with a sauce or sauces (traditionally chocolate, strawberry, and pineapple), then finished with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Crushed nuts (usually peanuts or walnuts) are also an option.

The Original Recipe 

The classic banana split consisted of three servings of ice cream, garnished with fruit, and given atop a banana that had been split lengthwise down the center. Cherries, strawberries, and smashed pineapple were used in the original recipe, along with marshmallow sauce, chopped almonds, and sliced black cherries. The banana split was typically served in a "boat," which is an extended glass dish.

The Origin of Banana Split 

The banana split origin is debated, although most historians think it was invented in 1904 by David "Doc" Strickler, an ophthalmologist in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Strickler was influenced by the fruit-laden sundaes he could see while holidaying in Atlantic City throughout the warmer months of 1904, and aspired to make anything similar once he came back to Latrobe, using bananas that were shipped to Pennsylvania via New Orleans at the time. 

The sundae he invented cost ten cents at first, double the price of ordinary sundaes, and it became popular among students at neighboring Saint Vincent College. The arrival of a new sundae type immediately spread via word of mouth and mail, and it eventually went far beyond Latrobe. Strickler later purchased the drugstore and renamed it Strickler's Pharmacy, while maintaining his desk on the upper floor.

The History of Banana Split

When soda fountains started serving ice cream combinations in the mid-1800s, cold drinks and ice cream remained just a luxury. A famous 1907 recipe asked for a vertically sliced banana, 2 scoops of ice cream at each end, a dollop of whipped cream in the middle, and a maraschino cherry as topping, with crushed mixed nuts on one side and minced mixed fruits from the other. 

In 1919, the Spatula Soda Water Guide included recipes for 25 different banana split variants. Wilmington, Ohio, also has a history going back to 1907, when Ernest "Doc" Hazard devised a dessert to lure Wilmington College students to his store during the winter months. The banana split is a dessert that comprises of 3 scoops of ice cream sandwiched between two sides of a split banana and covered with chocolate, strawberry, and pineapple syrup, whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and almonds.

Best Banana Split Recipes & Toppings

American Style Banana Split Recipe
This recipe is from Giallo Zafferano and is ver easy to make.. You will need a scoop of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. Topping and garnishes: Whipped cream, strawberry jam, 3 candied cherries, chopped hazelnuts and dark chocolate flakes.

Classic Banana Split With Marsh Mellow Topping
All American Banana Split topped with whipped cream, peanuts, baby marshmallows, and cherries. Great recipe clip from Cook n' Share.

Banana Split Recipe From Bernstein's Ice Cream Parlor
Step by step instructions on how they make a banana split.. She added pineapple on top of the vanilla ice cream, strawberry puree on top of the strawberry and chocolate sauce on the chocolate ice cream.. Top it with whip cream, chopped almonds and cherries and OMG!!


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