Ice Cream Float

ice cream float

 The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 2 servings)
Yield: 2 floats

Ice cream floats are an iconic American treat that will take you right back to your childhood. You may have enjoyed one at your favorite diner or fast-food restaurant, but you can always enjoy them right in the comfort of your own home. 

We spiced up the traditional root beer float by adding a quick and easy homemade cinnamon syrup. It’s sweet and spicy and goes perfectly with the flavor of the root beer. Top it off with homemade whipped cream and a maraschino cherry for a nostalgic dessert.


  • 2 (12-ounce) bottles root beer (or any other soda of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream
  • Maraschino cherries 

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ice cream float ingredients
      The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  2. Open your bottles of root beer and pour them into two large glasses. Place the glasses in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the floats. This lets off a little of the carbonation so it won’t overly fizz when the ice cream is added.

    soda in a glass
      The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a small saucepan. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

    Remove from the pan from the heat and allow it to cool while you prepare the whipped cream.

    sugar syrup cooking in a pan
      The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  4. Add the heavy cream to a bowl and whip with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Then whip in the powdered sugar until just combined. Don’t over mix or you will end up with butter rather than whipped cream.

    whipped cream whipped in a bowl
      The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  5. Add two to three scoops of ice cream to each glass.

    ice cream in soda
      The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney
  6. Drizzle the cinnamon syrup on top. Then top with the whipped cream and cherry and serve immediately, with a straw and a long spoon.

    ice cream float
     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney 


Recipe Variations

  • There are many different variations for ice cream floats! Traditionally a dark soda like root beer or cola are used, but you can also make it with lemon-lime, orange soda, or even ginger ale. 
  • Vanilla ice cream is traditionally used, but you can also try out other flavors. Chocolate ice cream works well with dark sodas and strawberry or other fruit forward ice creams work well with lemon lime sodas.
  • You can also mix it up with different syrups. We love the cinnamon syrup with root beer because of root beer’s spiciness. But you could also pair it with chocolate syrup (sometimes referred to as a black cow). Add in vanilla syrup or strawberry syrup if you’re using lemon-lime soda.