Ice Cream Float Recipe

Ice Cream Floats in glasses

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Yield: 2 floats
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
967 Calories
50g Fat
129g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 967
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 64%
Saturated Fat 32g 159%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 143mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 129g 47%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 127g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 193mg 15%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 253mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

Ice Cream Float Recipe/Tester Image

"The easy cinnamon syrup and whipped cream make these floats more decadent and special than the usual two-ingredient versions. And it doesn't take that much more effort. The cinnamon syrup really enhanced the flavor of the root beer. Be sure to use the biggest glass you can find, or use a little less soda." —Danielle Centoni

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 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 confectioners' sugar

  • 1/2 pint vanilla ice cream

  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ice Cream Float ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Pour the root beer into 2 large, tall glasses. Place the glasses in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This lets off a little of the carbonation so it won’t overly fizz when the ice cream is added.

    Root beer in glasses

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and water to a small saucepan. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the mixture is thickened and syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.

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

    Sugar, cinnamon, and water to a small saucepan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the heavy cream and powdered sugar to a bowl and whip with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Don’t over mix or you will end up with butter rather than whipped cream.

    Whipped heavy cream with powdered sugar in a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Add two to three scoops of ice cream to each glass.

    Ice Cream Float floats in glasses

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Top with the whipped cream and drizzle the cinnamon syrup on top. Add the cherry, if using. Serve immediately, with a straw and a long spoon.

    Ice Cream Float garnished with cinnamon syrup and cherries

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    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 other flavors. Chocolate ice cream works well dark sodas, and strawberry or other fruit-forward ice creams work well with lemon-lime sodas.
    • You can 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.