The True Origin Of Dippin' Dots

If you're a millennial, you likely grew up looking forward to having Dippin' Dots. The delightfully little dots of ice cream were filled with flavors like strawberry, vanilla, and fan-favorite banana split. Many of us would look forward to going to an amusement park on a sunny day, just so we could have a cup of that freeze-dried ice cream. The little cold dots would stick to your tongue and slowly melt in your mouth, which was like nothing many of us had ever tasted before. So how exactly was this fun dessert created?

If you were a 90s kid, you might be surprised to learn that Dippin' Dots were actually invented in the 80s. The idea first came to microbiologist Curt Jones in 1987, according to Serious Eats. Working in cryogenics at the time, Jones was flash-freezing animal food. "He kind of had his eureka moment when he was explaining the technology to his family," said Dippin' Dots' senior director of sales, Adam Gross. "He said, 'You know, if I were to put the same process to ice cream mix, I could create an ice cream bead.' And then the light bulb went off for him." The new type of process involved taking drops of ice cream and dripping it into liquid nitrogen, which is called cryogenic encapsulation. Thrillist reports there's a whopping 2,000 Dippin' Dots in just a five-ounce cup.

Dippin' Dots had a rough start

Once Jones perfected this method, he and his wife opened the first Dippin' Dots in Lexington, Ky (via Serious Eats). Unfortunately, the storefront didn't drum up enough business and had to close just nine months later. However, in 1989, a family member came up with a genius idea to bring it to a Nashville theme park. It started gaining attention there and in 1991, the Joneses came up with a game-changing slogan: "ice cream of the future." The next year, Dippin' Dots was being offered at Kennedy Space Center, and people formed lines to try the coveted new treat.

From there, customers were scrambling to get their hands on it and it started being sold at sports stadiums, water parks, and even shopping centers. At the end of the 90s, the company offered anywhere from 25 to 30 different flavor options, including cookies and cream. The company reached its peak in 2006 when it was selling a staggering $47 million worth of ice cream. The company still exists today and if after reading this, you're feeling nostalgic and want some Dippin' Dots your own, you're in luck. You can have Dippin' Dots ordered right to your door from their site — you're welcome!