Mini Ice Cream Cupcakes Recipe

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! That's especially true when summer hits, with its warm temperatures and steamy weather. Is there anything better than digging into your favorite pint of ice cream with a spoon or enjoying an ice cream cone from your favorite local shop? We have to agree that few things can truly compare to ice cream enjoyed on a hot summer day.

But what if we told you it was possible to take your love for ice cream up a notch, without all the effort involved in making it from scratch? You read that right. We're talking about a beautiful ice cream dessert that looks like it took a ton of time and effort to make. But in reality? Only 10 minutes of your time and effort is required!

With just four ingredients, plus all of your favorite toppings, you can whip up a batch of mini ice cream cupcakes at home that will be sure to impress. We promise that these charming, colorful bite-sized treats will be a hit, whether you're serving them for a backyard BBQ or simply making a cool treat for the family.

Gather the ingredients

The first step to making a batch of these mini ice cream cupcakes is to gather all of your ingredients ahead of time. After all, ice cream can melt fast! Having everything pre-measured and set out on the counter — a step often called mise en place in a chef's kitchen — will make the process of making these treats much smoother.

For this recipe, you'll need, two cups of Nilla Wafers crumbs, 5 tablespoons of melted butter, 3 cups of vanilla ice cream, and 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream. Of course, you'll also need your favorite ice cream toppings as well,l including maraschino cherries and rainbow sprinkles. We used vanilla ice cream for this recipe, but you can easily use another flavor option to switch it up as the mood strikes you, too!

Make the crust for your mini ice cream cupcakes

To get started on making these mini ice cream cupcakes, first pull the ice cream out of the freezer. You want it to set out to soften, but not melt. 

While you're waiting on the ice cream to properly soften, get started on the crust, which is not unlike the sort of crust you might use for a cheesecake, though on a smaller scale. In a food processer, add the Nilla Wafers and pulse the cookies to a fine crumb. You'll want a total of 2 cups of crumbs. When you've processed that many, pour the Nilla Wafers crumbs into a bowl, and then pour in the melted butter. Mix the two ingredients together.

Once the Nilla Wafers crumbs mixture is ready, it's time to form the base for your cupcakes. Grab a mini cupcake pan and add paper liners into each well. Then, add ½ tablespoon of the crumb base mixture into each well and press down to form an even layer of the cookie crust.

Scoop the ice cream and allow the cupcakes to set

With the ice cream softened, scoop it on top of the crust to fill the rest of each individual cupcake well. If the ice cream is softened, it'll be easy enough to push the ice cream into the well and make sure you have an even layer. 

Use the back of the spoon to smooth the top of the ice cream cupcake. Once the cupcakes are prepped, it's time to put the cupcake pan in the freezer. Allow the mini ice cream cupcake to set in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Make the whipped cream topping

Before you take your ice cream cupcakes out of the freezer — this is, just before you're ready to serve them — make the fresh whipped cream topping. Be sure you don't work on this any sooner, or your whipped cream will potentially lose its shape. Of course, you could opt to utilize a store-bought whipped cream option as well, though you may be surprised at how easy it is to make your own fresh whipped cream.

To make homemade whipped cream, simply pour the heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the cream on medium for about 8 minutes, until stiff peaks form. You could also potentially use a hand whisk if you really want an arm workout, though a hand or stand mixer will make the job much easier and faster.

Assemble and decorate your mini ice cream cupcakes

With the mini ice cream cupcakes prepped and set, along with the homemade whipped cream ready, it's now time to assemble and decorate your treats. First, pipe whipped cream onto each mini cupcake. Then decorate the tops with rainbow sprinkles, additional Nilla Wafers crumbs, and top them off with a maraschino cherry.

Of course, feel free to play around with other flavors of ice cream combined with a variety of ice cream cupcake toppings. If you'd like some suggestions, consider adding in some crushed Oreos and chunks of Reese's peanut butter cups, or some chocolate or caramel sauce drizzled on top.

Mini Ice Cream Cupcakes Recipe
4.9 from 23 ratings
With just four ingredients, plus all of your favorite toppings, you can whip up a batch of mini ice cream cupcakes at home that will be sure to impress
Prep Time
Cook Time
mini cupcakes
Mini Ice cream cupcakes
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 2 cups Nilla Wafers crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
Optional Ingredients
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  1. Pull the ice cream out of the freezer and allow it to soften.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the Nilla Wafers to fine crumbs. Melt the butter. Add the Nilla Wafers crumbs into a bowl, pour in the melted butter, and mix to combine with a large fork.
  3. Line a mini cupcake pan with mini cupcake liners. Scoop ½ tablespoon of the Nilla Wafers mixture into each cupcake well. Press down with your fingers to compress.
  4. Spoon softened ice cream into each cupcake well. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the top. Place the ice cream cupcakes in the freezer to set for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. Just before serving, make the whipped cream. Add 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  6. Once the ice cream cupcakes are set and ready to serve, pipe whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with additional Nilla Wafer crumbs and optional toppings like rainbow sprinkles and a maraschino cherry.
Calories per Serving 117
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.8 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 22.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Total Sugars 4.5 g
Sodium 44.2 mg
Protein 1.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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