National Ice Cream Day

National Ice Cream Day - Friday, December 13, 2024

Food & Beverage Dessert Food

On National Ice Cream Day, which takes place on December 13, you probably won’t hear the ice cream truck, with its delightful tune, roll through your neighborhood. (There’s another National Ice Cream Day in July for that.) Your favorite ice cream shop may even be closed for the season! But it’s still a perfectly good reason to get a pint or three (who’s counting) of the good stuff to share with your friends and family.

History of National Ice Cream Day

There’s no known inventor that can be credited with creating ice cream unfortunately. But the history of ice cream is as rich as gelato. It’s been said that an ice cream like food was first consumed in China sometime between 618-97 AD. The first dish was made from flour, buffalo milk and camphor, an organic compound commonly used in lotion. It’s also been noted that Alexander the Great adored ice and snow flavoured with nectar and honey.

We’ve also identified that the Bible indicates that King Solomon enjoyed iced drinks during the harvest season. Speaking of homemade, during the Roman Empire, Caesar would send people to gather snow from the mountains, just to cover it in fruit and juices.

Close to a thousand years later in Italy, Marco Polo had returned from the Far East and bought back a recipe for what we now know as sherbet. It is assumed that this recipe developed into what we now know as ice cream which was once called ‘‘Cream Ice.’ It was in 1660 that the general public was presented with ice cream. An Italian man named Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli decided to perfect a machine made by his fisherman grandfather which produced top-quality gelato in his café. The recipe blended milk, butter, eggs and cream and was sold in Paris.

The first mention of ice cream in the United States derives from a letter written in Maryland in 1744 by Governor William Bladen’s guest. Then, the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777 printed the first advert for ice cream in the United States. Following the American Revolution, ice cream became super popular in the US.

Since then ice cream has exploded onto the desert scene with the creation of home machines, as well as the emergence of ice cream vans, ice cream floats, sundaes and well-known brands like ‘‘Ben and Jerry’s’’ and ‘‘Haagen-Dazs’’ that we still consume to this day. The effect of ice cream on society is so great, that the brain of an ice cream lover has been likened to that of an addict. When the brain wants ice cream, it reacts like a passionate fanatic.

National Ice Cream Day timeline


Anything is Popsicle

The production of pre-packaged ice cream is flourishing in supermarkets and ice cream parlors.


Soft for Ice Cream

American mass production of ice cream is accomplished to boost morale of allied troops in Europe, popularizing the loveable dish all over the world.


Getting Served

Colonists from Scotland bring an ice cream recipe to North America.


Royal Ice

Persians invent an ice cream recipe for their royal families made from saffron, iced rose water, vermicelli and fruit.

National Ice Cream Day FAQs

When Reagan signed his presidential proclamation for National Ice Cream Day, how much ice cream did Americans eat?

Americans in 1983 were consuming 887 million gallons of ice cream! Woah, that’s a lot of brain freeze.

Where are the best ice cream deals on National Ice Cream day?

Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone are giving discounted and free cones to shoppers who simply download their apps. Even pets are offered free ice cream with biscuits on top at PetSmart.

Who eats the most ice cream in the world?

New Zealand outdoes everyone as the top ice cream consumers in the world. 23 litres every year to be exact.

Is National ice cream day a real holiday?

National ice cream day is a part of national ice cream month and is celebrated and honored yearly by many. But truthfully, do we need a national holiday as reason to eat more ice cream?

What’s the weirdest ice cream out there?

Our idea of a delicious treat just got fishy. In Japan, you can enjoy a nice scoop of squid ice cream. You can also purchase octopus and ox tongue flavor.

5 Super Cool Facts About Ice Cream

  1. It was used as a greeting

    Because of its lush taste, ice cream was used as a greeting when immigrants arrived on Ellis Island.

  2. Thomas Jefferson loved it

    Thomas Jefferson was an ice cream fanatic and the Library of Congress collected his original handwritten recipe for vanilla ice cream.

  3. How dairy?

    It is said that nine percent of all the milk produced in the US is actually used on making ice cream.

  4. Vanilla takes it all

    In the United states Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor, with 29% of total sales.

  5. Long Beach eats it the most

    Compared to all other cities, the most ice cream is consumed in Long Beach, California.

National Ice Cream Day Activities

  1. Get it on sale

    If you want to partake in this awesome day, many stores and ice cream parlours are having great sales and special deals online and in store to commemorate this day. Buy extra just because you have the sweetest excuse!

  2. Make your own

    Never tried to make ice cream at home before? Well, this is your chance. Homemade ice cream is simple yet rewarding. You can jazz it up by adding bits of your favorite fruit, chocolate, or even classic cookie dough. If you're tired of the usual vanilla and strawberry flavours, get creative and taste test to your heart’s desire.

  3. Create an ice cream bowl

    Just like that favourite mug you have in the kitchen, why not immortalize your love for ice cream on this day and make an ice cream bowl. Simply head on over to your local ceramics store and create your own bowl so you can gobble some ice cream on this day and always.

Why We Love National Ice Cream Day

  1. Choice

    Cookie Dough. Vanilla bean. Mint chocolate chip. There are multiple flavors to choose from to satisfy your national ice cream day cravings.

  2. I have an ice dream

    Ice cream is the textbook dessert for all seasons. You can cool down in the summer with a scoop of your favorite flavor, or enjoy it in the winter accompanied by a warm cake or pie. You can also whizz it in a blender and make a milkshake. No matter the season, does ice cream ever disappoint?

  3. A lick of pint

    Though some ice cream comes in half gallon cartons, for some reason we still crave the pint. Why? It’s just the perfect size when you want to eat out of the container and watch a movie.

National Ice Cream Day Activities

  1. Try a new flavor

    There are hundreds of flavors of ice cream beyond just chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. If you’re feeling zesty, find a parlor that offers lemon meringue, or even horseradish ice cream. Or, if seafood is more your thing, find one of the joints on the east coast that serve up lobster ice cream. If you don’t like it, at least you can say you tried.

  2. Go old school

    Before the commercial success of ice cream in America in the 1800s, ice cream was typically reserved as a special summertime treat. But now, thanks to simple and cheap at-home devices, you can make whatever flavor you want. All you need is eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and the flavorings of your choice. It may take longer than a quick trip to the grocery store, but it’s a fun way to enjoy this cold confection.

  3. Volunteer in your community

    Serving ice cream is a tried and true way to bring a community together. This may be at the ice cream parlor in a local assisted living center, or perhaps at a free ice cream giveaway at the park, funded by donations. However you do it, the community will be brought closer together by this longtime summer food favorite.

Why We Love National Ice Cream Day

  1. It makes us happy

    Now this may seem a bit too obvious, but ice cream makes us happy. If you need proof, just ask some of the neuroscientists over at the University of Sussex in England. In one study, the scientists found that vanilla ice cream activates a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex. In simpler terms, when we eat ice cream, the pleasure center of our brain lights up. This is great news. Thanks science.

  2. It’s social

    Whether we’re scrambling down the street chasing the ice cream truck or meeting up with friends at the local dairy, ice cream is more than just a cool treat — it’s a social outing. You can’t beat a shared banana split. Need a place where three generations of a family can all find something they want? An ice cream parlor’s the place to be.

  3. There are endless varieties

    Almost as soon as ice cream was sold in America, people started adding new flavors and experimenting with the creation process. Now, more than 200 years later, it’s hard to imagine a flavor of ice cream that’s yet to be invented. Bacon, garlic, wasabi, and fish egg ice cream flavors are all out there at the moment, just to name a few.

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