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Different Types of Ice Cream Cones

From waffle, sugar, pretzel and more

Ice cream and cones go together like, well, ice cream and cones. It’s a classic combination that has been popular for over 100 years and continues to thrive, especially on those hot, sweltering summer days.

Ever since those early days of the traditional ice cream cones, different varieties have cropped up. While there are different shapes, sizes, and flavors to choose from, one thing remains – the cool, creamy goodness of sweet ice cream is always best enjoyed with the crispy crunch of an ice cream cone.

the different ice cream cone types displayed

Cones are to ice cream what Robin is to Batman (and vice versa). Without the other, they just don’t work as well. Cones are not only tasty on their own but they enhance the taste and texture of your ice cream itself. While you can enjoy ice cream on its own, the addition of a cone always adds a little something extra to the taste and texture.

The type of ice cream cone you choose can change your whole ice cream experience. This is why it’s important to choose the right one to suit your taste and the particular ice cream you’re enjoying. Whether you’re a lover of ice cream or own an ice cream parlor yourself, knowing the different types of ice cream cones out there will broaden your horizons. If you sell ice creams, introducing different cone types could see your profits increase! And you can find new ways to serve delicious types of ice cream that pair well with certain cones.

Today, we will be looking at the different types of ice cream cones available. Each has its own flavor, texture, and ingredients waiting for you to enjoy and change the way you eat ice cream in a cone forever.

Ice Cream Cone Types

Cake Cones

stack of cake cones or wafer cones
stack of cake cones or wafer cones

We begin with the highly popular cake cones. These are also known as wafer cones due to their light and flaky texture and subtly sweet flavor. Cake cones can run the risk of being a little bland and cardboard-like in flavor or too rich. If the flavor of the cone is too strong, the ice cream’s flavor can be overpowered. As you can guess, this is not what you want.

However, with the perfect combination of sugar, flour, and shortenings, a mixture that is a lot like cake batter gets created. This can be extremely tasty, even on its own! These cake cones are ideal for children’s servings but you can also choose full sizes and double scoops.

Made from pastry, cake, and tapioca flours, cake cones are a perfect combination of sweetness and crispness that works effortlessly with all ice cream flavors. 


Waffle Cones

Variety of ice cream scoops in waffle cones with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry
Variety of ice cream scoops in waffle cones with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry

Waffle cones are absolute classics. They range from a medium to deep caramel brown color and are generally sugar-flavored with a pointed waffle-style design. Accompanied by a crunchy texture, waffle cones may have a higher sugar content than other sugar cones but they also act as a great source of fiber. 

These cone types are pressed in a specialized waffle iron before being rolled into shape. Their base has a pointed shape but as you rise to the top of the cone, you’re met with a wide mouth to hold more ice cream than many other cones. Just what you want! 

If you love toppings on your ice cream, waffle cones are the way to go! Thanks to their wider brim, they can hold more sauce, sprinkles, nuts, and all kinds of toppings without the dreaded risk of spilling any (much to a seagull’s delight).

With their blend of pastry and cake flavors, waffle cones also pair really well with frozen yogurt, fruit, and, if you’re in the mood for it, granola. Talk about versatility! 


Sugar Cones

ice cream cone with empty sugar cones and an ice cream scooper
ice cream cone with empty sugar cones and an ice cream scooper

Do you have a sweet tooth? Well, a sugar cone is certainly one worth trying! Just don’t get sugar cones mixed up with waffle cones as so many do. This is because of the similar dark color and lattice pattern. 

There are, in fact, a few key differences between the two cones. Sugar cones are produced with a different kind of batter resulting in a harder texture and shell. This is also thanks to a blend of flour and fiber in the preparation of the cones. This harder texture occurs because the cones were starting to get pre-filled with ice cream in certain dairies. This meant that the cones needed to be stronger to withstand the ice cream over long periods of time. 

Some cones, such as Joy cone sugar cones, are made with brown sugar which results in a sweeter, some would say, more delicious flavor. When it comes to their shape, sugar cones are similar to waffle cones with a pointed tip. However, they differ at the bottom as a sugar cone has a flat brim. 

If you want a cone that won’t get soggy quickly from the ice cream, a sugar cone is a great choice. They also provide a delectable crunch with the softness of your ice cream. When adding molasses or brown sugar to the cones, they can be even crunchier. 


Pretzel Cones 

Yes, pretzel cones exist. If you want a crunchy and salty alternative to the traditional ice cream cone flavor, the pretzel cone could be that intriguing twist you’ve been searching for. 

Its blend of sugar, salt, and wheat flour offers a strong yet savory foundation for some richer ice cream flavors. These cones tend to have a lightly salted exterior that helps highlight the sweetness of your ice cream flavors perfectly.

This complementary cone works well with so many ice cream flavors and other frozen treats. It is especially tasty with a soft serve or hand-dipped ice cream and is the ideal base for 1 to 2 scoop desserts. 


Kid Cones

Now, here’s one for the kiddies! Children don’t want boring, bland food. They want something exciting and bursting with their favorite flavors. Luckily, these kid cones are only part of the fun. 

Kid cones provide an extra sweet treat alongside the ice cream. These smaller-sized cones, made to suit kids, serve the proper portion for a kid’s scoop. The cones are small enough to easily fit in children’s hands without causing a mess on the floor and a very unhappy child.

These kid cones are also the ideal size for samples. If you own an ice cream parlor, you can use these cones for your patrons to enjoy a sample to see if they like any particular ice cream or not. They are strong enough to support fresh, hand-dipped, or soft-serve ice cream flavors but if you’re an adult and feeling hungry, you will want something a little (or a lot) bigger. 


Chocolate Dipped Cones

So, you like chocolate. Check. You like ice cream. Check. You like chocolate ice cream. Check. And you love ice cream cones. CHECK! These chocolate-dipped cones may be the thing of dreams for many of you.

These cones add a hint of rich, chocolate sweetness to any ice cream flavor. These are simply irresistible to any chocolate lover. And there’s a lot of you! The cones are dunked in a creamy milk chocolate dip creating a deliciously rich chocolate-coated rim. 

The crunchy and crispy texture of these fresh chocolate-dipped cones work wonders with the softer chocolate coating. As an ice cream lover, you will be coming back for more after experiencing this delight. As an ice cream salesperson, these will probably fly off the shelves pretty quickly on a hot summer’s day. 


Twin Cones

Here we have a two-in-one treat for all to enjoy! Twin cones have enough space for multiple scoops of ice cream in just one cone.

That’s right. These cones have put an end to the stack of scoops on top of each other. Instead, two rounded cups sit side by side so you can enjoy them one at a time. This way, you can enjoy two scoops of different flavors without them actually blending together in the cone. This is ideal if you can’t decide between two flavors at the time. Just have both! 

These cones have classic pointed bottoms which are sturdy and strong enough to hold even the most generous of dual scoops. 


Gluten-Free Cones

With many more of us going gluten-free in modern times, the ice cream cone world has taken heed. Those who suffer from gluten allergies and Celiac disease should not go without their share of ice cream and cones. Thankfully, there is now a gluten-free option available.

If you sell ice cream, these are a must. They will ensure that all customers can indulge in your sweet and delicious ice cream products, even with certain conditions. For those of you who can not consume gluten but love to treat yourself to ice cream now and again, you can finally rejoice!

Not only are these cones gluten-free but they are extremely tasty. They have a fresh, crispy, and crunchy taste that will tempt you back for more scoops, time and time again. 


Jacketed Cones

As you may guess, these jacketed cones have a jacket around their exterior. This jacket comes in the form of a paper covering that helps to prevent messes and accidental spillages which we have all experienced. 

The paper covering also acts as protection against outside contamination. In the world we live in today, there is more emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness than ever before. Therefore, if you don’t like the idea of someone handing over your cone to you, this is a great choice as their hands will never touch it.

For ice-cream sellers, these cones prove that you see sanitation as a priority and they can also save you money on additional napkins. For a clean, mess-free ice cream cone experience, these jacketed types will keep your hands clean and the cone completely uncontaminated at all times. 


Waffle Bowls

Ice cream scoops with waffle bowl

A traditionally sized cone not doing it for you? Try a waffle bowl instead! Just in case you didn’t know, these bowls are edible too!

As a tasty base for your numerous scoops of ice cream or sundae treat, this ice cream cone bowl is the perfect choice for any dessert. You can enjoy these with hand-dipped or soft-serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, or custard. And, of course, the bowl is pleasingly sturdy so it will not get soggy under the weight of all that sweet ice cream. 

If you prefer, you can even eat all of your ice creams first and finish off with the crispy texture of the waffle bowl below. 


Ice Cream Sandwich Wafers 

ice cream wafer sandwich

Okay, these ice cream sandwich wafers are not actual cones but we had to include them. They can work wonders by turning any ice cream flavor into a delicious ice cream sandwich.

These wafers are a new and fun way to enjoy versatile ice cream flavors and other frozen goods. You can even use these wafers as another layer for an ice cream cake. Their versatility knows no bounds as you can also grind them up for cheesecakes and/or pie crusts, or break them up to use as ice cream toppings

Because there is a slightly higher chance of the ice cream sliding from between the wafers, we recommend asking for a paper plate to catch any possible spillages. The last thing you want is to lose your ice cream!

What is an ice cream cone? 

In their most basic form, ice cream cones are cone-shaped wafers that are used to hold and serve ice cream. Even the simplest cones have a little sweetness to their flavor and a whole lot of crunch. It’s this texture and sweetness that pairs so beautifully with creamy scoops of ice cream. 

There are many types of ice cream cones to choose from today with each offering a different level of durability to support the ice cream, a unique flavor, and different scoop capacities. You can go for the classic one scoop cone or treat yourself to two scoops atop a sugar cone. Or, there are the waffle cones that perfectly complement any ice cream flavor out there. 

From the classic cone to something saltier like a pretzel cone, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to ice cream cones. Maybe you want a cone that serves as both a utensil and a bowl which can be eaten with a spoon or on its own. Let’s find out which one you would like most below. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to get sweet and crunchy goodness every time. 

The history of ice cream cones 

Now that we have discussed the different kinds of ice cream cones available, let’s explore how the cone first appeared.

European cookbooks first mention edible cones in 1825. This was when a French cooking expert, Julien Archamabult, discussed how to roll mini waffles into the cones we love today. However, it wasn’t until 1902 and 1903 that machines were patented to produce edible cones and biscuit cups. These machines were the inventions of two Italian entrepreneurs called Italo Marchioni and Antonio Valvona.

While ice cream and cones were in circulation, they didn’t rise to prominence until 1904 after the St. Louis World’s Fair in Missouri, United States. Here, a Lebanese vendor began selling ice cream in waffle cups which he had purchased from the vendor next to him. This was because he had run out of paper cups so needed something to place the ice cream in. history was made.

1904 was the year of the ice cream cone as a gentleman from Damascus called Abe Doumar decided to take Syrian flatbread and add ice cream to it rather than the regular falafel and meatballs. The following year, Doumar opened his own ice cream stand in Coney Island where his cones became a sensational success. In the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, Doumar and his brothers sold a whopping 23,000 cones! The dream of all ice cream vendors.

Thanks to this huge success, Doumar bought an iron machine that was capable of producing 20 cones every minute. This enabled him to open Doumar’s Cones and BBQ in Virginia which is still running to this very day. 

In Summary 

The next time you’re standing in the queue at an ice cream parlor, just refer to our lists above for inspiration. Knowing the different cones should make it easier to decide which one you want but, let’s be honest, you want to try all of them. And, we’re not going to stop you! 

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.