18 Best Pie And Ice Cream Pairings

There are some perfect combinations in this world — burgers and fries, peanut butter and jelly, and, our favorite, pie and ice cream. The concept of a scoop of cold, sweet ice cream on top of a pie started in the 1880s when someone added a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a blueberry pie and borrowed the phrase "à la mode" from the French language to describe it. Another origin story suggests that apple pie and vanilla ice cream were present on the first date between the two dessert items. Regardless of the first pairing, it's clear that the phrase à la mode, which translates to "in the fashion," clearly describes this chic and tasty combination.

Most people don't think twice about a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pie. While it's hard to go wrong with this blank canvas of a flavor, it's clear that many other flavors are better suited to complement certain flavors of pie. Here are some of our favorite pie and ice cream pairings that you need to try.

Apple pie and maple walnut ice cream

Apple pie and vanilla ice cream are the quintessential à la mode pairing. But the sweet, mild flavor of the apple filling opens up numerous possibilities for more creative and flavorful pairings. A maple walnut is one of our favorite types of ice cream for an apple pie. Even if you don't incorporate nuts into your pie, the mild maple flavor complements the fruit so well, while the walnut pieces provide an unexpected crunch with every bite.

If you're going with an apple crumb pie, which features a strudel topping instead of a standard pie crust or lattice, we recommend sticking with a smooth ice cream. After all, you already have the textural contrast of the butter and cinnamon sugar crumbs. We also recommend any pie with a cinnamon or sugar base, like a snickerdoodle ice cream or a salted caramel ice cream, instead.

Pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream

No Thanksgiving table is complete without a decadent slab of pumpkin pie. It's filled with delicious mild notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, which is complex in itself. As a result, you're going to want to stick with a simple ice cream pairing for this quintessential autumn pie. We would recommend sticking with a plain vanilla ice cream for pumpkin pie. It's creamy, full of light vanilla notes, and won't mess up the hard work you made for the perfectly spiced pumpkin pie.

Most people would just say that you could add a pumpkin pie ice cream to your recipe, but it's clear that going with this option would only conflict with the textures of your recipe. You'll want to choose an ice cream that complements — rather than detracts from your recipe. Besides the vanilla, we could see ginger or spiced ice cream, instead.

Pecan pie and chocolate ice cream

Everyone loves the nutty, overtly sweet flavor of pecan pie. But how do you find an ice cream that would work with the overwhelmingly confectionary flavor of this pie variety? The secret to finding an ice cream that pairs well with pecan pie is to hit it with even more complex flavors, like a deep chocolate one.

Chocolate and pecan pie isn't that uncanny of a combo. Some folks add bittersweet chocolate to the bottom of their pie before adding the pecans and the corn syrup filling, while others will integrate cocoa powder into the pie crust instead. Regardless of how you use chocolate in the recipe, you can trust that the cocoa undertone will help detract from the sugariness. However, you need to select a chocolate ice cream that is heavy on the cocoa and mild on the sweetness so you won't compound the problem of your pie.

Blueberry pie and lemon ice cream

Blueberry and lemon is a pairing made in heaven. Blueberry pie tends to benefit from a splash of lemon juice or lemon zest on top, so adding a light lemon ice cream to this pie would only elevate its fruity flavors. One of our favorite lemon ice creams is from Trader Joe's. "When Life Gives You Lemons Make Ice Cream" contains a smooth, creamy texture with bright pops of lemon flavor and bits of shortbread ice cream peppered throughout. The cookies are not distracting and may even flow well with the consistency of your crust.

Another option would be to go with a lemon sorbet. It has a slightly icier texture than creamy ice cream, which can be a bit awkward when combined with the sublime texture of a good blueberry pie with a perfectly crisp crust. For some, the texture of a sorbet may be a welcomed addition, though.

Mixed berry and basil ice cream

Mixed berry pie, which can contain a medley of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, can be a bit chaotic. It's why we want to combine it with an equally odd flavor: basil. Although you might have never had a scoop of basil ice cream from your local scoop shack — we can assure you it's a summer staple that everyone needs a cup of. This ice cream is deliciously herbaceous and light, which rounds out the flavor of the berry-forward dessert.

If you don't have access to basil ice cream (and we wouldn't blame you if you didn't), you could also pair this ice cream with a lemon or a sweet cream vanilla flavor. You could also get away with using a very mild mint ice cream, but avoid one with any chocolate chips in it, as this would detract from the berries and upset the balance of the dessert.

Cherry pie and almond ice cream

Cherry pie is a bit of an enigma, and it's hard to pair an ice cream variety with it. If you want to stay away from chocolate, we recommend opting for a toasted almond flavor. The base of the ice cream has a mild nutty flavor, while the small pieces of nuts interspersed in the sweet cream provide a boost of texture and crunch. You might also try an amaretto ice cream with a boozy variation on the classic almond flavor. Many almond ice creams have caramel swirled in, which might not be appealing for this pie, so we recommend sticking to the basic almond ice cream.

Chocolate is also a viable option for pairing with your cherry pie. You can use a dark chocolate or a milky, creamy version for this recipe since both will round out the flavors of the cherries. And if you're lucky, you may even be able to find a chocolate almond ice cream at your local grocery store.

Chocolate cream pie and brownie batter ice cream

Cream pies are rarely served with ice cream because they're creamy enough on their own. But that doesn't mean you can't explore unconventional possibilities — including pairing a slice of chocolate cream pie with brownie batter ice cream. The pie and the ice cream have a distinguishable chocolate element, but the swirls of soft brownies in the ice cream will add another layer of complexity to your dessert. The Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie flavor is our favorite because it has a high ratio of chunk to chocolate ice cream, which is perfect for a slice of pie that needs a bit of textural oomph.

If you're looking to stick with a mix-in-free ice cream, try a creamy coffee ice cream pairing for your chocolate cream pie. It's not as dynamic as a brownie batter ice cream, but everyone agrees that pairing chocolate and coffee is a smart idea.

Mud pie and cookies and cream ice cream

Mud pie isn't as popular of a pie as a classic apple or peach, and we think it's deeply under-appreciated. A classic Mississippi mud pie is made by layering brownie batter, chocolate pudding, and a whipped cream topping in an Oreo cookie crust. There are also variations on the mud pie, like our no-bake espresso mud pie, which has an espresso cream layer atop milk and dark chocolate ganache.

Since the constant with this pie is the Oreo crust, we're going to stick with cookies and cream ice cream for this decadent dessert. The hunks of cookie pieces embedded in the sweet vanilla ice cream don't distract from the slice of pie, which has a lot going on compared to other pie varieties.

Peanut butter pie and chocolate ice cream

We absolutely love peanut butter pie and would even venture to say it is our favorite cream pie out there. There's nothing more perfect than a graham cracker or chocolate crust with a soft peanut butter cream topped with peanut-based garnishes and chocolate. We love pairing this pie with a simple chocolate ice cream to amplify the chocolate flavor and round out the fattiness from the peanut butter.

Your first inclination may be to pair this pie with something peanut-based, like Reese's ice cream with chunks of chocolate peanut butter cups, but we can assure you that this would be a mistake. Peanut butter is a notoriously dense ingredient that is already flavor-forward, so adding more peanut butter to the ice cream would be overwhelming. That's why we're sticking to a basic ice cream flavor that will let your pie be the star.

Lemon meringue pie and vanilla ice cream

Of all the pies we paired for this piece, finding the best match for lemon meringue was the hardest task of them all. This pie is complex; it has a basic pie base filled with copious layers of dense lemon curd and a visually stunning meringue topping. How could we find an ice cream that wouldn't dilute the precious curd and one that would mesh well with the airy light meringue on top?

That's why we had to stick with a simple vanilla ice cream for this pie. Could a creamy lemon ice cream work for this pie? Yes, but the flavor of the lemon ice cream would need to match the punchiness of the curd, which is a rarity for citrus ice cream. We could also see a fruit ice cream used for this pie flavor, but it would take the attention away from the lemon meringue, which would do this perfect pie a disservice.

Peach pie and raspberry sorbet

Peach pie is a recipe you could make any time of year with the help of canned peaches. But nothing beats an orchard-harvested peach pie paired with raspberry sorbet in the summertime. Peaches and raspberries are a bright, punchy combination that balances out the sweetness of the peach filling with the tangy undertone of the raspberries. And while many folks may not like the icy nature of the sorbet compared to creamy ice cream, we think it adds a bit of diversity to an otherwise wet slice of pie.

Other more nuanced options include sweet cream vanilla ice cream, which is a classic for peach pie. We could also foresee pairing this ice cream with a creamy blueberry since the flavor of this berry isn't as bright and domineering over the beautiful profile of the peaches. It's why some folks will opt to make blueberry-peach pies with their summer bounty.

Banana cream pie and chocolate chip ice cream

Banana cream pie is one pie variety we often forget about. It's packed with layers of soft banana and a whipped cream frosting, making it a rather delicate and light cream pie variety. We recommend pairing this pie variety with a whimsical chocolate chip ice cream to jazz up your slice. The vanilla ice cream doesn't upset the pie like a chocolate ice cream would, while the bits of chocolate chips provide a bit of texture to the pie that takes it from soft and soggy to unexpected and diverse.

Using a peanut butter ice cream base seems like another logical pairing since the nut butter and bananas are often used together in other dishes. But the peanut butter is a bit too dense and overwhelming for this pie, so we recommend sticking to a plain vanilla ice cream instead, with some added sparkle.

Coconut cream pie and ginger ice cream

Coconut cream pie is another difficult pie to pair with ice cream. The flavor of this pie really stands alone and needs to be matched with an ice cream that doesn't upset the pleasant coconut flavor that goes along with it. We went with ginger ice cream for this pie because it adds a tropical element to the pie that is unexpected and mildly spicy. We recommend a smooth, creamy ginger ice cream rather than one filled with bits of crystallized ginger mixed in. The creamy one has a much better mouthfeel than the one that has hard yet chewy pieces of candied ginger.

Chocolate ice cream is far too heavy to pair with this delicate pie, and any variety of ice cream with pieces in it would upset the mouthfeel of the pie. Vanilla would be the only other plausible option for this pie, but we admit it wouldn't do much.

Sweet potato pie and salted caramel ice cream

Sweet potato pie is a Southern dessert staple with a consistency and taste similar to pumpkin pie. But sweet potato pie tends to be a bit sweeter with a lighter consistency and places less emphasis on the warming spices. Since sweet potato pie is a blank slate, you have more flexibility in selecting an ice cream flavor. Our favorite ice cream to add to this pie flavor is salted caramel ice cream. You get vanilla notes and the sweet notes of the caramel on your pie. It will take your sweet potato pie beyond the sweet profile into a more noteworthy flavor.

Another logical pairing for this pie flavor would be a marshmallow ice cream. However, it's difficult to find a marshmallow ice cream without introducing chocolate and graham crackers into the mix for a s'mores ice cream or a rocky road. Textually, adding an ice cream with chocolate and graham cracker pieces might round out the flavor of the pie, but it also might make it too untraditional for some palates.

Key lime pie and coconut ice cream

Key lime pie has a similar texture to a cheesecake — but with a tropical flair to it. It's bright, punchy, and a pie that we'll want to eat every day of the year. The best way to complement this pie and take it to a new level is to pair it with a creamy coconut ice cream. There aren't many obstructive textures in this combination, and the brightness of the lime will easily match with the creaminess of the coconut ice cream. Moreover, the graham cracker base brings a subtle crunch that will mesh well with the profile of the coconut ice cream, even if it has pieces of coconut flesh mixed into it.

Lime ice cream can be a bit too artificial, so we don't recommend it for a key lime pie. You could also use ginger ice cream to bring some punchy notes, but coconut is by far our top choice.

Strawberry rhubarb and vanilla ice cream

Do people out there still eat strawberry rhubarb pie? It's a bit of an uncanny pie-filling, which is likely because of the rhubarb stalks mixed into the recipe. The vegetable is stalky and remarkably tart, which leaves the filling of the pie on the tart end of things rather than the sweet flavor. As a result, the strawberry rhubarb needs a bit of help from a purely sweet, rather than a tangy, ice cream flavor.

We recommend avoiding the lemon ice cream and going straight for the basic vanilla. It's really hard to mess up a vanilla ice cream, which means that it's always bound to balance out your tart filling. Few ice creams will have this effect on your pie, so we recommend sticking with the simple here and not jumping out of the box.

Hoosier pie and coffee ice cream

Hoosier pie, or sugar cream pie, is an Indiana state treat. This pie was made initially as a "desperation" pie because it was made with staple ingredients like flour and sugar rather than expensive eggs. The texture of this pie is pudding-like and rather plain, so it needs a punchy ice cream to bring it to life. Plus, since this pie had humble beginnings, it seems only appropriate to pair it with an indulgent and decadent ice cream: coffee. The taste of the creamy coffee ice cream that is bursting with complex java notes is perfect for a relatively unassuming pie.

Because Hoosier pie has a relatively smooth texture, there is room to experiment with add-ins in the coffee ice cream to amp up the flavor. For example, a coffee ice cream with hunks of toffee or chocolate-covered espresso beans could be the excitement that this slice craves.

Chess pie and butter pecan ice cream

If you visit a Southern state, you must try a slice of chess pie. This Southern staple will satisfy your sweet tooth because it's similar to pecan pie without the nuts. While there are some flavor variations, including lemon chess pie and chocolate chess pie, the standard recipe doesn't have any fruit or additional flavor additives. As a result, the best ice cream flavor for a creamy, dense chess pie is a creamy butter pecan ice cream. You could use this ice cream pairing for numerous variations of this pie or use it to elevate your traditional pie to new heights.

We love butter pecan ice cream because it has a sweet, mild flavor and tiny pecan flecks mixed in. The backdrop of the ice cream has a buttery, brown sugar flavor that will mesh well with the simplicity of the chess pie.