Ice cream for breakfast? The hot trend that’s making breakfast cool again

It’s the best news you’ll hear this summer: You can eat ice cream for breakfast! Here’s how this hot trend is revolutionizing the morning meal.

By Robin Donovan

This is likely the best news you’ll hear this summer: Yes, you can eat ice cream for breakfast. It’s not just an impossible kids’ fantasy anymore. A rumored scientific study, some social media attention and a nifty new kitchen appliance have taken everyone’s favorite summer dessert and turned it into a breakfast trend that is delighting kids and adults alike.

Mixing childhood dreams with a bit of indulgence, this trend is turning breakfast on its head and adding a fun twist to the usual morning routine. Whether it’s a weekend treat or a daily delight, ice cream for breakfast is making mornings a whole lot sweeter.

The making of a phenomenon

The trend first grabbed the spotlight a few years ago when it was reported that a Japanese study found people who ate ice cream immediately upon awakening showed signs of reduced stress and heightened alertness. Ice cream lovers everywhere were eager to scoop up this information, even though news agencies were unable to verify the study or its results. Still, lovers of the frozen treat determined the rumors worthy enough to change up their morning meal.

Then in 2021, the Ninja Creami Ice Cream Maker hit the market and became an instant social media darling. This blender-size appliance claims to be able to quickly turn just about anything into a creamy, dreamy frozen ice cream treat. Add your frozen ingredients – anything from milk, cream and sugar to fruit, dairy-free milk alternatives, natural sweeteners, no- or low-calorie sweeteners, protein powder, flavor extract, chocolate, nut butter and other add-ins – press a button and watch as the mixture turns into ice cream before your eyes.

Social media’s sweet influence

Next, enter TikTok, the social media platform with a knack for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. From dalgona coffee to pop-up-toaster quesadillas, the platform’s track record of turning simple food preparations into global phenomena is unmatched. Now, it’s ice cream’s turn to shine – at the breakfast table.

Try searching “ice cream for breakfast” on TikTok. What you’ll get is an endless stream of videos about how to make Ninja Creami concoctions that range from rich and indulgent to low-carb, high-protein, no sugar and other health-conscious mixtures suitable for the most important meal of the day.

From unknown TikTok-ers to well-known social media influencers like Dylan Lamay and Alexis Frost, it seems like everyone on the internet is enjoying a bowl of sweet, creamy ice cream for breakfast. Even Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has openly shared her love for starting her day with ice cream.

“I have it for breakfast,” Pelosi told Ruthie Rogers on her podcast Ruthie’s Table 4. “It’s a great way to start the day. I don’t have it every day but I have it often.” If celebrities like these are starting their days with a scoop, you know it’s a trend with legs.

Sweet breakfasts are nothing new

Sweet breakfasts are nothing new. In the United States, French toast and waffles get drenched with maple syrup. In France, pastries like pain au chocolat are breakfast staples. In Thailand, breakfast might be sweet sticky rice drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, and in Japan you’ll find fluffy, sweet souffle pancakes. So, while ice cream for breakfast might seem revolutionary, it’s really just a delicious twist on a longstanding and global tradition.

The breakfast-worthy frozen treat market is hot

Luckily for those ice cream lovers who want to enjoy a healthy-but-indulgent breakfast, the supermarket freezer case is loaded with options. You’ll find products that keep fat, calories and sugar low. Some offer significant doses of protein and other nutrients, and many are dairy-free and vegan.

Halo Top makes low-calorie, high-protein, dairy-based ice cream. Arctic Zero offers a similar product that is dairy free. Famous for rich yogurt and healthy overnight oats, Noosa now offers frozen yogurt gelato boosted with probiotics.

Good for the mind

While the nutritional value of ice cream might be debatable, there’s no doubt that enjoying a favorite treat now and then can have a significant, if short-term, positive impact on your mood. According to Rupa Health, small indulgences release feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that boost happiness and reduce stress levels. So that morning scoop might just be the pick-me-up you need.

Rachel Engelhart, RD, LPC, a registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor, told The Healthy that she advises her clients to fill their plates with nutritious foods, but also allow themselves to enjoy favorite treats like ice cream or chocolate in moderation.

“So many of my clients are hard on themselves and rather judgmental around their food choices, and it negatively impacts their mood,” she says. “Sprinkling our day with a delicious coffee, a yummy dessert or one of our favorite restaurant meals is also an important way to positively impact our mental health.”

The future of breakfast is now

The ice cream for breakfast trend is shaking up the industry. Across the United States, ice cream makers are creating new breakfast-themed flavors to meet consumer demand. Ample Hills Creamery offers a morning in Paris flavor – croissant-infused ice cream with swirls of raspberry jam. Their buzzin’ in Brooklyn flavor features coffee ice cream studded with hunks of cinnamon pull-apart bread and espresso toffee bits. San Francisco-based Humphry Slocombe, known for its cheeky naming style, doesn’t disappoint with a cornflake-and-bourbon-infused flavor called secret breakfast.

Even Baskin Robbins recently launched a flavor called breakfast in bed; pancake and maple syrup ice creams swirled together with fluffy pancake pieces and ribbons of blueberry compote. And the supermarket brand Blue Bell’s I heart cereal flavor features fruity cereal-infused ice cream with confetti sprinkles and bits of sugar-coated fruit cereal.

If you want to make your own breakfast ice cream, the internet is rife with recipes for classic custard-based ice cream, no-churn ice cream and healthy Ninja Creami recipes. Find one that fits your morning mood.

Breakfast scoops are here to stay

As the ice cream for breakfast trend gains traction, it’s clear this isn’t just a summer fling. With innovative appliances like the Ninja Creami, social media’s viral influence and a growing market for health-conscious frozen treats, our morning routines are getting a delicious makeover. So, when breakfast time rolls around, why not enjoy a sweet, creamy, cold scoop of joy? After all, who says you can’t have dessert first?

Robin Donovan is the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including the bestselling Campfire Cuisine, Ramen Obsession and Ramen for Beginners. A food writer, recipe developer and food photographer, she is the creator of the food blog All Ways Delicious, where she shares easy recipes for the best dishes from around the world.