The Best Nostalgic Ice Cream Truck Treats of All Time, Ranked

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bar, snow cone, Choco Taco, Chipwich, Bubble Gum Swirl bar, and Firecracker popsicle on yellow background
Paula Boudes

You’re a regular at your local gelato shop (one scoop amaretto, one scoop espresso, per favore), and there’s always a pint of olive oil (or strawberry-balsamic) ice cream in your freezer. But do you remember the frozen treats that ruled your pre-gourmand days?

That’s right, the goodies you’d order from the ice cream truck: comforting, refreshing and twice as delicious because they were bought with someone else’s money. The most grown-up parts of us may turn up our noses at artificial flavors and colors or want a refund for our kid’s misshapen Spider-Man pop, but our inner child? She wants nothing more than to savor every lick, with sunburn on her face, her toes in the grass and neon red juice running down her arm. In her honor, we’ve ranked the best nostalgic ice cream truck treats of all time, including the chocolatey, the fruity and everything in between.

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20. Bubble Gum Anything

Whether it was a Blue Bunny Bubble Gum Snow Cone or Popsicle’s Bubble Gum Swirl bars, bubble gum sweets were always cloying, albeit the definition of Insta-worthy—even before social media’s existence. Let’s leave this only-a-child-could-enjoy-this flavor in the ’90s, shall we?

19. Scribblers

Take us back to an era when packaging and advertising for kids’ products were all about a sensory overload of colors and sounds and subtly dunking on our totally square parents. These crayon-shaped juice pops still exist, but now they’re branded by Crayola and made with colors from natural sources. Sounds like selling out to us.

18. Slushed Ice

It certainly wasn’t the most popular choice on the playground (perhaps that’s why it’s tough to find photographic proof of its existence), but Popsicle’s slushed water ice was easily the most refreshing option on a sweltering hot day. Cherry Collision slapped, but there was something unexpectedly elegant about Lightning Lemon. If you ordered these more-bang-for-your-buck yellow cups of deliciousness back then, odds are you’re a foodie now.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: schwan's vanilla fudge ice cream cup on blue counter

17. Ice Cream Cups

There’s nothing like the smell of a wooden spoon drenched in sticky melted ice cream to transport us back to elementary school. “We didn’t have a regular ice cream man…but we did have something called the ‘Schwan’s man,’” explains commerce director Nicole Briese. “And it wasn’t just ice cream (he sold a mean frozen chicken patty), but I did live for the vanilla fudge ice cream cups.” We’d also be remiss not to mention Popsicle’s Cookies and Cream cup—IYKYK.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: nestle push-up pops box

16. Push Pops

“Outrageous Orange Nestlé Push-Up pops were literally all I ate,” says assistant editor Stephanie Meraz. “My grandpa would always buy them for me, and I became instantly addicted to their sweet-tart flavor. It was just so fun and interactive to slide my pop up, and it was always a bummer to get to the end of it.” Amen to that.

Can we get a woot woot for Popsicle’s Reckless Rainbow Pop-Ups (which, TBH, needed a third stripe of raspberry ice) and the Flintstones Push-Up pops?

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: two ice cream sandwiches stacked
APitch/Getty Images

15. Ice Cream Sandwich

An oldie but a goody. “My house wasn’t in an ice cream truck neighborhood, but when I’d go to friends’ houses, I always made sure I had money for an ice cream sandwich, because for some reason it always tasted better from a truck,” asserts commerce editor Liv Kappler. Wasn’t the best part licking away at the outer rim of ice cream until the cookie got soggy and stuck to your fingers? Just us?

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: good humor king cone
Good Humor

14. King Cone

You’re either a Nestlé Drumstick girl or a King Cone queen, but we’re betting most of us were the latter as kids since there were fewer peanuts to pick off. This timeless combo of vanilla ice cream, chocolatey coating and roasted peanuts on a sugar cone still exists, but the King Cone is now about a third of its former size. Sigh, nothing is sacred.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: creamsicle

13. Creamsicle

Normally, orange was the last flavor on your radar across the board, whether you were shopping Popsicles, Gatorade or candy. (With grape, sour apple and blue raspberry on the menu, who could blame you, kid?) But when creamy vanilla ice cream was there to curb the acidic, grown-uppy flavor of the orange sherbet, it hit just right. RIP, raspberry Creamsicles.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: popsicle shots

12. Popsicle Shots

It’s no surprise that these micro-sized beads of lemon-lime (or a super sour mix of lemon, orange and raspberry) ice popped off during Dippin’ Dots’ heyday. They came in a cup with a hole on top, so you could guzzle the treat down at lightning speed. Perhaps you were a bigger fan of Popsicle’s Micropops, a tower of strawberry, blue raspberry and lemon ice beads that you’d push up in a tube as you ate.

11. Toasted Almond

OK, so we picked the peanuts off our King Cones, but we wouldn’t let a single almond crumble on these now retired ice cream bars go to waste. “I was a 6-year-old trapped in a 60-year-old’s body because I freaking loved Toasted Almond bars,” recalls wellness director Sarah Stiefvater. “So nutty and sugary, but they were apparently discontinued two months ago?!” Like we said, nothing is sacred, friends.

10. Magnum

If your mom wasn’t ordering a Creamsicle, she was definitely ordering a Magnum bar—vanilla ice cream on a stick enrobed in a thick layer of chocolate. And you were just as surely asking her for a bite, even though you’d never, ever waste your allowance on a treat that simple. Such is the price of parenting.

9. Sprinklers

What we wouldn’t give to be encased in a crunchy shell of rainbow nonpareils. This ingenious invention by Popsicle gave the people children what they really wanted: picky-eater-approved vanilla ice cream, a thin layer of chocolatey coating and a boatload of crunchy sprinkles—nuts be damned. There’s even a petition to bring this discontinued delicacy back. BRB, we have something to sign.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: illustration of three snow cones on a yellow background
Paula Boudes

8. Snow Cone

Nowadays, you treat yourself to an annual snow cone, if that, at the town carnival. Then, you couldn’t get enough of these pre-packaged handhelds, striped with a rainbow of strawberry-, blue raspberry- and lemon-flavored ice. Like slushed ice, Snow Cones are the ultimate defense against summer’s sweltering heat. Popsicle nixed them from their roster back in 2020, but our fingers are crossed for a comeback. (Nostalgia is all the rage, right?)

7. WWE Superstars Ice Cream Bars

Crispy cookie + vanilla ice cream + chocolate coating + an edible imprint of The Rock = the recipe for every ’90s boy’s go-to order. Our inner child was semi-delighted to hear that Good Humor released WWE Superstars Cookie Sandwiches in 2020 (so close to the O.G. and yet…not the same), only to discontinue them as quickly as they came. Why must you toy with our emotions, ice cream gods?

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: illustration of three firecracker ice pops on yellow background
Paula Boudes

6. Firecracker

Bomb Pop, Hyper Stripe, Mega Missile—whatever you called this patriotic pop, it was a consistently delicious order that you could depend on. We may or may not have been known to eat the cherry and blue raspberry sections first, saving the ever-refreshing lemon ice for last. (P.S.: We’re both horrified and wistful upon finding out that there was a Fire N’ Ice version of the treat that had hot cinnamon, cotton candy and sour green apple ices. Even the snack abominations of the ’90s somehow sound appetizing.)

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: illustration of three chipwiches on a yellow background
Paula Boudes

5. Chipwich

Technically the Good Humor man was toting “premium cookie sandwiches,” but we’ll always call these Chipwiches, no matter the brand. (The official Chipwich made its return in 2018—most competitors don’t have a ring of crunchy chocolate chips.) We have it on good authority that the Trader Joe’s copycat is pretty darn close to the O.G. Can we give it up for the Klondike Oreo ice cream cookie sandwich too? It was always near impossible to choose between them.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: illustrations of spongebob, sonic and bubbles ice pops on a yellow background
Paula Boudes

4. Character Ice Pops

Snoopy, Sonic, Scooby-Doo, Spider-Man, Tweety—no matter your mascot of choice, there was an ice pop of its face, complete with gumball eyes. And they *never* looked like the picture, not that we cared; in fact, their defects were part of the fun. “I always loved the surprise and delight of unwrapping a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Hello Kitty bar to see just how far from the real deal those two looked,” says VP of editorial Candace Davison.

She wasn’t the only one: “I was such a sucker for the Powerpuff Girls Bubbles pop, even though the eyeballs were always wonky. And if they didn’t have her, it was SpongeBob—equally as terrifying,” adds editorial assistant Delia Curtis.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: two-ball screwball
Good Humor

3. Screwball

Speaking of gumballs, there’s no way this vintage candy has the same chokehold on Kids These Days™ the way it did us. (Cavities and choking were not nearly as feared, we guess.) The chewy delight was the cherry on top—or on the bottom, rather—of this iconic cherry slushed ice. For double the bubble, there was the 2-Ball Screwball. If you preferred your cherry ice on a stick, Bubble Play’s baseball-mitt-shaped bar was the one for you, complete with a baseball gumball. Did anyone manage to find the elusive blue raspberry Screwball?

2. Strawberry Shortcake

The ’70s cartoon-turned-doll of the same name wishes she had this kind of clout. “Sweet, crunchy, creamy, fruity in all the right ways,” remembers senior food editor Katherine Gillen. “And I loved the contrast between the creamy vanilla layer and the slightly icy strawberry layer.”

True: The contrast in textures of the ice cream, fruit ice and cake-like crumbles is likely a major reason this treat is second on our list. “It used to be the best when you got to the bottom because it was slightly melted and somehow that made it better,” adds operations director of branded content Rachel Gulmi.

best nostalgic ice cream truck treats: illustration of three choco tacos on a yellow background
Paula Boudes

1. Choco Taco

Our TVs were constantly asking us what we’d do for a Klondike Bar, even though the answer was, “nothing, where are the Choco Tacos?” After a nearly 40-year reign, this unique, minimally messy confection was yanked off shelves by its own makers, despite having been a steadily popular item. (OK, boomers.) “The chocolate-y coating! The chewy, moldable taco! The chopped nuts that I wished were sprinkles! It was the dessert that ate like a meal,” says VP of editorial Candace Davison.

Of course, the death of the Choco Taco broke the internet. Klondike claims to be working on reviving the treat for ice cream truck distribution, but we’ll believe it when we see it—Mom told us not to get our hopes up.

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Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...