Apple Cider Floats with Caramel Drizzle

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Looking for a fun dessert that you can make in just a matter of minutes? These Sparkling Apple Cider Floats are just the thing!

two apple cider floats with ice cream carton and scoop

There’s always room for dessert, am I right? Only sometimes, coming up with a creative dessert idea or drumming up the energy to bake said dessert can be a littler harder than one would think.

I mean, we are talking about dessert, right?

It pays to have a repertoire of quick desserts to draw from, desserts that can be made in a matter of minutes with regular kitchen staples.

No need to shop all over town for fancy ingredients. No need to time the baking and cooling and finishing of the dessert. Just mix and serve.

How about an Apple Cider Float?

These Apple Cider Floats are just the thing. Not only can you easily stash a carton of ice cream in the freezer and sparkling cider and caramel syrup in the pantry, but you can mix up a tray of these babies in minutes….

AND look like the hostess with the mostest!

Now before you get too excited, let’s chat a little bit about some details. Just for your personal edification and optimum dessert enjoyment.

What is the difference between an ice cream float and an ice cream soda?

An ice cream float and an ice cream soda are very closely related. A float is a soft drink (like root beer) with scoops of ice cream floating in it. An ice cream soda is a dessert of ice cream scoops topped with a flavored soft drink or soda water and flavored syrup.

While most people think of soft drinks as carbonated colas and the like, soft drink is merely a generic term for non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages are “hard”; other beverages are soft. So technically, sparkling apple cider falls under the soft drink category.

Technically this recipe constitutes as an ice cream soda, but really, it would be confusing to call this an apple cider ice cream soda. Dontcha think?

package of ice cream and bottles of cider and caramel sauce

How do you make a good ice cream float or ice cream soda?

Regardless of what you call it — the difference between the two desserts is a question of added syrup — an ice cream float and an ice cream soda are made in similar ways. And they are best made with very cold liquid, very cold glasses, and of course cold ice cream.

Going along with the cold theme, it’s best to use room temperature syrup in order to get the right drizzle. Heating cold syrup will get you there, but then you’re warming up your ice cream soda.

Whenever possible, plan ahead and chill your glasses and beverage.

Is apple cider the same as sparkling apple cider?

Apple cider is apple juice that hasn’t been filtered to remove sediment or bits of pulp. It has a more apple-y flavor, according to some. Commercial sparkling apple cider, such as Martinelli’s, is carbonated apple juice.

Fun fact: this recipe was a happy accident. Back in 2011 when Pinterest was just going crazy, I saw this picture of Rachael Ray’s Apple Cider floats. Since I have a hard time reading directions — I get too excited — I just assumed that she used sparkling apple cider to create her floats.

She didn’t.

She used hot spiced cider! Which is probably pretty good. I imagine the ice cream melts into the hot cider, creating a hot, creamy, yummy treat. But, I didn’t catch that when I scanned the recipe before making my grocery list.

two apple cider floats with caramel drizzle

Instead, I created cold, creamy yummy treats. And I’d like to point out that my lack of attention paid off! These Apple Cider Floats are delicious. Cold, bubbly, tart-sweet apple cider, vanilla bean ice cream, drizzles of caramel sauce. Yeah, baby. It totally works. Try it for yourself!

For the adults in your midst, consider serving these with hard cider for an interesting twist.

How To Make Apple Cider Floats Good and Cheap:

To make this recipe more economical:

  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Ice cream tends to go on sale fairly often; same with ice cream toppings. Watch for sales and stock up. I usually buy several flavors at one time and stash them in the freezer. Near the holidays you’ll find sparkling cider at super cheap prices. It stays good for awhile, so don’t hesitate to buy a few extra bottles.
  • Make your own ice cream. Depending on your sourcing options and how much time you have, it may be cheaper to make your own ice cream. Talk about taking this dessert over the top!

How I Make This Float/Soda Easy:

Having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:


0 from 0 votes
Apple Cider Floats with Caramel Drizzle
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

Looking for a fun dessert that you can make in just a matter of minutes? These Sparkling Apple Cider Floats are just the thing!

Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, apple cider, apple cider floats, floats, ice cream, ice cream float, ice cream soda
Servings: 4
Calories: 308 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 4 tsp caramel syrup at room temperature
  • 8 scoops vanilla ice cream from a 1.5 quart container
  • 1 bottle sparkling apple cider, 25.4 fl oz.
  1. Chill the glasses and the cider prior to serving.

  2. Warm the caramel syrup to a drizzle consistency. It's best to let it come to room temperature.

  3. Meanwhile, in each chilled glass place two scoops of ice cream. Pour cider over the ice cream. Drizzle caramel sauce over the foam.

  4. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
  • Make your own ice cream. Depending on your sourcing options and how much time you have, it may be cheaper to make your own ice cream. Talk about taking this dessert over the top!
Nutrition Facts
Apple Cider Floats with Caramel Drizzle
Amount Per Serving
Calories 308 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 135mg6%
Potassium 294mg8%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 556IU11%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 173mg17%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Have you got a favorite apple recipe?

two glasses of apple cider floats with spoons PIN

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Take the Celebrate Simply workshop and get ready to jingle all the way.

Learn more here.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. A lot of folks are trying to cut back on the carbs so here’s a grain free apple cobbler recipe that is both delicious and low carb!

  2. Lynette W. says

    Oh WOW! What a great mistake to make!!! Totally awesome flub! Thanks for sharing!

  3. In the words of Ms. Ray, “Yummo!” Definitely going to try these this weekend with my girls!

  4. Perfect swap. I can’t wait to see what others are cooking up with apples! Thanks for hosting.

  5. That looks so yummy!!!

  6. These floats look wonderful! Just pinned it 🙂

  7. YUM! Loving the apple recipes as I’ve got so many apples to get through right now. I shared a recipe for Fried Apples-n-Onions. The kids and I are reading Farmer Boy and Almonzo claimed in the book that this was his most favorite recipe! Fun stuff.

  8. All the recipes look amazing! I made a super simple slowcooker applesauce this past weekend. I am planning on posting it within the next couple days.

  9. Serendipitous delight!

  10. I don’t have a post up yet on it but I tried this Winter Squash Stew the other day and it was really good. This recipe calls for apple cider but I used apple juice. I like to keep a can of frozen apple juice concentrate in the freezer for times like this. Also. You may want to bake the squash whole first, it is a royal pain to try to cut a butternut squash into cubes etc. (Hard as a rock!) I had to enlist my dd28! : ) If you really want to go easy-breezy just use frozen yellow squash. Here is the recipe:

    Enjoy! Thanks for sharing, your floats look wonderful. My hubby would love them.

  11. Those floats look great. We’re having friends over for dinner Sunday and I think I just found my dessert — maybe with shortbread cookies (because I know my DH will say this is a drink, not a dessert 🙂 )

  12. Thanks for hosting! I posted a video on dehydrating apples along with cooking ideas for all of those apple chips.

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