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10 Types of Ice Cream Cones Explained

What’s the best way to transport ice cream to your mouth? In a bowl? Between two cookies? Straight from the carton? While these are all solid options, the most popular option by far is, of course, the ice cream cone.

Ice cream and cones is a classic combination that never gets old. Cones are the perfect vessel to carry delicious types of ice cream, enhancing its flavor and texture.

The ice cream cone was first produced by an Italian man named Italo Marchiony in 1896. He immigrated to New York City in the late 1800s and got a patent on this tasty invention in 1903.

Now, over 100 years later, there are many different types of ice cream cones to choose from.

Today, I’ll take you through the ten popular ice cream cones, from the classic waffle cone to unique shapes like taiyaki and bubble cones.

1. Waffle Cone

You know that smell when you walk into an ice cream shop, and it smells like you’ve stepped into heaven’s bakery?

That’s all thanks to waffle cones, which are usually freshly made in-house.

This type of ice cream cone is typically made with a mix of cake flour, pastry flour, brown sugar, and fiber.

Because of these ingredients, waffle cones are sweet, crunchy, and strong.

Since these cones are made in a classic conical shape, no drips of ice cream can escape from the bottom (in theory, anyway).

As you can tell from its name, waffle cones have a waffle-shaped exterior.

They’re basically a super thin, crispy waffle rolled into the shape of a cone.

They come in many sizes, but the most iconic are those giant waffle cones that can fit three or four scoops inside.

Bonus points if the top is dipped in chocolates and covered with sprinkles!

Fun fact: In 2021, a survey by YouGov showed that waffle cones are the most popular ice cream cone option in the US.

2. Sugar Cone

Sugar cones have a lot in common with waffle cones – they’re also crunchy and sweet, but sugar cones usually taste just a bit sweeter.

This sweetness comes from molasses and brown sugar.

This kind of ice cream cone is similar in shape to waffle cones since they’re conical, but they differ when it comes to the brim, which is perfectly flat.

They’re slightly harder than waffle cones and therefore have a bit more of a crunch to them.

Sugar cones are also dense, so they’re a good bet when you want to take your time with your ice cream without worrying about it getting soggy.

3. Cake Cone

Cake cones, sometimes called wafer cones, are a light, flaky vessel to carry your ice cream in.

Their ingredient list typically includes flour, sugar, and shortening.

Cake cones have a mild flavor and are far less sweet than most of the other options on this list.

This means they take a back seat to whatever ice cream flavor is on top of the cone.

Not only are they light in flavor, but cake cones are also light in texture, similar to a wafer.

They have a light crunch to them and become soggy quickly compared to a classic sugar or waffle cone.

The good news? Cake cones have a flat bottom, which prevents any melted ice cream from leaking out.

4. Pretzel Cone

Pretzel cones are one of the newer additions to the ice cream cone lineup.

They were dreamed up by a company called The Cone Guys, according to New Jersey Monthly.

Pretzel cones are exactly what you’re picturing – a thin, completely flat salted pretzel rolled into a cone shape so that it can hold ice cream.

This ice cream cone type is ideal for salty-sweet combo lovers.

While they don’t go well with all ice cream flavors, they beautifully complement and bring out more flavor in peanut butter, salted caramel, and chocolate ice creams.

Plus, pretzel cones are sturdy and crunchy, making them ideal for holding a few scoops of ice cream without getting soggy or cracking under pressure.

5. Waffle Bowl

This type of ice cream cone is the best of both worlds!

Waffle bowls have all the flavor and texture of a waffle cone, with the convenience and room for extra ice cream.

They are typically made with the same ingredients as waffle cones, so the only difference here is the shape.

Instead of the classic conical shape, they’re shaped like a bowl with a flat bottom and curved edges.

Since they have the same makeup as a regular waffle cone, you can be sure that waffle bowls will stay sturdy and not get soggy quickly.

The only downside is that bowls are definitely harder to eat than cones.

6. Bubble Cone

Bubble cones are made from egg waffles, which are a popular street food in Hong Kong.

They’re crispy on the outside, and each bubble is soft and fluffy inside.

Although egg waffles have been around since the 1950s, their use as an ice cream cone didn’t start until the mid-2010s, according to CNN.

The main ingredients in egg waffles are eggs, tapioca starch, custard powder, and sugar.

Bubble cones are soft, fluffy, and sweet.

They’re the softest ice cream cone on our list, so they’re usually held in a cardboard sleeve to keep everything in and together.

7. Taiyaki Cone

Taiyaki is a popular Japanese street food that looks like a fish with scales, fins, and all.

It’s made using pancake or waffle batter, so it has a chewy texture inside and crispy outside.

Traditionally, taiyaki is often filled with red bean paste, chocolate, or sweet potato.

However, when it comes to using taiyaki as an ice cream cone, specific molds are applied to allow the fish’s mouth to be open wide and hold plenty of soft serve ice cream.

Popular flavors to top your taiyaki cone include green tea ice cream, cream cheese, and black sesame ice cream.

8. Chocolate-Dipped Cone

Any type of ice cream cone can become a chocolate-dipped cone.

From waffles to pretzel cones, they can only be made better when dipped in chocolate!

The chocolate on dipped cones usually covers the top quarter of the cone to keep things from getting too messy.

The chocolate itself is tempered, meaning it has a nice crunch and will not melt even if your ice cream starts melting.

9. Gluten-Free Cone

Most ice cream cones have gluten in them, but there is such a thing as a gluten-free cone.

Unfortunately, they’re not the type of cone widely offered at ice cream shops, but you can prepare yourself at home in 15 minutes.

The main ingredients in gluten-free ice cream cones include egg whites, gluten-free flour, sugar, butter, and milk.

Depending on the recipe used, they can have a similar texture to waffle or sugar cones. 

10. Cookie Cone

Cookies and ice cream are an undeniably delicious combination. So, why not wrap your ice cream in a cone-shaped cookie?

That’s exactly what some ice cream fans have started doing with the cookie cone.

Cookie cones come in a few different flavors, like butter cookie and chocolate, but the most popular option is chocolate chips by far.

Brands like Joy Cone have added this newer type of ice cream cone to their roster, but you can try plenty of homemade recipes online.

Making a cookie cone is similar to baking a regular cookie, just a lot bigger.

Cookie cones are slightly harder than freshly baked cookies to hold a good amount of ice cream and keep their shape.


The vessel you choose to eat your ice cream through can make or break your dessert experience.

Cones are a sure bet, and plenty of different options are available depending on your goal.

Do you want something to hold a ton of ice cream? Choose a waffle cone. Looking for something fun and different? Try a taiyaki cone.

Whichever cone type you go with, you’ll end up with ice cream in your mouth, so it’s a guaranteed win!

About the Author

Samantha Jenkins is a food writer and digital marketing manager with a passion for storytelling, perusing grocery store aisles, reading menus, and eating really good food.

In her free time, she enjoys baking, performing in musicals, and cohosting the East Coast Haunts podcast.

August 16, 2023