How Much is Inside A Banana Split?

How much does it cost to build your own 10-ingredient banana split sundae?

Last month I wrote an article comparing the banana splits at local ice cream shops.

Ken Erstad suggested that I investigate the price of building our own banana splits at home.

three ice cream cartons

The reason normal people don't make banana splits at home is because you need ten distinct ingredients, most of which can never be used in regular food preparation. Unless you are some kind of fruit-canning chocolate dairy farmer, you are going to have to invest twenty bucks at the grocery store like we did.

toppings for banana splits

We had the cherries. We actually had two jars of maraschino cherries. Twenty-five marischino cherries are harder to get rid of than a bottle of homemade cinnamon vermouth.

The strawberry, pineapple and chocolate sauces were each $1.98. The whipped cream was also $1.98. The cherries were $1.78. The nuts were $1.68, the ice creams were $3 a carton and the bananas were 59¢ per pound.

banana cutter

The kids were excited to help build them. You think your kids like building with legos? Try downloading bananasplitcraft.

Here my son cuts a banana lengthwise down the center and prepares to cover them in a thick layer of finger blood. Each banana was 29¢.

For Money

chocolate scoop weighing

My strict diet requires that I weigh all the servings to my breakfast. This scoop of chocolate ice cream weighed 95 grams, an eighth of the container. Each similar scoop of ice cream had cost 36 and a half cents.

scooping vanilla

Scooping vanilla.

two banana splits under construction

These are diet banana splits. These are $1.38 if you make them yourself.

Incredibly, this represents less than half of the ingredients for a proper banana split.

pineapple topping

We added strawberry and pineapple sauce, at a cost of 23¢ for each serving.

chocolate syrup

Chocolate sauce was a hit. Our servings were 15¢.

whipped cream chaos

There really isn't anything like a whipped cream dispenser, is there? We added 24¢ of whipped cream to each split.

hilarious nut sprinkles

Next came a sprinkling of nuts. I believe these were peanuts. We added two tablespoons at 18½¢. These are probably cheaper if you don't buy them in an elegant tin of chopped "topping" nuts.

banana split price breakdown

We added a 6½¢ cherry and were set! Banana split finished!

The total price per make-it-yourself banana split was $2.49½! Beautiful!

Compare this to a $10 banana split from an ice cream parlor, or $5 treat from Dairy Queen.

banana split

The total weight was 805 grams, or 475 grams if you don't eat the glass serving dish.

This is a little smaller than the restaurant sundaes we bought, but they were still much cheaper per pound at $2.38/lb.

weighing a homemade banana split

The downside, as I've already mentioned, is that you've got to invest in a clutch of otherwise useless ingredients. If you aren't making 11 banana splits that day, you will probably have to rent a shipping container to store all of these stupid nuts and sauces through the winter months. What's more, I haven't calculated the price of these purpose-built fancy banana split dishes. I guess I can serve extra-long hot dogs in them, or a long, thin soup.

two happy banana split kids

Building banana splits was one of my favorite family activities this summer. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my kids love weighing ingredients so much!