Pick your favorite ice cream cones in this scoop-tacular taste test.

  • No safety considerations
  • Beginner
  • 30 minutes

Prepare Ingredients

3 different brands
ice cream cones
1 per person
glass of water
2 per person
plain crackers (or 1 slice plain sandwich bread per person)
1 pint
ice cream

Gather Equipment

1 per person + 1 extra
sheet of paper
1 per person
marker, pen, or pencil
1 copy per person
Tasting and Testing Ice Cream Cones scoring sheet
Ice cream scoop
1 per person
small bowl
1 per person
Paper towels

Today, you and your friends or family are going to practice being professional tasters. You’ll taste different brands of ice cream cones and determine which one is your winner by rating them based on their flavor, their texture, and how well they work to contain and support a scoop of ice cream (their function).


Before you start tasting, take a minute to think about the ice cream cones you’ve eaten in the past.

  • What did they taste like?
  • What were their textures like?
  • How well did they contain and support scoops of ice cream? Did any of them leak? Did any cones break when you tried to scoop ice cream into them?
  • Were there ice cream cones you liked a lot? What were they like? How about ice cream cones you really didn’t like? Why not?
3 different brands
ice cream cones

Ask an adult—or a friend or family member—to be the “Tasting Organizer.” This is an important job! They will be in charge of setting up the tasting. The Tasting Organizer should:

  1. Assign each brand of ice cream cones a number.
  2. Write down the numbers and the brand names on a separate piece of paper to keep track of them.

Meanwhile, each taster needs 1 sheet of blank paper. Using a marker or pen, divide the paper into the same number of sections as ice cream cone samples you’ll be tasting. Label the sections “Sample 1,” “Sample 2,” “Sample 3,” and so on, depending on how many samples you have.

1 per person
glass of water
2 per person
plain crackers (or 1 slice plain sandwich bread per person)

Make sure each person has a glass of water and 2 crackers or a slice of sandwich bread—these are to help cleanse your palate in between tastes.


Next, the Tasting Organizer should break 1 to 2 cones from each brand into large pieces (you’ll need enough large pieces so that each taster gets 3 pieces from each brand). Then, they should lay out the pieces of ice cream cone on each taster’s sheet of paper, placing 3 pieces of the first brand in section 1, 3 pieces of the second brand in section 2, and 3 pieces of the third brand in section 3.


Give each person a copy of the Tasting and Testing Ice Cream Cones scoring sheet to keep track of tasting notes.


Time to taste! First, you’ll taste the ice cream cones plain (without ice cream).

  • Taste the samples one at a time. (Save 1 piece of each cone to taste with ice cream in just a minute!)
  • Take small bites, chew slowly, and take sips of water and bites of cracker or bread in between samples.
  • Jot down a few notes about the flavor and texture of each ice cream cone on your Tasting Ice Cream Cones scoring sheet.
  • What did it taste like? Was it too sweet? Not sweet enough? Just right?
  • What was the texture like? Was it crisp? Soft? Chewy?
1 pint
ice cream

Now, taste each sample with a bite of ice cream. Give each taster a small scoop of ice cream in a small bowl and a spoon. Eat each of your remaining ice cream cone samples with a bite of ice cream (see why we had you save one of each sample?).


Give each sample a Flavor Score and a Texture Score, based on what you thought of its flavor and texture. Remember: A higher score means you liked it more!


Next, test the function of each cone as a whole group. Use an ice cream scoop to place 2 scoops of ice cream in 1 cone from each of the 3 brands. You will have 3 cones total. The Tasting Organizer should keep track of which cone belongs to each brand. Have volunteers hold the cones over paper towels for 3 minutes (set a timer!). Everyone should observe to see if any ice cream leaks out of the cones. No eating yet!


You can start eating the ice cream cones as you give each cone a Function Score based on your observations, starting with Sample 1. Think about:

  • Did the cone break, crack, or chip when you added the ice cream to it?
  • Did the cone get soggy while the ice cream was in it?
  • Did any ice cream leak out of the cone? Where? Remember, a higher Function Score is better.

Calculate the Overall Score for each ice cream cone by adding your Flavor, Texture, and Function Scores.


Time to pick a winner! Which of your samples had the highest Overall Score? That’s your winning ice cream cone. Look at the key (made by the Tasting Organizer) to see which brand matches your winning sample.

Remember, the Tasting Organizer assigned each sample a number before you started the tasting—use that sheet here.


Have each person who did the tasting share their winning brand and say a little bit about why they picked it as their winner. Then, make sure everyone gets an ice cream cone (with ice cream) to eat!