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Sorry, TikTok, But Olive Oil On Ice Cream Is Nothing New

Thanks to Dua Lipa, adding salt and olive oil to ice cream is trending on TikTok.

Right now, TikTok users are being whipped into a frenzy about ice cream. No, not the ice-cream-and-Fruit-Roll-Ups thing. Not the McFlurry-and-hash-brown thing either. And we're not talking about the Ninja Creami discourse. The latest ice cream trend on TikTok involves topping a scoop of vanilla with two humble pantry items: olive oil and sea salt. But this practice is nothing new.

Popular TikTok influencers like have been posting about the combination recently, such as Nara Smith (1.3 million followers), who said, "It's so good. It's so addicting." Meanwhile, user Claudia Sulewski (1 million followers) recommends the snack and ends her video by saying, "You'll thank me later."

Some TikTok users immediately had a negative reaction to this serving suggestion, saying things like "yeah no I'm good" and "NVM my sweet tooth disappeared." While neither of the aforementioned influencers have claimed to have invented the dessert (which could easily turn into a disaster), through their videos, many users are discovering the concept for the first time. We promise, there's nothing repellent about that ice cream topping at all—and it's also been around for a long time.

Olive oil and sea salt on vanilla ice cream is delicious (and traditional)

Drizzling olive oil onto vanilla ice cream and sprinkling flaky sea salt on top might seem like an unusual maneuver, but if you haven't tasted it, well, the influencers are right: It's way better than you're imagining.

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This dessert is great for multiple reasons, including texture. When you pour a small stream of olive oil onto ice cream, it grows colder, and as it cools down from room temperature, it thickens up. Trendy olive oil retailer Brightland notes that once olive oil reaches a temperature between 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns into the consistency of soft butter.

Once the thickened olive oil warms up again in your mouth, that signature fruity olive oil flavor blooms across your palate. At the same time, the salt melts with the ice cream, offering little bursts of salinity against the sweet backdrop of vanilla and cream.

The trick is not to add an exorbitant amount of oil; I recommend you use just enough to coat the ice cream. And using flaky sea salt is key—table salt doesn't have that crunchy dramatic texture, plus the flaky salt creates its savory effect in bursts rather than a blanket as smaller grains would.

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Olive oil and sea salt on ice cream isn’t new

People have been pairing olive oil and salt with ice cream for a long time now. The practice originated in Italy, from a gelato combo known as gelato con olio e sale. The American public became more aware of it when Big Gay Ice Cream in New York City started serving it from its ice cream truck in 2009.

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Pop singer and actress Dua Lipa is a documented fan of the combination. She posted about it on X in 2022, with a photo caption saying "olive oil ice cream for the win."

She also gushed about it in an interview on the Radio 1 Breakfast show in November 2023, telling host Greg James, "So many people that I've showed it to, I've brought to the dark side."

Other ways to eat oil on ice cream

If you've never tried the olive-oil-and-sea-salt thing on ice cream, it's easy enough to accomplish at home, so I encourage you to prepare a bowl; as long as your olive oil is decent, you're good. But there's another unusual pairing involving oil and ice cream that I'm a fan of too.

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Try chili crisp (such as Lao Gan Ma brand) on top of ice cream. No need for salt in this case, since the condiment is already salty. The combination of salt, spicy chili, and numbing Sichuan pepper on the backdrop of ice cream really works. This practice isn't new either—food writer J. Kenji López-Alt stands by it, and McDonald's China served it as a novelty for one day only in 2021.

Sorry, TikTok, but you're late to the game as always. For all you olive oil ice cream haters out there, though, feel free to stick to your Hershey's syrup. We cool kids already have our own midnight snack ready to go.

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