Here's the Scoop

Jul 17, 2019 | Mclean

If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time deciding on just two flavors when you go out for ice cream. There are so many flavors and so many combinations! 



It begs the question, how many flavor combinations are there? 


Let’s start by picking one flavor and seeing how many other flavors I can pair with it. We’ll start with Caramel. 


I can have:

  • Caramel and Vanilla
  • Caramel and Cookies & Cream
  • Caramel and Espresso Biscotto
  • Caramel and M&M Birthday Cake
  • Caramel and Cherry Cheesecake
  • Caramel and Reese’s Cup
  • Caramel and Chocolate
  • Caramel and White Chocolate Grisbi
  • Caramel and Coconut
  • Caramel and Butter Pecan
  • Caramel and Hazelnut
  • Caramel and Mint Stracciatella
  • Caramel and Chocolate Sorbet
  • Caramel and Pineapple Basil
  • Caramel and Lemon
  • Caramel and Strawberry
  • Caramel and Blackberry + Raspberry


That’s 17 combinations already!


Now I can pick a different starting flavor and do the same thing. Let’s try M&M Birthday Cake.


I can have:

  • M&M Birthday Cake and Vanilla
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Cookies & Cream
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Espresso Biscotto
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Chocolate
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Caramel
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Reese’s Cup
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Cherry Cheesecake
  • M&M Birthday Cake and White Chocolate Grisbi
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Coconut
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Butter Pecan
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Hazelnut
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Mint Stracciatella
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Chocolate Sorbet
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Pineapple Basil
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Lemon
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Strawberry
  • M&M Birthday Cake and Blackberry + Raspberry


But wait… Caramel and M&M Birthday Cake is the same as M&M Birthday Cake and Caramel right? The order doesn’t really matter to me. So I want to make sure I’m not counting doubles when I’m counting. That means I’ll actually have one less combination this time. 


If I do that again, I’ll again have my list of all combinations, but this time I can cross two doubles out. 


  • Cherry Cheesecake and Vanilla
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Cookies & Cream
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Espresso Biscotto
  • Cherry Cheesecake and M&M Birthday Cake
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Caramel
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Reese’s Cup
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Chocolate
  • Cherry Cheesecake and White Chocolate Grisbi
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Coconut
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Butter Pecan
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Hazelnut
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Mint Stracciatella
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Chocolate Sorbet
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Pineapple Basil
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Lemon
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Strawberry
  • Cherry Cheesecake and Blackberry + Raspberry


If this pattern continues, then each time I’ll have one less pair to count. So instead of listing them out every time I can use this pattern to get my answer faster!


17 + 16 + 15 + 14 + 13 + 12 + 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 153 different combinations!


All that math has made me hungry! I think I’ll get White Chocolate Grisbi and Lemon.