Some folks like to get a little adventurous at the ice cream parlor, choosing coffee, pistachio or even bubble gum, but when it comes to this classic frozen treat, most don’t stray too far beyond vanilla and chocolate.
According to The Food Channel, 29 percent of all ice cream consumption is just plain ol’ vanilla. In other words, about a third of us steer clear of the delightful world of weird ice creams. (Ever tried Thanksgiving Dinner, Goat Cheese and Cherry or…Lobster ice cream?)
With so many strange scoops up for grabs, we decided to compile a list of the most bizarre ice cream flavors in the United States. Which of these creative concoctions would you dare to try?
13. Pink Lemonade Pop Rocks: Max & Mina’s Ice Cream; Queens, New York
For a mix of freshly squeezed lemonade and firework-branded tingling flavor, Max & Mina’s Ice Cream has the perfect scoop. Light pink-lemonade flavor gets a jolt of fun with fizzy popping candies peppered throughout. The New York-based parlor’s crazy flavors have been featured on the Food Network’s "Outrageous Foods," as well as in the New York Times, People magazine, USA Today and many other big-name news outlets. If all those trusted taste buds can’t persuade you, Max & Mina’s extensive menu, with crazy flavors like Strawberry Horseradish and Lox, will.
12. Thanksgiving Dinner: The Ice Cream Store; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
With its impressive flavor list, the Ice Cream Store has become an obsession both in and out of its home state. Of all the odd options they offer, Thanksgiving Dinner might be the weirdest: Composed of egg-yolk vanilla ice cream studded with tomatoes, potatoes and green beans, this seasonal specialty is topped off with hot sauce and granulated sugar. The shop is also known for pun-derful flavors such as The Swirl with the Dragon Cashews and MintNight in Paris.
11. Goat Cheese with Red Cherries: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams; multiple locations
For those craving a frozen treat that tastes exactly like cherry cheesecake, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams makes a flavor that sounds strange but tastes amazing. The delicate combination of tart roasted cherries and creamy goat cheese has helped build Jeni’s into a nationwide brand. With locations across the U.S. and three cookbooks in print, you can get a fix of this unique flavor no matter where you are. (If you’re still looking for that bite of cherry cheesecake, we have another suggestion.)
10. Vanilla with Sweet Sriracha Sauce: Mason’s Creamery; Cleveland, Ohio
This (vegan!) ice cream is hot, hot, hot! Mason’s Creamery offers many seasonal surprises on its rotating menu, but this spicy sriracha-flavored scoop is so popular that it’s available year-round. With its creamy heat and a drizzle of the sauce itself on top, you’re unlikely to find another scoop like it.
9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: OddFellows Ice Cream; Brooklyn, New York
OddFellows Ice Cream has an impressive array of flavors on its ever-changing menu. Adventurous eaters might want to try Absinthe Chocolate Chip…and how does Foie Gras sound? One especially popular variety is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The flavor is nothing like the stuff you saute veggies in, and the texture is just about as smooth and creamy as it gets.
8. Gold Nugget: Coppa; Juneau, Alaska
Coppa is known for much more than ice cream, but their never-dull Flavor of the Day list includes some truly crazy flavors on occasion. At the top of the podium is Gold Nugget, a vanilla-based custard swirled with dark chocolate chunks and 24k gold flake—proving you don’t need a drill to hit gold…but you may need to travel to Alaska.
7. Dill Pickle: Dakota Drug Co.; Stanley, North Dakota
With a soft chestnut color that looks like caramel or peanut butter, this brine-spiked scoop is sure to surprise. The Dakota Drug Co. soda fountain prides itself on being able to mix almost any flavor with its Whirl-a-Whip, a rare classic that blends basic ice cream with just about any add-in to create a unique treat every time. If you like ice cream that bites back, you’ll appreciate this salty sweet.
6. Sweet Avocado Cayenne: Rococo Creamery; three locations in Maine
Look no further than Rococo Creamery for this mega tasty, mean green flavor. It features creamy avocado and crackling cayenne, and even better than the surprisingly satisfying taste is the color—neon green.
5. Granny’s Sweet Potato Casserole: The Comfy Cow; multiple locations
How about ice cream for Thanksgiving dessert? In honor of the holiday, the Comfy Cow creamery expands its candy-coated menu in the fall to include this confection. Made with brown sugar pecan brittle, scratch-made marshmallow fluff and roasted sweet potatoes, it’s sweet nostalgia by the scoop. If you’re looking to duplicate the taste in your own home, try our recipe for sweet potato casserole. We recommend serving it with—you guessed it!—a dollop of ice cream.
4. Idaho Potato: Westside Drive In; Boise, Idaho
Ice cream doesn’t get much more Idahoan than this potato-shaped ice cream base topped with “sour cream” (vanilla ice cream). A wildly popular dish at the Westside Drive In, the restaurant now sells the novelty off-site from their traveling Idaho Ice Cream Potato Trailer.
3. Strawberry Balsamic: Sweet Action Ice Cream; Denver, Colorado
Balsamic vinegar is most often used as a salad dressing component or a sauce add-in, but Sweet Action Ice Cream twisted its tart flavor into a top-selling strawberry ice cream. Next time you’re in Denver, pick up a scoop or two, and get a glimpse at other fun flavors such as Blackberry Lavender and Whiskey Brickle. Can’t make the trip? Sweet Action ships nationwide, so fans can order a taste from any place, at any time.
2. Lobster: Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium; Massachusetts and Maine
With its vanilla bean and butter base and lobster pulled fresh from the Atlantic (then cooked and chopped!), this ice cream steals the show at the Chocolate Emporium…despite the fact that it doesn’t contain any chocolate at all. Also cool: The candy-red flecks of lobster make for a gorgeous treat that’ll make Instagram followers freak.
1. Ghost Pepper Peppermint: Mallard Ice Cream; Bellingham, Washington
To achieve this truly strange and daring combination, the innovators at Mallard Ice Cream blended the intense kick of the world’s hottest chile pepper with the sweet, classic cool of homemade peppermint ice cream. This one is for spice lovers only. Indulge at your own risk.