While Big Macs and perfectly salted french fries can certainly be considered a few of McDonald’s strengths, the fast food purveyors really shine when it comes to sweets. From thick and creamy shakes to the candy-filled McFlurry, McDonald’s desserts are downright delicious — even their simple vanilla soft serve is dreamy.
But while it’s true McDonald’s dessert menu doesn’t disappoint, it wouldn’t hurt for the U.S. arm of the company to expand their offerings beyond the basics. Sure, we all love chocolate chip cookies and strawberry sundaes. And it’s nice that the restaurant seems to indulge patrons by serving items from a more robust "secret menu." However, the reality remains that there are some pretty amazing McDonald’s desserts you’ll never get to try in the U.S.
Did you know that in Paris, France, you can actually nibble on macarons from a McDonald’s situated along the world-famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées? C’est magnifique! Or how about the fact that in some countries, McDonald’s offers pastries stuffed with Nutella? There is much to be coveted from McDonald’s dessert menus in other countries.
Cadbury Crème Egg McFlurry
If you’re the type who waits all year long for Easter to roll around and bring Cadbury Crème Eggs with it, you might consider moving to Australia. Down under, McDonald’s breaks out a McFlurry in the spring that features chunks of Cadbury milk chocolate mixed with Cadbury Crème filling in the fast food restaurant’s classic soft serve vanilla.
According to the Today show, the treat isn’t available in the U.S. at all — only in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and sometimes Canada. And per McDonald’s UK website, even living in those areas doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your hands on one of these creamy delights. The timing has to be just right. "[The Cadbury Crème Egg McFlurry] is always launched in conjunction with the Easter period, running for a couple of weeks before and after," explains the company.
If you don’t have any future plans to travel to Australia, New Zealand, the UK or Canada for Easter, you could always try your hand at improvising. Theoretically, you could bring a Cadbury Crème Egg with you to McDonald’s, order a cup of soft serve vanilla, crack the chocolate egg open inside the cup, and go crazy.
Oreo waffle cone with sweet potato ice cream
Don’t you love it when food is both delicious and beautiful? It’s almost a shame to eat something as pretty as McDonald’s sweet potato ice cream in an Oreo waffle cone — almost. The soft-serve ice cream is made using purple sweet potatoes, which imbue it with its lovely lilac hue. That pale purple sits in striking contrast to the dark, chocolatey waffle cone made from Oreos upon which it sits. Per Insider, the bittersweet taste of the Oreos perfectly balances the sugariness of the ice swirl.
Aesthetically pleasing? Check. Pleasing to the palate? Double check. There’s just one big hitch: You’re gonna have to travel to Hong Kong in order to enjoy one of these beauties. The good news is that if you do plan a trip, not only will you get to try this cool treat but it’ll only set you back around $1.75 (U.S.).
Your next best alternative is to visit McDonald’s special outlet in Illinois, where the restaurant serves vanilla soft serve in Oreo waffle cones. So, almost the same thing, sans the pretty purple color.
Close your eyes and imagine sitting at a Parisian patisserie. What are you eating? It’s a macaron, isn’t it? It’s a macaron. Don’t be ashamed. In fact, according to Eater, "It’s a cliché to go to Paris and eat pink- and green- and chocolate-colored macarons, and you should do exactly that without an ounce of shame." And what better way to enjoy macarons in Paris than on the cheap? If you hit up the Champs-Elysées location of McDonald’s, you can enjoy this iconic French treat.
If you’re thinking this sounds too good to be true, well, you might be surprised. In June 2018, Delishably decided to do a blind taste test between the macarons offered at the Paris McDonald’s and at Ladurée — the reputed best maker of macarons in the City of Light. So, what was the verdict after the Delishably team compared chocolate, pistachio and caramel macarons from each vendor?
It was technically a tie. But if push came to shove, Delishably said they’d "splurge at Ladurée for the delicate texture and their selection of flavors" — but for a "quick and dirty macaron fix," Mickey D’s it is!
In the U.S., McDonald’s is known for one particular hand-pie: the apple. It’s in keeping with the whole Americana motif, you know? Plus, it’s a scientific fact that apple pie is the best kind of comfort food. (OK, maybe not scientific, but still.) And while no one is saying you shouldn’t keep adoring your American apple pie from McDonald’s, you should know that the restaurant offers an equally tasty, flaky pie filled with delicious fruit in Thailand. Only, in Thailand, that fruit is pineapple.
Consider the TripAdvisor review by Tony W. out of Sydney who, in January 2016, wrote, "No matter where you travel, McDonald’s is McDonald’s… the one thing about McDonald’s in Thailand is I love the pineapple pies." The McDonald’s Around the World blog also briefly describes these tropical fruit treats, saying, "The Pineapple Pie was near identical to the one I had in Malaysia earlier this year, but I think it may have had larger chunks of pineapple inside; my friend from Canada quite enjoyed it."
Two points of interest to unpack there: a, you can get Pineapple Pies at the McDonald’s in Malaysia too and, b, they’re enjoyable.
Pirulin Coco McFlurry
If you ever have a killer craving for a McFlurry, perhaps you should pack your bags for Brazil. There, McDonald’s offers the Pirulin Coco McFlurry — a decadent combination of creamy vanilla soft serve swirled with dulce de leche and topped with sweet and delicate Pirulin Coco biscuits.
"With this new Pirulin Coco, doors have opened and more consumers, lovers or not of that flavor are buying it for being a sweet but gentle experience at the same time, which leaves great taste in the palate," Damian Jaime, marketing manager of UEN Alimentos de Empresas Sindoni, said in a press release at the time of the new McFlurry’s launch.
It’s not surprising it has opened doors… as in, the doors of the restaurant as customers flock to McDonald’s to get a taste of this undoubtedly luxurious dessert. Can’t make it to Brazil? You can buy a tub of the Pirulin on Amazon, but it’ll set you back around $30.
You may have heard of durian fruit before, in which case you likely heard it called the "king of fruit." And while that sounds impressive, you might also recall that this regal fruit is known for a distinctive reason: its odor. If you’ve ever caught a whiff of durian fruit, you would remember — the smell of "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock," as described by food writer Richard Sterling, is not one you’d soon forget. However, that doesn’t stop this fruit from being a sought-after delicacy in Singapore where — get this — it is used in the making of a special McFlurry.
Intrepid blogger Daniel from DanielFoodDiary opted to brave the odor during a trip to Singapore in order to give this pungent McFlurry a test drive. "Serious, I could smell McDonald’s from a few meters away," he wrote of the experience. "And I am not talking about their fries or chicken nuggets, but its new D24 Durian McFlurry." As for the taste, well, it might be an acquired thing. "There were nuances of that bitter-sweetness, though not much, and I was quickly overtaken by the sweetness."
But for those who love Durian (and hey, maybe you’d be one of them if you tried it), this fragrant McFlurry could be a dream dessert.
Nutella cakes, muffins, and cheese pastries
We live firmly in the camp of "bring on the Nutella, anytime and all the time." There is nothing the rich and creamy hazelnut spread can’t make better. And if you find yourself dining at McDonald’s in Brazil or Italy in the near future, you’ll experience that sweet truth firsthand. It is there that the chain offers something truly visionary — an array of bread products stuffed with Nutella. No kidding.
One example is the Tortinha Delice, the Brazilian McDonald’s traditional banana tart, topped with Nutella, vanilla ice cream and Farofa de pacoca. In 2016, the Foodbeast editorial team tried the Nutella-stuffed muffins at the McDonald’s in Italy, which went just about as well as you’d expect: "Nutella-anything is pretty much a winner in my book, but if you stuff it inside a soft butter muffin, you pretty much nailed pastries."
And while it doesn’t necessarily look like a dessert, you might be interested in trying the "Sweety con Nutella" burger at McDonald’s in Italy. The restaurant packages up this delectable treat to look exactly like a burger but, in reality, it’s a donut-like bun with Nutella baked inside. Um, yum.
Coconut Charcoal McFlurry
Yes, you read that right — charcoal. It shouldn’t come as too much of a shocker that the stuff eventually ended up in food. After all, with the latest health and wellness crazes incorporating charcoal, it was only a matter of time before it began showing up on menus. Case in point? The Coconut Charcoal McFlurry at McDonald’s in Indonesia.
The good news is that, according to taste reviews posted on Nibble, the most dominant flavor of this McFlurry is the coconut. "Every mouthful of ice cream that enters the mouth is a sensation of gratitude from grated coconut," reads one review.
If you’re wondering why McDonald’s would put charcoal in a McFlurry at all, it’s thought that the substance has toxin-absorbing properties. This isn’t the stuff you put on the barbecue grill — activated charcoal involves heating carbon-rich materials (like wood or coconut shells) to very high temps. While not scientifically proven, the purported health benefits include assisting kidney function and aiding digestion.
Bubblegum Squash McFlurry
Here’s the thing: Not everyone loves bubblegum flavored foods. It’s one of those flavors people tend to love or hate and little in between. However, in the case of the Bubblegum Squash McFlurry offered at McDonald’s in New Zealand, people certainly seemed to love it. There’s even a petition going around to try to ensure it is always on McDonald’s menu, as McDonald’s does tend to retire these limited edition flavors eventually.
What’s in them? It would appear this uniquely named McFlurry consists of marshmallow pieces in three different colors atop McDonald’s vanilla soft serve, drizzled in a blue bubblegum flavored syrup. Admittedly, the "squash" part of the name seems to be a misnomer.
"The Bubblegum Squash McFlurry, although expensive, wasn’t as terrible as the frightening blue color made it look," the dessert is described on the McDonald’s Around the World blog. "It actually had a pretty subtle bubblegum flavor, and the marshmallows on top were soft. Personally, I don’t like marshmallows, but I was able to eat these. There wasn’t enough ice cream to make it worth the $3.60 price, but there [was] a ton of tourists ordering them."
As the expression goes, when in Rome! And in the context of McDonald’s, that means partaking of gelato when you visit the restaurant’s location in Rome, Italy. At this multi-level location, the classic Italian icy treat is served on the ground floor. And, as one TripAdvisor review puts it plainly, "Can recommend the gelato."
An authentic Italian delicacy, gelato has a long and storied history in the country. Ancient Roman emperors reportedly ate the early form of gelato: snow mixed with fruit and salt. The first official gelato café in Paris dates all the way back to 1686 when a Sicilian fisherman by the name of Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli from Palermo made the first gelato machine. Subsequently, he opened his own café called Le Procope, where he served gelato. Among his famous fans were reportedly great literary minds like Voltaire and Rousseau.
Suffice it to say, Italians take their gelato seriously. While it’s unclear whether you can special order gelato toppings at the McDonald’s in Rome, it’s certainly worth a try if you’re in town to order like a local — just ask for your gelato affogato if you want to try it doused in espresso, or gelato con panna to get it topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Let’s talk for a moment about Toblerone, shall we? What’s especially fun about this treat is its history, which reads a lot like a real-life Willy Wonka story. According to the Toblerone website, Jean Tobler began making chocolate confectionery out of his confectionery shop in Bern, Switzerland, back in 1868. By 1899, demand for his delicious chocolate was so great that he founded his very own chocolate factory with his sons called "Fabrique de Chocolat Berne, Tobler & Cie."
Clearly, chocolate-making-genius ran in the family. In 1908, Jean’s son Theodor — who’d taken over the company in 1900 — invented the Toblerone chocolate bar along with his cousin, Emil Baumann. A popular indulgence to this day, the unique triangle-shaped Swiss chocolate bar is a heavenly combination of ingredients such as cocoa, milk from Switzerland, almond nougat, and honey.
It’s a distinctive taste experience that, once you’ve tried, you’ll be powerless to resist ever again. Now, imagine if you could have a McFlurry full of Toblerone bits? Well, this isn’t just a sweet dream, people — at McDonald’s in Denmark, you can order just such a dessert from the menu.
Green Tea Kit-Kat Ice Cream
In case you missed it, Japan is famous for its dizzying array of Kit Kat flavors. No kidding, there are more than 200 and include adventurous flavor profiles like wasabi and Kobe pudding. But arguably one of the most refreshing Japanese Kit Kat flavors is the green tea version. Perhaps realizing an opportunity to capitalize on people’s love for this Kit Kat flavor (and green tea in general), McDonald’s in Japan decided to incorporate this tasty treat into the menu with ice cream items featuring Green Tea Kit Kats.
Food blogger Cla Palisoc described the Green Tea Kit Kat McFlurry in 2016 on her Food Fanatic blog, saying it was a mixture of McDonald’s signature soft-serve mixed with tiny pieces of green tea Kit Kat. And, apparently, this McFlurry did not disappoint. "There was no strong or bitter bitter matcha flavor here," wrote Palisoc. "Every spoonful will give you lots of Kit Kat pieces though with the subtle matcha after-taste."
While Palisoc points out that the dessert is nothing "too fancy or wow," she admitted she really enjoyed the Green Tea Kit Kat McFlurry from McDonald’s Japan and would give it a respectable three out of five stars.
In full disclosure, who can be sure if this qualifies as a dessert or breakfast? But either way, the Pancake Helado offered at McDonald’s Uruguay merits mentioning. A dulce-de-leche-filled pancake topped with vanilla ice cream and a dulce de leche sauce? Yes, please! So much yes. McDonald’s refers to this gooey treat as a "delicious combination," and why isn’t this a thing more people eat? Inquiring minds need to know.
Theoretically, you could attempt to make this on your own if you’re dying to try it (and don’t have an upcoming vacay to Uruguay booked). According to Extra Crispy, whipping up a batch of stuffed pancakes isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. So, if you were to pick up some pancake batter — it can be in a box, no judgment — along with dulce de leche sauce, you could very well be enjoying this Uruguayan delight in the near future.
While it’s unlikely you’ll be able to replicate McDonald’s signature creamy soft serve, a scoop of grocery store vanilla ice cream will likely do just fine in a pinch. Or, you know, you could always hit up your local McDonald’s for a cup of the real stuff.
Sweet cheese and raisin dessert
Should you ever want a really authentic cuisine experience via a McDonald’s dessert, consider a culinary trip to Romania. According to the Friends/TBWA blog, "McDonald’s continues the local relevance direction, bringing to the attention of consumers the recipes specific to Romanian cuisine, all of which form a genuine and varied Romanian menu" — with sweet cheese and raisins desserts among the Romanian food items the local McDonald’s offers.
As part of an advertising campaign to promote these Romanian treats, McDonald’s created a commercial that explores the colorful Romanian wedding tradition of "bride-napping," by which the bride gets stolen away from under the groom’s nose while the wedding is in full swing. What does this have to do with Mickey D’s? "The bride doesn’t have time to fully enjoy the meal at her own wedding. This is a known fact," Friends/TBWA explained. "She is always too busy to entertain the guests and make sure that they feel OK."
So, in the spot promoting McDonald’s Romanian fare, the bride-nappers bring her — where else? — to McDonald’s "so that she can eat some traditional Romanian food and relax a little from all the fuss."