Drive thru fast food desserts

Fast food restaurants may be better known for their burgers and fries than they are for their sugary treats. But because most of our taste buds enjoy something sweet to go along with our greasy, salty drive-thru favorites, most chains offer at least a couple of dessert options for patrons.

While ice cream treats, cookies, and other simple pre-made desserts are a popular choice among most fast food restaurants in the U.S., some chains here and around the world have gotten creative — and perhaps a little daring — with their post-meal snacks. Sometimes the gamble pays off, and these strange fast food desserts become viral hits and lasting favorites. Other times, the weird and wacky doesn’t quite align with the taste buds of restaurant-goers, and these desserts fade into an odd memory.

If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting than fries dipped in a chocolate Frosty or the latest seasonal McFlurry, you’re in luck. From pork floss doughnuts to a fried pineapple pie, we’re bringing you some of the strangest fast food desserts you’ve never tried.

1. Taco Bell’s ChocoMarsh Melt

Taco Bell ChocoMarsh Melt

As far as fast food desserts go, Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists are a welcome relief from endless ice cream options. But get outside the U.S., and Taco Bell is serving up something even more decadent. The concept is simple; take a Crunchwrap, but instead of filling it up with meat, cheese, veggie, and condiment blends, this version gets stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate. Heat it up in the grill press, and the ChocoMarsh Melt becomes a gooey, melted, delicious snack that’s somehow is even messier than a normal Crunchwrap.

If you’re craving this Tex-Mex-take on a s’more, don’t head to your local Taco Bell for a midnight snack just yet. Unfortunately, this strange fast food dessert is only available at select locations in Spain and the U.K. But with such simple ingredients, you can probably whip up your own ChocoMarsh at home; simply swap your typical s’mores graham cracker for a tortilla, and microwave or bake your concoction until it’s warm and gooey.

2. McDonald’s Taro Pie

McDonalds Taro Pie

A hot fried apple pie alongside a burger, fries, and a Coke is about the most American fast food combo you can get. But while this classic drive-thru meal might be popular stateside, McDonald’s is well-versed in adapting its menu to better suit the taste buds of patrons around the world.

For instance, to celebrate the fall tradition of "Moon Viewing," locations in Japan released a special menu full of items topped with a fried egg. Fries get a fancy and delicious upgrade to poutine in Canada. And at McDonalds locations in Italy, spinach and parmesan nuggets are a popular choice that would seem out of place in the U.S.

International flavors of fried pies have also made their way onto menus around the world. At locations in Asia, a Taro Pie, a fried hand pie filled with a popular root that’s largely unheard of in the U.S., is a popular choice. It even had a limited run at locations of the chain in Hawaii. While it’s rare to see taro root on the menu outside of most Asia and South Pacific nations, it actually has a similar flavor to sweet potato, which is a popular pie choice in southern states in the U.S. In fact, you can get a fried pie similar to those sold at McDonald’s with this sweet filling at fast food chain Bojangles. At McDonald’s in the U.S., you’re limited to more Americanized flavors like apple, strawberry and cream, and custard.

3. KFC’s Blueberry Patbingsu

Patbingsu with red bean paste

If you’re looking to cool off after digging into a bucket of fried chicken in Korea, KFC has you covered. Locations in this nation offer a seasonal summer treat called a Blueberry Patbingsu. While the name might be a mouthful, this cold dish is pretty simple. It starts with shaved ice, topped with blueberry syrup and blueberries, and is finished off with a scoop of red beans — yes, you read that right.

While beans aren’t likely to make the list of available toppings at most American snow cone stands, red bean paste is a popular ingredient in China, Japan, and other Asian nations. It’s used on desserts as well as in other savory dishes. Red beans even make an appearance on a Starbucks Frappuccino later in this list.

Red bean paste, also known as Anko, starts with sweet azuki beans, which are boiled, mashed, and mixed with sugar and a little salt. It might look a little like one-half of a spicy red beans and rice dish, but the end result is actually sweet and mild.

4. Dunkin’ Donut’s Pork Floss Donut

Dunkin' pork floss donuts

Bacon on doughnuts has been having a moment for several years now. The combination of one savory and one sweet breakfast treat seems to tickle enough taste buds to have made it onto the menu of many a doughnut shop. But wander into a Dunkin’ Donuts in China, and you might be shocked to find a different pork and pastry combination on the menu. The Pork Floss Donut starts out innocently enough; a classic yeast ring donut topped with vanilla frosting. But add a topping of shredded pork, and you have a truly strange breakfast option.

This isn’t your BBQ restaurant shredded pork. Instead, Pork Floss has a consistency similar to cotton candy. It’s dry, finely shredded pork that’s been mixed with soy sauce and sugar to create a sweet and salty combo. Available in a jar in most Asian convenience stores, it’s used to top a variety of dishes, though usually not desserts.

5. Wendy’s Jewel Fruit Ice

Jewel fruit ice drink

When the first Wendy’s location opened its doors in Columbus, Ohio in 1969, the menu had just five items. Alongside a burger, fries, chili, and soft drinks was the now-famous Frosty. Frosty’s are still a popular summer treat. But in Japan, if you’re looking for something even more refreshing on a hot day, order a Jewel Fruit Ice from Wendy’s First Kitchen (that’s the Japanese version of Wendy’s). This sweet ice cream treat features vanilla soft-serve that’s layered with fruit sauce, chopped fruit, and nata de coco, a sweet topping that adds glitter and shine — giving this dessert its name.

Jewel Fruit Ices are available in several fruity flavors, including strawberry and lemon, pineapple and passion fruit, and pink grapefruit and lemon. They’re part ice cream, part-drink, and totally perfect for hot summer days. This refreshing drink was released for the summer of 2021. While it’s a limited release, we hope to see it return next summer!

6. Burger King’s Bacon Sundae

bacon sundae toppings

Bacon might have been well-received on top of donuts. But it didn’t get the same reception when it was added to sundaes. Back in 2012, Burger Kings in the U.S. released a limited menu that included a Bacon Sundae. It started out as a basic sundae, with vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge and caramel. But add on a sprinkling of bacon crumbles and a full strip of bacon, and this ice cream sundae became truly bizarre.

The sundae was part of a campaign by Burger King to improve its image. While the sundae seemed to be a hard no for many patrons, those daring enough to try it actually found it to be a good sweet and salty combination. One even reported that hard-core bacon lovers might be disappointed that there wasn’t more bacon flavor in their ice cream treat.

Whether or not it was something that Burger King expected to take off, it didn’t last for long and hasn’t made its way back onto the menu again. But who knows; maybe the King will choose to bring back this strange fast food dessert on the 10-year anniversary of its release!

7. KFC’s Edible Cookie Coffee Cup

KFC edible coffee cup

Coffee is typically enjoyed alongside a dessert, but KFC locations in the U.K. thought it’d be better served inside of a dessert. Add in the fact that this menu item was also something of an environmental statement, and you’ve got a recipe for a dessert you’ll feel good about ordering.

KFC’s edible cookie coffee cup was first released in the U.K. While it looked like a normal, although small, paper cup, it was actually made from a cookie that had been baked in the shape of a cup. The cookie was wrapped in sugar paper with KFC and Seattle’s Best logos emblazoned on them. The cup was then lined with a layer of white chocolate designed to begin to melt when hot coffee was added. The result was a sweet boost to your morning cup o’ Joe or afternoon pick-me-up.

This environmentally-friendly snack was tested in some markets in 2015, though it has yet to make its way back onto menus — perhaps because a cup you can eat that’s full of a steaming hot beverage sounds a bit like a recipe for disaster!

8. Taco Bell’s Chocodilla

Taco Bell Chocodilla

While you might not be able to get the ChocoMarsh Melt at Taco Bells in the U.S., a limited release in 2017 brought a different — and even more simple — tortilla-based dessert to our drive-thrus.

The Chocodilla was a flour tortilla that’s stuffed with melted candy bars, including Kit Kats or Twix bars. These melted, messy, chocolate treats have previously been available in the U.K., South America, and several other countries. In the Philippines, a version stuffed with Nutella was even available for a time. Rather than being folded and wrapped into a Crunchwrap shape, the Chocodilla is exactly what it sounds like; a chocolate quesadilla.

While no longer available in the U.S., you’ll still find different versions of the Chocodilla on the menu at Taco Bell locations elsewhere around the world. In Australia, you can get a Chocodilla filled with dark chocolate. In India, it’s a similar treat, with chocolate chips taking the place of the candy bar versions once available.

9. Wendy’s Kit Kat Sandwich

Kit Kat bar sandwich

While Kit Kat candy bars typically come in one flavor here in the U.S. unless there’s a seasonal version out, the same can’t be said for Japan. There, the Kit Kat has exploded in popularity and led to a flood of flavors ranging from red bean paste to sake to European cheese.

So it should come as no surprise that fast food restaurants have jumped on the Kit Kat train. At Wendy’s First Kitchen, a Kit Kat Sandwich is touted as the perfect post-meal snack. This strange dessert starts with a simple, non-sweet white bun sliced in half. Inside, they add a swirl of whipped cream along with a few slices of orange peel. Finally, a snack-size Kit Kat bar completes the sandwich.

This odd dessert sounds more like something a middle schooler would whip up for an after-school snack than something you can actually buy at a fast food restaurant.

10. Tim Horton’s Buffalo Crunch Donut

Tim Hortons buffalo crunch donut

This next strange donut flavor doesn’t take us far. The ultimate Canadian chain, Tim Hortons, served up a wacky and wild flavor that rivals China’s pork floss flavor south of the border at the New York State Fair. The Buffalo Crunch Donut was available as a limited release in 2014. It featured a yeast donut that was covered in spicy Buffalo sauce and crushed chips, with a pool of sauce that even Buffalo chicken dip lovers cringing. Despite the shocking combination and bright orange color, MTV reported that their review team was actually mixed in their opinions of this strange dessert. However, all agreed that the donut was a better choice for mixing with buffalo sauce than they expected it to be.

While the flavor was no doubt a popular dare among fair goers, it must not have made a lasting impression, as it hasn’t made its way onto the menu of any Tim Horton locations since.

11. McDonald’s Sweety con Nutella

McDonalds Sweety con Nutella

When images of this dessert started making the rounds, it was often called the Nutella Burger. If the name "Nutella Burger" conjures up images of a burger slathered in chocolate, don’t fret — while it did come on a hamburger bun, this strange fast food dessert didn’t feature a patty.

Much like the simple Nutella Chocodillas served up at Taco Bell locations in the Philippines, this sweet and strange fast food dessert keeps things simple. It was just a hamburger bun base topped with a thick spread of tasty, nutty Nutella. It was even served in its own custom brown McCafe burger box. But while this dessert was often referred to by its nickname, in Italy, where it was released on a limited basis in 2016, it was called the "Sweety con Nutella." Sweet and simple, this strange dessert seemed right at home in a fast food restaurant, although it didn’t last for long.

12. Starbuck’s Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino

Starbucks Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino

A whopping three out of every four drink orders at Starbucks are now for cold beverages. And with sweet Frappuccinos attracting both coffee lovers and those looking for a sugary pick-me-up or dessert drink, it’s no surprise that the chain has been expanding its flavor options to meet international demand.

In keeping with the popularity of red bean paste in Asian markets, Starbucks has cashed in with their own Frappuccino flavor. The Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino is available in China and several other Asian markets. It features a Matcha powder and frappe base and is topped with a layer of sweet red beans that might be enough to scare away anyone who didn’t grow up eating beans for dessert. In addition to the sweet drink, Starbucks has also released a muffin of the same flavor, so you can double up on the green matcha and red bean goodness come breakfast time.

13. McDonald’s The McCrepe

McDonalds secret menu McCrepes

Another strange fast food dessert that’s evolved as a viral hack on social media has been dubbed "The McCrepe." No one knows exactly when this secret menu item first arose. But with all of the ingredients available at most McDonald’s locations, it’s easy to order. Start with an order of McDonald’s hotcakes (don’t forget the syrup!). Then, add a yogurt parfait. Scoop some of the parfait, with the yogurt, fruit, and all, onto each hotcake, and roll them up — or more accurately, fold them over, as they’ll tear open if you fold them too tight. Top with syrup and the little granola packet that came with the parfait and you have a fast food version of some sweet dessert crepes.

Keep in mind that because of shortages caused by COVID-19, as well as limited menus, the ingredients to make your own crepes may not be available at all locations. And while they were once served around-the-clock, most locations are currently only serving hotcakes only during the morning breakfast hours.

14. McDonald’s Pineapple Pie

McDonalds Pineapple Pie

As far as fried pie flavors go, taro root might be the most bizarre, but the flavors of a fried pineapple pie are no less strange to some audiences. McDonald’s released this fruity hand pie, one of more than 40 flavors it’s released to date, in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Hawaii as a limited release. Presumably, these locations were chosen because their customer markets might be more tempted towards fruity flavors than creamy custard versions that come around seasonally in the lower 48.

One Australian reviewer who tried the pie said that while "McDonalds is McDonalds," they loved the unique Pineapple Pie during their visit to a location in Phuket, Thailand.

Unlike some fried pies recipes that haven’t stood the test of time, this flavor appears and reappears frequently, showing that McDonald’s knows their markets. And for American taste buds, the combination of sweet pineapple in a crisp fried crust might be less shocking to the taste buds than taro root or potato bacon, available in some Asian markets, including Japan.

15. Pizza Hut’s Kit Kat Pops

Pizza Hut Kit Kat Pops

Japan isn’t the only country jumping on the Kit Kat trend. In the Middle East, Pizza Hut threw their own strange dessert in the mix. Kit Kat Pops, like many pizza parlor desserts, utilize pizza dough to create some gooey goodness. These simple, sweet, bite-sized treats were simply mini Kit Kat bars wrapped in pizza dough and baked. The Kit Kat Pop debuted with minimal advertising and media attention in a limited market. And if the few individuals who seemed to have had the chance to sample this concoction are any indication, it isn’t surprising that this dessert hasn’t been seen since 2013. One blogger on Tumblr had only this to say about Pizza Hut’s chocolatey dough bites; "Verdict: Who comes up with these ideas at Pizza Hut Middle East? 1/10"

If you’re craving something sweet to go with your next stuffed crust pizza, Pizza Huts in the U.S. have several desserts to choose from, several of which offer decadent, warm, melted chocolate that didn’t come from the inside of a candy bar wrapper.

16. Carl Jr.’s Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich

Strawberry Pop-Tart ice cream sandwich

Available for a limited time at Carl’s Jr. locations in the U.S. in 2013, the Strawberry Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich was a lot like a cookie sandwich. But instead of cookies holding a scoop of vanilla ice cream together, it was two halves of a strawberry Pop-Tart. The halves were frozen to keep them from crumbling as you bit in. This treat made quite a splash when it was released, but didn’t make enough of an impression to stick around. It gained a lot of notoriety ahead of its release, including a shout-out from talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel. Initially, it was only available at select California locations. But after going viral, it was released nationwide, and was even given away for free with the purchase of a Super Bacon Cheeseburger combo at some participating locations. The sandwiches were reportedly made in-house using hand-scooped ice cream.

Despite the initial appeal, the fame didn’t last long, and the item disappeared from menus not long after its 2013 release.