Is Mushroom Ice Cream Really A Thing?

Whether or not we've tried them, we've all seen some strange ice cream flavors. Mountain Dew and Doritos ice cream? Yup. Mac and cheese ice cream? It does indeed exist. Beef tongue ice cream? Unfortunately, yes, that's also on the market.

However, the true magic comes in the form of ice cream flavors that sound weird at first but prove pretty darn tasty. For example, Baskin-Robbins' Chick'n & Waffles flavored ice cream may seem like an odd choice, but we love ice cream and chicken and waffles, so why wouldn't we love them all together? Taste of Home Trends Editor Amrikka Thakkar tried this curious flavor, pointing out the ice cream's savory profile wasn't overpowering with fried chicken flavor, focusing more on subtly smoky notes with stronger hints of maple and buttermilk waffle. 

You guessed it — this brings us to mushrooms. We can't deny that mixing mushrooms into ice cream seems like a bizarre business move, but we also can't deny that people are absolutely loving the Mushroom Magic Pack ice cream flavors from Salt & Straw. What's even weirder, though, is that everyone says you can't even taste the mushrooms in this frozen treat.

What mushroom ice cream tastes like

Back in May 2022, Portland's beloved ice cream company, Salt & Straw, partnered up with Wunderground. The latter produces mushroom-based coffees and teas using different hand-picked mushroom species with the best benefits to human health – physical and mental. Together, the two launched the limited edition Mushroom Magic Pack ice cream flavors.

For the collab, they chose three of Wunderground's signature coffees and added a little Salt & Straw twist, resulting in Brainchild Coffee with Five-Spiced Hazelnut Praline, Dream Supply Chamomile and Candied Orange Sherbet, and Hocus Pocus Red Velvet & Cocoa Nib Fudge. We know, they all sound delicious, and even better, not a single one actually tastes like mushrooms, according to Forbes

All in all, Salt & Straw's new mushroom ice cream sounds like the ultimate dessert. You get the taste of coffee, the creamy texture of ice cream, plus all the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms without having to deal with their taste or texture in your dessert. Sounds like a win-win.

The perks of adding mushrooms to ice cream

If all of this has you wondering why anyone would think to add mushrooms to ice cream in the first place, you're not alone. In the case of Salt & Straw and Wunderground's collaboration, mushrooms were chosen based on texture, taste, and medicinal benefits. Not any old mushrooms — mushrooms with adaptogens

According to Wunderground's website, adaptogens differ from caffeine and sugar in that they work slowly and steadily rather than hitting you all at once, leaving you to crash once your coffee buzz is gone. Wunderground uses four kinds of adaptogenic/medicinal mushrooms in its coffee: lion's mane, reishi, cordyceps, and chaga. Each mushroom's benefits vary slightly, but the mix Wunderground features in its coffee includes immune support, "emotional calm," and even improved brain function. Plus, they have a healthy dose of antioxidants. 

Brainchild Coffee with Five-Spiced Hazelnut Praline is meant to help unlock your brain power with a boost from lion's mane and cordyceps mushrooms. Dream Supply Chamomile and Candied Orange Sherbet plays riffs on a nighttime cup of tea to soothe and relax, using reishi and lion's mane mushrooms for their calming impact. Hocus Pocus Red Velvet & Cocoa Nib Fudge makes cake more enjoyable with a blend of chaga and reishi mushrooms to promote immune support and mood. This all sounds like a pretty good reason to switch not only from regular coffee to mushroom coffee but from regular ice cream to mushroom ice cream!