Ice Cream Flavors You Sadly Can't Find Anymore

They say it's better to have licked and lost than never to have never licked at all. Try telling that to the inconsolable ice cream lover who's just discovered (often, the coldest manner possible, via a tweet) that her/his/their favorite flavor of all time has been retired to "The Deep Freeze" or "de-pinted" to the "Flavor Graveyard."

While in the throes of grieving a beloved flavor, it's difficult to see any logic behind the decision to "discontinue." However, as USA Today points out, as a result of increased technology, fierce competition, and rapidly changing trends and tastes, commercial ice cream manufacturers are constantly looking to add new and unusual ice cream flavors to entice consumers, even if that means killing off old favorites.

And yet what they don't always realize when trying to seduce us with the rarefied likes of dill pickle sorbet and Irish whiskey, is that old-school favorite ice cream flavors offer us constancy and comfort. They conjure up happy memories. They pick us up when we're down (and fatten us up to boot). And the best and most beloved flavors sometimes bring us joy. So when, without warning, they're yanked from our freezers, we're left reeling, our bowls and cones sadly empty, our souls and appetites bereft. In the hopes that they'll someday be resurrected (if for a limited time only), here is a selection of some of the most-missed ice cream flavors in America.

Baskin Robbins Apple Pie a La Mode

There are few sweet sensations that are more classically, lip-smackingly American than home-baked apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream. So you'd think that paying homage to a legend in lickable form, as Baskin-Robbins did when it rolled out Apple Pie a La Mode ice cream in 1976, would prove to be as eternal as the original honoree. Yet, on July 14, 2010, along with four other "famous" flavors — (including one of the chain's originals, French Vanilla, created in 1945) — Apple Pie a La Mode was ceremoniously retired and permanently sent off to the "Deep Freeze." The event proved so newsworthy that it was covered by CBS News and CNN, who summed up the forced retirement of iconic flavors to make way for newer and more innovative ones with two words: "That's cold."

Since then, Baskin-Robbins has teased a possible return of the hallowed homestyle flavor, consisting of vanilla ice cream mixed with real apples, crisp chunks of pie crust, and swirls of cinnamon-spiked caramel. In 2013, the company launched "The Big Thaw" contest, inviting customers to vote to resurrect their favorite retiree from the "Deep Freeze," albeit for a limited time only. With 31 flavors in the running, the competition was stiff. When the results of the 80,000 votes were in, the winner was the 1960's-era Pistachio Almond Fudge. Temporarily disappointed by this sweet defeat, hard-core fans haven't given up on the possibility of future thaws.

Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide

Compared to Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry's is much more definitive (albeit imaginative) when it comes to dealing with its own flavor failures. Instead of a walk-in freezer, B&J's sends its "dearly de-pinted" to a "Flavor Graveyard." This ice cream cemetery not only exists in the virtual realm on the company website (with tributes and a link for potential resurrection), but it also exists for real at Ben & Jerry's headquarters in Waterbury, Vermont. Those who come to pay their last respect to favorite flavors can actually wander amidst commemorative headstones that mark the dates of each ice cream's creation and untimely demise.

Among the most mourned flavors in the graveyard is Dublin Mudslide (2004-2012). Packing a boozy punch with plenty of crunch, it consists of Irish Cream Liqueur ice cream with a swirl of coffee fudge and chunks of chocolate chip cookies. When news of its demise spread, fans reacted with despair across the blogosphere. On the ice cream review site On Second Scoop, comments ranged from "NOOOOOO!!!!!!! My worst fears have just been confirmed" to "BEST FLAVOR EVER... this might be the worst news I've ever heard. BRING IT BACK!!!!"

Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk

According to Ben & Jerry themselves, of all the dearly departed flavors "dancing through fans' happiest Ben & Jerry's memories," the one most fondly reminisced about is Oatmeal Cookie Chunk (2003-2012). Inspired by, and incorporating, one of the most humble, but beloved American confectionary classics, this flavor consisted of sweet cream cinnamon ice cream loaded with chunks of crunchy oatmeal cookies and fudge.

Unlike other B&J flavors, Oatmeal Cookie Chunk wasn't killed off due to lack of popularity. When the supplier of the ice cream's signature oatmeal cookies stopped making them, a long search for an equally delicious replacement proved cookie-less. Instead of making the flavor with an inferior product, in an admirable display of culinary integrity, Ben & Jerry's decided to send it to the Flavor Graveyard.

Since its demise, Ben & Jerry's have received outpourings of grief on a daily basis. In 2013, when HuffPost asked readers which Ben & Jerry's flavor they most wanted to resurrect from the grave, the overwhelming choice was Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. Perhaps nobody was as traumatized by the flavor's extinction as Utah native, Austin Dent. The "world's biggest Oatmeal Cookie Chunk fan," Dent not only started a Facebook fan page for the flavor, but took his fight for its return all the way to the White House. He also had the foresight to scoop up a few remaining pints and stash them away at a top-secret location, in anticipation of a special occasion.

Ben & Jerry's Vermonty Python

Ben & Jerry's Vermonty Python was another fabled flavor that met its maker despite the fact that, as Ben & Jerry's pointed out, the flavor was loved even more than Monty Python's (famously fictional) Venezuelan Beaver Cheese. Dreamed up as an edible homage to Monty Python, the flavor consisted of coffee liqueur ice cream ribboned with swirls of chocolate cookie crumbs and miniature fudge cows that were as delightfully unorthodox as the madcap British comedy troupe itself.

According to official Ben & Jerry lore, between 2006 and 2008, Vermonty Python was all the rage. Until, suddenly, it was gone — which Ben & Jerry's admitted, "doesn't make any sense."

Fervent Python fans concurred and have been on a Holy Grail for the lost flavor ever since. They've cried out for its return on platforms as varied as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, where even in 2020, 12 years after its demise, commenter one Redditor copped to still loving and missing Vermonty Python, especially, "those fudge cows..." On the same thread, another Redditor confessed, "I've never wanted a discontinued ice cream flavour to make a comeback so bad in my life." On a slightly more vengeful note, another scorned fan said, "I don't know if it was Ben or Jerry responsible for this so to hell with the both of them."

Ben & Jerry's Wavy Gravy

For those out of the loop, Wavy Gravy wasn't Ben & Jerry getting ahead of the savory ice cream trend by mixing waves of gravy (and chunks of brisket?) into vanilla ice cream. Instead, it was another ice cream homage — to Hugh Nanton Romney Junior, who was given the nickname "Wavy Gravy" by B.B. King in the 1960's, Wavy Gravy earned fame as a poet, clown, and activist who emceed at Woodstock and was described as "clown prince of the counter culture." After years in the limelight, Wavy was approached by Ben (without Jerry) who wanted to create an ice cream in his honor.

The resulting edible tribute was as unconventionally zany and nutty as Wavy himself: caramel and cashew Brazil nut ice cream with roasted almonds and a hazelnut fudge swirl. Launched in 1993, Wavy Gravy's staying power lasted until 2001, when waning interest led to the flavor's cancellation. However, an unwavering cult following persisted and succeeded in spearheading a (temporary) 2005 Wavy Gravy revival during Ben & Jerry's Raise-a-Flavor contest, in which a majority of fans voted to bring the flavor back from the dead.

To this day, fans of the flavor continue to demand an encore and have even threatened to boycott all other flavors until their demands are met. "I will not even buy Ben & Jerry's any more," vowed a sad fan on Facebook's "Bring Back Wavy Gravy" page. "That's how much I miss my Wavy Gravy ice cream."

Ben & Jerry's Wild Maine Blueberry

The only thing better than blueberries is wild blueberries. This isn't a subjective preference, but a scientific fact. As the Wild Blueberries of North America website points out, wild blueberries are actually way better than cultivated blueberries in that (despite their small size) they're packed with more sweetness, intensity, and tangy blueberryness than their bloated-with-water-filled cultivated cousins. Wild blueberries contain twice as many antioxidants as farmed blueberries, making them insanely healthy. They're also legitimately much bluer than domesticated blueberries (which is the whole raison d'être of the fruit in the first place!)

As USA Today wistfully recalls, "for a gloriously short time" between 1992 and 1993, Ben & Jerry's succeeded in harvesting the intense flavors and colors of Maine's official state fruit into its Wild Maine Blueberry ice cream. The dynamic ice cream duo went full-on blue with this flavor, in which wild blueberry ice cream was layered with wild blueberry puree and actual wild blueberries — all this blueness plucked fresh from the glacier-churned soil of Maine, the prime wild blueberry-growing state. Was this blueberry excess? Taste of Home quipped that some customers may have ended up feeling like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory's Violet Beauregard. However, as The Insider waxed nostalgically: Is there any other flavor whose taste is more "delectabl[y]"reminiscent of summer than wild blueberries?

Blue Bunny Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake

According to legend (and The New York Times), Red Velvet cake — whose hallmark hue came originally from cocoa, and later, from red food dye — was invented at New York's Waldorf-Astoria in the 1930s. Iced in gleaming white "ermine frosting," for decades it went in and out of fashion, popping up in Southern kitchens and Midwest county fairs. In 1989, it shot to stardom after a cameo appearance as a groom's cake in the film Steel Magnolias and then became the signature cupcake of New York's indecently trendy Magnolia Bakery. As The Times notes, by 2011, America was awash in a sea of red velvet scented candles, red velvet vodka, and red velvet Pop-Tarts. It was inevitable that ice-cream makers would get in on the act.

In 2011, Stone Ridge, Ben & Jerry's, and Blue Bunny all released their own Red Velvet flavors. But Blue Bunny's Red Carpet Red Velvet Cake — a co-production with Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman — was the most striking: red-velvet-cake-flavored ice cream chock full of red velvet cake and ribbons of cream cheese frosting. On Second Scoop commenters raved about it being "easily the best Blue Bunny flavor ever." Awestruck, the main reviewer confessed: "I have never, ever seen anything so red in my life." And perhaps he never will again. According to The Times, beginning in 2012, the red velvet tide began to turn, which seems to explain why Blue Bunny retired the flavor.

Dreyer's/Edy's Old Fashioned Vanilla Frozen Custard

Although frozen custard was born in Coney Island, in 1919, its coming-out party was at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Prohibition had kicked in and, to stay solvent, some Midwest breweries were drawing on local supplies of milk (and ice) to transition from beer to ice cream. With the addition of eggs, regular ice cream magically morphed into rich, creamy frozen custard.

For decades, frozen custard has been a quintessential Midwest treat. However as Bloomberg CityLab reports, recently the frozen custard footprint has spread through the U.S., en route acquiring "trendy cuisine" status. It thus seemed like a no-brainer when Dreyer's/Edy's launched its own frozen custard line in 2015. Hard-core and neophyte custard junkies were delighted to find the Midwestern custard stand treat in their supermarket freezer. Available in six flavors, connaisseurs gave the highest marks to the most classic of them all: Old Fashioned Vanilla. On The Impulsive Buy, it more than passed the "litmus test for whether or not something mass produced truly lives up to the hype of a regional specialty". As one online fan confessed, "It may have been the best supermarket ice cream I've ever had."

Such enthusiastic reactions made it all the more surprising when Dreyer's/Edy's decided to do away with the entire line the following year. Fans understandably suffered from culinary whiplash. On The Impulsive Buy, one fan, who tried Old Fashioned Vanilla, loved it and was subsequently perplexed at its disappearance, was "heartbroken."

Häagen-Dazs Crème Brulée

According to Saveur, in 1970, the godfather of American cuisines, James Beard, lamented the passing of a "great creme brulee period" while wishing that another would come around. Within a decade, his wish came true when New York's legendary French restaurant, Le Cirque, concocted a version based on crema catalana, a creamy vanilla-infused custard topped with caramelized sugar, with origins dating back to medieval Spain.

Le Cirque's crème brulée inspired countless copycats and led it to become a staple of restaurants around the world (including France). As Saveur notes, its popularity transcended the dessert itself, inspiring creations as varied as crème brulée coffee, cheesecake, donuts, and, of course, ice cream. Ben & Jerry's made a version that lasted for five years and was sorely missed when it was discontinued in 2012. However, Häagen-Dazs' creamy iteration — vanilla custard ice cream with caramel swirls — was around a lot longer and seemingly made a deeper dent in fans' collective cravings.

When the flavor was consigned to Häagen-Dasz' list of "Sweet Memories" in 2016, the Twittersphere went into an uproar with some fans declaring, "it's my #1 favorite ice cream in the entire world." Häagen-Dazs tried to assuage their grief with sweet alternatives such as Dulce de Leche — to no avail. "Dulce doesn't even come close," replied an inconsolable fan. 

Häagen-Dazs Macadamia Brittle

"The BEST ice cream flavor EVER is... Discontinued?" Such was the desperate writing on the Facebook wall when Häagen-Dazs retired its cherished Macadamia Brittle ice cream in 2018. The creator of the "Bring back Häagen-Dazs Macadamia Brittle" page fell short of rustling up the 1 million likes with which ice cream activists hoped to convince TPTB to bring back this rarefied flavor. Nonetheless, over 500 Macadamia Brittle aficionados chimed in, voicing discontent and even suggesting a "Flossing for Macadamia Brittle" campaign.

The mystery as to why Häagen-Dazs felt compelled to cancel the flavor in the first place — a winning sweet-salty-nutty trifecta of vanilla ice cream, salty caramel and crunchy macadamias — is regularly debated on the internet. Theories range from a marketing ploy to the astronomic price of macadamia nuts, the most expensive nut in the world according to Business Insider. Adding to the puzzlement is the fact that while U.S. consumers are deprived of Macadamia Brittle, "the greatest ice cream ever created" is still available to fans in various countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., disconsolate Macadamia Brittle fans who want their favorite in Brooklyn instead of Britain continue to hold out for its return and seemingly won't accept next-best substitutes such as Pralines & Cream. In fact, when Haägen-Dazs gingerly made such a suggestion on Twitter, one fan went so far as to say, "You have lost me as a customer Haagen Dazs!"

Starbucks Java Chip

Although you can get a frozen Java Chip Frappuccino coffee treat at Starbucks, this is cold comfort for those who have loved (and lost) Java Chip Frappuccino ice cream.

In 1996, Starbucks decided to get into the retail ice cream trade with a selection of coffee-centric flavors. As a Delish reviewer noted, everything the Seattle-based company did wrong with its signature coffee drinks (too sweet, showy, and lacking in actual coffee), it did right with its ice cream, deemed tasty, nuanced, and endowed with more coffee character than versions from most rivals. Among the most beloved of the bunch was Java Chip Frappuccino, a highly satisfying fusion of coffee ice cream and chunks of chocolate.

So when Starbucks decided to exit from the ice cream business in 2013, fans were desolate. Suffering from severe caffeine ice cream withdrawal, they swarmed social media to voice their displeasure at the discontinuation of an ice cream considered to be "the best in the world!". As a testament to Java Chip's deliciousness, years later, fans continue to lament its demise. On Facebook, one fan said she's been "mourning" the ice cream "for years now" while another commenter said he hadn't found another flavor that was "even close to being as good as Java Chip was!"

Turkey Hill Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The third-most popular ice cream flavor in the U.S., strawberry is almost as ubiquitous as... well, chocolate and vanilla. However, mix it up with some rhubarb (and shortbread), and you have something quite singular, a fact not lost upon Pennsylvania-based Turkey Hill when it rolled out its Strawberry Rhubarb Pie ice cream in 1996.

Rhubarb had been around for millennia as a bitter, yet medicinal vegetable (yes, rhubarb is technically a veggie). However, it rocketed to lasting fame in 1837 on the cloaktails of England's Queen Victoria. To commemorate Her Highness's coronation, a loyalist plant breeder named Joseph Myatt created a regally red strain of rhubarb in her honor. Royal taste testing of "Victoria" rhubarb was so positive that it led to the creation of an avalanche of rhubarb recipes in both England and the United States where it was introduced by none other than Benjamin Franklin.

In the U.S., rhubarb became such a popular ingredient for pies that it was nicknamed the "pie plant." Due to its tartness, it's classically and idyllically paired with sweet strawberries and vanilla ice cream, a melange that came to delicious fruition in Turkey Hill's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie — at least until the flavor was discontinued in 2001. A finalist in Turkey Hill's 2017 Ultimate Flavor Tournament in which 50,000 people voted to revive a retired flavor, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie narrowly lost. Even so, to many fans on social media, the nostalgia-tinged flavor reigns supreme.