20 Strange Ice Cream Flavors You Need To Try Before You Die

One of the more simple and universal joys of life is enjoying cool and creamy ice cream on a hot day. Every time summer rolls around, it feels like everyone is screaming for ice cream and finding an excuse to frequent their favorite scoop shop after dinner. Ice cream just is one of those things that feels right for any occasion.

Ice cream is like a blank page for wondrous creativity to occur. There's seemingly no limit as to what ice cream confectioners will add to the cold treat, be it chilis, bacon, fried chicken — the list goes on. Some chefs and scoop shops have taken wild combinations to the next level with some truly unhinged ice cream flavors that you need to taste to believe. 

We decided to round up 20 of the most bizarre ice creams flavors we could find across the globe. If you're a self-proclaimed ice cream aficionado, this can serve as a sort of bucket list for you to seek to accomplish. If the idea of any of their wacky flavors is just too stomach-churning, you can at least be amazed at the people who came up with the idea to create some of these unusual flavors. 

1. Everything Bagel

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream from Ohio essentially broke the internet when they first debuted their pint of Everything Bagel ice cream. Jeni's starts with a cream cheese ice cream base that's a tangy staple in some of the other brand's flavors. Things get truly unhinged from there. The ice cream then includes a swirl of what Jeni's refers to as "everything gravel." Basically, it's a savory strudel featuring sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and garlic and onion bits. It's the ingredient really responsible for reinforcing the bagel flavor and the pleasant savory element to offset the sweet. Without the cream cheese base, this might be one of those flavors you try one scoop of and move on from. However, Jeni's somehow made this a flavor that you'll weirdly find yourself wanting to return to. If anyone can do it, it's the ice cream crafters at Jeni's, so don't question their genius.

2. Foie Gras

Philippe Faur is a French ice cream manufacturing company that has a list of flavors that reads like a generic index of a food encyclopedia. The brand literally seems to make any and every flavor they can come up with, whether customers asked for it or not. Their savory flavors roster, for example, includes ice cream bases rooted in flavors like caviar, mustard, truffle, and more. 

Hands-down the most unusual flavor on the list is foie gras, which is pâté made by the liver of gavage-fattened ducks or geese. It's a controversial dish that's a delicacy in France and beyond, but it's truly hard to imagine how the flavor would translate as a dessert. It would make sense to use foie gras ice cream as the topper of an appetizer at a fancy restaurant to add texture and depth. However, it's hard to imagine that anyone digs into a pint of this with a spoon to soothe their sorrows after a break-up considering the flavor is quite an acquired taste. 

3. Deviled Egg Custard with Smoked Black Tea

Salt & Straw Ice Cream is a popular ice cream chain with most of its locations on the West Coast, and an ever-rotating menu of strange and never-before-seen flavors. For summer 2022, the brand debuted a truly inventive flavor with the Deviled Egg Custard with Smoked Black Tea ice cream. The flavor features egg yolk custard mixed with Kala Namak, a black salt from the Himalayan Mountains, and smoked tea-infused shortbread. It's topped off with a balsamic egg white marshmallow fluff which reinforces the "deviled" egg flavor. 

It's an ice cream for foodies, not necessarily picky eaters. Keep an open mind and prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the explosions going on in this pint. Every bite reveals a different layer of intensity. If you find yourself in Oregon, California, Washington, or parts of Florida, it might be worth it to make an ice cream road trip for this flavor and dozens of others. 

4. Wasabi

Wasabi is best known for being the bright-green condiment served alongside sushi that is spicy enough to clear out your sinuses. The entire ingredient is like the antithesis of ice cream, but il Laboratorio del Gelato in the Greater New York City area took it as a challenge. The company creates so many gelato flavors that use simple ingredients perfectly executed, like mascarpone cheese or pink peppercorn. 

The same goes for the company's smooth and creamy wasabi gelato that has a slight kick. The folks at il Laboratorio del Gelato take the Japanese root that's grated into a green paste and slightly infuse it with their base ice cream blend. The company compares the flavor to horseradish or hot mustard, but it's pretty distinct all on its own. Again, it's simple yet so innovative and wasabi is probably not a flavor you're likely to see be made into a Ben & Jerry's pint anytime soon.

5. Coffee Garlic Herb Almond Chip

Okay, so we know that coffee and chocolate ice cream is a pretty standard flavor in the U.S. and beyond. You want to add almond chips to it? That sounds like a great combination as well. But Max and Mina's awe-inspiring ice cream shop in Queens, New York, decided to take it a step further by creating a flavor called Coffee Garlic Herb Almond Chip.

Max and Mina's is a famous shop that should be on every ice cream lover's bucket list, whether they are experimental with their orders or not. However, this flavor that united bitter coffee with sweet chocolate and herbaceous garlic is another combination that has to be tasted to understand fully. It's probably not the best scoop to order on date night though, because it's probably one of the few ice creams on the planet that will leave you with garlic breath after the fact. 

6. Mountain Dew and Doritos

Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri, should be a stop for anyone looking to pursue as many weird ice cream flavors they can get their hands on. Sparky's is notorious for their concoctions; as Columbia Missourian notes, they may be best known for the time they thought to use the carcasses of cicada bugs in an ice cream. Cicada likely won't be making a reappearance on their menu anytime soon (probably for the best), but Sparky's will never stop making ice cream that's as intriguing as it sometimes is off-putting. 

One time the folks at the scoop shop decided to take the classic gaming snack duo of Mountain Dew and Doritos and blend them together in one ice cream. The photo on the company's Instagram page shows that the finished product looks like what you might doodle up if someone asked you to draw Mountain Dew and Doritos ice cream — topped with green sprinkles and Dorito crumbles. It's not for everyone, but definitely a flavor to take at least one bite of just to say that you did.

7. Margherita pizza

Sparky's didn't stop at junk food snack-inspired ice cream. It's worth following the shop's Instagram page whether or not you're in the Columbia area just to see what creations they come up with. You may stumble upon flavors like Margherita pizza, which is packed with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil. Yes, we are still talking about ice cream. Sure, tomato and basil sorbet has been done and tried before, and it's still pretty special. But this ice cream is literally the dessert version of the iconic pizza pie. 

It's pretty genius that someone even thought of this flavor combination in the first place, let alone that the shop executed the idea and sold it to daring customers. It's likely that this is one of those flavors you try once and never return to again, but it's definitely a flavor to brag about having that likely no one else you encounter will have also tried before. 

8. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream did the unthinkable when they unveiled ice cream pints inspired by flavors of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The ingredients are relatively simple — it's literally ice cream with Kraft cheese powder sauce mixed into it. It's another option that's an acquired taste and there's a chance you won't put it in your regular rotation, but it's fun for the novelty of it. Who knows, sweet and salty combinations are always the sleeper hits.

Van Leeuwen's Kraft Macaroni & Cheese pint could be a good way for someone to indulge their junk food cravings for both ice cream and cheesy snacks at the same time. If not, it's still a fun pint to purchase one time and try for the fun of it. u/KingKonah wrote in the ice cream subReddit page that the combination of flavors is so weird that it works. "It's dairy on top of dairy and neither takes away from the other," they shared.

9. Cold Sweat

At Sunni Sky's Homemade Ice Cream, they have a flavor that's so out of this world, you have to sign a waiver to even order it. The ice cream is loaded with different peppers and hot sauce for a cool treat that will have you chugging water after just one lick. It's a buzz-worthy treat that has the bravest ice cream aficionados traveling to Angier, North Carolina, and has been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel. Sunni Sky's makes another spicy flavor called Exit Wound that also requires a waiver, but you would have to be extremely daring to attempt to sample both scoops at the shop (and sign two waivers in order to do so). 

Some reviews on Yelp compared the flavor of Cold Sweat ice cream to a spicy Indian pickle. "Managed to eat 3 small pinches. True to its name, it was super spicy," one Yelp review reads. Sunni Sky's sells more than 100 flavors at their shop, so there are plenty of options to eat after to cool down your tongue after a bite of cold sweat. 

10. Sesame gelato with miso caramel, cookies, and ramen

Chicago's Black Dog Gelato is a must for those obsessed with ice cream. In fact, even if you're far away from the Windy City, the shop offers a pint club so you can sample all of the innovative flavors they have to offer. Black Dog Gelato is always featuring a rotating list of flavors from goat cheese cashew caramel to sesame cookie dough. One of the most eye-catching flavors they've experimented with is a sesame-based gelato with swirls of miso caramel, cookie chunks, and caramelized ramen noodles.

That's right, those hard little squiggly noodles get the artisan treatment in this pint that turns the pantry staple into something that resembles a sugary crouton with its satisfying crunch. It's not a staple on the Black Dog's shop menu, but it's a must-order if you happen to be at the right place at the right time when this treat is available. 

11. Honey Jalapeño Pickle

Pickle-lovers and pregnant people everywhere can rejoice because Sweet Action Ice Cream in Denver, Colorado, made the flavor mash-up just for you. In collaboration with The Real Dill pickle company based out of Denver, the brands made a Honey Jalapeño Pickle ice cream loaded with honey, jalapeño peppers, and pickles. It's sweet, savory, and spicy all in one. As was made abundantly clear by the anchors at local news station 9NEWS who tried the flavor, this ice cream is not for the faint of heart. 

What's more, it might leave you with some acid reflux after you eat it, but if you're into spicy and salty, it's totally worth it. Pickle ice cream might not sound great, but these two brands clearly are experts in both their respective cuisines. If you were going to try them out together, it only seems fitting that it would be this thoughtfully-crafted sundae rather than trying to create your own version at home. 

12. Garlic

Garlic is one of those ingredients that makes everything taste better, but loves to linger on your breath or your fingers if you chop up a bunch of it. The stinky ingredient is a staple at The Stinking Rose, a restaurant in San Francisco known for making everything with garlic. The brand's motto is that they "season their garlic with food," which translates to their dessert offerings. The star of the final course is Gilroy's Famous Garlic Ice Cream topped with chocolate sauce, their nod to the garlic capital of the world, Gilroy, California. 

It is another flavor that will almost certainly leave you with savory stinky breath after, but it's also another shockingly delicious combination that you might have not expected. It doesn't feature an overpowering amount of garlic, but it is enough in the mix so that the taste is present throughout. Garlic lovers must put the restaurant on their bucket list and it'd be a shame to make the trip and not try this one-of-a-kind frozen treat. "Stay away if you have a child's taste buds," one customer joked in a Yelp review about the frozen treat. 

13. Flamin' Hot Cheetos

Loblolly Creamery in Little Rock, Arkansas, took one of the internet's favorite snack foods and turned it into ice cream. To create Flamin' Hot Cheetos ice cream, Loblolly takes their sweet cream base and mixes in Flamin' Hot Cheeto powder for that signature kick. The brand even whipped up some Hot Cheetos cones and sprinkles to make this treat even more Instagram-worthy. it's not always on the menu so it's a must-order whenever the brand decides to whip up a batch. (Many of Loblolly Creamery's other flavors — like Strawberry Buttermilk or Little Rocket Pop Sorbet — are solid options as well if Cheetos aren't your thing.) Luckily, it won't be as hot as the Cold Sweat flavor, but it still has quite the kick for a treat that's typically supposed to cool you down. Next time, maybe the brand will try to add a kick of acid by making a flavor based on Flamin' Hot Cheetos Limon if they're feeling wild. 

14. Oyster

Namjatown is a destination in Tokyo for foodies and beyond. It's an indoor theme park that's anything but ordinary, and the largest in the entire country of Japan. Alongside some unusual attractions, there are two food-themes areas of the park: Namja Gyoza Stadium, where you can get all sorts of dumplings, and Dessert Alley, which features some of the wildest ice cream flavors known to man, per Go Tokyo. One of the notable flavors is oyster gelato, which uses the mollusk to create a briny, frosty treat.  As SoraNews24 wrote in their review, "While the smell is milder than you might expect, there is still a definite shellfish scent due to the chunks of actual oyster mixed into it."

It's interesting to see how the flavor was captured in some seemingly nondescript churned ice cream, so it's worth the stop if you're so inclined to see what it tastes like. If not, it's still fun to walk through the dessert section and look in awe at all of the wacky flavors that you truly won't find anywhere else. 

15. Crawfish

If you're based in the U.S. and have a hankering for some seafood-inspired ice cream, Red Circle Ice Cream in Houston might have just what you need. The brand is known for their over-the-top dessert creations including monster milkshakes, bubble waffles, donuts, and churros alongside their ice cream offerings. Sometimes, for a limited time only, Red Circle likes to serve up a real Southern treat: crawfish ice cream. This isn't just regular old ice cream with a crawfish on top for dramatic effect. The flavor of the little crustacean is present throughout the cone. It's bursting with flavors of butter, garlic, and cajun spice that's ubiquitous with eating cajun crawfish, just with a total sugary twist. 

It's worth purchasing just to freak your friends out on social media with pictures of a cone with eyes, but die-hard fans also claim it's a sleeper hit. Again, it's not going to be everyone's bag — and that's okay. As Nickey Ngo of Red Circle Ice Cream acknowledged when she stopped by local affiliate FOX26 with a pint, the flavor is beyond bold. 

16. Nacho Nacho

If you've ever eaten a plate of nachos and though "Wow, I wish I could be experiencing all of these flavors on an ice cream cone," Rococo Artisan Ice Cream has you covered. The brand's Nacho Nacho ice cream is everything you love about the appetizer in one. It features tortilla chips, nacho cheese, spicy tomato jam, chopped black olives, and candied jalapeños. The flavor was the result of a nationwide contest submission where a customer was inspired by a meal where they ate nachos at a local Mexican restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine, and then got dessert at Rococo's after. 

Originally, the flavor was named Luke's Nachos Grande, as the person who submitted the idea named it after their son. Luckily, if you're intrigued by this flavor but aren't in New England, Rococo's ships pints nationwide for you to enjoy the original flavor wherever you are. 

17. Beef tongue

Namjatown in Tokyo has such strange ice cream flavors that it landed two spots on the list. Sure, the menu (via Appetite for Japan) features more approachable flavors like vanilla and rum raisin. However, the list also features flavors like shark fin noodle ice cream, crab-flavored ice cream, and grilled eggplant. One of the oddest on the list that only the bravest eaters would dare to order is beef tongue ice cream. A scoop is supposed to channel the flavor of not just beef, but the gelatinous tongue cut that isn't as common in the U.S. as steak or hamburgers. Regardless of the absurdity, a trip to Namjatown should include an order of some of the most ridiculous scoops on the menu. Whether or not that includes the beef tongue flavor or something more simple like orange sherbet is totally up to personal preference, but the former is a flavor you probably won't find literally anywhere else, especially not on your neighborhood ice cream truck. 

18. Yellowfin tuna ceviche with basil and avocado ice cream

One of the fanciest ice cream creations on the list comes from SoBou NOLA, a Creole saloon in New Orleans with one-of-a-kind plates. This ice cream dish actually is served as an appetizer rather than a dessert. It starts with an ice cream cone which is filled with yellowfin tuna and pineapple ceviche. Then, a scoop of basil and avocado ice cream goes on top. It's an explosion of flavors that also serves as a visual feast and is the unlikely mashup of ice cream and raw fish that you didn't know you needed. "You can't go into just any restaurant and get mini cones with tuna and avocado ice cream," chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who created the dish, said to Nation's Restaurant News. The best part is that this starter dish is only the beginning of your meal at SoBou, which is quite the way to set the tone for a meal. 

19. Famous Idaho Ice Cream Potato

If you find yourself in Idaho with time to kill, the only appropriate way to spend it is to speed through the Westside Drive-In and eat the Famous Idaho Ice Cream Potato. It's a treat that will only set you back $5 and will give you a lifetime of bragging rights. Don't worry, this dish is all about deceiving the eyes. It looks like a real baked potato, but the base of the dish is actually a scoop of vanilla ice cream covered in cocoa powder to give it the look of tater skin. It is topped with whipped cream "sour cream" and "dirt" made out of Oreos, nuts, and chocolate. Westside Drive-In has been an Idaho institution since the '50s and chef Lou Aaron has apparently spent 40 years tweaking the recipe and perfecting the potato-inspired dessert. The Instagram photos alone make it worth the few bucks, but on top of that? You get to enjoy the establishment's authentic '50s dining experience. 

20. Spicy Peanut Butter Curry Coconut

Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one of those shops meant for foodies to walk in and be in awe. The ice cream makers understand the importance of balancing flavors and expanding the customer's ideas of what ice cream can be. One must-try is the brand's limited-edition Spicy Peanut Butter Curry Coconut ice cream. It's sweet, tropical, nutty, spicy, and aromatic, essentially checking all of the boxes and touching almost every flavor that your tastebuds can recognize. It almost sounds like a dish you might eat at a restaurant that serves Indian or Thai food, but it is a frozen treat created in Middle America. Sebastian Joe's also serves up their scoops in wild cones, shakes, sundaes, and ice cream sandwiches, so you can really get creative with this spicy flavor — or any of the other unique pints they've got at the shop.