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McDonald's Desserts Ranked From Worst To Best

Lineup of McDonald's desserts on wooden table
Lineup of McDonald's desserts on wooden table - Helena Nichols

In July of 2023, McDonalds announced its plans to discontinue the McCafe Bakery. This change effectively eliminated most of the baked goods sold by the company, leaving consumers without muffins, cinnamon buns, and apple fritters. It is a sad time for those who want a sweet treat at just about any time of day.

That being said, McDonald's is not getting rid of all of its sweeter menu options. The signature apple pie is still on the menu, as well as a rotating second pie flavor and a whole lot of ice cream — if the ice cream machine is working, of course. However, as with any restaurant, there is a hierarchy to the dessert offerings at McDonalds. We went through and tried every dessert that McDonald's has to offer to see which ones were the best and which it was time to skip. The results were definitely a mixed bag, but there are a few hits that will keep us coming back for more.

Read more: Fast Food Hamburgers Ranked Worst To Best

Plain Sundae

cup of vanillla soft-serve ice cream
cup of vanillla soft-serve ice cream - Helena Nichols

McDonald's needs to be honest with themselves and its customers — this is not a sundae. A sundae has toppings. It has syrups, whipped cream, fruit, or candy; something on it that is not just ice cream. This is literally some reduced-fat, soft-serve ice cream in a cup.

Is the frozen treat good? Sure. It is not bad. McDonald's vanilla ice cream is definitely on the sweeter side, even for ice cream. Whereas most ice cream has a rich and full mouthfeel, McDonald's is thin and almost a bit watery. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is just a different presentation of ice cream that is noticeably lighter than other options.

At the end of the day, this dessert isn't ranked low because it is terrible. It's ranked low because it is boring. There is nothing to it. If you just want a cup of soft serve, great. Go for it. However, you can probably get better ice cream elsewhere, so skip this one unless you just happen to be at McDonald's already.

Vanilla Milkshake

vanilla milkshake and whipped cream
vanilla milkshake and whipped cream - Helena Nichols

What are we even doing here? What is the point of the vanilla milkshake? It's a vanilla soft serve mixed with more vanilla syrup and topped with whipped cream. The milkshake isn't even cut with milk. It is only cut with the vanilla shake syrup, which is basically just vanilla-flavored sugar water.

The result of this is a cloyingly sweet milkshake with no desirable flavor. This is nothing against vanilla as a flavor, but for the milkshake, we were hoping for something a bit different than the vanilla reduced-fat ice cream. Instead, it feels like we got the same thing, just thinner and with some whipped cream on top.

Speaking of the whipped cream, how is it possible that the whipped cream had already deflated before it even got to us? Mcdonald's uses whipped light cream, which, while tasty, does not hold up well. Overall the vanilla milkshake just didn't give us anything that another menu item didn't provide better or at a lower price.

Ice Cream Cone

vanilla ice cream cone
vanilla ice cream cone - Helena Nichols

Once again, we have the vanilla reduced-fat ice cream as our starting point. This time, though, the soft-serve vanilla ice cream is swirled on top of a cake cone. This is clearly very similar to the so-called "plain sundae," but the addition of the cone, while simple, makes it noticeably better.

First of all, it means that this can be eaten without a spoon, which we love. But, it also involves something that most people do not keep in the house regularly. Most people can easily acquire vanilla ice cream and put it in a bowl for themselves, but getting a soft-serve ice cream cone is not a regular home treat. We finally see McDonald's offering something with added value in it.

Neither the vanilla ice cream nor the cone is going to set the world on fire. They are not exceptional in any way, but they are not bad either. If you have a hankering for an ice cream cone and have a McDonald's nearby, it is an acceptable option.

M&M McFlurry

M&M McFlurry cup
M&M McFlurry cup - Helena Nichols

You know, for such a long-standing original flavor, it is amazing how mediocre the M&M McFlurry is, especially compared to the other flavors. It should be amazing. It's ice cream mixed with bright, colorful chocolate. What could possibly go wrong? A lot, as it turns out.

There are two main issues with the M&M McFlurry. The first is that as the flurry sits, the colors of the M&M leach and leave ugly brown and green streaks throughout the ice cream, which is frankly unappealing. This could be forgiven, though, if it were not for the functional issues of eating it. The M&M pieces are large enough to make getting the perfect bite impossible. The eater either gets no chocolate or a chunk of frozen chocolate, which is then difficult to chew. McDonald's could have easily improved this by using smaller M&Ms or by using crushed M&Ms. As it stands, though, this is a difficult-to-eat treat, even if the individual components are delicious.

Chocolate Milkshake

chocolate milkshake and whipped cream
chocolate milkshake and whipped cream - Helena Nichols

As can be seen in the picture, the chocolate milkshake is light in color. If you are searching for a rich, deep, chocolaty milkshake, this is not it. However, that does not mean it is bad; we are just trying to set reasonable expectations for the McDonald's chocolate milkshake.

The McDonald's chocolate milkshake is made with low-fat vanilla soft-serve ice cream, chocolate shake syrup, and light whipped cream. We have already expressed our disappointment with the whipped cream, so we will move on.

The chocolate shake syrup gives the milkshake its thinner consistency and lightly chocolaty flavor. You can tell there is not much in the way of chocolate in this, as cocoa is not one of the first ingredients in the syrup. That being said, there is a noticeable cocoa hint. While this will not appeal to the chocoholic, we can see why it would be popular with kids looking for a sweet chocolate drink or for someone who just prefers a lighter hand with chocolate.

Caramel Sundae

cup of caramel and hot fudge
cup of caramel and hot fudge - Helena Nichols

McDonald's is really pushing the envelope on the definition of "sundae." A single topping does not make a sundae. Where is the whipped cream? Where are the cherries? That aside, there really was not much caramel topping on this anyway. One could easily eat through all of the caramel in just a few bites and be left with a cup full of ice cream.

In addition, the caramel, while not unpleasant, did not have the rich, deep flavor of a good caramel. It was mildly buttery, which was pleasant. But when we get caramel, we expect to taste the caramelized sugar flavor. Instead, all we get here is a warm, buttery topping. Again, it is not that the caramel sundae is bad. It just does not live up to the expectations of either a good caramel or a full sundae. We would hope that in the future, McDonald's could at least layer the caramel so that the eater isn't left with a cup of lightly adorned soft serve.

Hot Fudge Sundae

cup of ice cream and hot fudge
cup of ice cream and hot fudge - Helena Nichols

There is just something about a hot fudge sundae that hits the spot. Maybe it is the combination of chocolate and vanilla or warm and cold. But, hot fudge elevates a sundae in a way that regular chocolate syrup just doesn't. We still think calling ice cream with a single topping on it a "sundae" is a bit of a stretch, but this item is something worth mentioning.

McDonald's hot fudge is everything you expect from an ice cream parlor hot fudge. It is thick and brown, has a mellow but present chocolate flavor, and is indeed hot. The problems we had with the hot fudge sundae were less in the taste and more in the functionality. First, like the caramel, there simply was not very much chocolate sauce. You are lucky if the hot fudge lasts through half the ice cream. It would be nice if they layered it. Second, as the fudge cools, it gets tacky and stops flowing nicely. However, you will probably eat it all before that becomes too much of a problem.

Peanut Butter Crunch McFlurry

peanut butter crunch McFlurry
peanut butter crunch McFlurry - Helena Nichols

The Peanut Butter Crunch McFlurry is the latest McFlurry flavor to grace the McDonald's menu. It consists of vanilla soft serve and peanut butter and chocolate crunch pieces. The peanut butter and chocolate crunch pieces are peanut butter creme cookies with a chocolate coating. The cookies have been crushed into manageable pieces before being mixed with the soft serve.

In many ways, this McFlurry improves upon the M&M one. The pieces are smaller and integrate better into the mix. You really feel like you are getting a new treat and not just some candy thrown into a bowl of ice cream. The one downside is that the peanut butter cookie pieces are not strongly flavored and don't pack quite the flavor punch we were hoping for. Overall, the peanut butter crunch McFlurry is delightful, if a bit too mild to really bump it into the top five.

Pumpkin And Cream Pie

pie and box on butcherblock
pie and box on butcherblock - Helena Nichols

McDonald's Pumpkin and Cream pie was perhaps the most surprising dessert we tried. McDonald's has a history of rotating pie flavors out, with the apple being the steadfast classic. This time, McDonald's brings us a pie that is filled with both pumpkin and what appears to be frosting. It is an interesting combination that is mostly, though not wholly, successful.

The individual components of this pie are good. We see the same flakey crust as the apple pie, a delicious pumpkin-and–brown sugar filling, and a vanilla creme filling that is similar to a cream cheese frosting though not quite as tangy.

The pumpkin flavor is present in this pie. Unlike many other fall flavors, there is no spice, only pumpkin. Instead of relying on spices, the filling is paired with vanilla creme, which is ungodly sweet. Seriously — we know that this is a pie, but it is like taking a bite of straight frosting. When you get a bite of the pie that has all three components, it is wonderful, sweet, and squashy. But, they appear side by side in the pie instead of layered, which means you often get a bite with just one or the other.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

two chocolate chip cookies
two chocolate chip cookies - Helena Nichols

We are not going to lie. McDonald's chocolate chip cookies are pretty good. In fact, they are one of our favorite chain chocolate chip cookies. First of all, we appreciate that McDonald's serves them warm. It is a universally acknowledged truth that a warm chocolate chip cookie is nearly irresistible.

Even saved for later and eaten at room temperature, these cookies are a joy. McDonald's chocolate chip cookie has a perfectly crispy outside and a chewy inside. It uses semisweet chocolate chips, which prevents it from being overly sweet. McDonald's also uses brown sugar, which brings a rounded, molasses flavor to the cookie. We are not saying the McDonald's chocolate chip cookie is just as good as a gourmet bakery cookie, but it is a decent cookie for a fast-food offering. At less than a dollar, you can be sure we will pick them up anytime a desire for a chocolate chip cookie hits.

Strawberry Milkshake

Strawberry milkshake on table
Strawberry milkshake on table - Helena Nichols

The strawberry milkshake is easily the star of the milkshake category. Not only is it the prettiest with its lovely pink color, but it is also absolutely delicious. The bright, fresh flavor of strawberry comes forward easily in a way that the chocolate in the chocolate milkshake just doesn't. In the strawberry milkshake, the fruit is clearly the star of the show.

Not only this, but it tasted like real strawberries, not fake strawberry flavoring. When we consulted the ingredients, we were pleasantly surprised to find the strawberry shake syrup contained actual strawberries and strawberry puree. Not only that, but the color comes from juice and beta-carotene for color. So, this milkshake is delicious, tastes exactly like it is supposed to, and doesn't rely on artificial strawberry flavors or artificial colors. We are sold. This milkshake is still objectively sweeter than others we have had, but as ice cream goes, McDonald's only does one frozen treat better.

Oreo McFlurry

Oreo McFlurry cup
Oreo McFlurry cup - Helena Nichols

The one frozen treat that beats out the Strawberry Milkshake is the Oreo McFlurry. Along with M&M, This is one of the original McFlurry flavors and one of the only consistent flavors since the restaurant introduced the McFlurry in 1997.

Like Dairy Queen Blizzard, a McFlurry is thick and creamy and packed with treats. In this case, that is Oreo cookie pieces. The Oreos do not freeze in the soft serve ice cream, unlike the M&Ms. Instead, they soften, which makes them easier to eat in the ice cream. Not only that, but these are Oreo pieces, not whole or mini Oreos. They break down easily and disperse evenly throughout the ice cream so each bite has some Oreo flavor and pleasing texture. Every bite might not have a huge hunk of cookie, but you will not have any unflavored soft serve in a well-mixed McFlurry.

Oreos and milk are a tried and true combination, so it is no surprise that this McFlurry is so delicious. The combination of two American classics, McDonalds and Oreo, is a recipe for success.

Apple Pie

apple pie and box
apple pie and box - Helena Nichols

It is hard to beat a classic and the McDonald's apple pie is the classic American dessert you should get. McDonald's has been serving the apple pie since 1968, which makes it the same age as the Big Mac. It is no wonder the two have become inseparable from the brand.

McDonald's apple pie has gone through some evolutions since it first came out. The most notable is that as of 1992 when the pies stopped being deep fried and moved to their now-baked form. The inside and outside have also changed over the years, and the kind of apples seems to vary. Yes, the McDonald's apple pie tastes different, but it is still a drool-worthy dessert.

Each apple pie comes out hot and ready to eat, although admittedly not as hot as when they were fried, as they were roughly the temperature of molten lava then. The crust is remarkably flaky, blowing any prefab grocery store pie crust out of the water. The filling is gooey and apple-y with just a hint of cinnamon. Instead of being overloaded with spices, McDonald's lets the apple be the star of the show. Not only is this the best McDonald's dessert, it is one of the best chain pie options out there.

Read the original article on Mashed.