Van Leeuwen’s Malted Milkshake & Fries ice cream could have been perfect: An honest taste test

You have to respect Van Leeuwen(Opens in a new tab)‘s audacity. For the artisanal ice cream chain primarily based out of Brooklyn, the query isn’t whether or not one ought to push the palatable limits of a classically candy, easy dessert with off-putting flavors and weird mix-ins. The query is whether or not you may.

Happily (or sadly, relying on who you discuss to), the reply to this query is normally a tough sure. Left-field flavors that have graced Van Leeuwen’s freezer cabinets previously embody mustard(Opens in a new tab), onion(Opens in a new tab), and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Whether or not they’re gunning for precise tastiness or viral bait(Opens in a new tab) is one thing you could argue both method. Nonetheless, Van Leeuwen persists.


We tried the Kraft Mac & Cheese ice cream. It didn’t go properly.

That brings us to their newest concoction: Malted Milkshake & Fries ice cream, made in partnership with the Idaho Potato Commission(Opens in a new tab). The flavour launched on Feb. 23 in Van Leeuwen’s New York and Los Angeles scoop outlets and on-line(Opens in a brand new tab) for $12 a pop, although its first run has already offered out. I used to be fortunate sufficient to get my arms on a number of pints.

I will be totally honest: I could not keep in mind the final time I used to be so excited to strive a brand new ice cream taste. (My coworkers, not a lot.) There’s actual science(Opens in a new tab) behind the satisfying, craveable mixture of crispy, salty fries dipped into a chilly, wealthy, creamy shake, and I will take it in any type. Culver’s Crinkle Minimize Fries dunked in a malt made with their Chocolate Custard? A Midwestern must-order. Wendy’s French Fries with a big Frosty? Foolproof, soul-affirming, has saved my life throughout a hangover. Condensing the expertise into one thing spoonable sounded genius: No extra greasy fingies, no extra operating out of fries earlier than the shake was gone. You’ll be able to’t go incorrect — or no less than, I did not assume you could.

Talking my fact.
Credit score: Slack screenshot / ClassyBuzz

I judged Van Leeuwen’s Malted Milkshake & Fries ice cream primarily based on its colour, scent, texture, and taste, with a very best rating of 5 potato emojis (🥔) for every class. Listed here are the outcomes of my very official, very scientific testing.


a top-down view of a pint of van leeuwen's Malted Milkshake & Fries ice cream against a wooden surface

Yep, that is ice cream.
Credit score: Haley Henschel / ClassyBuzz

In contrast to the Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese taste that a few of my colleagues tried a few years in the past, which had an unsettling neon tangerine hue, Malted Milkshake & Fries appears to be like like all ol’ pint. I might examine it to a butter pecan or a salted caramel scenario looks-wise — simply your common creamy colour with streaks of tan mix-ins.

No purple flags straight out the gate, though there was some questionable copy on one pint’s wrapper that gave me the ick.

a close-up of a wrapper on a pint of van leeuwen's ice cream

Credit score: Haley Henschel / ClassyBuzz

Ranking: 🥔 🥔 🥔 🥔 🥔 primarily based on the ice cream itself — I fake I don’t see the wrapper.


In one other diversion from the mac ‘n’ cheese taste, Malted Milkshake & Fries does have a faint scent. One of the best ways I can describe it’s like instantaneous mashed potatoes with an earthy, subtly caramel-y edge. It is a bit off-putting, however not horrible. You will not discover it except you stick your entire face into the pint, anyway.

Ranking: 🥔 🥔 🥔 🥔


Van Leeuwen’s “French” ice lotions are made with milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar, in order that they’re technically custards. The Malted Milkshake & Fries taste provides in butter, powdered sugar, malted barley, and wheat flour, plus some Idaho potato flakes — that is their way of recreating fry pieces(Opens in a new tab) and doubtless the place that instantaneous potato-y scent comes from.

That is the place Van Leeuwen actually nailed it. The ice cream itself was decadently thick and creamy, with streaks of fry/potato offering a pleasant textural distinction, virtually like tender cake or crumbly cookie items. It is fairly rock-solid proper out of the fridge, however a couple of minutes on the countertop made it completely scoopable, and it did not soften too quick in my bowl. No notes, sustain the good work, etcetera.

Ranking: 🥔 🥔 🥔 🥔 🥔


I actually needed to like this. It had a lot potential. However it simply tastes… off. One of the best ways I can describe it’s like wheaty caramel ice cream blended with outdated potatoes that have been sitting in vegetable oil for too lengthy, plus a milky, tangy, tongue-coating aftertaste that takes too lengthy to go away. It is not blatantly offensive, however it’s fairly unusual and largely disappointing. It is undoubtedly not a becoming ode to its supply materials. You aren’t getting that lovely sweet-salty distinction; it is simply homogenous weirdness.

I needed to get a second opinion, so I had my fiancé Paul strive a spoonful. This is how he described it:

“It tastes just like the leftover fries that you just wipe off your Pizza Pizzazz(Opens in a brand new tab) earlier than you prepare dinner your Dino Nuggs. It is sort of metallic, burnt, but sort of moist and chilly.”


Ranking: 🥔 🥔 🙁

Last ideas

Regardless of the failings of Van Leeuwen’s creation, I firmly consider that the fries and milkshake taste combo could be was a decisively scrumptious ice cream. You are already properly in your method there in the event you simply swap the caramel base for a Frosty-inspired chocolate, which is extra true to type. What would actually amp it up is a rework of the potato scenario, the place you scrap the artificial-tasting potato flakes that commingle with the bottom an excessive amount of for saltier, crunchier potato bits. (It is extra concerning the salt than the potato, IMO, however in the event you needed to push the potato narrative, swirl in additional chunks of cooked potatoes to protect that good cake batter-style texture.)

You recognize what? I will even settle with Ben & Jerry’s bringing Late Night Snack back(Opens in a new tab) from its taste graveyard. Justice for sweet-and-salty snackers all over the place.

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