13 McDonald's Ice Cream Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

McDonald's ice cream
McDonald's ice cream - Wachiwit/Shutterstock

Capping off your trip to McDonald's with an ice cream is a must for many people. However, for folks out there who want something different, the food giant doesn't always deliver. That's not to say that McDonald's doesn't have a good selection of ice cream (well, technically, soft serve) -- the restaurant offers a range of varieties, from its iconic McFlurry to its sundaes and plain cones. Unfortunately, though, if you want something other than these standard choices, you might feel like you have to go elsewhere.

Or do you? The truth is that with a few hacks, you can do far more with McDonald's ice cream options than you ever dreamed of. Mashing two different ice cream orders together, or taking elements of a few different orders and mixing them up, can see you creating brand-new dessert delights. Incorporating some of McDonald's other menu items and pairing them with ice cream can also deliver some innovative culinary masterpieces. (Don't worry, we're not going to suggest pairing your Big Mac with your McFlurry -- that'd be too far, even for us.) Ready to see what hacks you can perform with McDonald's ice cream? Let's go.

Read more: The Ultimate Ice Cream Brands, Ranked

Hack Two Desserts With An Apple Pie McFlurry

McDonald's Apple Pie
McDonald's Apple Pie - hmzphotostory/Shutterstock

The choices, the choices! When it's time for dessert at McDonald's, deciding whether to go for its crispy, piping-hot Apple Pie, or its creamy, ice-cold McFlurry can feel like torture. Who says, though, that you have to pick one or the other? Hack your own Apple Pie McFlurry from McDonald's by grabbing both, mashing them up, and going to town.

To do this hack, just grab your McFlurry of choice and an Apple Pie and then give the latter a moment or two to cool down. Then, break it up into little pieces (maybe allowing a little time for the steam to escape -- watch your fingers!) and tip it into your McFlurry, stirring it through. Waiting until it cools slightly will prevent it from completely melting your ice cream, and you'll get to enjoy that hot-cold contrast. Meanwhile, the apple-infused syrup spreads through the ice cream, giving it a mellow, lightly spicy flavor.

When combining an Apple Pie and a McFlurry, just bear in mind that the McFlurry flavor you choose can affect your result pretty considerably. Going for a plain McFlurry will give you that classic apple pie and ice cream effect, whereas an M&M McFlurry will make your experience way sweeter.

Grab Ice Cream And Soda To Make Your Own Root Beer Float

Root beer floats
Root beer floats - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

McDonald's is no stranger to floats: It briefly experimented with Coke and Diet Coke floats back in the 1990s, although these drinks used frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. It's never made its own root beer float, though -- but the good news is that you can enjoy a root beer float at McDonald's with a simple hack.

This hack requires a little construction, but it's worth it. Simply order a fountain beverage and a cup of regular vanilla soft serve, without any toppings. Pour yourself out a root beer and then spoon your ice cream into the drink. Stick your straw in, and go to town! Our favorite thing about this hack is that if you're not a fan of root beer, you can do it with any drink you like. You can also make it any size you want to: Go for a small root beer float for a quick pick-me-up, or get a large cup for a substantial dessert drink. If you want to try your luck ordering one with your server, too, you can -- and you may need to, if your local store is one of the ones that's phased out self-serve sodas. You might need to explain how to make it, but some employees may be more than willing.

For A Truly Out-There Hack, Make A Hash Brown Ice Cream Sandwich

McDonald's hash brown ice cream sandwich
McDonald's hash brown ice cream sandwich - TODAY Food / YouTube

The combination of salty and sweet is pretty timeless, and intrepid customers have taken that principle to McDonald's -- you only need to spot one person dipping their fries in their milkshake to see that. We can raise you one better than that, though. For a super-size take on this flavor duo, make yourself a McDonald's hash brown ice cream sandwich.

This hack, which has predictably gone viral on TikTok, is exactly what it sounds like. To make it, you'll need to order two hash browns and your ice cream order of choice. You can go for a plain McFlurry, a Hot Fudge Sundae, or a simple vanilla cup, although the Oreo McFlurry is far and away the most popular choice. Spoon your McFlurry onto one of your hash browns and then press the other potato patty on top of it, making sure not to push the ice cream out of the sides. Then, enjoy. The crispy heat of the hash browns and their intense saltiness contrast effortlessly with the cool, sweet, smooth ice cream inside. If you opt for the Oreo McFlurry, you get an extra pop of crunch as you chew through the ice cream sandwich. ‌

Order Everything You Can For A McDonald's Gelato

Vanilla ice cream cone
Vanilla ice cream cone - usaphoto/Shutterstock

You might not associate gelato with McDonald's, and, strictly speaking, it's hard to come by in the restaurant. (McDonald's Italy calls its ice cream "gelato," but in our opinion, it looks a lot like its regular soft serve.) With an intelligent food hack, however, you can achieve somewhat of a gelato effect in your neighborhood McDonald's. As Party Shirt, the TikTok duo that'll have you trying the most unexpected flavor combos, tell Mashed, this hack requires you to bring a Tupperware or similar container to your local store and spend a fair amount of money, but it's worth it for the sheer novelty value.

To do this hack, Party Shirt state that you first need to order six soft serve ice creams. Spoon them out into the container and smush them together. Then, you order ... pretty much anything you want from the dessert menu, honestly. McFlurries, the sundaes, an Apple Pie, or any seasonal dessert items -- order them, throw them into the soft serve mixture, and stir everything together. This might sound like a kind of random hack, but the effect you achieve with it is an ice cream studded with delicious toppings and textures, much like an artisanal gelato, which you can scoop easily into a store-bought cone.

Dunk Your Ice Cream In Your Coffee For A Creamy Drink

McDonald's ice cream coffee hack
McDonald's ice cream coffee hack - MUKBAZ / YouTube

With some McDonald's ice cream hacks, the ice cream isn't necessarily the star of the show. This is the case with the McDonald's ice cream coffee hack, which also went viral on TikTok. In this hack, the soft serve is used to create an ultra-thick, creamy coffee while also sweetening your beverage, leaving you with something a little more like a coffee-flavored milkshake.

You start this hack by ordering a regular black coffee and a Vanilla Cone. Make sure your coffee doesn't have any milk or sweeteners added, as the ice cream will do all the work here, and those extra ingredients can just make things overwhelming. You then turn your cone upside down and dip it in the coffee, allowing the ice cream to loosen and melt into the liquid. Stir the coffee with the cone, and then once everything's mixed together, enjoy your creamy drink. If you want, you can also do this with one of the flavored options like a McFlurry for added taste dimensions -- and you don't have to use a cone, either. Dipping it in, however, does give you a crunchy, coffee-infused treat to chew on as you sip your drink.‌

Don't Waste Your McFlurry's Lid — Use It For Your Sauces

Chicken McNugget in sauce pot
Chicken McNugget in sauce pot - Matthew Nichols1/Shutterstock

McFlurry lids are kind of annoying, guys. We get that they make the cup look better and give your spoon something to lean on in between bites, but we'd rather not have to scoop up our McFlurry through a hole and when we can just have access to the whole thing. Luckily, there's a way to do this and not feel as though you're just throwing away the plastic lid unnecessarily. Use your McFlurry's lid as a convenient sauce holder and avoid your sauce dripping all over your hands.

The lip of your sauce tubs fit over the top of the McFlurry lid easily, preventing them from moving around as you dip your McNuggets in. Naturally, to avoid any risk, you'll probably want to take the lid off before popping your sauce container on it -- the last thing you want is a full McFlurry covered in Spicy Buffalo Sauce. If you're the kind of person who eats your McFlurry first, though, keeping the lid attached to the cup can give your makeshift sauce receptacle some extra height. ‌

Combine Cookies And Ice Cream For A Dessert Sandwich

McDonald's ice cream sandwiches
McDonald's ice cream sandwiches - Jerry Candy ASMR / YouTube

We really think that McDonald's is missing a trick by not having ice cream sandwiches on its menu as a regular feature. After all, the chain has all the ingredients to make them, so why not? Luckily, this ice cream sandwich hack is super easy to put together. All you need to do is order two Chocolate Chip Cookies and a McFlurry or ice cream of your choice -- we prefer an Oreo McFlurry, but the world's your oyster. Spoon the ice cream into the cookies, sandwich them together, and you've got a dessert fit for a king.

This hack depends on a few key factors. The first is the availability of the cookies themselves. While soft serve is a standard feature in McDonald's stores (when the machine is working, that is), cookies can be surprisingly less ubiquitous, and your local restaurant may not have them. The second is your choice of ice cream. If you go for one of the sundaes, for example, you may find your hands covered in dripping, sticky sauce, somewhat ruining your ice cream sandwich experience. We'd go for one of the less messy options. ‌

Make Your Own Affogato With Coffee And Ice Cream

Affogato being poured
Affogato being poured - gssk/Shutterstock

An affogato is a thing of beauty. This Italian dessert is composed of a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, over which a steaming shot of espresso is poured. The espresso melts the ice cream a little, with the resulting temperature contrasts and flavors being frankly mind-blowing. There's no reason, either, why you shouldn't be able to enjoy this classy dessert at McDonald's, courtesy of a creamy coffee hack that'll have your taste buds singing.

Just order an espresso shot and a regular cup of vanilla soft serve and then, while the espresso is still hot, pour it directly into the cup. Make sure you have enough room in the cup to avoid the espresso spilling over the sides: Take a couple bites of the ice cream first if it's filled to the brim. Once the flavors have combined, eat up -- the key to this dessert is not letting the whole thing become lukewarm but instead to enjoy the balance of hot and cold. If you want even more taste going on, you can perform this hack using a flavored McFlurry, but in our opinion, it's better when it's kept simple. ‌

Save Money On A McFlurry By Going For A Sundae With Toppings

McDonald's sundae
McDonald's sundae - MachoCoffee/Shutterstock

Most McDonald's hacks require you to buy several items to create a brand-new menu mash-up, and as a result, you end up spending more than you might like. However, some McDonald's hacks will save you a few bucks, and this sundae combo is one of them. Instead of buying a McFlurry, grab yourself a plain sundae and select the toppings you'd like to be added to it. By being tactical with your toppings, you can essentially recreate a McFlurry without paying for the name.

When you do the math, this makes total sense. In some states, an Oreo McFlurry will set you back roughly $4.39. In the same states, however, a plain sundae costs more than a dollar less, at $3.29. This price difference tends to be proportionately similar across the board, no matter what state you're ordering in. When you take the toppings into account, which usually come in at way less than a dollar, you've earned yourself a saving. Hey, it may not be massive, but every little bit helps, right?

Make Yourself A Sundae By Ordering Multiple Cones

Two vanilla soft serve cones
Two vanilla soft serve cones - Lovelypeace/Getty Images

One of the best parts of a sundae is its textural variation. A well-made sundae offers not just smooth ice cream but additional crunchiness and squidgy-ness mixed throughout to give every mouthful maximum impact. This textural variety can be achieved in McDonald's pretty easily by ordering a McFlurry -- but if you're bored of those and sick of your Oreo pieces going gloopy, there's an ice cream hack that turns McDonald's cones into sundaes and gives you a major crunch factor.

To nail this hack, order yourself several Vanilla Cones and ask your server to place them face-down in a cardboard tray. (If they won't, just bring your own vessel and place your cones face-down yourself.) Make sure you also order some chocolate or caramel sauce as a topping. Then, mash the cones up with your spoon, stirring them and the sauce through the ice cream. The cones will make your ice cream deliciously crispy, while the sauce will provide an ever-so-slight chewiness. One thing to note about this hack, though: There's a lot of food going on, so make sure you're doing it with friends.

Pair Ice Cream With Pancakes For A Decadent Breakfast

McDonald's pancakes
McDonald's pancakes - pancha.me/Shutterstock

Pancakes with ice cream is the ultimate breakfast, and we firmly believe that it's one you can enjoy any time you want. So that's why you'll definitely want to try out the McDonald's breakfast hack for sweet pancakes. This hack involves -- you guessed it! -- grabbing an order of pancakes (or Hotcakes, as the chain calls them) and your ice cream of choice and then spooning said ice cream onto your pancakes while they're still warm.

As with any McDonald's hack, there are ways that you can amp this one up even further. The simplest way to do this hack is by using a plain vanilla cup, but with a McFlurry or a sundae, you can achieve even more flavor. You can also include some other dessert items in the mix to make a legendary breakfast or brunch. Try grabbing an Apple Pie and crumbling it over your pancake-ice cream combo, or break up a Chocolate Chip Cookie as a crunchy, chewy topping. Just prepare yourself for the sugar crash afterward, people.

Combine Ice Cream, Cookies, And Fries For The Ultimate Dessert

Container of McDonald's french fries
Container of McDonald's french fries - Smith Collection/gado/Getty Images

McDonald's ice creams can be a sweet treat at the end of a meal, but they're not the biggest desserts in the world. So, if you want to finish your dinner off with something a bit more substantial for you and your friends, then try throwing together a few menu favorites and combining some flavors.

You start by ordering several ice cream cones, some chocolate chip cookies, and a carton of french fries. Place your ice cream cones upside down in a container and then crush the cones into the ice cream, much like the sundae hack. Crumble the chocolate chip cookies over the top and mix them in, and then eat -- using your french fries to scoop everything up.

The french fries are the secret weapon here. By using them, you activate that mouthwatering salty-sweet sensation, with their savoriness preventing the dessert from becoming too cloying. The heat from the fries will also soften the ice cream, allowing it to coat every piece of potato beautifully. This heat also makes everything slightly more moist, which is vital considering the cone and cookie content -- but if you want to add some extra moisture, grab a side of hot fudge or caramel sauce and drizzle it over.

Make An Orange Creamsicle By Ordering A Couple Menu Items

McDonald's drink
McDonald's drink - 8th.creator/Shutterstock

While the generous food menu at McDonald's gives you loads of options for hacks, you shouldn't forget about the drinks menu, either. Combining your desserts with your drinks can create previously unthought-of sweet treats, as the instant orange creamsicle hack proves. To do this, you need two ingredients: a vanilla cone and a cup of Hi-C Orange Lavaburst. You take your cone and tip it upside down, allowing the ice cream to fall out into your drink. Then, you stir everything together until you have a thick, creamy consistency and, finally, slurp it all up.

Now, clearly this doesn't make the popsicle you might have been expecting, and what you end up with is more like an orange-flavored milkshake. The flavor, however, is out of this world, with the tart, sweet orange taste pairing perfectly with the vanilla ice cream. Just be wary of how much liquid you have in your cup when you do this hack. If you haven't drunk any of the Hi-C yet, dunking the ice cream in will likely cause the cup to overflow, leaving you with a lap full of juice.

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