I Can Confirm That Kraft Mac and Cheese Ice Cream Is, in Fact, Edible
The phrase "mac and cheese ice cream" may sound like a Mad Libs-style mashup from the depths of culinary hell, but it became a reality — and the internet's punching bag — this summer. When the news of Kraft teaming up with artisanal scoop shop Van Leeuwen emerged in July, I first chose to wholly ignore it, my brain unable to comprehend why anyone would ever think to combine two sacred and seemingly incorruptible entities like mac and cheese and ice cream. But then a coworker popped into my team's Slack room and wrote, "Guys, someone has to try this."
I let the message sit there for a moment to see if another brave soul wanted dibs on a free sample, but alas, I wound up volunteering as tribute, silently apologizing to my taste buds as I typed, "lol yolo." Hey, I got through taste-testing Brach's horrid Thanksgiving candy corn with only a cumulative seven or so gags — I was up for the challenge.
After a month and a half of procrastinating that I'll blame on the chaos of moving apartments in New York City, I finally downed a few spoonfuls the other afternoon. In perhaps the most surprising plot twist of 2021, second only to Bennifer's reunion, it was actually not as bad as I admittedly expected. Read ahead for my detailed take on the ice cream's color, taste, and more, and to learn how you can get your hands on a pint.
As soon as you pop open the top and peel back that seal, you're met with a bright orange hue not entirely dissimilar from that of a creamier mango sorbet. It looks exactly like a bowlful of Easy Mac — if the noodles were scooped out and the remaining sauce was frozen, that is. I don't think I've ever consumed orange ice cream before, except for Creamsicle Bars, so this was definitely a first.
The Kraft x Van Leeuwen mac and cheese ice cream simply consists of eggs, milk, cream, cane sugar, and tons of that orange cheese powder. There are somehow no artificial dyes, preservatives, or flavors, and despite the abundance of cheese sauce mix, it doesn't smell cheesy in the slightest, which was a concern of mine.
You know the viral video of TikTok star Brittany Broski trying kombucha for the first time? I had a similar rollercoaster-like sequence of reactions upon my first bite. My initial "Nope" was quickly followed up by an intrigued "Hold up, what is happening in my mouth right now?!" The combination of the mac and cheese flavor and the frozen element had my tastebuds baffled. I allowed the second bite to melt on my tongue, and a rich, slightly buttery flavor revealed itself. It truly does taste like frozen Kraft cheese sauce with subtly sweet undertones, if you're into that kind of thing — which yes, many people are! In fact, cheese is a common ice cream flavor in the Philippines.
Did this ice cream surprise the hell out of me in terms of actually being edible? For sure. But would I down an entire bowl while curling up with a book at night? Unlikely. It's not that I don't love mac and cheese — I enjoy roughly a box of Kraft a week, on average — but I just prefer my fake cheese sauce served over piping hot noodles, not frozen and mixed with sugar. The mashup could never dethrone my favorite ice cream flavor, coffee.