Getting your hands on any ice-cream-based treat at McDonald’s can be a challenge, one that has long been documented, joked about, and even litigated. But despite the challenges, in the name of journalism, this author prevailed and has some surprising news to report. Announced back in late July, McDonald’s new Peanut Butter Crunch McFlurry is a straightforward limited-time offering that, despite its simplicity, is worthy of permanent placement on the McFlurry menu.
What it takes to actually get your hands on this new dessert is not for the faint of heart. Though the announcement cited an August 9 nationwide rollout date, I tried two different McDonald’s locations in different parts of the Chicagoland area to no avail. The third restaurant, located downtown, did have the newest McFlurry, or so an employee claimed on the phone.
Even at that location, though, the McFlurry was elusive—the McDonald’s app, the in-store kiosk, and even the cash register operated by the employees at the counter all listed the Peanut Butter Crunch McFlurry as “unavailable.” It was only after speaking with both the cashier and the manager that I was able to obtain the McFlurry; they charged me for an Oreo McFlurry because there was no option to select the Peanut Butter Crunch in their system.
After so much trial and tribulation, the first cold spoonful of a McFlurry has never tasted sweeter.
Per the company’s announcement, the new McFlurry contains the usual vanilla soft serve ice cream blended with “crispy cereal mix and chocolatey peanut butter cookie pieces.” A deeper dive into the listed ingredients for the dessert shows that the cereal and cookie pieces are a mix of Peanut Butter Creme Cookies, Fudge Coated Peanut Brittle, Chocolate Peanut Butter Yummy Chow, and Peanut Butter Cereal Squares.
This list of ingredients may make the new McFlurry seem complex, but in the simplest of terms, it tastes as if someone crushed a few handfuls of Reese’s Puffs cereal into vanilla ice cream. And it’s that simplicity that makes this new dessert a true contender for being part of the regular lineup.
Whereas other McFlurry options have offered disappointing ratios of mix-ins to ice cream, this had a nice balance between the two. Each bite contained enough crunch to contrast with the soft serve, and enough peanut butter flavor to remind me that dessert at McDonald’s doesn’t have to stick to chocolate and vanilla.
Yes, there are hints of chocolate mixed with the peanut butter bits throughout, a natural complement to the crunchy peanut butter pieces. Unlike the M&M McFlurry, which loses the chocolate flavor behind the artificial coating on the candy bits and the frozen temperature of the milk chocolate centers, this chocolate is happy to take a back seat and enhance the peanut butter flavors. A swirl of actual peanut butter could have truly taken this McFlurry to new heights, but it succeeds on its own regardless.
Although this isn’t McDonald’s first McFlurry remix, it may be the first one that is deserving of being part of its core offerings. Currently, McDonald’s offers the M&M McFlurry and the Oreo McFlurry on a regular basis, but this crunchy peanut butter version might be the perfect counterbalance to these chocolate-heavy options.
Past McFlurry variations have not only failed to dazzle, but have also gone so far as to completely disappoint. The Chocolatey Pretzel McFlurry hit the menu in 2022 and its decision to use chocolate-covered pretzels was a misfire; the wax-like texture of the chocolate on the pretzels was too distracting and competed with the caramel swirl in the McFlurry. Even more disappointing was the Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry offered earlier this year, which lacked the true flavor of strawberry shortcake by using crispy strawberry cereal bits to approximate the flavor.
If cereal-like bits are going to be used in any McFlurry flavor, it makes the most sense in the Peanut Butter Crunch McFlurry—after all, “crunch” is right there in the name. When it comes to McDonald’s desserts, the chain doesn’t have to debut any over-the-top innovations; it just has to deliver what it promises. And keep its ice cream machines in operation, of course.