What Is The Actual Flavor Of Blue Moon Ice Cream?

Not unlike the eponymous adage "once in a blue moon," you're unlikely to spot blue moon ice cream beyond the Midwest. If you haven't tried it before, blue moon is the cult classic flavor that stands out in the hard-pack display for its vibrant Smurfy blue hue — and no one seems to be exactly sure what it's supposed to taste like. Despite (or perhaps thanks to) its mystery, the flavor is popular in ice cream shops across Michigan, Wisconsin, and areas in Illinois and Indiana. Minnesota Nice Cream carries blue moon because the shop's owner, Katie Romanski, grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, and as she tells local outlet Star Tribune, "I always had Blue Moon and I never knew what it was." Fellow St. Paul confectioner Kyle Farizel of Cold Front shares the sentiment, telling the Tribune, "Our best description is just to let people try it."

So, what is the actual flavor of blue moon — not to be confused with the orange-flavored beer brand, which inspired its own bagel spinoff? The short answer is: No one knows for sure, but that hasn't stopped fans from speculating. Common flavor notes identified include marshmallow, vanilla, almond, amaretto, cotton candy, lemon-raspberry, pistachio, nutmeg, bubble gun, blue curaçao, or tutti frutti. Some folks compare the flavor to Froot Loops. Or, perhaps more accurately, blue moon ice cream tastes like the milk left behind after eating a bowl of Froot Loops cereal.

Blue moon tastes best when you don't think about it too hard

Seemingly the most widely-available packaged blue moon ice cream comes from the Michigan-based brand Hudsonville, which perhaps paradoxically describes the flavor as "sweet, fruity, mystery" with "the indescribable flavor of a clear, blue sky." (Super helpful). Although, conceptual food flavors are far from unheard of. Fans won't soon forget Coca-Cola's Gen Z-inspired "Dreamworld" soda of 2022, which allegedly tastes like (you guessed it) a dream. In 2021, when Leon's Frozen Custard of Milwaukee introduced blue moon as its first new flavor in 30 years, one fan told local news outlet WISN that blue moon "tastes like dreams come true." Even the ingredients listed on the half gallon of Hudsonville's blue moon ice cream don't really clear anything up: Milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, skim milk, whey, natural and artificial flavor, mono and diglycerides, blue 1, cellulose gum, guar gum, and annatto coloring.

The original blue moon ice cream flavor was trademarked by Milwaukee-based company Petran Products (later purchased by Weber Foods of Chicago), and per the lore, it was created by flavor chemist Bill Sidon sometime during the 1950s. Today, the proprietary recipe remains under lock and key. As James Doig, vice president of Weber Flavors, told Atlas Obscura in a 2021 phone interview, "I have the formula here in front of me. But I'm not gonna tell you what's in it."