No need to wait until Saint Patrick’s Day – you can easily whip up this homemade version of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake at home all year round! This recipe is a simple mix of vanilla ice cream, milk, and mint, blended to creamy green perfection. An easy and delicious drink for kids and adults alike!
It’s that time of year again when I’m super excited to make my slow cooker corned beef and cabbage and my favorite Reuben Sandwich. It’s also that time when all the managers at McDonald’s are ensuring they can keep up with demand for their Shamrock Shake! Only available for a limited time (usually mid-February through late-March) to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, people anxiously await and take advantage of this seasonal favorite.
What is a Shamrock Shake?
The first Shamrock Shake was introduced at McDonald’s in 1970 and was actually made with lemon-lim sherbet. They changed the formula in 1973 to just include vanilla ice cream and food coloring, then in 1983 the shake evolved into the creamy, minty concoction we all know and love today. Even more recently did the green sprinkles and maraschino cherry get added. And thank goodness, because…FUN.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, McDonald’s is taking the legendary treat nationwide and also introducing a new, delicious shamrock dessert, the OREO® Shamrock McFlurry®, which has the unmistakable Shamrock flavor, with added OREO® pieces throughout. Count me in!
More than 60 million Shamrock shakes have been sold since its debut! No doubt a lot of its popularity lies in the fact it’s a seasonal item and only around for a very short time. But also, it’s just plain delicious.
Not all McDonald’s locations offer this minty shake, which is tragic, but luckily you can easily replicate the recipe at home!
(You can skip to the printable recipe by scrolling to the bottom)
What does it taste like?
The Shamrock shake has a typical (and wonderful) soft serve texture, with a minty flavor. McDonald’s actually shares their ingredients on its website, which are reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, light whipping cream, and “Shamrock Shake syrup.” I chose to use regular ice cream, whole milk, mint extract, and green food coloring.
- You can make this shake dairy free by using coconut milk ice cream and coconut whipped cream, but the consistency will be much thinner.
- Whole milk can be replaced with half-n-half for an extra creamy and decadent shake.
- Regular vanilla ice cream can be replaced with reduced-fat vanilla ice cream to lower the calorie count.
- For the chocolate lover, you can drizzle in a little bit of chocolate syrup. But be aware, once blended it won’t look very pretty!
- Make a boozy version by adding in a bit of plain or marshmallow vodka, or creme de menth (which would also eliminate the need for green food coloring.)
- A little extract goes a long way, so start by adding in a small amount and adjust from there. You can always add, but you can’t take away!
- Mint and Peppermint extract are very different! While peppermint seems to be the more common extract to use, mint extract will get you much closer to the authentic taste of the McDonald’s shake.
- Use classic vanilla ice cream, not French Vanilla or Vanilla Bean, to stay true to the original.
- You can use green food dye or food gel. Either way add in a few drops at a time until you get the optimal color. I used 8 drops of food dye. (Food gel is concentrated, so you will less if using that instead of the drops.)
- Dry your Maraschino cherries well with a paper towel before placing them on the whipped cream, or they will bleed.
- Green jimmies, sanding sugar, or sugar shamrock sprinkles are all fun toppers!
Other Recipes to make for Saint Patrick’s Day!
Skip the drive-thru and easily make this fun, delicious, green treat at home! Whether you serve it in a short or tall glass, with a straw or spoon, it is sure to be a hit!
Watch the Video for this Shamrock Shake
How To Make This Shamrock Shake Recipe
Shamrock Shake (McDonald's Copycat)
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk , divided
- 1/4 teaspoon mint extract (not peppermint)
- green food coloring
- whipped cream
- green sprinkles or sanding sugar
- maraschino cherries
- Add ice cream, 1 cup of the milk, and mint extract to blender and blend well on high. (Blend in the additional 1/2 cup of milk if consistency is too thick.)
- Add food coloring (a few drops at a time to get the right color) and blend well.
- Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a maraschino cherry.