With March and spirited St. Patrick's Day celebrations comes the onslaught of green foods and drinks.
There is one green beverage, however, that’s longed for by a cult of followers: the Shamrock Shake. Tall, minty, frosty, creamy goodness and only available for about a month at McDonald’s.
But why limit this indulgence? With just a handful of quality ingredients, you can make your own copycat Shamrock Shake at home any day of the year.
What Is a Shamrock Shake?
Since the 1970s, McDonald’s has offered this limited-time shake with its recognizable green hue as a specialty treat to celebrate St. Patrick’s day from mid-February to mid-March. Its limited run has elevated its status and it’s looked forward to by many all year long. In 2021, the Shamrock Shake celebrated its 50th (!!!) anniversary.
What's In a Shamrock Shake?
At its core, the recipe consists of vanilla ice cream, a “Shamrock syrup,” whipped cream, and a cherry (but maybe don’t go looking at the McDonald’s ingredient list, as it’s a tad longer than 3 ingredients).
Here, we’re simplifying the list down to just a handful of ingredients, but the end result is a creamy texture with balanced mint taste and a mound of whipped cream.
Variations on the Shamrock Shake
Shakes are the dessert you get to drink, but you don’t have to limit this one to after dinner! This bright, minty shake can also be served up nicely at a springy lunch, or, if you decide to add alcohol to the recipe, you can serve it at your next adults-only brunch. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Try some of your favorite add-ins to make it your own. Here are some ideas to get you started!
- Chocolate: Chocolate and mint are an iconic duo! Adding a drizzle of chocolate syrup over the top.
- Make it boozy: I like adding either vodka, whiskey, or Irish Cream.
- 2 ounces of vanilla vodka per serving adds an extra hint of vanilla to the shake without dramatically changing the flavor.
- 2 ounces of bourbon per serving will take the shake into a mint julep direction and a bolder flavor profile.
- 2 ounces of Irish Cream per serving ups the rich and creamy factor of this ice cream delight.
Tips and Tricks for Making Shamrock Shakes at Home
This recipe makes two 8-ounce shakes, but it’s easy to scale up or down. I love a small blender like a bullet or even an immersion blender when I’m making shakes for two, but a large blender is best when making them for a crowd.
My version of a Shamrock Shake is a smooth milkshake you can easily pull up through a standard straw.
- To make it thinner: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
- To make it thicker: Reduce the milk by 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Another aspect to consider is: How green do you want to go? You can use either gel or water-based food coloring.
- Gel-based: A small drop of gel-based food color will add vibrant hues to your drink. I like to use LorAnn’s gel-based food dyes here (and in most of my other dessert and baking applications).
- Water-based: You will need to use at least 1 teaspoon of water-based food coloring to reach a minty color. You might also want to reduce the amount of milk you're adding by the amount of liquid food coloring to maintain the consistency of the shake.
More Great Ice Cream Recipes
Copycat Shamrock Shake
If using gel-based food dye, 1 lentil-sized drop will sufficiently color both milkshakes. Water-based food dye is not as concentrated. If using water-based or liquid food coloring you may need to use approximately 1 teaspoon depending on the desired color.
Double this recipe for 2 large milkshakes.
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1 drop green gel food coloring (see note)
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
Whipped cream (store bought or make your own)
1 tablespoon green sprinkles
2 maraschino cherries
Make the shake:
In a blender, combine vanilla ice cream, milk, food coloring, and mint extract. Blend until smooth.
Dress it up and serve:
Pour the milkshake mixture evenly between 2 glasses.
Top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry. Straws encouraged but not required.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 1 to 2|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 14g||18%|
|Saturated Fat 8g||42%|
|Total Carbohydrate 28g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 26g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|