Copycat McDonald's Shamrock Shake

The original Shamrock Shake, a mint-flavored soft-serve vanilla milkshake first introduced in 1970, is only available at McDonald's for a limited time (end of February through March) each year. But it's festive and enjoyable, we'd drink it any day of the year. So we created our own. 

What does it taste like?

Very minty, and very creamy. These are the ingredients McDonald's shares on its website: reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, light whipped cream, and "Shamrock Shake Syrup." 😒 Instead of the trade-secret syrup, we use peppermint extract and green food coloring to add the magic. Warning: A little bit of the extract goes a lonnngggg way, so pour extra slowly and be sure you're not just eyeballing this one in. 

Can you add alcohol?

Is that even a real question? YES (if you're over 21), please! McDonald's doesn't offer a boozy version, for obvious reasons. But when you make this at home, you can add as much as you want. You could use whiskey, plain or flavored vodka (marshmallow and vanilla both sound great), or a little Baileys or chocolate liqueur to really drive home the dessert spin on your grown-up shake.

Do I need ice cream?

As with all good milkshakes, yes, you absolutely do. Ice cream is key. You could go the way of the fast-food chain and opt for a reduced-fat pint, but why hold back? We went all out with regular vanilla ice cream PLUS a little bit of cream. It makes the milkshake extra decadent, smooth, and special. Whole milk can be substituted in a pinch, but it will give you a less lush, velvet experience. 

To make it a little easier on your blender, take your ice cream out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to let if soften just a touch. If you're using a high-powered blender, be careful not to let it blend for too long or you'll lose the thick body of the shake as the blender's motor gives off more heat.

Are there different flavors of Shamrock Shakes?

In the past, McDonald's has offered Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappés, Chocolate Shamrock Shakes, and Oreo Shamrock McFlurries. To make the latter, we'd make one batch of chocolate shakes and one batch of Shamrocks, then swirl the two together. The reason: Adding chocolate syrup to the blender with the green shake turns the whole thing an ugly shade of green-brown. (Though it'd still taste delish.)

Looking for something a little boozier to celebrate with this year? Try our Irish Floats on for size!

Have you made this recipe? Rate it and let us know how you liked it in the comments below. 

Editor's note: The introduction to this recipe was updated on March 7, 2022 to include more information.

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Yields: 1 serving
Prep Time: 0 hours 5 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 5 mins

large scoops vanilla ice cream (about 1/4 c. each)

1/4 c.

heavy cream

1/2 tsp.

peppermint extract


drops green food coloring

Whipped cream, for topping

Maraschino cherry, for topping

  1. In a blender, mix vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, peppermint extract, and food coloring until completely smooth, then pour into a glass.
  2. Top with whipped cream and a cherry before serving.

copycat shamrock shake
Andrew Bui
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