You’ll love blending up this homemade Shamrock Shake in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! This is an easy copycat of the classic McDonald’s specialty shake made with vanilla ice cream, mint extract, milk and green food coloring.
St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and there’s no time like the present to bookmark a few fun holiday recipes! Try my Mint Chocolate Chip Donuts, Mint Oreo Cookie Bars, and our family favorite, the St. Patrick’s Day Cheesecake.
Creamy Homemade Shamrock Shake Recipe
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, today I’m sharing my homemade version of the legendary McDonald’s Shamrock Shake! We also have a Boozy Shamrock Shake version that’s a hit with the adults.
Almost everyone has heard of the specialty mint vanilla shake that makes an appearance each year around this time. And even if you haven’t, you’re going to love this recipe! The green color is festive and the minty flavor is super craveable. It also just so happens to be one of the easiest McDonald’s copycat recipes you can make yourself.
We love whipping up a batch of this creamy treat for St. Patty’s Day parties or for springtime dinners and brunches. It’s a delicious and creamy, refreshing dessert that you can drink! Blend in some Irish cream for an adult twist, while the kids dress theirs up with all kinds of add-ins.
What Flavor is a Shamrock Shake?
The Shamrock Shakes from McD’s are distinctly creamy and minty in flavor. My homemade Shamrock Shake blends together vanilla ice cream with mint extract in order to get as close to the original flavor as possible.
The McDonald’s recipe for a Shamrock Shake is essentially ice cream combined with a minty artificial syrup, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. To make something similar at home, we adapted the ingredients to ones you can find in most grocery stores.
Here’s what you need to create a shake with all the creaminess and mintiness of the original:
- Vanilla Ice Cream – Regular vanilla ice cream will give your homemade Shamrock Shake the most authentic flavor (versus vanilla bean, for example). You can use whichever brand you prefer.
- Milk – Whole milk to help thin out the shake into a creamy, sippable texture.
- Mint Extract – Make sure you use mint extract, and not peppermint extract, to get the true McDonald’s Shamrock Shake experience.
- Food Coloring – Depending on how green you’d like to go, you can use either regular green food coloring or gel food coloring to dye your shake the classic green hue!
- Optional Garnish – I use whipped cream and a maraschino cherry to top everything off.
Mint vs. Peppermint
Mint extract is what gives your Shamrock shake its flavor. Some might be thinking, mint or peppermint? Aren’t they the same thing? And the answer is: they’re actually not!
Peppermint extract will give your milkshake more of a candy cane flavor. Which, if you’ve ever had a Shamrock Shake from a McDonald’s counter, you’ll know is different from the authentic mint-vanilla taste of the real deal. It will still be delicious, mind you. It just won’t be the same! So do your best to source some true mint extract for this recipe.
How to Make a Shamrock Shake
This is really a one-step recipe! Here’s how to make a McDonald’s copycat milkshake:
To make your Shamrock Shake: Add the vanilla ice cream, mint extract, milk, and food coloring into a blender and blend on medium to low speed until well-mixed. You’re aiming for a consistency that’s smooth and that can be easily sipped through a straw.
If you don’t have a blender, make your milkshake without one! Simply scoop the ice cream into a mason jar and leave it out at room temperature until softened (squishable with a spoon, but not fully melted). Add the milk, extract, and food coloring to the jar, then close the lid and give it a good shake.
Whichever way you shake it, serve your Shamrock Shake in a milkshake glass topped with whipped cream, a cherry, and loads of sprinkles!
Fun Ways to Serve It
I like to kick it old school and finish off my milkshake with a swirl of whipped cream and a cherry on top. But there are tons of fun ways you can serve this St. Patrick’s Day treat depending on the occasion, plus lots of variations (see the next section for ideas)!
Try these topping suggestions for your minty Shamrock Shake:
- Green Sanding Sugar
- Green or Rainbow sprinkles
- Gold Jimmies or Gold Sugar Pearls
- Rainbow Candies or Gumdrops
- Chocolate Sauce
- Chocolate Chips
When it comes to serving, you can’t go wrong with a tall glass and some festive colored straws!
Apart from toppings, we love changing up the ingredients to really make our homemade Shamrock Shakes their own kind of legendary. Here are some ideas:
- Make a Mint Chocolate Version: Add a drizzle of chocolate syrup over the top or right into your milkshake, and blend in some chocolate chips for a mint chocolate Shamrock Shake.
- Add Oreos: Make your own Copycat Oreo Shamrock Shake by mixing in crushed Oreo cookies!
- Make a Copycat McFlurry: Blend add-ins like M&Ms, crumbled Kit Kat, or other sweets into your shake for an easy Shamrock McFlurry.
- Make a Boozy Milkshake: Add in an ounce or two of vanilla vodka, whisky, or Irish cream for a delicious adult-only version of the classic milkshake! This is especially fun as a boozy St Patrick’s Day dessert.
- Lighten Things Up: Swap out the ice cream, whole milk, and whipped cream for lower fat versions for a lighter milkshake. You can also skip the whipped cream altogether, whatever suits!
- Make it Dairy Free: Use coconut ice cream and coconut milk for a dairy-free Shamrock Shake that anyone can enjoy.
Tips and Tricks
- Scale the Recipe: This recipe is easy to scale down for one or up for a crowd, just adapt the ingredients and measurements accordingly.
- Make Your Shake Thicker or Thinner: To thin out the shake, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of milk when blending. To thicken it, reduce the milk by the same amount.
- Get the Green: A vibrant green hue is classic to this milkshake recipe. Depending on whether you’re using water-based or gel food coloring, you can add more or less to get the green color you’re after. Gel, for example, is more potent and will only take a drop. Meanwhile water-based coloring can take at least a teaspoon. Add the color gradually until you reach a fresh minty green!
- Dry Off the Cherries: If you’re using maraschino cherries to top your milkshakes, pat them dry before adding them. This way the excess syrup doesn’t bleed into the whipped cream!
More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
- Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
- Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
- Shamrock Pretzels
- Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake
- Chocolate Mint Cheesecake Mousse
Homemade Shamrock Shake (McDonald’s Copycat)
- 3 cups vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ teaspoon mint extract (and not peppermint extract)
- green food coloring
- Optional: Whipped topping and a maraschino cherry.
- In a blender on medium-low speed, combine the vanilla ice cream, whole milk, and green food coloring until smooth.