McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is one of their best-known seasonal menu items. This minty ice cream treat makes an annual appearance for St. Patrick’s Day. If you wanted to make one yourself, you can do so any time of the year now.

homemade McDonald's shamrock shake with whipped cream.

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Shamrock Shake

St. Patrick’s Day has always been a huge celebration in the US. Whether you’re Irish by birth, heritage, or you haven’t a drop of the Emerald Isle in your veins, you probably already celebrate the holiday. And even if you aren’t into drinking alcohol, you can still indulge with a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s! What is so wonderful about a copycat recipe? While McDonald’s offers these for only a limited time every year, you can have one anytime you want.

What is a Shamrock Shake?

Believe it or not, McDonald’s has been serving Shamrock Shakes in one form or another since 1967! That’s the year a franchisee in Connecticut added green food coloring to vanilla shakes and served them up at his restaurant in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

He may have drawn inspiration for his creation from the annual dyeing of the Chicago River that began a few years earlier.

It didn’t take long for owners of other McDonald’s to take notice and start serving their own dyed shakes. Over the years, McDonald’s perfected the recipe and developed several different versions of the drink.

Although the shake was a regional favorite for decades, it wasn’t until 2012 that the Shamrock Shake became an official seasonal menu item on McDonald’s menus from coast to coast.

Its minty flavor and limited availability have driven the shake to cult status among many fans.

When are Shamrock Shakes Available?

The window to order a Shamrock Shake isn’t the same each year or in every restaurant. You can find the shake at most locations from the middle of February to late March.

It may be worth calling your local McDonald’s if you plan on making a special trip just for the shake. Armed with this copycat recipe you don’t have to wait for the annual return of the Shamrock Shake.

What Flavor is a Shamrock Shake?

A Shamrock Shake is essentially a mint milkshake. These days, you can find the original minty Shamrock Shake on the menu at McDonald’s along with an Oreo Shamrock McFlurry.

Over the years, other Shamrock drinks have included Chocolate Shamrock Shake, Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappé, Shamrock Mocha, and even Shamrock Hot Chocolate!

What does a Shamrock Shake taste like?

If you missed your chance to try this shake, or time has passed since the arrival of Shamrock Shake season, this shake tastes like a creamy, mint shake with hints of vanilla.

Why is this McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Recipe the Best?

The half & half and premium vanilla ice cream are the secrets behind the rich creaminess of this recipe. Many other online recipes call for whole milk, but milk can’t bring the same luxurious mouthfeel as half & half.

Some recipes include a splash of vanilla extract that can sometimes overpower the mint. Using good quality vanilla gives you the vanilla flavor without being too strong.

Shamrock Shake Ingredients

With only five ingredients that you probably already have, this homemade Shamrock Shake is easy to make.

  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Choose a high-quality ice cream like Ben & Jerry’s or Graeter’s that is smooth and thick. Cheap brands have too much air that can leave the milkshake thin and runny.
  • Half & Half: Yep, no milk here. For the same reason that most people prefer half & half to whole milk in coffee, using the heavier dairy option creates a much creamier shake.
  • Green Food Coloring: Using an all-natural gel food coloring is the way to go in this recipe. Of course, you don’t have to use any food coloring at all since it won’t affect the flavor.
  • Mint Extract: Opt for a spearmint-flavored extract. Peppermint extract can be a little too ‘minty’ and mask the vanilla.
  • Whipped Cream: No need to go the homemade route for this shake. It is fine to use your favorite canned whipped cream or tub of whipped topping.
McDonald's shamrock shake ingredients.

Ingredient Substitutions and Recipe Variations

There is a lot of freedom when it comes to the ingredients in this recipe. Whether you want to lighten this recipe, tweak the flavors, or add a bit of a kick to it, check out the following suggestions:

  • Skinny Shamrock Shake Recipe: In a blender, combine two cups of vanilla Greek-style yogurt, a quarter of a cup of whole milk, four drops of mint extract, two drops of green food coloring, and three ice cubes. Blend until smooth.
  • Chocolate Shamrock Shake: Are you a chocoholic? Use chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla, and skip the green food color for a milkshake that will remind you of After Eight Thin Mints.
  • Boozy Shamrock Shake: In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, adding a bit of booze to the blender might be in order. Just don’t go crazy. Limit any alcohol to 1.5 ounces if you don’t want to wind up with a thin shake. Use your favorite liquor. Bourbon is particularly good. Creme de Menthe would make it extra minty and like a giant Grasshopper drink.

How to Make a Shamrock Shake

This mint milkshake is so easy to make. Here are the recipe steps:

  1. Allow ice cream to soften for about 10 minutes so it will be easy to blend.
  2. Place ice cream, half-and-half, mint extract, and food coloring in a blender.
shamrock shake ingredients in a blender.
  1. Blend for about 30 seconds or until well combined.
blended shamrock shake in a blender.
  1. Pour the shake into a glass.
  2. Top it with whipped cream. Enjoy!

How to Serve a Homemade Shamrock Shake

Pour the shake into a tall glass. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe a cherry on top. Don’t forget the straw and a long-handled spoon!

homemade McDonald's shamrock shake topped with whipped cream.

Shamrock Shake Toppings

In addition to the whipped cream, here are some great toppings:

  • Cherry
  • Cookie crumbs, such as Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies or Oreo cookie pieces.
  • Green sprinkles
  • Sprig of mint

CopyKat Tip: Before making a milkshake, let the ice cream sit out on the counter for a few moments. This way it is a little softer and will blend easier.

How to Freeze

Refreezing thawed ice cream is not a good idea, so only make a shake when you are ready to drink it.

What to Serve with a Shamrock Shake

This mint-flavored shake is just about perfect on its own, but it goes well with burgers and hot dogs, too. And don’t forget the fries! Serve it topped with chocolate syrup and a maraschino cherry for dessert.

How to Store

A Shamrock Shake is best served immediately after making it because it will melt quickly.

homemade shamrock shake topped with whipped cream.

Best McDonald’s Copycat Recipes

More Delicious Milkshakes to Make

Favorite Mint Recipes

Check out more of my easy drink recipes and the best McDonald’s recipes here on CopyKat!

how to make a shamrock shake illustration.
homemade McDonald's shamrock shake with whipped cream.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake

Make your own McDonald's Shamrock Shake at home with this easy copycat recipe. Enjoy a delicious mint milkshake any time of the year.
5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: McDonald’s Recipes, Mint, Mint Milkshake, Shake, Shamrock Shake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 649kcal


  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 4 drops mint extract
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream


  • Allow ice cream to soften for about 10 minutes so it will be easy to blend.
  • Combine the ice cream, half-and-half, mint extract, and food coloring in a blender.
  • Blend for about 30 seconds or until well combined.
  • Pour the milkshake into a glass and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.



If you want to go dye free, just omit the green food coloring. It tastes the same, it just won’t be green.


Calories: 649kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 236mg | Potassium: 604mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 56g | Vitamin A: 1385IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 401mg | Iron: 0.2mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mary R

    5 stars
    I like to add a little bit of Triple Sec to the Grasshopper. It just gives it a little more richness in flavor. I have also used Creme de Cocao instead of Baileys although you don’t use quite as much as you do with the Baileys

    • stephaniemanley

      Thanks for your skilled suggestions at drink making. I am definitely going to try some of your suggestions. These sound simply amazing.

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