Homemade Shamrock Shake
‘Tis the season
Boom, it’s here! McDonald’s has released their annual green, minty and sweet “harbinger of Spring,” the annual Shamrock Shake. The McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, also known as the McCafe Shamrock Shake, is a classic green-dyed mint flavored milkshake dessert available once a year for one month (usually mid-February through March).
This green colored treat has been making an appearance since the 1970s and has an almost cult-like following. Each year, thousands of people eagerly await the shake’s return months in advance… and when the calendar flips to February, the quest to find a Shammy Shake under local golden arches starts. I have news for all of you diehard fans, the wait is over. The Shammy Shake is back in town and Shamrock hunting season is on like Donkey Kong.
The Shamrock Shake inspires social media frenzy
Last night I did an Instagram and Twitter search for “#shamrockshake”… and within seconds my screen was flooded with hundreds of photos of hands clutching onto what many may see as liquid, green gold – The McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Attached to the photos were comments like:
- “I live for these.”
- “Starting my day off right.”
- “This is the reason I get up in the morning.”
- “This was a healthy pregnancy… Until today.”
- “Heaven is my first Shamrock Shake of the year.”
- “And suddenly the shi**iness of the day disappeared. It’s Shamrock Shake season, y’all.”
- “They have returned in all their glory.”
- “These are so good even though they hurt my tummy.”
- “The only way to get through winter.”
- “I know they’re bad but they’re so good.”
- “I was supposed to go to the gym tonight 🙁 … but I’m easily swayed.”
- “My happy place.”
These comments may lead one to think that the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake has magical powers. I mean, it has the capability to turn a bad day into a great day, inspires people to get up in the morning, and helps others survive the long winter, right? Call me an anomaly if you wish… but I know that the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake will not bring me to my happy place. I am all for nostalgia and allurement – but I don’t see the magic in the Shamrock Shake… not even a little dusting.
Unicorns and rainbows?
Last year, my article “This Is Why You Should Never Drink A Shamrock Shake,” went insanely viral and collected a few million views in its first 24-hours. Shortly after “This Is Why You Should Never Drink A Shamrock Shake” made its debut on the World Wide Web, I was informed by hundreds of people that I shattered wholesome views of the nostalgic McDonald’s Shamrock Shake and that I ruined minty-sweet trips down memory lanes for people across the country and even overseas.
Sorry, folks – my bad… but, after learning that the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, I felt the need to share with the world just how downright unhealthy the shake is – and that is what I did in my shamrock article.
Spoiler alert – if you haven’t read my article, the bottom line is that the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is CRAZY UNHEALTHY for you. It may be fun, festive and yummy for many, but it is also a fast-food calorie-bomb that consists of a staggering number of ingredients (35), including obscure and dangerous additives. Everyone knows that it isn’t healthy, but not everyone knows how many calories, how much fat, sugar, sodium and unnatural things are truly in it. Read my article to get the full scoop.
A healthy alternative
While writing “This Is Why You Should Never Drink A Shamrock Shake,” I realized I should offer a healthy alternative to the McDonald’s version of this shake – a homemade recipe that you can make at home with a few ingredients. So I created one. My shamrock shake recipe is a traditional spin on the McD’s Shammy Shake. It is a great go-to option for when you want a healthy version of the McDonald’s McCafe Shamrock Shake – or for those times when you are craving minty goodness during the offseason when the McDonald’s version is not available. It is fresh, creamy and straight-up delicious.
Homemade Shamrock Shake recipe
My recipe consists of:
- Organic vanilla ice cream
- Coconut milk
- Organic mint flavoring
- Fresh mint leaves
- Homemade coconut whipped cream (optional)
Making this shake is super easy – all you have to do is take the ingredients, throw them into a blender, blend until well mixed and voila… you have a cold, smooth, creamy and minty sweet treat. Unlike many St. Paddy’s day shakes, this recipe does not contain artificial colorings (sorry, no neon-green coloring here) and, if you are selective on what kind of ice cream you add to it, you will avoid synthetic preservatives.
- Allergic to cow’s milk? No problem. Substitute a store-bought or homemade dairy-free ice cream.
- When buying the ingredients for this recipe:
- Stick with organic whenever possible.
- Avoid low-fat and no-fat ice cream and coconut milk.
- Make sure the ice cream you buy does not contain unnatural preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, or colors. It should contain milk, cream, eggs, a sweetener like cane sugar, and vanilla bean. Nothing more. Avoid ice cream that contains ingredients such as:
- Acesulfame potassium
- Artificial food coloring (Blue 1, Blue 2, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 3, Red 40)
- Artificial sweeteners (sucralose/Splenda, aspartame/Nutrasweet)
- Corn syrup
- Mono- and diglycerides
- Polysorbate 80
- Potassium sorbate
- Propylene glycol monoesters
- Sodium benzoate
- Some people use peppermint extract in their homemade Shamrock Shake recipes. I recommend skipping the peppermint and use mint flavoring instead. Using mint will give you a more authentic Shamrock Shake flavor. 🙂
Note: This recipe is much healthier than the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, but is still high in sugar and calories. Remember – sugar and dairy contribute to inflammation. Also, be sure that you are mindful of food allergies and intolerances.
Here it is – my homemade, creamy and minty Shamrock Shake deliciousness. It’s a pretty good preservative-free alternative to the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake… and if you close your eyes while you drink it, you just might feel some magic… of the homemade variety. 😉
Try it and let me know what you think.
- 2-3 large scoops of organic, vanilla ice cream (full-fat, hormone/soy-free ice cream is best - the fewer the ingredients, the better)
- 1½ cups full-fat coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon organic mint flavoring or peppermint extract (read the label - you want it to be free of preservatives)
- Handful fresh mint leaves (optional)
- Homemade whipped cream (optional)
- Cashew or cow milk may be used. If you use cow make sure it is organic, hormone-free and not 0% or low-fat.
- If allergic to cow milk, substitute store bought or homemade dairy-free ice cream.
When she is not helping others to slay fat, build muscle, and live amazing lives, Jennifer can be found exploring the outdoors with her dogs, cooking, traveling and playing/coaching lacrosse. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.