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The EASIEST Copycat Shamrock Shake Recipe

This copycat shamrock shake recipe may be a St. Patrick’s Day tradition, but this is one you’ll want to whip up – literally – all year long. It’s so simple and tastes so good.

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Head on shot of a copycat shamrock shake with whipped cream and a cherry.

Growing up, I waited for this seasonal shake to come back to menus every year. Can you believe McDonald’s has had their classic shamrock shake for over 50 years?

It’s a classic for a reason.

This green shake is thick and creamy without being too sweet. It may be available only for a limited time in restaurants, but with just a handful of ingredients, you can make your own copycat shamrock shake.

What is in a McDonald’s shamrock shake?

The McDonald ‘s shamrock shake contains vanilla soft serve ice cream, “shamrock shake syrup,” whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. While we don’t know the actual ingredients in the shamrock shake syrup, this simple recipe replicates the peppermint milkshake taste pretty well.

What’s the difference between peppermint extract and pure mint extract?

Peppermint extract comes from pure peppermint oil, and it has the flavor of a candy cane. Pure mint extract typically contains both spearmint and peppermint, and this is the mint flavor you expect in this milkshake.

Hand holding a bottle of pure mint extract.

If you cannot find pure mint extract, you can use peppermint extract, but know that will give you more of a Christmas milkshake flavor than a St. Patrick’s Day milkshake flavor. Do not use peppermint essential oil, which is more potent and may not be food grade, depending on what you have.

What kind of ice cream should you use to make a shamrock shake?

Rather than soft serve vanilla ice cream, I use traditional vanilla ice cream. You want a premium ice cream brand for a smooth taste and texture.

“Regular” vanilla ice cream tastes better here than vanilla bean ice cream, but either will work.

Additionally, you want to use full fat ice cream and not a low fat ice cream or ice milk. Those do not make for a creamy texture or rich taste.

What kind of milk do you use in shamrock shakes?

Again, you want to have the fat in your milk to create a delicious, rich, thick milkshake. I use half and half when I make my shamrock shakes, mostly because I have it on hand for coffee.

You can also use whole milk or heavy whipping cream. Do not use skim or low fat milk, however, as they again do not give you the richness you want in your copycat Shamrock shake.

Can I save my shamrock shake for later?

Sadly, no. Once you make a milkshake, you need to enjoy it pretty much right away.

Milkshakes do not freeze well and return to the right texture to sip easily. The often develop ice crystals, as well.

If you do have leftovers, you can try to let it thaw on your counter for five to ten minutes, then use a spoon to scoop small bits into your high powered blender. Pulse those 10-15 times to bring it back together.

Can I make a boozy copycat shamrock shake recipe?

Ummm heck yes you can. A boozy milkshake is one of my favorite treats, along with boozy chocolate mousse.

When you measure the milk, add two tablespoons of the liquor to your liquid measuring cup, then add enough milk to get one-third cup total. Remember that alcohol lowers the melting temperature of the milkshake, so you need to drink it quickly or even use a touch less milk.

Depending on the flavor you want to go for, you can add:

  • Bourbon
  • Bailey’s Irish cream
  • Whiskey
  • Vanilla vodka
  • Regular vodka

Should I use traditional food coloring or gel food coloring?

I prefer green gel food coloring, as it’s more concentrated and gives a more true hue. You need less to make this work.

However, I grew up with traditional food coloring, and it works, as well. You will need 12-15 drops of the regular kind, but remember that while you can always add more color (and mint flavor), you cannot easily take it away.

Closeup of a homemade McDonalds shamrock shake in a milkshake glass.

How to Make a Copycat Shamrock Shake:

Remove your vanilla ice cream from the freezer, and let it sit on the counter for 10 or so minutes. You want to let it soften so that it blends more easily, but do not let it melt.

It should scoop easily and not require you to run your ice cream scoop under hot water to get the ice cream from the container.

Overhead shot showing a hand scooping vanilla ice cream from a container.

Prep your maraschino cherry. You want to dry it thoroughly with a paper towel, or the red juice will ruin the look as it dribbles down the whipped cream.

Add the milk, green gel food coloring, and pure mint extract to the base of your high powered blender. Once your ice cream softens, add it to the blender base.

Start on low power with the lid on, and quickly increase it to full power. Let it blend for less than ten seconds, as you want it to come together without melting.

A high powered blender does the best job of mixing your milkshake, but the motor also generates not insignificant heat. If you walk away or let it go too long, it turns into milkshake soup quickly.

Use a spatula to help pour the minty shake into your milkshake glass. Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, and enjoy immediately.

You can easily double or triple this recipe to share with family or friends.

Save this copycat shamrock shake recipe to make again!

Looking for more fun St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Enjoy my favorites:

Head on shot of a copycat shamrock shake with whipped cream and a cherry.

Copycat Shamrock Shake

Yield: 1 shake
Thaw Time: 10 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This copycat shamrock shake recipe is incredibly simple and makes a creamy peppermint shake that is a perfect replacement for your seasonal favorite!


  • 1 cup premium vanilla ice cream
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure mint extract
  • 4-5 drops green gel food coloring
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Maraschino cherry


  1. Place your ice cream on the counter to thaw for 10 minutes.
  2. Add milk, mint extract, and green food coloring to the base of blender. Top with ice cream.
  3. Blend, starting on low speed and quickly increasing to the max, just until it comes together.
  4. Pour into a milkshake glass, then top with whipped cream and a cherry.


  • You can easily double or triple this recipe to enjoy with family and friends.
  • Be sure to dry your cherry before you add it to the whipped cream.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 milkshake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 7g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe above and save it on Pinterest so you can find it to make again and again. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think about it, too!

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