shamrock shake milkshakes on a surface

Love the flavors of McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes but crave them year-round? ME TOO. This easy recipe yields two indulgent, minty milkshakes in 5 minutes flat, so you can enjoy your favorite ice cream treat any time the craving hits (and know exactly what is in them, too). Be sure to read the full post for ways to customize this shake to your personal preferences.

Shamrock Shakes Recipe

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — Shamrock Shake season! I’ve been enjoying Shamrock Shakes from McDonald’s nearly annually for as long as I can remember (I have distinct memories of grabbing green shakes from the McDonald’s drive-thru in high school in the middle of the night with my best friend, so I definitely have a sense of nostalgia with them).

But, I’ve gotta be honest — these days, they just hit different. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and wiser and more conscientious of what I put in my body, or if the flavors changed at McDonald’s over the decades (like really, what is in that “Shamrock Shake Syrup”?), but as much as I enjoy that one Shamrock Shake I get almost every year from the drive-thru, it’s enough for me for the rest of the year. After one processed milkshake, I’m good for a while — but that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave that flavor. That’s where these homemade Shamrock Shakes come in handy.

Here is everything I love about this recipe:

  • You know exactly what is in this dessert — no mysterious “Shamrock Shake Syrup” to be found!
  • While this may be an indulgent treat, every ingredient is recognizable and pronounceable
  • You can get the minty milkshake flavor all year-round, not just in the span of a month’s time
  • You don’t have to leave your house to get a Shamrock Shake in five minutes flat (my favorite part, TBH)
  • Every sip is delectably thick, creamy, flavorful and smooth, with a distinct vanilla bean flavor and a hint of mint
  • You can customize these shakes to your preferences — less/more mint, milk and/or heavy cream, as much or as little food coloring as you desire, etc.
milkshake in a glass on a surface

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here is everything you’ll need to make these magically minty milkshakes at home:

  • Vanilla bean ice cream (I prefer the flavor of vanilla bean ice cream in particular, but feel free to use regular vanilla, homestyle vanilla, etc. Any variety of vanilla works here!)
  • Heavy cream, for that extra-thick, extra-creamy texture and flavor
  • Whole milk or 2% milk, to get the perfect consistency (I do not recommend a lower-fat milk, as it might make the shake taste bland or icy)
  • Mint extract (see Recipe Notes below on this special ingredient and why it’s so important!)
  • Green food coloring (optional, but if you want to make it look like a true Shamrock Shake, you’ll want to add a few drops)
  • Whipped cream, for topping
  • Maraschino cherries, for topping
shamrock shakes on a surface

How to Make This Shamrock Shakes Recipe

Now that you’ve grabbed everything you need to make this recipe, let’s cover the basics of how to whip up these green shakes at home. As always, please scroll down to the bottom of this post for the FULL recipe + instructions:

  • Step One: Add the ingredients to the blender. In a high-powered blender, add vanilla ice cream, heavy cream, milk, mint extract and green food coloring.
  • Step Two: Blend until smooth. Blend the ingredients together in the blender until the mixture is completely smooth, thick and creamy.
  • Step Three: Divide and garnish. Divide the mixture between two serving glasses. Top with dollops of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry to serve.
  • Step Four: ENJOY. Repeat as needed.

Ways to Customize Shamrock Shakes to Your Tastes

If you, like me, get kinda weird about the amount of syrup that goes into premade drinks from the drive-thru (like Starbucks coffee drinks or Shamrock Shakes via McDonald’s) (also, yes, I’m 100% aware that this is a very specific and strange thing to “get weird” about, but I just like everything to be less… syrupy), then you will love this recipe. The reason? It’s super-customizable, so you can make it as flavorful as you want, as green (or not green) as you want, etc. Here are just some ways you can make this milkshake yours:

  • You can use any type of vanilla ice cream you love. Go for high-quality ice cream, or use the store brand stuff. Use vanilla bean (you’ll see all those little flecks in your milkshake), or opt for classic vanilla or a homestyle variety. Note that the flavor will obviously change depending on your choice, but it would be fun to experiment!
  • You’ll see that the recipe below calls for equal parts heavy cream and whole milk. This is because they serve two purposes: Both add that liquid component to make this milkshake sippable, but the heavy cream will make it extra-creamy and thick, whereas the milk cuts a little bit of that richness. I love the 50/50 ratio personally, but feel free to adjust these amounts to your preferences — just be sure to use 1/2 cup liquid total for 2 shakes.
  • For that true Shamrock Shake flavor, you’ll want to use mint extract (NOT peppermint extract). Mint extract can be a little harder to find at the grocery store, but if you can find it or want to order it online, it’s worth it to get that authentic flavor. That said, peppermint extract also works — just know it will taste slightly different than the McD’s version. You can also adjust the amount of extract you use in this recipe to suit your preferences.
  • Add as much or as little food coloring as you want! The amount in the recipe below will give you that classic green shade you get from the fast food chain, but you can add less or none at all, if you don’t care what it looks like. Up to you!
overhead shot of shamrock shakes

More Milkshake Recipes

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shamrock shakes in glasses on a surface

Shamrock Shakes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American


Homemade Shamrock Shakes taste just like the minty milkshake from McDonald’s, but you can make them without ever having to leave home (and you know exactly what’s in them). Whip up these ice cream treats any time the craving hits.


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract*
  • 8 to 10 drops green food coloring (gel or liquid)
  • Whipped cream, for topping
  • Maraschino cherries, for topping


  1. In a high-powered blender, combine ice cream, heavy cream, milk, mint extract and food coloring. Mix until completely smooth, thick and creamy.
  2. Divide mixture between two glasses. Top as desired with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.


  • *Mint extract will give you the most similar flavor comparison to the McDonald’s version, but it can be harder to find than peppermint extract. You can swap mint extract for peppermint extract in this recipe, but note that the flavor will be different.