Food News

The Shamrock Shake Returns to McDonald's

It's neon green. It's minty. And it's here for only a limited time.

The McDonald's Shamrock Shake, the chain's seasonal ice cream treat in honor of St. Patrick's Day sold at all American and select Canadian restaurant locations during February and March, is back.

If you aren't familiar with the drink, it could be that you haven't been through a McDonald's drive-through in a few years. Don't worry -- we won't get down on you for that. But this shake wasn't made an official national menu item until 2012, when it became available at each of the chain's 14,000-odd locations during its seasonal release.

The History

The McDonald's Shamrock Shake was introduced in 1970, originally dubbed the St. Patrick's Day Shake. At first, it was nothing more than a depressing vanilla milk shake with a hint of lemon-lime sherbet. Then, in 1983, someone came up with the brilliant idea to add mint flavoring. The drink disappeared throughout the 1990s and 2000s, when the decision to carry the Shamrock Shake was put up for a vote by each region's manager. It became an official thing again in 2012.

The Website That Helps You Find One

Just in case you're having trouble. Or nearing the end of the Shamrock Shake season and need a fix. And, of course, heaven forbid you reach that dreaded shake shortage as supplies run low. No need to fear. Here's a website that can help you locate the nearest one. The site allows users to post shake sightings and comment on the quality of their drink. Just visit

The Secret Shamrock Menu Trick

If you like chocolate, you might want to ask your local McDonald's server to make you a McLeprechaun Shake instead. It's what happens when you add some chocolate shake (or chocolate syrup) to the Shamrock Shake. Bam! The McLeprechaun.

The Ingredients

In its modern McCafé form, the Shamrock Shake contains more than 50 ingredients (including its four basic ingredients: ice cream, Shamrock Shake syrup, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries). The ice cream part contains milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum, and vitamin A palmitate. The Shamrock Shake syrup has high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, sugar, natural flavor (plant source), xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), yellow 5, and blue 1.

The Calories

OK, you knew it was coming: Yes, this drink could be your main meal for the day. A large, 21-ounce Shamrock Shake contains 740 calories. That's about as much as 1.25 Big Macs, 1.5 orders of fries, 2.5 hot fudge sundaes, or about three Egg McMuffins.

We verified that, yes, the Shamrock Shake is back in Florida. So get out there and find the nearest Shamrock Shake, suck down that frosty goodness, and treat yourself to yet another gluttonous McDonald's holiday menu item.

Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna