Like the McRib before it, we’ve covered the difficulty Shamrock Shake fans have in satiating their cravings when the cursed McDonald’s offering is available unpredictably or not at all in one’s area. (And like Corned Beef and Soda Bread, you probably already know Shamrock Shakes are a strictly American tradition.)
Such is the frustration with seasonal, limited edition and the like offered at fast food restaurants- although McDonald’s food is painfully ubiquitous, the very loved items like Shamrock Shakes are doled out in numbers that don’t match consumer demand. (Don’t even get me started on Egg Nog Shakes, the one worthwhile item on the McDonald’s menu besides Mac Sauce, and available seemingly nowhere, at least in New York.) I personally experienced a similar addiction to Burger King’s limited edition and now extinct Love Shakes, which were chocolate covered cherry flavored shakes marketed briefly about ten years ago. (BK, if you’re reading this, please bring back the Love Shake!)
But shakes like Shamrock Shakes can be tricky to replicate at home- fortunately for fans, the internet is full of amateur reverse food engineers who would like nothing more than to make recipes for chain restaurant favorites accessible to the masses, and versions are vetted and rated and most thankfully, are widely available. It would seem at the heart of Shamrock Shake love is the mild and pleasing minty taste that doesn’t overwhelm the vanilla of the ice cream portion. (Mint, like cilantro, can quickly overwhelm even the strongest ingredients, which is why it so often chills with flavorful lamb.)
Of course, the sticky wicket is carrageenan. This Irish-sounding ingredient (it’s actually Irish) is not native to Shamrock Shakes, but is widely used in mass-produced shakes to thicken them and cause them to come together. Few home cooks stock the stuff, but it’s not crucial to good Shamrock Shake flavor.
Universally, the following Shamrock Shake recipe seems to be agreed upon as as close as you can get in the non-Shamrock Shake periods at McD’s:
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
- 1 ¼ cups 2% low-fat milk
- ¼ teaspoon mint extract (Not spearmint or peppermint!)
- 8 drops green food coloring
Blend in a blender, as you do, and adjust milk levels for consistency preferences- have you tried to replicate the Shamrock Shake at home?