Shamrock Shake Taste-off: Original vs. Healthy vs. Yum

Shamrock Shake Taste-off: Original vs. Healthy vs. Yum

Shamrock Shake Taste-off: Original vs. Healthy vs. Yum


Continuing with the “Sides and desserts for Saint Patrick’s Day” theme, we’re moving on to dessert. And, really, what’s more fake Irish than a McDonald’s Shamrock shake? (The word “Irish” wasn’t necessary in that sentence.)

Most of us are older than 10, so we’re pretty much over McDonald’s, plus we don’t really want to be ingesting the artificial vanilla flavoring made from wood pulp that they so kindly provide in their shakes. In light of those points, I asked my guys to participate in a Shamrock Shake Taste-off to see if they could tell the difference between Mickey D’s original drink and two other options. I also hoped to find a better alternative to the original shake.

My 11-year-old, Spence, was all about tasting the various sweet concoctions. (FYI, if you need someone to test taste test sugar in any form, he’s your guy.) My husband, Jame, was a willing participant because he knows what’s good for him. And, while my 17-year-old, Logan, participated in the whole charade, I honestly think he may have preferred having his wisdom teeth extracted for a second time.

Seeking unbiased, highly scientific results, I blindfolded my guys in ladies’        scarves . . .


Taste-off Contestants


. . . and had them taste three separate versions of this notorious faux Irish drink:

  1. A “skinny” version that I found online containing frozen blended bananas, skim milk, spinach leaves, fat-free whipped topping, and about a bucket or so of peppermint extract.
  1. The real deal from McDonald’s that really doesn’t contain even an ounce of “real”.
  1. And a full-fat homemade delight replete with Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, whole milk, peppermint extract, green food dye, and real whipped cream. Oh yeah, baby!


3 Shamrock Shakes


Here are the statistically insignificant, unscientific results:

* Jame is apparently stuck in a 70’s time warp, having given an enthusiastic thumbs up to the McDonald’s chemical sludge shake because, “it reminded me of when I was growing up.” His review of the skinny version was a simple “No.” leaving zero room for discussion.

* Spencer loved the homemade, full-fat version, but apparently has a misplaced allegiance to McDonald’s since, with his blindfold in place, he flatly refused to believe that he was endorsing anything but the Mickey D’s version. His take on the skinny shake was, “It’s banana peppermint foam. Lots and lots of peppermint. Horrible!”

* Logan’s palate reigns supreme amongst his competitors since he not only endorsed the homemade version, but also knew it was not the McDonald’s sludge. His take on the skinny banana garden surprise concoction was, “Really, I could have chugged a glass of ice water infused with a cup of peppermint extract and enjoyed it more.”

So, with those results in mind, I’m only going to share the winning recipe with you: the full-fat, oh-my-gosh-so-yummy, Shamrock Shake knock-off because sometimes there’s just no substitute for rich and creamy goodness. Gavel!


Shamrock Shake Knock-off

Serves 3
Prep time 5 minutes
Website Just a Pinch Recipes


  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon green food color
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • green sprinkles or mini chocolate chips


Step 1
Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar in mixer until stiff peaks form.
Step 2
Place ice cream, milk, peppermint extract and green fold color in blender: cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.
Step 3
Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream and green sprinkles or mini chocolate chips.




Young Patty O. Furniture enjoying the full flavor version on the snowy deck.

Check back in soon for favorite corned beef sides: glazed carrots and Colcannon – potato/cabbage fusion.

Written by Becky


  • Victor says:

    Looks good

  • Lori Pothast says:

    My 11 yo saw Spence holding the shake and declared, “I need to be friends with him!”

    • Becky says:

      That’s hilarious, Lori! Tell Michael that Spence would love that, and that I can make him an extra special, homemade Shamrock Shake any time he wants!

  • Mary Lou Sandvik says:

    Becky…Your son, my grandson, Spencer, is looking so handsome! It must be his anticipation for guzzling that luscious looking full-fat jobbie! You may have heard me chuckling over your description of the “shake-off”. Please, please, please keep these delightful postings coming. Chuck the laundry, cleaning, shopping for my entertainment. Love from Mom

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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