The Shamrock Shake is a fun, classic St. Patrick’s Day treat. This homemade ice cream drink is creamy and refreshing with mint flavor – and you can make it at home with only 3 ingredients, in just a few minutes, any time of year!

A homemade shamrock shake

Copycat McDonald’s Shamrock Shake Recipe

Our family looks forward to March and Shamrock Shake season – because this St. Patrick’s Day milkshake is not only fun and delicious, but it’s a sure sign that spring is right around the corner!

While McDonald’s has made this minty ice cream drink famous, I’ve been making my own version since I was a kid – before I even knew what a Shamrock Shake was! Mom always had some crème de menthe syrup in the pantry, and this refreshing mint ice cream treat was a favorite.

To make your own McDonald’s Shamrock Shake at home, all you need are 3 ingredients and a blender. Enjoy a mint milkshake whenever you like – not just a few short weeks in March!

Also! I remember when I was young, every once in awhile Mom would order a grasshopper, a mint & chocolate dessert cocktail, at a restaurant. They were so pretty! If a boozy version sounds good to you, just add green crème de menthe liqueur and white creme de cacao liqueur in place of the non-alcoholic crème de menthe syrup!

Close up of Shamrock shake toppings

What Is A Shamrock Shake?

A Shamrock Shake is a popular McDonald’s menu item that’s available for a limited time each year, usually just a month or so leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.

It’s a green milkshake made with vanilla ice cream and mint flavoring, typically topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

What Flavor Is a Shamrock Shake?

When it was first released in 1970, the Shamrock Shake actually had a lemon-lime flavor, made with vanilla ice cream and lemon-lime sherbet.

A few years later, the lemon-lime flavor was eliminated, and it was simply a vanilla shake with green color added.

Then in the early 80’s, mint syrup was added, and that is how it has remained to this day. The McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is still made with vanilla ice cream and a green mint syrup.

McDonald's Shamrock Shake ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need just 3 ingredients to make this mint milkshake at home. The full recipe and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Ice cream – Vanilla ice cream provides the creamy frozen base to this milkshake. Any classic vanilla or vanilla bean ice cream will work. Just know that a creamier ice cream will give you a fuller, creamier texture. We always have a “homestyle vanilla” or “New York vanilla” variety in the freezer, so that’s what we most often use.
  • Whole milk – Milk helps thin the shake to the desired pourable, drinkable consistency. Feel free to add a bit more or a bit less depending on how thick you like your milkshake.
  • Crème de menthe syrup – Crème de menthe syrup offers the classic mint flavor and green color, all in one product. This syrup does not contain alcohol. If you don’t want to use crème de menthe syrup, it’s easy to use pure mint extract and green food color – you can find those measurements and instructions in the recipe card. For a crème de menthe syrup with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, this pure crème de menthe syrup is a great option. Just don’t use peppermint extract or peppermint syrup!
A green mint milkshake in a clear glass

Easy Variations

Here are a few easy ways to switch up this mint shake recipe:

  • Make it a mint chocolate chip milkshake. While not traditional, you could toss in some mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings to the blender to create a mint chocolate chip shamrock shake. Or use chocolate chip ice cream as your base!
  • Throw in some cookies. I’m a cookies & cream gal, through and through – especially when it comes to ice cream. (This Cookie Monster Ice Cream is awesome!) I love to throw a few Oreo cookies into the blender right at the end, and blitz them a few times.
  • Want a boozy milkshake? For a classic grasshopper dessert cocktail, eliminate the crème de menthe syrup – then add 1 ounce each of green crème de menthe liqueur and white creme de cacao liqueur. Add more of each liqueur if you like. Another delicious option would be to use Bailey’s Irish Cream – if you want the milkshake to be green, add a few drops of green food coloring.
  • Replace the crème de menthe syrup. If desired, use pure mint extract + green food coloring in place of the crème de menthe syrup. Just know that the green food coloring is stronger (especially gel food coloring) and can leave your teeth tinted slightly green. This depends, of course, on how much food coloring you actually add. But I don’t like having green teeth – so I use the crème de menthe syrup!
  • Make it creamier. For even more creamy indulgence, swap all or some of the milk for cream or half & half.
  • Add some chocolate. Mint and chocolate are one of my favorite flavor combinations, as you can tell by these thin mint truffles and chocolate mint brownies, and this crazy good chocolate cake with fluffy mint chocolate chip buttercream. So I love to add in some Hershey’s chocolate syrup or hot fudge sauce!

How to Make a Shamrock Shake

Here’s how to make your McDonald’s Shamrock shake at home, in less time than it’d take to get through the drive-thru!

  • Blend. Add the ice cream, milk, and crème de menthe syrup to a high-speed blender. Then blend until smooth. I like to use the tamper that came with our blender, to get everything combined really well without having to use an excessive amount of milk.
  • Serve. Divide the mint milkshake into glasses. This recipe makes enough for 2 large shakes or 3-4 smaller ones. Add your desired toppings and enjoy!
A hand holding a shamrock shake

Homemade Shamrock Shake Topping Ideas

If you were to order one of these shakes at the McDonald’s drive-thru, it’d be served with a swirl of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. And this is my favorite way to garnish.

But when you’re making shakes at home, you can do whatever you like. Here are a few ideas:

  • Whipped cream
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Green sprinkles
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Cocoa powder (just dust a little bit over the top!)

Can This Be Prepared In Advance?

These mint milkshakes are best enjoyed as soon as they’re prepared.

However, if you end up unable to drink all of one or want to save some for later, you can place it in the freezer. Depending on the temperature of your freezer and how long the shake sits in the freezer, you’ll likely want to blend it again later, as it will freeze and possibly become too thick to drink.

More Drink Recipes:

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a tall glass with a green mint shake that is topped with whipped cream and a cherry

Shamrock Shake

Yield: 2 milkshakes
prep time: 10 minutes
total time: 10 minutes
The Shamrock Shake is a fun, classic St. Patrick’s Day treat. This homemade ice cream drink is creamy and refreshing with mint flavor – and you can make it at home with only 3 ingredients, in just a few minutes, any time of year!
5 Stars (1 Review)
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Ingredients

  • 1 pint 16 ounces creamy vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup crème de menthe syrup – or use ¾ teaspoon pure mint not peppermint extract + ¼ teaspoon green gel food coloring such as Americolor Leaf Green

Instructions

  • Add the ice cream, milk, and crème de menthe syrup to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, about 30-40 seconds. We use a Vitamix, and use the tamper to get the ingredients mixed quickly and smoothly.
  • Divide between 2 large or 3-4 smaller glasses and add your desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

Optional toppings: whipped cream, cherries, green sprinkles, chocolate sauce

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 432kcal Carbohydrates: 19g Protein: 4g Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 6g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 35mg Sodium: 79mg Sugar: 17g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
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The Shamrock Shake is a classic St. Patrick’s Day staple – this ice cream drink is creamy and refreshing with mint flavor!
a tall glass with a green mint shake that is topped with whipped cream and a cherry