Can you guess how many calories are in a Shamrock Shake? Don't let that green color fool you, these shakes are nowhere near green-smoothie status when it comes to nutrition and ingredients. Try our healthier recipe instead.

Charlotte Fisher
Updated March 09, 2021
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St. Patricks's Day is right around the corner and in addition to leprechauns, all things green and Irish soda bread, this means Shamrock Shakes are back. McDonald's releases these shakes around the holiday each year but only for a limited time and they've got quite a following. Maybe it's because they're not available all year, or maybe there's something about the minty "Shamrock Shake syrup" that drives people wild. But don't let that green color fool you: these shakes are nowhere near green-smoothie status when it comes to nutrition. They are high in calories and contain artificial ingredients.

If you're looking to get your Shamrock Shake fix but want to avoid the drive-thru, our Whipped Shamrock Shake recipe has your back. Not to mention, it's quite a bit healthier than the original. This lightened-up version of the fast-food favorite uses real ice cream, milk and a refreshing hint of peppermint to give you all of the flavor without all of the calories and added sugar.

Try the recipe for Whipped Shamrock Shake and check out how it stacks up to the competition when it comes to nutrition and calories.

shamrock shake

McDonald's Shamrock Shake

(1 medium shake, 16 ounces)

  • 560 calories
  • 15 g fat (10 g sat, 0.5 g trans)
  • 93 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber, 72 g sugar)
  • 12 g protein
  • 60 mg cholesterol
  • 0 IU vitamin D
  • 350 mg calcium
  • 0 mg iron

Ingredients:

Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream: Milk, Sugar, Cream, Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate.

Shamrock Shake Syrup: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Whipped Light Cream: Cream, Nonfat Milk, Liquid Sugar. Contains 2% or Less: Mono and Diglycerides, Natural Flavors, Carrageenan, Whipping Propellant (Nitrous Oxide).

Whipped Shamrock Shake
Credit: Casey Barber / Good Food Stories LLC

EatingWell Whipped Shamrock Shake

(8 ounces)

  • 188 calories
  • 8 g fat (5 g sat, 0 g trans)
  • 22 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 20 g sugars)
  • 6 g protein
  • 35 mg cholesterol
  • 517 IU vitamin A
  • 237 mg calcium
  • 0 mg iron
  • 314 mg potassium

Ingredients:

Vanilla ice cream, low-fat milk, peppermint extract, whipped cream (for garnish).

The Nutrition Breakdown:

You'll save: 372 calories, 71 grams of carbohydrate, 52 grams of sugar and 5 grams of saturated fat.

It should come as no surprise that the Whipped Shamrock Shake is a clear winner here. McDonald's Shamrock Shake has a whopping 72 grams of sugar in a medium shake, most of which comes from added sugar. The recommendations for added sugar are no more than 25 grams for women and 36 grams for men daily, so sipping the McDonald's shake can put you at three times your added sugar limit. Our version has only 10 grams of added sugar, to help you stay within nutrition guidelines. And when it comes to ingredients, our version contains real dairy products without additional preservatives or flavored syrups, like McDonald's shake. The McDonald's shake also contains many different forms of sugar, food dyes, and gums and thickeners, like carrageenan.

This St. Patrick's Day, turn your shamrock shake-loving friends green with envy when you whip up this Whipped Shamrock Shake instead (of course, you can always share).