Before it brought all the boys to the yard, it brought us to the drive thru. Milkshakes should be prepared with real ice cream and milk in order to achieve maximum shake-y goodness. While it is so easy to grab a shake on the road, it can be difficult to find the most delicious blend for you. Our team decided to help out and put together a list of the top five best fast-food milkshakes.
It’s no secret that we love our ice cream. According to a recent study, almost half of Americans say they’re happy to let their kids be big spenders at the neighborhood ice cream truck this year. A recent poll of 2,000 U.S. residents finds that 47 percent plan to let their children participate in this summertime activity more often than they got the chance themselves. Although a third of respondents (34%) bought their own truck-sourced treats several times or more each summer, another one in five (23%) didn’t grow up in an area frequented by ice cream trucks. Another 17 percent have never ordered from any kind of ice cream truck in their lives. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Oatly, the survey also suggests that people eat more ice cream in the summer (45%) than during any other season. That’s despite its status as the most-loved dessert among survey respondents (82%) – so much so that 68 percent claimed to have ice cream in their freezer “at all times.” Although one in three come across these trucks much more frequently than they used to as kids, for many adults it just doesn’t have quite the same appeal.
Though it might be hard to believe, a milkshake’s ingredients don’t necessarily have to be the unhealthiest to be delicious. A new study suggests that full fat ice cream and milk might not be necessary for a perfect milk shake, “I think the most important finding in our study was that there were no differences in consumer acceptability when changing fat content within a certain range,” says Rolon in a university news release. “There is a preconception of ‘more fat is better,’ but we did not see it within our study.” Results also showed that when the fat content of the ice cream was decreased from 14% to 6%, this didn’t negatively affect the subject’s opinion of it. The researchers argue that their results may force consumers and manufacturers alike to reconsider the perception that high-quality ice cream requires high levels of fat. “People think premium ice cream means only high fat ice cream, but it doesn’t,” says Robert Roberts, professor and head of the food science department at the university.
An expertly crafted milkshake can be a thing of true beauty. When the simple ingredients come together in the right order, excellence can be achieved. It is time to take a look at the top five best fast-food milkshakes to try out. Let us know your favorite fast-food treat in the comments below!
The List: Best Fast-Food Milkshakes, According to Foodies
1. Shake Shack
Shack Shack might be considered one of the best overall milkshakes in the nation. Redbook lays out the details: “Made with equal parts chocolate and vanilla ice cream, the decadence of this shake is incomparable. With a thicker texture and more pronounced taste, it may take a while for you to get used to gulping it down. Don’t let that bog you down, this shake is worth the work. Simplicity matched with high quality dairy make this number one on the list.”
The Black & White is a reference to the famous Black & White Cookie of NYC. The Shake’s namesake shares NYC as its birthplace and is a tribute to the city. “‘I have a long distance love affair with Shake Shack. Every time I am able to visit one I do. Their burgers are wonderful and the cheese sauce on the fries is heavenly. It was fun to be able to have a casual dinner in a neighborhood full of swankier restaurants. I highly recommend the Black and White Milkshake. It is just amazing.’ mentions a reviewer on Tripadvisor,” explains Yahoo! Finance.
The marvelous Black & White isn’t their only awesome flavor, “No fast-food milkshake list is complete without Shake Shack. The shakes are all made with house-made custard and hand-spun when you order them. Flavors vary depending on location and the time of year but vanilla and chocolate are always available. One or two seasonal creations rotate on and off the menu with Tiramisu and Dreamsicle appearing right now. Dreamsicle is a creative mixture of vanilla and blood orange frozen custard, topped with whipped cream and crushed orange candies,” adds Eat This, Not That!
2. Five Guys Bacon Milkshake
Hold on to your horses because this shake is a wild ride. “If you’ve ever been to Five Guys before, then you already know that you can add a wide variety of add-ins to your shake. This keeps things interesting because you can mix and match different ingredients and try something new every time. However, if you had to pick just one flavor, you should go for the Five Guys Bacon Milkshake. For those uninitiated into the world of sweet and savory desserts, this combination might sound terrible. But please, trust us when we say that this is one of the most delicious pairings on the face of this earth. How could you not love the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream combined with the salty (but still slightly sweet) flavor of the chopped applewood-smoked bacon? Those crunchy, salty bits transform your shake into something truly special. If you try no other fast food ice cream treat on this list, you have to get your hands on the Bacon Milkshake from Five Guys,” raves Tasting Table.
It's #milkshakemonday! If adding bacon to a milkshake is wrong, we don't want to be right! (📸: finicky_fgdeb | Instagram) pic.twitter.com/LX4kUaNC7j
— Five Guys (@FiveGuys) August 29, 2022
Uproxx adds that, “Five Guys is the refined grown-up version of dipping your fries in a Frosty. You get salty smoked goodness from the bacon which contrasts nicely with the sweet and creamy vanilla base. The experience is entirely better than dipping your fries in a milkshake, providing a crispy crunch that makes the mouth feel of the shake a delicious savory part of the experience. One of the things I love about Five Guys is that the menu is completely customizable but doesn’t lack character like a build your own pizza place or the food from Chipotle, and the customizability extends to the milkshakes. Don’t just throw bacon in there, add salted caramel, or peanut butter, or coffee. Or do another mix entirely with strawberry and banana. Anything goes here.”
Even Mashed gets on board the hype train, “Sure, Five Guys has unforgettable burgers and marvelous fries, but their milkshakes are so good that they too deserve top billing. The one flavor you will either absolutely adore or find revolting is their Bacon Milkshake. Most people love it — but it’s not for everyone. If you can’t get over the mental image of applewood bacon being added to your dessert, then feel free to skip it. Otherwise, join the rest of us in this bacon-flavored party. Five Guys does their milkshakes a bit different than the competition. They list ten mix-ins (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, coffee, salted caramel, peanut butter, malted milk, Oreo pieces, and, yes, bacon) and you’re free to mix and match them without paying extra. Even if you fall head over heels for the bacon, you may want to include other mix-ins in your milkshake. Tip: Mixing peanut butter, banana, and bacon results in a wondrous milkshake. It’s a combination that is so good that it wouldn’t be a surprise to one day see the ghost of Elvis Presley trying it.”
For variety, delicious quality, and relatively lower price compared to the others on this list Chick-Fil-A makes an aggressive offering. According to Eat This, Not That!, you get what you pay for: “While this is pricey for a frozen fast-food treat, so many people swear by these shakes that they are worth a try. There are no machines churning out these shakes, each one is hand-spun the old-fashioned way.”
Make summer last a little longer with a Peach Milkshake ☀️ pic.twitter.com/IsqE5VxRBi
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) August 22, 2022
Ranking something as wonderful as a milkshake can be a task that requires patience. “Although there are some downright fantastic milkshakes on this list, none of them can truly hold a candle to Chick-fil-A’s Cookies & Cream Milkshake. This treat is what happens when the art of the milkshake has been perfected. Somewhere, Pop is smiling at what his invention has become. All you need to do is taste it and you’ll be a fanatic for life. While Chick-fil-A has other milkshake flavors — chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and sometimes peach — it’s no surprise that this Cookies & Cream Milkshake is the most popular of their flavors. The vanilla base has an intense, deep flavor and the firm texture of the Oreo chunks provides crunchy pops of euphoria with each mouthful,” mentions Mashed.
Even haters seem to find that the milkshake at Chick-Fil-A is top notch. “I hate to give Chick-fil-A the top spot because they’re so easy to dunk on and are pretty generally overrated, but credit where credit is due, this is the best milkshake in the fast-food universe. I might be biased because Oreo milkshakes are my personal favorite, and this is the best one, but… them’s the breaks. Anyway, this is essentially a drinkable version of cookies and cream ice cream with perfectly sized bites of chocolate Oreos (or Oreo-esque cookies) that don’t get lodged in the straw and pose no threat to your life by lodging in your throat. The consistency is dense, but not so dense that it’s hard to drink. The whipped cream is good, not great, but it has pretty ribbons so the presentation is on point,” claims Uproxx.
4. Steak ‘N Shake
Steak ‘N Shake offers a wide variety of flavors to choose from. Spoon University claims that, “Overall, Chick-fil-A and Steak ‘n Shake were close contenders for the number one spot. Steak ‘n shake won the top spot in my opinion because of the variety of flavors offered. With 17 different flavors, ranging from classic chocolate to specialty shakes inspired by iconic candy bars, it’s a great reason for it to be the top choice. Also at a price of $3.69 a shake, it’s pretty low on the price scale, so it’s even better for our wallets. If you want to be more adventurous with your milkshakes at home, try out some of these tricks for taking your milkshake to the next level.”
We’re going nuts for #NationalPeanutButterDay with our @reeses Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake! 😋 pic.twitter.com/q2aJXB7pLZ
— Steak 'n Shake (@SteaknShake) January 24, 2023
The shakes are tasty and can go toe to toe with any of the other contenders on this list. “Again, when ‘shake’ is right there in the name of your restaurant, the expectations are high. Steak ‘n Shake did not disappoint! The ice cream was rich, and the shake was topped with a hearty amount of whipped cream. The serving size was generous for the price of $3.99. In addition, this was the only chain that offered a paper straw for sipping. Bottom line: We love the 1950s diner vibe Steak ‘n Shake offers. The shakes are great when you get them to-go in the drive thru, but even more fun to enjoy out of a glass if you sit down in the restaurant,” explains Taste of Home.
Though they may not be available in all U.S. markets, if you find yourself passing one, perhaps you might decide to sample one of their tasty creations. “Steak ‘n Shake is a Midwestern fast food chain famous for its steakburgers and milkshakes, with over 450 locations in 29 states. Steak ‘n Shake sells four classic milkshake flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and banana. In addition, Steak ‘n Shake offers a dozen of specialty milkshake flavors, including Nutella, Oreo cookie mint, Butterfinger, Snickers, and cotton candy. Milkshakes at Steak ‘n Shake come in two sizes: small/kids and regular. Steak ‘n Shake’s Nutella shake is made with real Nutella, giving it a delicious chocolate and hazelnut flavor. Then, it’s topped with whipped cream and an additional drizzle of Nutella on top,” writes Shopfood.com.
5. Dairy Queen
Finishing off this list is one of the only places that lists ice cream treats as their priority: “ Dairy Queen offers a lot of different fancy milkshakes (and Blizzards, but that’s a whole other thing) all made with its signature soft serve. Choose from classics like Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry, or try Banana, Caramel Mocha Chip, and Peanut Butter,” comments Eat This, Not That!
We hand-blend our signature soft serve until it's velvety thick and delicious and crown it with a swirl of whipped topping. Stop in for a DQ shake and see why our milkshakes are #1!#dairyqueen #dq #milkshake #shpk #shpkfood #yegfood #yegeats #sundayvibes pic.twitter.com/oZvCDJM3XY
— Baseline DQ (@BaselineDQ) January 20, 2019
Dairy Queen is also one of the few highly rated milk shakes that are made with soft serve rather than traditional ice cream. “The clue is in the name! Dairy queen is a fast-food restaurant literally dedicated to soft serve ice cream, and with that, comes plenty of milkshakes to gorge yourself on! If you haven’t tried a blizzard and you live in the US, have you been living under a rock? Trying a blizzard is a must, and they come in multiple different speciality flavors, from Oreo to chocolate chip cookie dough. Dairy Queen serves four different sizes to choose from, from mini ($2.89) all the way up to large ($4.69) so if you’re craving a small treat or want the full experience, Dairy Queen has got you covered,” adds Restaurant Clicks.
Dairy Queen is a nice treat for almost any budget. “Dairy Queen is a definite fast food dessert favorite. If you haven’t tried a Blizzard, you haven’t lived yet! If you are looking to sip your ice cream instead of with a spoon, DQ offers a variety of shakes from vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, all the way to hot fudge, banana, and caramel mocha chip. You can even add malt flavor, as well as get frozen hot chocolate at DQ,” adds Spoon University.
You might also be interested in:
- Red Book
- Eat This, Not That!
- Taste of Home
- Restaurant Clicks
- Tasting Table
- Yahoo! Finance
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.