How Many Calories Are in a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake?

Consider yourself informed.

Photograph via McDonald's

Photograph via McDonald’s

Tis the season for those minty (and, yes, I’ll admit it, yummy) milkshakes from Mickey D’s. When I was a kid, this was a particularly joyous time of year: Thin Mint season had just ended, and Shamrock Shake season had just begun. Ahhh, sweet, sweet junk-food bliss.

Just so we have all our cards on the table—you know, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you’ll partake in the annual ritual—I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at the nutrition profile of a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Hold on to your running tights, people—this ain’t pretty.


According to mcdonalds.com, our green friend clocks in at 530 calories and 15 grams of fat. On the plus side, it's low sodium (160 milligrams) and high protein (11 grams). Oh and for the record, these numbers are for the 12-ounce serving—that's a size small.

Jump up to the 16 ouncer, and you're looking at 660 calories and 19 fat grams; the large shake, at 22 ounces, has 820 calories and 23 fat grams. For comparison, the average six-ounce filet mignon has about 350 calories and 16 grams of fat. (I'm assuming that's for a steak that's not drowned in butter, but still.)

I'm not nudging you to abstain, by the way. But I figure but if you hit the drive through and order one of these bad boys, you should at least know what you're getting into. And, you know, perhaps you'll plan to go for a run that day.

By the way, if you ask your Mickey D's server to hold the whipped cream and cherry, you'll save about 80 calories. Hey, it's something.

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  • Linda Hayes

    Forget the calories! What about the artificial “poison” ingredients?
    Okay, here’s where we get down to business. Does a Shamrock Shake contain gluten? No. But is it choc full of artificial ingredients? Heck, yeah.

    Besides containing artificial sweeteners and unspecified artificial flavorings, Here’s the list of artificial ingredients in the Shamrock Shake, whipped cream and maraschino cherry with their definitions:

    Mono- and Di-glycerides: Monoglycerides and diglycerides are common food additives used to blend together certain ingredients, such as oil and water, which would not otherwise blend well. The commercial source may be either animal (cow- or hog-derived) or vegetable, and they may be synthetically made as well. They are often found in bakery products, beverages, ice cream, chewing gum, shortening, whipped toppings, margarine, and confections. Our Guide classifies them as “May be non-vegetarian.” Archer Daniels Midland Co., a large manufacturer of monoglycerides, reports that they use soybean oil. ~Vegetarian Resource Group

    Cellulose Gum: Cellulose gum is extracted from wood pulp and purified cotton cellulose. It is registered by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) of the American Chemical Society. Its CAS number is 9004-32-4. Its chemical formula is C6H7O2(OH)2OCH2COONa. ~ eHow.com

    Sodium Benzoate: Sodium benzoate is a type of salt that may occur naturally in some foods but is more likely to be chemically produced and added as a preservative to foods. When used as a preservative, sodium benzoate is typically added to foods in small amounts only. If too much is added, food may take on a very bitter taste. It does naturally occur in several fruits like apples, plums and cranberries. A few sweet spices contain small amounts of sodium benzoate, including cloves and cinnamon. The presence of sodium benzoate in these foods does not necessarily act to preserve them. ~WiseGeek.com

    Polysorbate 80: Polysorbate 80 is found in pudding cups, those not-quite-dairy, not-quite-frozen concoctions that make their way into home-packed school lunches. Its role here is to disperse artificial sweeteners and flavors throughout the gelatin-like substance. Though it can be sourced naturally, production of Polysorbate 80 is a complex chemical process. It’s made in an industrial laboratory, not a kitchen. ~ Eating Real Food

    Red 40: Red Dye #40 is referred to as a “Coal Tar” dye. The phrase has little meaning today but a hundred years ago it was used to describe synthetic chemicals that started out with coal tar as a precursor. It’s more likely today to find a petrochemical as the original base of most synthetic chemicals, though they’re so highly refined that you won’t find any residual petroleum in the product. ~ Red40

    Yellow 5: Yellow #5, aka Tartrazine, is one of the cheapest synthetic colors available, and sold all over the world. Various levels of allergic reactions and intolerance reactions have been caused by this food coloring, especially among asthmatics and people with aspirin intolerance. A major study published in the UK in 2007 linked food colorings with hyperactive behavior in children. As a result, the FSA (UK’s FDA) has called manufacturers to voluntarily ban food colorings in their products. ~ Fooducate

    Blue 1: Blue No. 1 is called “brilliant blue” and, as is typical of modern dyes, was originally derived from coal tar, although most manufacturers now make it from an oil base. Blue No. 2, or “indigotine,” on the other hand, is a synthetic version of the plant-based indigo that has a long history as a textile dye. ~ ScientificAmerican

  • Roseana Leonardi

    There may not be as good for you all depending on the person my mom realley likes them and needs the calories

  • http://www.bamboocorefitness.com Bamboo Core Fitness

    Good article. :) I just wrote an article about this too… in it I provide a healthier recipe for the shamrock shake. Feel free to check it out @ http://bamboocorefitness.com/this-is-why-you-should-never-drink-a-mcdonalds-shamrock-shake/ . :)