Homemade Dairy Free Shamrock Shake Recipe


Homemade Dairy Free Shamrock Shake tastes just like the fast food version!

The dictionary defines patience as An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.”

Mmmyeah. I’m guessing you won’t find my picture anywhere near the term in Merriam-Webster, as waiting has never been one of my strong suits.

“What are you going to do when you have children?!” my Mom asked as I unknowingly tapped my toes waiting for her to finish picking out a belt for my Dad during one of our most recent shopping trips.

(Sorry, but men’s belts?!)

“They’ll listen and behave 110% of the time, and we’ll live in peace and brisk harmony, of course!”


Sometimes though, patience is rewarded. Handsomely.

Every year I wait for McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes to roll out in early February, giving me just about 2 months to enjoy the sweet, minty shakes before they disappear again after St. Patrick’s Day. I recently got wind of the fact they’re baaa-aack, but something stopped me from racing to the drive thru this year.

While the first cold sip of thick vanilla soft serve with a hint of mint and a tint of green is 1000% worth the wait – the stomachache that follows? Not so much.

See, over the past few years I’ve developed somewhat of a dairy intolerance, so rather than holding my breath waiting for McDonalds to come up with a dairy-free version, I decided to ditch the drive thru and make Dairy-Free Shamrock Shakes at home instead!

Vanilla almond milk and dairy-free ice cream replace regular vanilla ice cream for a festive wintertime treat, that’s not only dairy-free, but nearly HALF the fat and calories as the real thing.

Say goodbye to 16 grams of fat and 540 calories, and hello to 8 grams of fat and 285 calories of liquid mint-green gold, that you don’t have to wait all year for.

The recipe for this homemade, dairy-free shamrock shake could not be simpler. It’s just Vanilla Dairy-Free Ice Cream, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, mint extract and green food coloring.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and whir ’em on up!


Is the shake as luxuriously thick and rich as the real thing? Well, not exactly. We are talking soy milk ice cream vs the real thing. But are the flavors spot on, and the fact that you don’t feel wretched afterwards totally awesome? You bet!

Homemade Shamrock Shake

Serves 2


Homemade Dairy Free Shamrock Shake tastes just like the fast food version!


  • 2 cups vanilla non-dairy ice cream
  • 1-1/4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond breeze
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
  • 8 drops, or 1/8 teaspoon green food coloring


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.


Adapted from Food.com

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

If you’re really feeling tickled over the fact that you ditched so many fat and calories by making this dairy-free Shamrock Shake at home, feel free to sprinkle the top with crushed Thin Mints.

You know you want to!

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m dying to use 1-ingredient banana ice cream in place of the dairy-free ice cream to make this shake Sugar-Free Jebruary compliant. Can you imagine!? The only thing holding me back is the potential ick factor of the banana and mint flavor combo. I don’t think banana ice cream is extremely banana-y, but, I don’t know. Could it work?

Well anyway, I’m off to go further decrease my skills in patience by catching up on my DVR. What the heck did I do before I could fast forward through those pesky, time wasting commercials?!


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  1. lisa 02.08.2012

    This sounds great. I don’t have a problem with dairy so am going to try with dreyers fro-yo. I am thinking I will also try a handful of spinach instead of the green food coloring. Is that too weird?

    • Krista 02.08.2012

      I’d be afraid of the taste of mixing the spinach and mint flavoring :S

      • Jordan 02.08.2012

        Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve made many a spinach smoothie and have yet to actually be able to taste the roughage. I’d say it’s worth a shot.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.08.2012

      I actually think it would be fine – good idea!

    • Tracy 02.09.2012

      I’ve made many banana spinach smoothies with mint extract. I usually add a spoonful of cocoa powder though, so that might minimize the banana taste a little. YUM!

  2. Mandy Hanson 02.08.2012

    My husband waits all year for these! Can’t wait to make them for him.

  3. Elena Ballam 02.08.2012

    Totally try it with vanilla coconut milk ice cream! Coconut milk ice cream is still rich and creamy (probably with more fat, but it’s good fat!) compared to soy milk ice cream. I have a dairy intolerance too, and have totally fallen for it–especially when it comes in yummy flavors like peanut butter cup, oreo, etc. The coconut flavor is subtle, so it definitely would not overwhelm the mint. Great recipe–I will be trying it soon!

  4. How did I never think of this? It’s like the easiest thing ever! LOVE IT! :)

  5. Jen A 02.08.2012

    Love it! I to always waited for these, but as you said the initial mouth bliss was always followed by foggy blah. Can’t wait to try this!

  6. Nikki 02.08.2012

    You best believe I will be trying this!! I LOVE SHAMROCK SHAKES! :)

  7. Katy 02.08.2012

    Yummy! I just found out today how many calories are in a shamrock shake! YIKES! Thanks for the lowers cal version.

  8. Krista 02.08.2012

    You never know until you try! I’d definitely just try with half a banana or less first,though, just to be sure. That looks awesome, though!

  9. Jeri 02.08.2012

    Is this less calories with ice cream and skim milk? Is it the regular ice cream and milk that make it caloric? Just didn’t want to go out and buy things I don’t need. So I was just scrolling down thinking…yea that’d be nice..and THEN you had to go and top it with a crushed Thin Mint, I’m going to go dig those out of the freezer.

  10. Jessica 02.08.2012

    I’m the biggest fan of shamrock shakes and its probably one of the only reasons I get excited about March rolling around :) I’m lactose intolerant so I unfortunately have not had one in a very long time but I am so excited about this recipe, can’t wait! Thank you!

  11. erica 02.08.2012

    my sister JUST told me the shamrock shakes were back! i think i’ll try this version too. <—notice i said "too"…i have to have at least one real deal =)

  12. Lauren 02.08.2012

    I’ve never had a Shamrock Shake but I’ve always wanted to try them…problem being that I can’t have dairy. You’ve just saved me from major major issues. Can’t wait to try this!

  13. Renee 02.08.2012

    I swear to God you were reading my mind!

  14. I just saw someone ask Mama Pea to make this over! They will be thrilled to see yours! (I hope they follow!) I’ve never tried soy milk or ice cream. What do you equate the taste to?

  15. Kristin 02.08.2012

    Looks delicious! I think the real Shamrock shakes actually taste kind of metallic… something in it gives it a weird taste to me. I bet this recipe is much better! Also, are you using dairy free ingredients to avoid dairy altogether? If so, the thin mints aren’t dairy free.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.08.2012

      No not 100% dairy free, just milk and ice cream. Cow’s milk yogurt and cheese is fine for me!

  16. steph 02.08.2012

    I found a little piece of heaven when I discovered almond milk. Will be making these soon!

  17. omg shamrock shakes remind me of spring break when I was in jr high! LOVE THEM. will have to try this!

  18. Jenny 02.08.2012

    I bet if you add some cocoa powder to the banana soft serve it would make it less banana-y! plus, mint + chocolate rocks :)

  19. I’ve never had the green shakes at McD’s, but I’ve always heard people rave about them! I was always kind of scared of the calories and fat – so now I think I can try these without clogging my arteries :-)

  20. Mary W 02.08.2012

    I’m lactose intolerant, but I can do a little bit of cheese. I can’t do yogurt or sour cream though. Orange Leaf yogurt shops have a “dairy free lactose free” option of Dole Pineapple Dole Whip, Fresh Pineapple, which I LOVE, and I can go there with my husband and enjoy along with him. He can have the yogurt and I can have my pineapple one, and we both can enjoy. It’s fat-free and low low calorie too. :)

  21. Great idea! I can’t do green food coloring, my tummy hates it for some reason. :( We used to sell white mint-chip gelato at our ice cream stand, and it never tasted as good as the green even though the color was the only difference, lol.

  22. Sam 02.08.2012

    Pretty sure McD’s shakes already are dairy-free. As in, there’s no way any ingredient in there comes from a real live cow. #artificialingredientsFTW
    HOWEVER, there’s plenty of other things in there that would give you a stomachache, so kudos for your version!

    • Amy 02.09.2012

      I was thinking the same thing! I don’t have a dairy intolerance but I struggle with migraine headaches from processed sugars and preservatives. Shamrock shakes are a no-no not because of stomachaches, but because I can’t control the non-dairy items (and like you said…who really knows what all counts in “artificial flavoring”).

  23. Terin 02.08.2012

    I am not a fan of almond milk or soy ice cream, so I’m going to make it with skim and frozen yogurt. I know that will add some fat and calories, but still healthier than the original :). Thanks for this recipe, omg, I love shamrock shakes!

  24. Dream Mom 02.08.2012

    Love the idea of Thin Mints on the top! I won’t eat anything with soy in it or food coloring but I think the spinach would give it a great green color and be nutritious to boot (and no you probably won’t taste the spinach). I’ve never tried almond milk but I checked the ingredients and it looks like it would work well. Kudos to you for cutting the calories down; your lighter version has 255 less calories which is a lot of treadmill/stepper calories a person would otherwise have to burn:)

    I make my own ice cream in the Blendtec using organic eggs, whipping cream, organic whole milk, pure vanilla extract, sugar, ice cubes (just a few) and once it’s mixed, pour it in small glass jars and add crushed/chopped white chocolate to it. Freeze and enjoy. It’s delicious. By putting it into smaller glass jars, each serving is only around 5 oz. It still has some calories to it of course, but the smaller serving size helps a bit. I figure it’s better than all the junk in regular ice cream and it’s nice as an occasional treat.

  25. Trisha 02.08.2012

    Oh goodness, this looks too delicious not to try. I think I might give it a shot with spinach, as mentioned up above!

  26. I bet using frozen bananas and spinach (instead of the ice cream and food coloring) would work like a charm! And make it 100x healthier too!

  27. oh well this just sounds fantastic. also – the college senior in me from years past wanted me to tell you that rum goes extremely well with shamrock shakes. i distinctly remember pouring dark rum in the big mcdonald’s cups while riding a bus all over philly. shhhh!

  28. Ok, I seriously need to try this! I’ve been dairy free for just over 10 years and haven’t had one of these since I was a kid! Now there’s a craving brewing :P

  29. I love that you made these dairy-free! I am lactose intolerant and I’m always looking for ways to make dairy-free treats. I’ve never had a Shamrock shake before but now I’m happy that I can try your recipe out at home! :) Yum!

  30. I can totally relate to your lack of patience-my fiance tells me constantly that our children are DOOMED :)

  31. Ris 02.09.2012

    I’ve never had a Shamrock Shake (I know!) so I think trying this with nothing to compare it to sounds wonderful! I won’t know what I’m missing!

  32. […] dessert: homemade shamrock shake. […]

  33. Robyn 02.09.2012

    YUM! I love mint flavored things.I haven’t tried this yet but I saw on another blog recently how adding 1/4 of a large avocado to shakes makes them really creamy. Apparently it doesn’t affect the flavor. Several people commented about how great it makes a shake. Just a thought. Could be a good way to give the shake a creamier feel to it.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.09.2012

      I was actually *this close* to adding in half a frozen avocado, but didn’t just for calories sake. I think it’d be fantastic though, and definitely add a velvety smoothness like real ice cream!

  34. C. 02.09.2012

    Mmmm this is genius. I love soy ice cream so I’m going to check this out!

  35. Dee 02.09.2012

    You are my hero! I love Shamrock Shakes but yes, 30 mins afterwards and it’s yucky tummy central. I’m so excited to make these, mom and I do a girls night in on most fridays where we watch scary movies and grab something good for dinner and I’m going to make this for our “treat”

  36. Katie@KatieVanCan 02.09.2012

    I’ve never had a McDonald’s Shamrock shake and I don’t think I ever will now that I know I can make something similar at home. thanks :)

  37. TrishR 02.09.2012

    HA! Your comment about bananas and mint combination has me laughing because its been quite the subject of conversation in our house recently! My 7 year old son came home from school so upset last week because his “flavor combination” in an ice cream project at school got zero votes when they were polling the teachers. What was his choice? Mint chocolate chip ice cream mixed with banana ice cream!! (with gummy worms, of course) I felt so bad, but finally had to tell him that those 2 flavors just don’t sound like they go together very well :-/

    So I’ll be watching to see how they turn out in the shake!! Perhaps I’m worng again….

  38. Dannette 02.09.2012

    I guess it would defeat the purpose if I dunked my fries in it, huh? Hey Iowagirl get me a healthy fry to dip in that shake! ;)

  39. […] much as I love me some St. Patrick’s Day inspired Homemade Shamrock Shakes, I can’t just leave Valentine’s Day in the […]

  40. *Andrea* 02.09.2012

    forgetting sarah marshall

  41. Melissa 02.10.2012

    Thanks for sharing this is a must try as I love the McD version but not the calories.

  42. Maggie 02.10.2012

    Ooh my gosh, Love love love the way that looks. Never had one, but do the shamrock shakes taste anything like the Peppermint shake from Chick-fil-a?

  43. Bess 02.12.2012

    I’ve never even heard of shamrock shakes at McDonalds. Is it a regional thing, or do I just not pay attention? Is it like a secret that’s not advertised??? Sounds so interesting!

  44. […] I’ve never had a McDonalds Shamrock Shake, I’ll be trying to make the Iowa Girl’s […]

  45. Kathy 02.22.2012

    I am dairy and soy free-I am going to try to use coconut milk icecream, and a mix of coconut milk and almond milk to make it fattier and creamier. It’ll be interesting to see how it comes out! Thanks for the idea!

  46. Two part comment: ONE, this looks excellent. I am lactose as well so I always opt for almond or coconut milk, same taste, better for you. SECOND: Loooooove the Thin Mint topping. I actually work for Girl Scouts and Thin Mint smoothies are at the top of my list this time of year. yummy!

  47. Mary 03.13.2012

    I tried both the banana/almond milk version and a coconut ice cream/almond milk version. I preferred the coconut/almond version but the banana wasn’t bad. It’s also MUCH cheaper than any dairy-free ice cream alternative! My husband thought the one I made for him with real milk and real ice cream was great!

  48. […] St. Patrick’s Day or not. Instead I’ll be making version of Iowa Girl Eats’ Shamrock Shakes with local dairy. Her pictures are gorgeous, the taste is magnificent, and the feeling of NOT […]

  49. Sarah 05.03.2012

    Thanks for the recipe! Be careful because Andes Mints do have dairy in them unfortunately as do most yummy chocolates…

  50. […] Read all the details about the recipe on:  iowagirleats.com […]

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