Shamrock Shake: The McDonald’s Treat is Back

McDonald's Shamrock Shake is a sweet, minty annual treat.
Photo courtesy of McDonald’s Corporate

St. Patrick’s Day is on the way, and for McDonald’s, that means one thing: It’s Shamrock Shake time.

So, when is the Shamrock Shake available?

That’s that question so many people are always asking this time of year, because the shake is undeniably a seasonal favorite. The fact it’s only available a certain time of year makes it even more important to know the answer to that burning question, “When is the Shamrock Shake available?”

McDonald’s has announced that staring Feb. 15, 2021, the Shamrock Shake will be for sale for a limited time at participating U.S. restaurants. McDonald’s is also brining back its OREO Shamrock McFlurry, which debuted last year.

The Shamrock Shake offers creamy, vanilla soft serve ice cream, mixed with McDonald’s trademark minty flavor. New over the past several years is the addition of a dollop of whipped topping. (Those who don’t like the whipped topping addition can ask for it without. I always do!)

Meanwhile, the OREO Shamrock McFlurry offers creamy, vanilla soft serve vanilla ice cream with the same minty flavor. On top of that, the McFlurry packs OREO cookie pieces mixed in throughout the treat. I have yet to try the McFlurry version, but it sounds delightful.

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake history

McDonald’s celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Shamrock Shake last year.

According to the food chain, the minty shake was first fashioned in 1967 by Hal Rosen, a Connecticut McDonald’s owner and operator who created the minty shake to honor the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. It took about three years for the idea to go national, and in 1970, the shake debuted at select McDonald’s locations across the U.S.

People instantly fell in love with the shake. What’s not to like about a cool, creamy, minty ice cream treat right around St. Patrick’s Day?

According to McDonald’s, sales from the shake were so good that in 1974, they were able to use those sales to help build the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. As the story goes, the daughter of a Philadelphia Eagles player was being treated for Leukemia. Combining the forces of Rosen, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Eagles, the family raised enough funding via shake sales to help open that Ronald McDonald House with the goal to keep families near during hard times.

On St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, McDonald’s helped pour the “World’s Largest Shamrock Shake,” clocking it at a whopping 24 feet tall, into the Chicago River to celebrate a $10,000 donation to build a new Ronald McDonald House in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.

After  years of the popularity of the Shamrock Shake growing, the famed shake went nationwide for the first time in 2012.

The shake isn’t just a U.S. phenomenon, either. Our friends in Canada and Ireland both enjoy the shake. If you’re wondering, “When is the Shamrock Shake available in Canada?,” according to a tweet from McDonald’s in Canada, Canadians even get the shake sooner: on Feb. 9.

Since not every McDonald’s location offers the special shake, in 2018, the restaurant chain launched the McDonald’s Finder App featuring an official mobile directory of every Shamrock Shake-serving restaurant in the U.S. That way, nobody should have to go around town from McDonald’s to McDonald’s, searching for that perfect shake.