Top 10 Fast Food Milkshakes

Ok, I’ll readily admit it.  I’m a milkshake lover. And I’ve tried almost every restaurant’s strawberry milkshake across the planet.  (Ok, not quite every, and not quite across the planet).  But, I do love strawberry milkshakes.

Looking at my favorite fast food shakes, I’m going to touch on each one and not even do it in the “top 10? order like I originally planned.  It’s hard to really make that decision, and since I’m sometimes a rather indecisive person, I’ll just give you a list of my favorites and let you decide how you’d rank them.

(But, due to reader mumbling, I’ll toss in this top 10 list. Feel free to leave some input in the comments on how you’d sort them!)

10. Dairy Queen Blizzard
9. Friendlys Fribbles
8. Hardees
7. Steak & Shake
6. Jack in the Box
5. Sonic
4. Chik-fil-a Strawberry Shakes (if you’re in the mood for a malty taste; it does leave a not-so-pleasant aftertaste, though)
3. Wendys Strawberry Shakes (or just a vanilla or chocolate frosty, though the chocolate frosty is chocolate overkill for me)
2. McDonalds Strawberry Shakes (is it just me or do they always leave a funky aftertaste in your mouth? I can’t stand their vanilla shakes or their chocolate shakes; their egg nog shakes can be yummy good but only if they have the flavor metered properly; their green toothpaste shake they offer in March I’ll readily pass on)
1. Burger King Vanilla Shakes (can’t stand their strawberry shakes, but their new vanilla shake is awesome)

We’ll start off with good old McDonalds.  I’ll have to say that several years ago (how long’s it been – 8 years?) when they went through a drastic change of their shakes to the thick, creamy with strawberry lumps one they have now, it was a good change.  I still remember living in Greenville, SC and heading out for a McDonalds shake knowing that if I went to the McDonalds closest to where I lived, I’d get the old McD’s shake style but if I went out for a longer drive to one farther away, they’d have the new creamy one.  McDonald’s strawberry shakes are still probably my favorite, though I do like my variety. They’re thick, lumpy with strawberries (which my kids don’t like), and creamy-so-creamy.

Then you’ve got Burger King and their good ol’ standbye strawberry milkshake. You can definitely taste the syrup and it’s nothing like McDonalds, but I grew up probably with more Burger King shakes than McD’s, and I still enjoy a good large size shake at the king of the burgers. I’m almost thinking that they also changed their recipe several years back?  Well, not a major, major change but still a definite reworking of the old standard. Correct me if I’m wrong.

We currently live in a small town, and Burger King is a decent half hour drive away.  McDonalds is close by, but, as a family, we just don’t go there too much (long story – let’s just say my son likes real onions and not the rehydrated onion bits McD’s likes to place on their burgers; I also spent too many hot & greasy days emptying wire baskets full of fries at a McDs). We do have Wendys.  Now, I’ve never been a Wendy’s fan (square burgers? c’mon!), but I’ll concede that living where we are right now has forced me to actually like Wendy’s food –  most of it, that is. Their fries are still a mile lacking. Wendys recently came out with milkshakes – even strawberry – and their shakes are pretty good, too.  I’ve only had one strawberry shake so I can’t write too much about it. What we typically do is just get large Frosties, bring them back home, remove a couple spoonfuls of ice cream (that’s all Frosties are – just soft icecream in a cup instead of a cone) and add a little bit of milk and strawberry syrup. That’s pretty much my weekly strawberry shake right now. Part Wendys, part me.  It’s not too bad, either.  Definitely cheaper during these penny pinching times. But then our Wendys just upped their prices on many items. Guess for them the worldwide recession means it’s time to make a bigger profit or something.

Chick Fil A (practically impossible to spell their name right the first time) has strawberry shakes, and I’ve had several of them.  The first one may have had some spoiled milk in it or something?  They’re malty like but the first one I had (in a mall in North Canton, OH) was nasty.  Since then, I’ve had several more, and I’ve grown accustomed to the malty taste (still not my favorite), and they’re doable. Definitely a different taste than McDs or Burger King.  Wendy’s almost has a little bit of a malty taste to it, but not nearly as strong as Chick Fil A.

Guess I’ve run out of the top fast food shakes. Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and the other pizza places are behind the times and only dream about soda. I’ve heard rumors that Hardees sells milkshakes (truth, anyone?) but I hate Hardees so I’ve never been brave enough to swing through their drive thru just to order a strawberry shake.  Of course, if I did, they’d probably only offer chocolate (like Wendy’s used to only offer chocolate frosties for all too long … brrrr!).  Friendly’s strawberry shakes are pretty good, but they’re out of the realm of fast food, plus their shakes are too small and cost too much.

One of my all time favorite strawberry shakes was from a small ice cream store up near the Quebec/New York border. I used to spend part of my summers during my teen years up at some camps thataway, and that soft ice cream stand had shakes to die for.  I can still taste it on my mouth.  Something about using real strawberries to make a shake. Can’t remember the ice cream store’s name right now.  Dairy Haus is another one of my favorite ice cream stands. But I’ll pass on the strawberry milkshake there anytime (even throw it into a wire trash basket) in favor of their raspberry custard swirl soft ice cream cones.  Mmmm …

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kyle Douglass January 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Dude! I like milkshakes toooooooooooooooooooooooo!

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Lauryl October 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Hardee’s DOES have milkshakes. I would go ahead and give them a try – they’re my favorite. They’re made with real ice cream.

I agree about Hardee’s. While I’m not the biggest fan of their lunch and dinner menu (although I’ll still always choose them over Wendy’s which is forever bland and lacking), Hardee’s more than makes up for it with their breakfast menu. I think they have hands-down the best fast food breakfast sandwiches around.

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Hannah October 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

You know, Lauryl, I drive by Hardees all the time, and I’ve seen their occasional signs advertising their shakes. I might just have to give them a try one of these days :)

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Channon April 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I wanted to tell you that when you go to Chick Fil A ask them to leave the malt out. I had the best (non homemade) milkshake of my life at Chick Fil A because the server got the perfect thick to strawberry topping ration correct. You can direct the server how you would like it made. I like mine extra thick with LOTS of strawberry topping (the strawberries start out a whole fruit in syrup) and only a touch of milk. Since each are custom made they will be different each time depending on who makes it.

I don’t like McDonald’s strawberry milkshakes anymore. Whereas I agree that the thicker consistency is nice (it was fine before they went fancy to add the whipped topping and cherry when is was simply a thick strawberry shake). But now it has a STRONG chemical aftertaste.

I have not tried the new Burger King version of milkshake but the original version was “Pepto Bismal Pink” with a strange flavor that tasted nothing like strawberry. Maybe they have stepped up since milkshakes have become such a marketing tool.

I don’t like Steak ‘n Shakes’ Classic strawberry milkshakes because of its strange aftertaste. My sister tells me that their Very Berry Strawberry shake is the real deal because the classic strawberry is “flavored” and the Very Berry uses real strawberries.

I don’t like Wendy’s chocolate or vanilla “Frosties” so I am scared to try their shakes. One day I will give them a try though. I never was a big Wendy’s fan and do not even like their “natural cut” fries but some of the new additions on their menu seem exciting.

Arby’s milkshakes were always nasty in every flavor that they had so I would probably NEVER try any version of theirs again but I really like Hardees (at least for breakfast) so I would try their shake. Something about their cinnamon raison biscuits gets me every time.

I think I have had a good strawberry milkshake at Dairy Queen but I am sure it was because I directed them every step of the way to not add too much milk. That and a lot of real strawberry based topping is the key to a good strawberry milk shake (with a pinch of vanilla if available). You could also try Baskin Robbins.

Lastly people tell me that Coldstone makes a good premium milkshake.

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Hannah April 7, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Channon, you’re making me hungry for a shake! Thanks much for the thorough run down.

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NO TOP 10 August 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

WHERE IS THE TOP 10?? WHY WOULD YOU TITLE IT TOP TEN AND NOT LIST ONE. THANKS FOR MAKING ME WASTE MY TIME. GIVE UP ON BLOGGINH YOU IDIOT.

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Hannah August 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Sorry, No Top 10!

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Linda September 12, 2013 at 8:44 am

personally, i like Dairy Queen’s Milkshakes they are soooooo natural, and tasty.

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