Shamrock Shakes Will Return for 50th Anniversary in 2020 — Plus…

The looming arrival of Saint Patrick’s Day means that the Shamrock Shake will return this year in celebration of 50 years of the venerable frosted light green minty treat and will be available for a limited time at all participating McDonald’s restaurants across the United States for the first time since 2017 — as well as in Canada and Ireland…

Shamrock Shakes Will Return for 50th Anniversary in 2020 — Plus…

…and the shake — which has been sold by McDonald’s restaurants for a limited time before Saint Patrick’s Day every year since 1970 — will not be the only offering when it returns on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, as a new Oreo Shamrock McFlurry will also be available for a limited time.

The Shamrock Shake features creamy vanilla soft serve blended with mint flavoring and topped with a whipped topping; while the new Oreo Shamrock McFlurry will feature creamy vanilla soft serve with mint flavoring and Oreo cookie pieces blended throughout for a delicious minty-chocolaty dessert.

Shamrock Shakes McDonald’s

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The Oreo Shamrock McFlurry is not the first frozen dessert to be branded with the Shamrock moniker. The Shamrock Sundae was introduced for a limited time in 1980 by McDonald’s, and it consisted of vanilla soft serve topped with a mint-green Shamrock syrup.

In addition to the original Shamrock Shake in 2017, four additional beverages which had been badged with the Shamrock moniker were introduced to the McCafé lineup — including a Chocolate Shamrock Shake; a Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe; a Shamrock Hot Chocolate; and a Shamrock Mocha. 2017 was the only year these variations of the Shamrock Shake were available. They cost $1.99 each for the small size; but they were also available in the medium and large sizes.

The cost of either a Shamrock Shake or an Oreo Shamrock McFlurry in 2020 have not yet been revealed at the time this article was written.

The History of the Shamrock Shake

Although the year 2020 marks 50 years of the Shamrock Shake, Hal Rosen — who was an owner and operator of McDonald’s restaurants in Connecticut — created it in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. The minty shake later debuted in select locations across the United States in 1970 — and it has been a popular favorite of patrons of the fast food restaurant chain ever since that debut.

Despite its successful official debut in 1970, the Shamrock Shake was not available nationwide in the United States until the year 2012 — a full 42 years later.

The Shamrock Shake was a critical factor in the creation and success of Ronald McDonald House, as sales from the shake helped to build the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia in 1974. The mission began when the daughter of a player of the Philadelphia Eagles professional football team was being treated for Leukemia. Together with Ray Kroc — who is considered to be the founder of McDonald’s, even though the original restaurant was opened in 1940 by Richard James McDonald and Maurice James McDonald on the corner of 1398 North E Street and West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California — Hal Rosen, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Eagles, the family raised enough funds through sales of the Shamrock Shake to help open the first Ronald McDonald House as a way to keep families close during difficult times.

According to this article pertaining to 10 Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Shamrock Shake — which highlights information about the Shamrock Shake over the past 53 years — is a blatant hint of more fun to come this year: “The anniversary fun doesn’t stop here. Shamrock lovers are in luck, as we’re revealing even more ways to get in on the golden celebration of the Shamrock Shake throughout the season. Stay tuned for more!”


I remember a time when a Shamrock Shake did not include whipped cream or cherries — but that was when they were served in large waxed paper cups with a plastic top and not in clear plastic cups.

There are recipes available throughout the Internet on how to create a version of the original Shamrock Shake at home — especially as they are not available all year round at McDonald’s for some reason. McDonald’s is not necessarily what first comes to mind if one has a craving for a delicious thick shake; but I have always enjoyed the Shamrock Shake — even though I usually purchase one only once every few years.

As the chocolate version of the Shamrock Shake is basically the addition of the chocolate shake on the bottom layer to the mint on the top layer, I cannot imagine why an employee at McDonald’s could not fulfill a similar request with either vanilla or strawberry added to the mint instead of chocolate — or perhaps in addition to the chocolate — even though they are not officially on the menu. You should be able to try the chocolate version of the Shamrock Shake even though it is not officially a part of the menu in 2020.

McDonald’s used to advertise Shamrock Shakes in the northeastern United States where I was born and raised. I am not sure if that was a local occurrence; but the shakes have since been available in other parts of the United States for years.

Please read this article pertaining to my experience from 2017 when I decided to purchase two small Shamrock Shakes: the original version and the chocolate mint version.

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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