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We Found the Best Fast-Food Milkshake You Can Order

Who makes the best fast-food milkshake? We had to know!

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Milkshake Group ShotKristina Vänni For Taste of Home

If you’re looking to cool off, a shake is sure to do the trick. We set out to find the best fast-food milkshake at chains in the Chicago area. To even the playing field, we ordered a small vanilla shake at each of the following places:

  • Burger King
  • Culver’s
  • Dairy Queen
  • McDonald’s
  • Oberweis
  • Shake Shack
  • Steak ‘n Shake
  • Wendy’s

Editor’s Note: At McDonald’s we ordered both a shake and a McFlurry.

Let’s see who has the best shake!

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burger king milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

9. Burger King

Burger King offers a standard vanilla milkshake at a moderate price of $3.39. Here the flavor felt more like imitation vanilla rather than a pure vanilla taste. The service was fast, but the shake didn’t have a hand-crafted feel like other fast-food chains.

Bottom line: This isn’t the strongest item on the menu at Burger King, but it will still satisfy on a hot summer day.

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Mcdonalds milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

8. McDonald’s

The McDonald’s shake was similar to the Burger King shake, but it arrived with a whipped cream topping. At $3.19 the price was on the lower end compared to other fast-food options. The restaurants are accessible, and the service is quick. When a milkshake craving hits, you know there will always be a McDonald’s drive-thru nearby.

Bottom line: While this wasn’t the best fast-food milkshake of the bunch, it’s still fun to look forward to the iconic Shamrock Shake every spring.

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Dairy Queen milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

7. Dairy Queen

Compared to Burger King and McDonald’s, the Dairy Queen shake had more of a true dairy taste. It arrived topped with whipped cream, and the service was quick.

Bottom line: Dairy Queen is a summer staple with convenient locations across the country. (And while we didn’t test them, DQ also has some mouthwatering summer Blizzards.)

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Mcflurry milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

6. McFlurry

A McDonald’s McFlurry is prepared differently then a traditional McDonald’s milkshake. While the milkshake comes ready-made out of the machine, the McFlurry is prepared with soft serve. Your choice of mix-in’s are then added (usually M&M’s or Oreo), and everything is blended together into a unique fast-food dessert experience.

Bottom line: We felt the use of soft serve ice cream and a more hands-on prep made the McFlurry an even better option at McDonald’s than the traditional milkshake.

See which chain has the best fast-food fries.

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Wendys FrostyKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

5. Wendy’s

The Wendy’s Frosty is a beloved fast-food staple. The name is perfect, because the texture and flavor was more of an icy or “frosty” vibe rather than a rich dairy flavor. But at $1.99, it was the most budget friendly of the bunch. At first, we were concerned that the Frosty was so thick, it would be impossible to sip. However, if you save this for dessert after enjoying a burger, it will be the perfect consistency at the very moment you want to enjoy it.

Bottom line: Whether you choose to dip your Wendy’s fries into the Frosty or not, this is a classic fast-food milkshake that customers love.

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Culvers milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

4. Culver’s

Culver’s uses rich and creamy frozen custard instead of ice cream in its milkshakes. The shakes are made in small batches daily with real Wisconsin dairy, and you can certainly taste the quality. Culver’s milkshakes are extra thick and creamy, so ask for a straw and a spoon.

Bottom line: Culver’s offers a variety of milkshake flavors along with malts and floats, so we won’t hesitate to go back for more!

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Shake Shack milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

3. Shake Shack

If you’re going to call your restaurant “Shake Shack,” it’s important to bring your “A game” when it comes to milkshakes. This milkshake had a real dairy flavor that was perfectly milky and easy to sip. The milkshakes come plain, with a 50 cent surcharge for whipped cream or malt powder. Shake Shack offers a wide variety of seasonal flavors for its shakes, so it might be even more exciting to try one of those instead of the classic vanilla.

Bottom line: Shake Shack lives up to its name. We’ll be coming back for another shake soon.

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Steak And Shake milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

2. Steak ‘n Shake

Again, when ‘shake’ is right there in the name of your restaurant, the expectations are high. Steak ‘n Shake did not disappoint! The ice cream was rich, and the shake was topped with a hearty amount of whipped cream. The serving size was generous for the price of $3.99. In addition, this was the only chain that offered a paper straw for sipping.

Bottom line: We love the 1950s diner vibe Steak ‘n Shake offers. The shakes are great when you get them to-go in the drive thru, but even more fun to enjoy out of a glass if you sit down in the restaurant.

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Oberweis milkshakeKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

1. Oberweis

Oberweis has its motto proudly printed on all product packaging: Simply The Best. Frankly, we have to agree! The Oberweis milkshake was head and shoulders above the rest. It was decadent and perfectly creamy from the first sip to the last. It had a pure vanilla flavor, and like everything in the shop, this shake is made by hand. The milkshake was topped with whipped cream and a cookie, making the experience feel even more special. At $6.69 it was the most expensive, but worth every penny. The milkshake was quite large, though, so it’s perfect for sharing.

Bottom line: Oberweis ice cream shops are currently only in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri. If you’re lucky enough to live nearby or will travel this way on a road trip, Oberweis is definitely worth a stop for the best fast-food milkshake money can buy!

Kristina Vänni
Internationally recognized culinary authority Kristina Vänni is a well-known food writer, engaging TV host, award-winning recipe developer, and food stylist. In addition to writing for industry-leading food publications, she is a frequent featured expert on national media outlets and has served as a spokesperson and recipe developer for numerous national brands. Kristina is currently writing her first cookbook, an exploration of the traditional and seasonal cuisine from her family's dairy farm in Finland.