Fast Food Milkshake Calories

Order or Make a Low-Calorie Milkshake

milkshake calories
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Do you love a delicious fast food shake? Almost no diner will turn down a creamy, smooth malt or milkshake. But when you're on a diet, milkshake calories can total more than an entire meal—including french fries!

So how do you enjoy a frozen treat and still stick to your healthy eating plan? The key is moderation and portion control. And, of course, you'll be better equipped to eat smart when you're armed with essential calorie information.

Milkshake Calories: Popular Picks

Everyone has a favorite style of milkshake or malt. So, there's no consensus on the best milkshake at a fast food restaurant. There are sources out there that rank their top picks—but those lists don't list the milkshake calories. So, here's a breakdown of the lists and the calorie counts of each treat.

The Daily Meal

You'll have to visit the Daily Meal website to see their list of the "Top Ten Fast Food Milkshakes," but they list three at the top that are (not surprisingly) loaded with fat and calories.

  • Chick-fil-A . A large chocolate shake at this chicken joint contains 770 calories and 27 grams of fat. The large Cookies and Cream flavored shake contains 810 calories and 32 grams of fat. If you choose a small Vanilla shake you'll still consume 550 calories and 22 grams of fat. There are other ways to eat healthy at Chick-fil-A - but they don't include a milkshake.
  • Steak and Shake. A regular banana milkshake at Steak and Shake will add 700 calories to your daily diet. You'll also consume 17 grams of fat. A regular-size Butterfinger milkshake provides a whopping 760 calories and 22 grams of fat. But the highest calorie milkshake at Steak and Shake is the Oreo Cookies Double Stuf with 1010 calories and 54 grams of fat.
  • Wendy's. If you visit Wendy's you won't order a milkshake, you'll order a Frosty. A large chocolate Frosty contains 590 calories and 15 grams of fat. This might not be a bad option since it's not as high in calories as some of the others and you can eat a low-calorie meal at Wendy's.

Ranker

This lifestyle site ranked the best fast food milkshakes and came up with a complete list of "the yummiest, thickest and creamiest frozen ice cream drinks." The list includes 36 favorites and you can even add your own personal opinion on the site. Here are calorie counts for a few of their top-rated fast food shakes.

  • Jack in the Box Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Shake. You'll consume a jaw-dropping 1150 calories if you order the large size of this fast food shake. You'll also pack on 61 grams of fat.
  • Dairy Queen Hot Fudge Malt. This creamy treat contains 1100 calories and 39 grams of fat. Too many for most dieters. But there are low-calorie treats at Dairy Queen that are just as yummy if you decide to go.
  • McDonald's Shamrock Shake. The green seasonal ice cream treat provides 790 calories and 22 grams of fat. Wanna reduce the calories a bit? Get a small size (530 calories) and a low-calorie burger and fries meal.
  • In and Out Burger Neopolitan Shake. This blended fast food shake provides about 570 to 590 calories and approximately 24 to 30 grams of fat according to their nutrition fact sheet.

And lastly, Serious Eats published their list of the best vanilla fast food shakes. The complete list included many of the same brands listed by the other two sites. They also included the Sonic Vanilla Shake which contains 1200 calories and 66 grams of fat.

More Milkshake Calories

Surprisingly, Denny's did not make the list of best milkshake on either of the sites listed above. But Denny's milkshakes are a popular menu staple. So how many calories are in a Denny's milkshake? The highest calorie treat is the Cake Batter shake with 1090 calories. But the Oreo shake is not far behind with 1050 calories.

How to Cut Calories

So what do you do if you're craving a fast food shake and you're on a diet? Indulge cautiously. Order the smallest size available and keep the rest of your meal lower in fat and calories. But the smartest choice is to enjoy your fast food meal at the restaurant, then make your shake at home.

If you prepare a basic chocolate milkshake with milk, chocolate syrup, and 1 1/2 scoops of full-fat ice cream you'll consume about 356 calories and almost 13 grams of fat. While it's not the healthiest dessert, it is far less damaging to your diet than the best fast food shakes. 

You can also use substitutions to reduce milkshake calories. Use lower calorie ice creams such as Halo Top or Edy's Slow Churned Light ice cream. If you crave peanut butter, consider using a peanut butter powder instead of the full-fat product. Powders like PBFit have all the flavor, but far less fat.

Got a favorite recipe? Use the Recipe Nutrition Calculator to get the complete nutrition facts for a chocolate shake or any ice cream treat that you choose to make.

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Article Sources
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  1. Nutrition & Allergens. Chick-fil-A. 2020

  2. Nutrition Facts. Steak and Shake. April 2020

  3. Large Classic Chocolate Frosty. Wendy's Menu. 2020

  4. Nutrition Facts. Jack in the Box. 2020

  5. Nutrition Facts and Allergy Information for Treats. Dairy Queen. 2020

  6. Shamrock Shake. McDonalds Menu.

  7. In-N-Out Burger Nutrition Facts. 2018

  8. Sonic Nutritional Information Spring 2020

  9. Denny's Nutrition Guide. 2020