21 Worst Restaurant Milkshakes—Ranked!
Milkshakes appear to be an innocuous treat—one that's reserved for special occasions and celebrations. But when you think about what a milkshake is, you might realize just how absurdly indulgent they are: You take a pint or so of ice cream, add some milk to it—maybe some candy—and blend it all together so you can sip it through a straw. Not so innocent now, huh?
And it seems like restaurant milkshakes have taken a turn for the worst, as these frosty treats can easily pack over an entire day's worth of calories, fat, and sugar. Because some monster shakes out there feature scary amounts of the sweet stuff, so we're here to help you make a smarter choice when treating yourself.
That's why we ranked the most popular restaurant shakes from bad to the worst of the worst, based on the sugar content. Avoid these at all costs if you're watching your sugar intake, or reserve them for a time when you hit the drive-thru with a friend.
From the Least Worst to the Absolute Worst
Carl's Jr. Hand-Scooped Oreo Cookie Shake
As you're already aware, milkshakes can be a truly dangerous option, and when you add Oreo cookies to the mix, that just means things are only going to get worse. And that's exactly what happens at Carl's Jr. If you're looking for more help figuring out foods are the best and worst options out there, here is your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide!
Checkers Banana Milkshake
Think going with a fruit-based option is better? Well, not so fast. See at Checkers' banana milkshake is lowest in calories than other shakes on this list, it's still packing 63 grams of sugar. That's more sugar than you'll get in six Original Glazed Krispy Kreme donuts. So nope, it's not so innocent after all.
IHOP Oreo Cookie Milkshake
At IHOP, the Oreo Cookie shake is packing more than 700 calories and 63 grams of sugar. That's a ton of the sweet stuff when it's no secret plenty of their breakfast options are already loaded with sugar!
Hardee's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Vanilla Shake
Hardee's prides itself on the fact that each of their shakes is hand-scooped and made with real ice cream. It's blended with milk and a choice of chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla peach syrup. But the vanilla flavor is the one you want to avoid.
Applebee's Oreo Cookie Shake
When it comes to Applebee's desserts, they are definitely easy to order as they all look so delicious, but it's not so easy for you to stay healthy when making your choice. That's because the Oreo Cookie Shake has an incredible 800 calories with a whopping 40 grams of fat and 68 grams of sugar.
Chick-fil-A Strawberry Milkshake
Adding on a milkshake to enjoy along with the rest of your meal from Chick-fil-A seems harmless, but the strawberry milkshake has the same amount of calories as a Spicy Deluxe Sandwich.
Wendy's Large Chocolate Frosty
"When it comes to dessert, portion size can make all the difference," explains Megan Usher, RD, CDN. "For one-third of the calories, fat, and sugar, the junior size frosty would make for a more appropriate treat. "Wendy's skews on the lower end of the shake spectrum, especially when it comes to saturated fat. However, 81 grams of sugar in their Frosty, as they call it, is still quite an unhealthy helping of the sweetener.
Five Guys Bacon Milkshake with Whipped Cream
Five Guys is known for the scrumptious burgers and, yes, the extremely tasty shakes. If you're feeling creative, you can even mix and match a variety of flavor combinations, and you could end up sipping a Bacon milkshake. But don't think just because there is bacon that somehow makes it a better option. There's still 83 grams of sugar and 640 grams of sodium. That's a salty and sweet combination simply damaging to your health.
Shake Shack Cookies & Cream Shake
The Shake Shack burger joint is known more for their rich and creamy shakes than their patties, but you might want to have a filling, less fattening meal instead of a dessert here. Beware though if you do indulge in their one-size only shakes! The cookies and cream shake is the perfect example, as it leads the calorie, fat, and sugar pack.
Dairy Queen's Peanut Butter Shake
The home of the Blizzard seems to boast one of the more caloric shakes on the planet! The large peanut butter shake tops the calorie charts with a massive 1,250 calories and a whopping 89 grams of sugar. Not to mention, "this shake contains almost 40% of the recommended daily total sodium intake," Usher tells us. "When paired with other processed foods throughout the day, sodium can add up quickly. Consuming more than 2,300 mg per day increases the risk of high blood pressure, and subsequently, heart disease."
If you find yourself at Dairy Queen on a hot day, you may want to choose a mini-Blizzard instead, which will satisfy your craving for a refreshing shake with only a portion of the calories and fat content.
Burger King Chocolate Oreo Shake
At Burger King, the chocolate Oreo shake has more calories than BK's Original Chicken Sandwich. Let that sink in. And that's not even factoring in the 101 grams of sugar. Keep in mind The American Heart Association recommends women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugars, or about 6 teaspoons, and for men, it's 150 calories per day, or about 9 teaspoons.
BurgerFi Vanilla Shake
It's obvious that BurgerFi is a place to get a good patty, but you should probably leave it at that and push yourself away from the table without dessert. Why? The vanilla shake comes with 24 grams of saturated fat and 109 grams of sugar. Yikes.
Steak 'n Shake Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Regular Shake
There are plenty of health benefits that come with eating peanut butter, but at Steak 'n Shake, all of that gets tossed out the window when it comes to their Reese's Peanut Butter Cup shake. Here, chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are combined with the homemade milkshake for a dessert option that has more than 100 grams of sugar.
McDonald's Large Chocolate Shake
When McDonald's says that 'you deserve a break today,' they are right. Give your body a break from this fat-ladened chocolate beverage that has 840 calories and 14 grams of saturated fat. You can ask for your shake without whipped cream, which will reduce the total number of calories by 60 to 780 and bring down saturated fats to 18 grams and sugars to 118 grams. Hey, it's a start. The worse news, however, is that McDonald's uses one gram of trans-fat in their shakes, which raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower good (HDL) cholesterol levels, increases your risk of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
Denny's Cake Batter Shake
Typically if you're dining at Denny's, it's for some breakfast, but there are plenty of other menu options for the rest of the day, and that includes over-the-top sweet treats like their milkshakes. The worst offender is the cake batter shake, as it has more than 1,000 calories and contains 122 grams of sugar.
Jack in the Box Large Oreo Cookie Shake
Their motto is 'we don't make it till you order it,' so leave off the shake when you place your order at Jack in the Box. This Oreo Cookie Shake with whipped topping and cherry is more than 1,000 calories, packs a hefty 40 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, and more 100 grams of sugar. There is nothing redeeming here!
Johnny Rockets Soft Serve Strawberry Oreo Crumble Shake with Malt Powder
Johnny Rockets skyrockets you to the top of the calorie, saturated fat, and sugar mountain with this shake that is made up of a strawberry and Oreo combination and a malt powder from Jonny Rockets. Just say no!
Sonic Large Oreo Peanut Butter Shake
If your motto is 'go big or go home,' this shake is definitely one that fits the mold. "For the average person, this shake contains half of your daily sodium allowance, and enough calories for the whole day, fat for two days, and saturated fat for three days," Usher explains. This is Sonic's most indulgent shake on the menu and let's face it—it's hard to stop at half a shake! Resist the temptation and, instead, just don't order it.
Friendly's Hunka Chunka Large Fribble
The large Hunka Chunka Fribble at Friendly's takes the idea of enjoying a sweet treat to the extreme. Here, peanut butter fudge ice cream is topped with hot fudge and a peanut butter topping. It's decadent and has 122 grams of sugar. No thanks!
Arby's Large Jamocha Shake
At Arby's, chocolate and coffee come together for the famous Jamocha Shake. Yes, it's a magical combination, but it's best if you just take a few sips and leave the shake alone. Coming in at more than 1,000 calories and packing 150 grams of sugar, this shake is nothing but trouble.
Baskin Robbins Large Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Milkshake
However, at 1,520 calories, 154 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of trans fat you would do yourself a service to forget about the ice cream chain's 1,700 flavors. In particular, "trans fats are linked with an increased risk of heart disease because of their negative effects on cholesterol levels," says Usher. "With 2 grams of trans fats per shake, it's better to opt for something trans fat-free," she recommends.