While the 1880s probably wasn’t the greatest decade in human history to be alive if you were a factory worker or a member of the Romanov family, they were banner years for milkshake enthusiasts, as the first milkshakes were more about chugging whiskey than sipping drinkable ice cream. They were a cinnamon eggnog-type drink, blended with tonic and served with a healthy dose of the hard stuff. Imagine strolling into your corner McDonald’s and requesting one of those puppies!
The rise of the soda shop introduced a different type of milkshake, one more closely resembling the ubiquitous frozen treats found in in any respectable U.S. burger joint today. However, before the advent of the electric blender, milkshakes were shaken (hence the name) by hand and contained a combination of milk, sugar, flavored syrup, and ice. It wasn’t until the 1930s that milkshakes became the smooth, frozen, creamy mixtures we expect today.
Those old school soda fountains and diners, which specialized in sweet drinks and easy-to-make foods, are responsible for the way we still see milkshakes as less of a dessert and more of a side dish for a big, juicy burger, and since fast food restaurants have by and large replaced soda shops as our go-to spots for cheap, quick dining, burger chains are the nation’s surest bet for a decent yet inexpensive shake.
Let’s be honest, even a subpar milkshake is better than no milkshake at all. So how to rank the best fast food shakes around? We defined “fast food” establishments as restaurants strictly offering counter service or drive-through with four or more locations. To rank the shakes, we looked at national rankings, Yelp reviews, and even got input from professional chefs. We also took into consideration the quality of the ice cream and the variety of flavors available. Read through the list to see our picks for best shakes around, and add yours in the comments!
The popular chain makes its own addictive style of soft serve called Icedream, and offers four regular flavors: chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, and vanilla. However, it’s the peach shake they offer in the summertime that lands them on this list. The peaches are a nod to the company’s Georgia roots, and this sweet warm weather treat is a favorite in the South.
#9 Dairy Queen
DQ’s founders invented soft serve, so it’s no wonder that their soft serve shakes are the perfect balance of creamy and thick. Plus their shakes come in decadent flavors like caramel cheesecake and Oreo — in case you need an extra incentive to give in to temptation.