The Unexpected Ingredient That Makes Wendy's Chocolate Frosties So Delicious

It's hard to visit a Wendy's Restaurant without ordering a Frosty. This thick and refreshing "shake that's not a shake" is not only unique among ice cream-based beverages, but with 300 million sold each year, it's clearly a fan favorite (via WRAL). And this fast food icon has led a very interesting life, one that even the most fervent Frosty fans may be completely unaware of. 

For instance, did you know that the Frosty was one of the five original menu offerings when Wendy's opened in 1969? Yes, a Wendy's press release reveals that the restaurant's founder, Dave Thomas, "wanted a dessert on the menu that was so thick you had to eat it with a spoon" and decided to create something that was a "cross between a milkshake and soft-serve ice cream." If you've ever tried to suck a Frosty through a straw, you'll know that he got the super thick consistency he wanted. 

It might surprise you that, per Wendy's website, the classic chocolate Frosty in Alaska and Hawaii contains soy, while those sold in other states do not. And did you know that instead of dipping your fries in a Frosty for the taste of salty and sweet, there is a secret menu that allows you to order a pack of salty pecans you can add to your beverage (via All Recipes)?

But one question remains unanswered about one of America's best milkshakes. What secret ingredient is added to the chocolate Frosty? 

Wendy's adds vanilla to its chocolate Frosty

If you've had more than your share of chocolate shakes, you will know that there is something distinctive about the Frosty. Yes, it tastes quite unlike its counterparts from other restaurants. The only thing that it's difficult to pinpoint is exactly what that difference may be. Thankfully, the mystery has been solved. 

Eat This, Not That! reveals that this malty chocolate treat contains — insert drumroll noises here — vanilla. Yes, the complete antithesis of chocolate. Why did they make this recipe decision? The Sun explains that vanilla helps to diffuse chocolate's inherent bitterness and potentially overly rich flavoring. This milder taste was desirable as Dave Thomas "didn't want his dessert to be so rich that it overpowered the hamburger" (via All Recipes). And, according to Eat This, Not That!, mixing vanilla and chocolate isn't that weird after all. Several ice cream producers have used this combo to create "a malt-like taste." The bottom line is that this decision has paid off with the Frosty becoming one of fast food's most iconic beverages. 

The next time you find yourself torn between ordering a chocolate or vanilla Frosty, you may want to opt for the chocolate. This way you get a little of both. And now that the secret's out, you might even be able to make a Wendy's Frosty at home.