Are McDonald’s Milkshakes Gluten-Free? (+ Common FAQs)

Trying to live a gluten-free lifestyle can be difficult, especially when it comes to eating at fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s. 

One common question people have is, are McDonald’s milkshakes gluten-free? We’ll tell you the answer to that question and more below, so keep reading!

Are McDonald’s Milkshakes Gluten-Free?

McDonald’s milkshakes are gluten-free, although this applies specifically to the chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and Shamrock shakes when it’s in season. While McDonald’s doesn’t cater to gluten-free specifically, there are plenty of items you can order that are gluten-free. 

We know you have more questions about McDonald’s milkshakes and other gluten-free menu items, which we’ll get into below!

What are McDonald’s Milkshakes Made Out Of?

McDonald’s famous milkshakes contain reduced-fat ice cream, shake syrup, and whipped cream, and the shake ingredients are the same except for the changing out of flavors.

Further, the vanilla reduced-fat ice cream contains natural flavor, milk, cream, sugar, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, corn syrup, cellulose gum, and mono and diglycerides. 

Additionally, the whipped light cream contains nitrous oxide, liquid sugar, cream, non-fat milk, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, and natural flavors. 

Furthermore, when talking about the vanilla shake, it contains vanilla shake syrup, which contains vanilla extract, salt, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, corn syrup, water, caramel color, and glycerin.

What Other McDonald’s Desserts Are Gluten-Free?

Fortunately, several dessert options at McDonald’s are gluten-free beyond the milkshakes, including:

  • Sundaes- McDonald’s hot fudge and caramel sundaes are gluten-free, including the whipped cream, although you shouldn’t order any additional toppings.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream– You can order the reduced-fat vanilla ice cream from McDonald’s and have it served in a cup to stay gluten-free, and cross-contamination isn’t much of an issue.
  • Apples with dip- The sliced apples and caramel dip is a light snack that is perfect for a gluten-free lifestyle, and it’s cheap to order but tastes fresh.
  • Smoothies- If you want a refreshing drink, order one of the many smoothies McDonald’s offers, which are all gluten-free and made with yogurt.
  • McFlurry- A McDonald’s McFlurry is fine to eat to stay gluten-free, but you need to stay away from candy toppings such as Oreos or M&M’s. 
  • Frappe- The caramel, chocolate chip, and mocha Frappe drinks are all gluten-free and taste amazing!

Are McDonald’s Milkshakes Real?

The milkshakes at McDonald’s are real and made from real reduced-fat vanilla ice cream and other ingredients such as milk, cream, and sugar. 

However, McDonald’s doesn’t call their shakes milkshakes since dairy regulations vary by state on what can be called a milkshake, legally speaking.

Furthermore, McDonald’s uses the term shake to keep the name consistent across the board to not confuse customers in varying locations. 

Are McDonald’s Shakes Vegan?

Are McDonald’s Shakes Vegan?

Unfortunately, in the United States, McDonald’s shakes are not vegan since they contain milk and cream.

In addition to that, McDonald’s doesn’t cater to a vegan diet in the United States unless you’re willing to modify some of the existing menu items. 

However, McDonald’s is slowly debuting a McPlant sandwich, which is the first official vegan burger offered by the fast-food chain.

Additionally, the McPlant is already available at select McDonald’s locations outside of the United States, such as in the United Kingdom.

In addition to that, outside of the United States, other menu options are labeled vegan, and it’s much easier to have variety at McDonald’s.

Are McDonald’s Milkshakes Lactose-Free?

Unfortunately, McDonald’s milkshakes are not lactose-free since they contain reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, milk, and cream. 

Additionally, a lot of the McCafe line of drinks contain milk, so you shouldn’t order off that menu if you’re trying to stay lactose-free.

Furthermore, the McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator will help you figure out the allergens in their products so you can avoid milk and other ingredients.

However, you can order a variety of other drinks from McDonald’s that don’t contain ice cream or milk, such as the smoothies, which are made from fruit and sweet tea.

Are McDonald’s Milkshakes Made with Pork Fat?

McDonald’s milkshakes are not made with pork fat, and this is a myth that’s been spread about the shakes for years, even though McDonald’s has denied it several times. 

No meat-based products exist within the shakes, which is why they are great for vegans and people with special restrictions.

What Food at McDonald’s is Gluten-Free?

Even though McDonald’s doesn’t offer specific gluten-free menu items, we can tell you there are still items you can order at the restaurant to fit your diet that aren’t sweet treats, including:

  • Side Salad
  • Fruit and yogurt parfait without granola
  • Any burger without a bun and a burger without Big Mac sauce
  • Cesar salad without the chicken
  • Premium Southwest salad without tortilla chips
  • Sweet Tea
  • Coffee 

Additionally, to go with your salad, you can order a gluten-free dressing, although your options are limited to just a handful, including:

  • Newman’s Own Cobb Dressing
  • Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing
  • Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing

To find out more about McDonald’s, you can also read our posts on whether or not McDonald’s fries are gluten-free, if McDonald’s apple pies are vegan, and if McDonald’s frappes have caffeine.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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