Shamrock Shake Cupcakes
If you flock to McDonald’s at the first sign of those minty green shakes, you’re going to go bonkers over these cupcakes. I didn’t have a non-spiked St. Patrick’s Day cupcake in my repertoire yet, and thought that this riff on the popular milkshakes could be a really delicious treat. I made a homemade shamrock shake a few years ago, and used that as a jumping off point, starting with green-hued vanilla-mint cupcakes and topped them with fluffy whipped cream frosting.
I adapted my new favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, added in some mint extract (be sure to use regular mint, and not peppermint, or the taste won’t be the same), and tinted it a lovely shade of green. The mint flavor is distinct but subtle; feel free to amp up the amount if you want a super minty cupcake. Likewise, you can adjust the green food coloring to make the batter as light or dark green as you’d like.
The frosting is the same fluffy whipped cream frosting that I used for my pumpkin spice latte cupcakes; it has a cream cheese base, which helps to stabilize it and results in a beautiful frosting that’s light as air and perfect for piping. Throw some pretty green sugar on top and finish it off with a green maraschino cherry, and you have a perfectly festive cupcake fit for a St. Patrick’s Day party!
Sometimes, milkshake-inspired cupcakes make the best dessert, right?
One year ago: Homemade Baileys Irish Cream
Two years ago: Irish Whiskey Soda Bread with Irish Whiskey Butter
Three years ago: Guinness-Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Four years ago: Shamrock Sugar Cookies
Five years ago: Braised Beef with Mushrooms and Cabernet Sauce
Six years ago: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Seven years ago: Texas Sheet Cake
Shamrock Shake Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
- ¾ cup (93.75 g) + 2 tablespoons cake flour
- ½ cup (62.5 g) + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup (150 g) + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1¼ teaspoons (1.25 teaspoons) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) kosher salt
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup (122 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) mint extract, NOT peppermint extract
- 6 drops green food coloring
For the Frosting:
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) vanilla extract
- 2 cups (476 ml) heavy cream
- Green sanding sugar
- Green maraschino cherries
- Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt, and mix together on low speed for 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the butter, a few cubes at a time, continuing until all the butter has been added and the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Slowly pour in the milk, vanilla and mint extract, and mix until combined. Add the green food coloring and mix until color is evenly dispersed throughout the batter. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, until batter is smooth, scraping the sides of bowl as needed.
- Fill the liners two-thirds full (about ¼ cup of batter) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the centers are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the Frosting: On medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixer with the whisk attachment until smooth and completely combined, about 3 minutes. Slowly add the heavy cream, scrape the sides of the bowl, then increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Assemble the Cupcakes: Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes, then sprinkle with green sanding sugar and top with green maraschino cherries, if desired. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
We had our annual Irish dinner tonight with corn beef and cabbage, etc. I decided to try this recipe as my son loves Shamrock Shakes. It was absolutely FABULOUS! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!
Hi! I really want to make these as a Christmassy treat, but Im not even sure ‘Cake Flour’ exists in Australia……. Does anyone know a substitute? I know a lady commented she used normal flour but at altitude… And I am definitely NOT at altitude… haha! I love your recipes! Have religiously used your red velvet cupcake recipe to great acclaim!
I made the cupcakes using regular mint, as suggested, but although the cupcakes were light and fluffy, and were perfect, I just couldn’t get the taste of the mint out of my mouth and it was still there an hour later. I don’t know how to remedy this. I used McCormick Real Vanilla extract, and Watkins brand pure Mint extract. I was so disappointed in the artificial flavor of the cake I never got around to making the frosting, so I can’t give a review of that part of the recipe. I would really like to know what brand of Mint extract was used for the original recipe. Perhaps using a different extract (or less of it) might make a difference.
Hi Christine, I used McCormick mint extract. I hope that helps!
Hi there! Planning to make these for a work party on Friday, but noticed the frosting calls for granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar. I’ve never made frosting with granulated sugar and just want to make sure this is accurate. Thanks!!
Hi Mandy, Yes, granulated sugar is correct. Enjoy!
Where did you find the green maraschino cherries with stems? I live in a rural area, so I’m not confident I’ll be able to find them unless I pay a mint on Amazon.
Ha, a mint! ;)
Hi Lori, They were at my regular grocery store, right next to the red ones. They carry them year-round.
I found them in the baking aisle in Walmart.
Hi, I was wondering about the frosting. I always use 10x sugar in mine, does the granulated sugar not leave a bit of graininess to it? Thanks
Hi Maureen, It does not in this recipe, and I’ve made it a million times, but you could still use the superfine if you prefer!
Where did you get the green cherries?
At the grocery store – they were stocked right next to the red ones in the beverage aisle where you find mixers, margarita salt, etc.
Is the frosting “cream cheese flavored.” I have been trying to find a great whipped cream frosting recipe but I worry that this will have the cream cheese flavor. I have thought of making a stabilized whipped cream frosting with gelatin instead, but this seems much easier! Thanks for any advice
Hi Jen, It’s really subtle, and not overpowering. I definitely like this method for a stabilized whipped cream instead of using gelatin.
Cup cakes were great. Family liked them. Easy recipe with good flavor and texture. Icing is a hit. Will be my go to from now on
Thank you for sharing.
Should heaven cream be at room temp before whipping with cream cheese
Hi Cherne, No it should be cold, just as when you make regular whipped cream (this is basically a stabilized whipped cream frosting).
What is the difference between mint extract and peppermint extract? Also, do you have a recommendation or source for the right product? These sound SO good, and maybe just a FEW less calories than an actual Shamrock a Shake!! Thanks!
Hi Jan, Mint extract is a spearmint flavor, sort of like an Andes while peppermint is much stronger, like a candycane or those red and white hard candies. Hope that helps! I have found mint extract at my regular grocery store.
I made these last year and everyone LOVED them! They taste just like a Shamrock shake with no brain freeze. LOL They were so good. I followed the recipe to a T and for those looking for the green cherries.. I found them at my store in the soda isle with the grenadine. Making them again today. Can’t wait!
I followed instructions precisely. Twice. And the cupcakes didn’t turn out correctly either time. The frosting was delicious, but ended up having to go on something else.
Is there truly no powdered sugar in the frosting recipe for the Shamrock Shake Cupcakes?
Hi Karen, Correct – no powdered sugar!
Where did you find the green cherries? I have been looking for them and can’t find them anywhere! Affiliate links welcome!
Hi Nancy, I’ve found them at the regular supermarket where the red maraschino cherries are!
I actually have made this same mint cake, but with chocolate satin frosting and as a layer cake. It has become a family favorite, and is heavily requested!
I made these for a St. Patrick’s Day/Irish-themed dinner party I held. They were delicious! I must say though, that the recipe for the frosting made quite a bit. Even after frosting all 12 cupcakes rather generously, there was still a 1-quart bowl filled to the brim of the frosting. You could probably cut the recipe in half and still have more than enough frosting for 12 cupcakes.
Hi! These look great and I can’t wait to make them! What type of tip did you use for the cupcake frosting? Thanks!
Hi Nina, I used an Ateco #827 decorating tip.
these cupcakes were horrible they were heavy and dense. I would have rather used boxed mix. Frosting was OK. They are pretty but not tasty. I was very disappointed.
plain mint extract doesn’t seem to exist in canada, just the blend one with peppermint.
think the butter could be infused with fresh mint or something? any ideas how much fresh mint one would need to use?
Hi Paula, I have not tried using fresh mint, but if you experiment with it, let me know!
Have you tried doubling these cupcakes? I need 18 to take to a function (and that would give me a few left over for the family). Thanks!
Hi Susan, Yes, this can definitely be doubled. Enjoy!
I made these today. The consistency of my frosting was about that of a shamrock shake. :-) Any idea what might have gone wrong?
Hi Amanda, You may have not beaten the cream long enough; it sounds like it was still liquid? Or possibly you over beat it and it broke down?
I wonder, could you substitute green creme de menthe for the mint extract and food coloring?
Hi Charlotte, Definitely! The green color might just be a little more subtle. Enjoy!
That frosting looks like a cloud. I can’t wait to try it.
These were a huge hit! Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe. I have never experienced the Shamrock Shake (gasp!) so I did not know what to expect, but I must say, I was quite pleased with the results. I feel I learned so many new techniques-a different vanilla cupcake, adding cream cheese to the heavy cream. And everything came out beautifully! Sadly, I couldn’t find the green cherries, but its’s just another reason to make them again.
Hi Michelle,BEB is fabulous!i look forward to trying out your fantastic recipes .for the shamrock shake cupcake,what is the brand of mint extract you’ve used?i have the peppermint extract ,and I can’t seem to find mint extract where I reside:(
Hi Jill, I use the McCormick brand of mint extract. I hope that helps!
What a great idea for a shamrock shake-inspired cupcake! I stumbled upon this a bit too late for St. Patrick’s Day, but I’m looking forward to trying the frosting recipe! I’ve been looking for a good, reliably-pipable frosting that isn’t a basic sugar and butter buttercream (too lacking in flavor for my liking). This looks promising!
I made these and they’re awesome! I posted a picture in my blog, and linked to your website so others can try the recipe! I hope that’s okay, if not, I’ll take it off right away. I sent a bunch with my boyfriend when he went to work, and he said everyone there loved them too. Will be trying more of your recipes!
I tryed this recipes and it was a big hit. Can you please tell me how long the extra frosting can be kept.
Hi Susan, Probably only about 3 days or so in the refrigerator.
I made these are they are awesome! Thanks for posting this.
These were FABULOUS!!! I was able to get about 16 out of the batch. Added a little more of the mint extract and it just bumped up the taste a tiny bit. The use of the cake flour really lightened up the batter. BUT let me tell you, this frosting is my all time favorite. I think you used something similar with the spiced latte cuppys from the fall. This frosting is so light & fluffy without being overly sweet. It truly reminded me of a milkshake-like frosting.
Thank you again Michelle for bringing out these recipes to inspire a great St. Patty’s weekend & always :)
I love shamrock shakes so much! These cupcakes look amazing…
For those asking about the green cherries…..I had a very difficult time finding them as many grocery stores in my area only carry these seasonally for Christmas. If you can’t find them at a grocery store, try a liquor store, party supply store, or any other store that tends to carry specialty stuff.
On another note mine are about to go in the oven and will be for my daughter’s preschool celebration tomorrow…..If I can resist eating them lol
I found these beautiful cupcakes, my kids will love this recipe! I will test soon!
Yum! Where do you find green maraschino cherries?
Hi Kate, They were right next to the red ones in the ice cream topping area.
Ñam!! Beautiful cupcakes…so delicious!
Two friends and I are doing a “Brown Eyed Baker” baking play date Saturday afternoon. We’re making a double batch of your Irish Car Bomb cupcakes and a batch of these Shamrock Shake cupcakes. We get to have fun, and split the results of our hard work. And our families won’t mind the fact that we spent a few hours of girl time when they taste the cupcakes.
I need to be making me some of these!! I never have very good luck in finding green maraschino cherries though :( Where did you find yours??
Hi Lauren, They were at the grocery store next to the red ones, in the ice cream toppings section.
I’m going make these Sunday! I have one question…. Is cubes ice cubes crushed? Sorry I’m a little confused. Sorry!
I think she is referring to the butter which the recipe ingredients list as “cut into 1/2″ cubes”.
Hi Ellie, Yes, the butter should be cut into ½-inch cubes. This makes it easier to incorporate into the dry ingredients. No ice :)
Hi! What brand of mint extract do you use? I only have peppermint at home- I’ve heard the mint has like a spearmint taste to it?
Hi Sarah, I used McCormick mint extract. Yes, regular mint has a spearmint flavor, which is very, very different than the peppermint extract.
These look so cute and yummy! One question. Does cake flour have to be used? I live at high altitude and cake flour does not do well here.
Hi Salina, The cake flour is important to the texture of the cupcakes – it keeps them light and fluffy. I have not baked at high altitude, so I can’t speak to how they would turn out if you replace it with all-purpose flour. If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out.
I made these tonight with just all-purpose flour and no cake flour, and they turned out fantastic! I will definitely be making these a tradition. I’m so happy I found this recipe! Thank you!
I made them at high altitude (5400 ft) with cake flour and with out any adjustments to the recipe. They cae out PERFECTLY!!!
Those are very pretty and tempting.. wonderful preparation! :)
Michelle, what size tip do you use?
Hi Beth, I used the Ateco #827.
Those are adorable!!!
These cupcakes? YES. I love these!!
What a great idea!!! I love the red cherries on top – they look so inviting :)
I had no idea green maraschino cherries existed! These look amazing!
Love this green color of the cupcakes:) Mint flavor:) My son would love them, he loves mint
Is that 1/2 a cup of butter or 1/2 a stick? Thanks! These looks fantastic.
Hi Kellianne, That’s ½ a cup, I’ve corrected it above, so sorry for the error!
While I haven’t had a mcdonalds shamrock shake in ages, I grew up loving them. These are so festive and fun!
These look divine! Just curious, where do you find the green cherries? I’ve never seen them before.
Hi Tana, They were at the grocery store where all of the ice cream toppings are, right next to the red cherries. I’ve actually seen them there for a long time!
These look delicious! Could you clarify the butter amount please? Is it a 1/2 cup or stick? I’m assuming the former , just want to be sure before making them. Thanks, Maureen
Hi Maureen, So sorry for that error, I’ve corrected it above, but it’s ½ cup.
Thanks Michelle! Love your site. Happy St Patricks Day:)
Thanks, Maureen! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, too! :)
This frosting looks divine, and so different from the normal sugar-laden buttercream! One question, I see you say the cream cheese stabilizes it, does that mean this won’t start to break down if you make them the night before? I know for standard whipping cream, it typically starts to separate and get watery over time. Also, do you feel that these should be stored in the refrigerator because of the whipping cream and cream cheese? The photos are stunning — well done!
Hi Megan, Yes, the cream cheese keeps the frosting from breaking down so it won’t get watery. You could definitely make these the night before. And yes, as directed in the recipe, you should store these in the refrigerator. Enjoy! :)
I want to eat these every single day of my life!! They look amazing!!!!
Daaaang! This looks awesome! I love the cute little cherries on top :)
Those are so adorable! You always have such good ideas and I love the green cherries. :-)
How cute! I’m getting more excited for St. Patty’s day with each day that passes, especially seeing all the festive treats on my blog feeds! I love that you used the green cherries on top – just really completes the image :) And of course, cream cheese icing – one of my very favorites!
How cute are these?!
I have to ask, when do u post your new recipes? I love how I could always count on them first thing!
Hi Elisa, New posts usually go live shortly after midnight.