It's not hard to find the best milkshakes in Chicago, considering we're a city with lots of terrific ice cream shops. But Chicago restaurants also turn out some pretty mean milkshakes, from diners to fine dining spots. Here's where we head when we're having a craving.
Best milkshakes in Chicago
Scooter's uses frozen custard in its excellent shakes, but order a "Boston shake" and a small chocolate syrup sundae will be added on top. To repeat: That's a sundae on top of a milkshake, and the reason why this is the best shake in town. — Amy Cavanaugh
Served in a paper cup, festooned with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, this looks like a basic old-school shake you'd get at any diner. But with rich Nutella swirled into the thick shake, it reaches a whole new level. — AC
You already know that M Burger has a secret menu (right?). Along with extra hot hurt burgers and cheese fries, there's at least one secret shake at a time. No matter what this is, you want it—sometimes it's coffee, other times it's seasonal, like a mint-chocolate grasshopper for St. Patrick's Day, but it's always thick and delicious. — AC
This thick, rich shake, packed with peanut butter and ribbons of fudge, is both vegan and gluten-free, which makes it a good pick for all diners. Omnivores won't even notice that there's no dairy, while vegans can slurp up one of the best shakes in Chicago. — AC
DMK offers rotating monthly shakes, like the Lucky Charms shake, but the straightforward classics are always a good bet. Made with ice cream from Oak Park’s Petersen’s, the shakes are thick, creamy and full-flavored, like the espresso version. Add a shot of booze for $5.
Yes, Allium is in the Four Seasons. But if you don't want to shell out for a pricey dinner, grab a spot at the bar and order the shake, which is a perfect blend of salty and sweet. It comes with the added bonus of feeling fancy while you drink it. Wanna get boozy? Add a shot of Fantasia Liqueur ($12).
Tiztal offers four versions of its oatmeal shake, classic or with added pecans, bananas or granola. It's creamy and sweet and would work just as well with a plate of chilaquiles for breakfast or as a dessert after lunch. — AC
The California burger spot is perhaps best known for its huge, creamy, boozy shakes, like the salty caramel, well-balanced between vanilla ice cream, butterscotch, Hawaiian red sea salt and a glug of Maker's Mark. It's big enough to share with a friend or serve as dinner on its own, but that's OK—this is one hell of a milkshake. — AC
Go to Shake Shack for the burgers, but stay for the milkshakes, which are made with frozen custard. While there's a special Shake of the Week, the black and white adds thick ribbons of fudge to the classic vanilla, making for a very satisfying treat. — AC
Potbelly may be known as a spot to pick up a quick sandwich or soup, but you can also get delicious milkshakes there. Grab the Oreo milkshake, filled to the brim with the delicious cookies, blended with creamy ice cream and topped with two tiny shortbread cookies on the straw. — Elizabeth Atkinson
Portillo's blends its very good chocolate cake with ice cream for a shake that's very smooth, with occasional chunks of cake and a layer of frosting that settles at the bottom. It's ridiculous, but hey—you only live once. — AC
Batidos, fruity and refreshing Cuban milkshakes, are available in rotating flavors at Cafecito. If the guava is available, get it—light and creamy, it's a great match for one of the superb Cuban sandwiches on offer. — AC
Antique Taco's milkshake is like a horchata crossed with a fresh banana shake. So the result doesn't taste much like the traditional cinnamon rice milk, but rather a refreshing banana cinnamon shake. It's firmly a dessert, so while it may come out of the kitchen with your tacos, save it until the end. — AC
Find more desserts in Chicago
Chicago's top pastry chefs know what people want: ice cream, doughnuts and pie. But while they've mastered—and elevated—traditional desserts, the best spots go above and beyond, with s'more macarons and chamomile creme brulee, to name a few. When you have to end your dinner with the best, here's where to find the best desserts in Chicago.