We Tried Shake Shack's New Fall Shake Flavors. Here's How It Went

If a restaurant has one particular food item as a part of its name, you'd think that this would be its signature item (unless they're the steak-less Steak & Shake). You might expect that it would be something pretty special, too. While we've eaten at Shake Shack a few times before and have to say its burgers and chicken sandwiches kind of lived up to the hype, we'd never actually had one of its eponymous shakes. We had high expectations not just for the regular lineup, but for the special new fall flavors too. Who doesn't love fall flavors, after all?

In the past, Shake Shack has offered one of these shakes: the ever-popular pumpkin. We bet you guessed that one already since even gas stations roll out the pumpkin spice flavors at this time of year. Two of these shakes, though, are new for 2022. Per QSR, the Apple Cider Donut Shake and the Choco Salted Toffee Shake have never before been featured as part of Shake Shack's rotating lineup. So should you rush out to your nearest Shake Shack to try them if you're lucky enough to have one of these restaurants within driving distance? We're not going to spoil things by giving away our verdict just yet, but we promise to deliver all the necessary details by the time you reach the end so you can make up your own mind.

What's in Shake Shack's new fall shakes?

The Pumpkin Patch Shake is made with real canned pumpkin — QSR goes on to specify that the brand used is Libby's, in case you take issue with generic canned pumpkin. This fine Libby's pumpkin product is then mixed with vanilla custard and flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. After the shake is spun, it then gets garnished with whipped cream and candied pumpkin seeds. Interestingly enough, though, this shake no longer contains the marshmallow that was a  featured ingredient in previous Pumpkin Patch Shakes.

As for the Choco Salted Toffee shake, it is made from a base of chocolate custard which is then flavored with salted toffee sauce. The whipped cream topping here is dressed up with chocolate toffee sprinkles.

The Apple Cider Donut Shake is the only one not made with a base of one of Shake Shack's pre-existing custard flavors. Instead, it's made from its own dedicated Apple Cider Donut custard flavor. The topping here is also whipped cream, but in this case, it is garnished with a sprinkling of cinnamon donut crunch (which sounds like it would also make for a great breakfast cereal).

Where can you buy these shakes, and what will you pay for them?

As per Shake Shack's menu, the new fall shakes are apparently available at all locations — and, unlike a certain Golden Arched establishment, its milkshake machines are unlikely to be out of order. The main difficulty you may experience in getting your hands on one of these shakes has to do with the relative dearth of Shake Shacks as opposed to other fast food chains. Although Shake Shack now has a foothold in 33 states (plus a number of overseas outposts), people in states not named California, New York, Florida, or Texas may only have a mere handful of these restaurants nearby.

The prices for these shakes will also vary depending on where you order them. QSR informs us "pricing starts at $6.09," but the shakes we ordered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin cost $6.29 (they are all priced identically) and Brew City's typically a pretty budget-priced burg. Needless to say, if you order your shakes through a delivery service, they'll likely cost a bit more, and that's even before you tack on the delivery fee, service charge, tip, etc. Had we placed our order via GrubHub, each shake would have cost $7.19.

How do they compare to other Shake Shack shakes?

Apart from the fall-flavored shakes, Shake Shack's menu currently lists six other shake varieties available to order: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, chocolate and vanilla, and a house specialty called Black & White. As to what differentiates the Black & White from the chocolate/vanilla mixture, while the latter simply combines both types of custard, the former is made from vanilla custard with the addition of fudge sauce.

These fall-flavored shakes are hardly the first limited-time offerings Shake Shack has featured on the menu, however. Last spring it had Oreo Funnel Cake and Chocolate Churro shakes, while even earlier in the year it had a Chocolate Pie shake as well as the breakfast-themed Wake & Shake flavored with coffee, maple syrup, and orange zest. If fall flavors are not your favorite, you can always hold tight for the holiday season. Last year, Shake Shack's winter holiday shakes included Christmas Cookie, Chocolate Milk and Cookies, and Sugar Plum Fairy varieties (this last one being flavored, not with plums, but with raspberry jam cookies and white chocolate). As per Shake Shack's nutrition information sheet, other past (and possibly future) shake options have also included salted caramel, peach, Bourbon Salted Honey, Loaded Chocolate Cookies and Cream, Cornflake Chocolate Drizzle, and Chocolate Birthday Cake.

What's the nutrition info of these Shake Shack shakes?

One thing about Shake Shack shakes that make them — well, not unique, but at least different from those found at many larger fast food chains — is that they're made from frozen custard. And yes, this does mean that they almost undoubtedly include eggs. Although Shake Shack's allergen list has not been updated to include these particular shakes, all the ones listed do have this ingredient. The shakes also have milk (obviously), while other allergens such as wheat and soy may be present. It also seems that all of the shakes contain ingredients that have been processed in a facility that also handles tree nuts.

We can't give you an exact calorie/carb/fat gram count for any of these shakes due to the fact that Shake Shack has not updated its nutrition information to reflect these new flavors (or even the returning pumpkin flavor). With the previously-released Pumpkin Patch Shake, Brand Eating estimated that a 16-ounce shake would come in around 750 calories, although this was the 2019 version with the marshmallows. All we can say for sure is that the Shake Shack shakes for which nutritional data is provided range from 680 calories, 72 carbs, and 36 grams of fat for plain vanilla all the way up to 1160 calories, 126 carbs, and 56 fat grams for Loaded Chocolate Cookies and Cream. So yeah, not exactly health food, but then what would you expect from a fast food shake?

How does the Choco Salted Toffee Shake taste?

This shake tasted pretty good at first, but the more we sipped, the more we noticed that it really was excessively sweet. No surprise, really, seeing as how it's made by adding sugary toffee sauce to the already-sweet chocolate custard. While the salt might have been able to cut some of the excess sweetness as salt is wont to do (remember the scene in "Man vs. Food" where Adam Richman orders fries to help him get through the dreaded Kitchen Sink ice cream challenge?), sadly, this element was missing in action. Seriously, we could not detect even a hint of saltiness in this supposedly salted toffee shake. Yet another thing we did not like about this shake is that once it started to melt a bit, as most shakes will do unless you're able to suck them down super-quick, it took on a slightly slimy texture. This is something we've experienced in many less-upscale fast food shakes, but we weren't expecting it from Shake Shack.

Overall, we found Shake Shack's Choco Salted Toffee Shake to be the worst of the three fall flavors. It wasn't bad, per se, just a major disappointment as it tasted just like a plain, not-very-chocolatey shake. Admittedly we did not try it alongside Shake Shack's standard chocolate shake, but if the fancied-up version is anything to judge by, that one's probably nothing to text home about, either.

How does the Pumpkin Patch Shake taste?

The Pumpkin Patch Shake was our middle pick — if you like pumpkin-flavored things, this one is satisfyingly pumpkin-y as opposed to tasting of pumpkin pie spice alone. While in the past Shake Shack has offered a pumpkin pie shake made with actual pie, we weren't too disappointed at the lack of crust chunks in this non-pie pumpkin shake since we're not really fans of soggy bits of baked goods clogging up our straws.

The problems with the Pumpkin Patch Shake are twofold, and they're the exact same problems we have with the Choco Salted Toffee Shake. For the first few sips, all is good. After subsequent sips, sugar overload kicks in. All we can say is that we're sure glad Shake Shack left out the marshmallow with this Pumpkin Patch Shake 2.0 since it doesn't need to be any sweeter, that's for sure. What's more, once this shake starts to melt a bit, it also takes on that same slimy texture we mentioned above. As Shake Shack does not disclose the ingredients in its custard apart from listing potential allergens, we can't say for sure what's causing this weird slippery feeling — a preservative of some sort, perhaps? Whatever it is, you've got to drink your shake pretty quickly in order to avoid the issue.

How does the Apple Cider Donut Shake taste?

This was the best of the bunch, probably because the it's the most unique. Pumpkin-flavored everything is all over the place after Labor Day, while The New York Times tells us that salted caramel has been ubiquitous since 2008. Apple cider-flavored custard, on the other hand, is still somewhat of a novelty. While this shake, too, was a tad sweeter than we'd have liked after the first few minutes, the novelty factor alone kept us sipping. In fact, the Apple Cider Donut shake was the first of the three that we finished. While we pushed on through to the end with the others, as well, we were admittedly running out of steam long before we reached the bottoms of those cups and it began to seem like more and more of a chore to drink them.

Once again, though, we did experience a fairly rapid drop-off in the texture of the Apple Cider Donut Shake within a few minutes as soon as the melting set in. Do you know what would solve this problem? Mini shakes as a Shake Shack menu option, the same way that Dairy Queen offers mini Blizzards. A 6-ounce shake would allow us to enjoy just the right amount of creamy custard before the excess sweetness and/or sliminess kicked in. As a bonus, this smaller shake would have far fewer calories, as well.