What You Should Know About Pickle Milkshakes

It may sound like madness, but pickle milkshakes have become a bit of a thing in the world of edgy snacks. Maybe the usual flavors are too vanilla to excite surly sippers, so adding a salty tingle helps reignite the magic. Maybe deli fans who know everything about pickles thought they needed a spot on the menu of unlikely food combinations that actually work. Whatever the reason, it appears that after getting off to a squishy start, this sweet tart of a tongue tickler is finally making waves in the world.

Before adding this questionable quaff to your list of pickle hacks, you should know the background of what you're getting mixed up with. We opened the lid on as much information as we could find about what would possess someone to create such an unlikely combination and convince others to get in on the fun. Surprisingly, there's been a great deal of buzz surrounding this taste bud-tingling treat over the years, including a bit of love from the Magic Kingdom itself. Whether you're eager to try a pickle milkshake or wondering if you should avoid it at all costs, we've got the rill dill.

The recipe isn't new

A quick scan of the World Wide Web shows that as far back as 2018, the lifestyle blog Hello Giggles offered a recipe for homemade pickle milkshakes for anyone who was willing to give it a go. This method entails first making pickle-infused ice cream to create the milkshake. An involved, multistep process like this might not be worth the effort if you haven't tasted the final product beforehand to know if you'll like it. 

But for the brave of stomach and daring of tongue, the possibility of a new treat that tingles the taste buds could be just the thing to reawaken a sense of culinary adventure gone dormant. For a combination that sounds incredibly wrong, there's always a chance for it to go right in unexpectedly delicious ways ... or, if not delicious, then at least interesting.

On the other hand, milkshakes are commonly loved for their sweet creaminess, not the surprise of a tart blast that tilts the scales into the realm of uncomfortable uncertainty. If you're going to go to the trouble of making a sugary indulgence, a pickle milkshake probably doesn't top the list. 

Pickles and ice cream has long been a quirky craving combo

Pickles with ice cream is nothing new. The combination has been recognized as a craving for pregnant women for years. According to WebMD, the strange mix may be due to the common yearning for salty and fatty foods while the baby develops. Even famous television shows like "I Love Lucy" used the trope to show the strange shape pregnancy cravings are prone to taking. These two seemingly unblendable foods became inextricably linked, not because they taste great together — that's a matter of opinion — but because they symbolized the wild ride of eating to create a human being.

Pickle and ice cream pregnancy cravings never seem to last beyond delivery, if they even make it that far. Yet somehow, the pairing has crept into the easily bored brains of internet food explorers who ran out of things to experiment with after the Grimace shake went south. Maybe the deeper meaning to be found in putting pickles and ice cream together is that against all odds, entirely unexpected elements can coalesce to become something as profound as a new life ... or as unappealing as a sour milkshake.

Disney introduced its own pickle milkshake at EPCOT

As predicted by Yelp, pickles have made their way into the forefront of the foodie movement, and Disney isn't sleeping on the action. The Magic Kingdom introduced a pickle milkshake during the 2023 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. According to People magazine, former staff member Shay Spence tried the shake and described it as having more of an herbal dill flavor than true pickle pucker power.

The quirky presentation is part of the appeal. Rather than the off-putting shade of real pickles, the Disney shake is a soft minty green and comes in a moonshine jar topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pickling spices. The wrap-around label replicates farmstand-style charm, which all Disney fans know is part of the magic-is-in-the-details spirit of the company. Add to this the fact that the shake is made at the Brew-Wing lab by none other than Muppet science genius Bunsen Honeydew, and you have a drink experience that's more than just a tart twist on a sweet sip. Fans may be lining up to try it just to say they got to taste an oddball ice cream treat at the happiest place on Earth.

Reviews of Disney's milkshake are mixed

Not unexpectedly, even a pickle milkshake served with all the enchantment Disney can muster is a tough pill to swallow. One Instagram reviewer described in detail exactly how pickle-y the concoction tastes, calling out flavor notes like a true connoisseur ... just before revealing they didn't actually like it. Give them points for trying, plus bonus points for unflinching honesty, and bonus-bonus points for helping pickle fans find their way to a new quaff when they visit Mickeytown. Considering the cost is shown at $5.75 as of August 2023, it could be one of the more affordable experiments to engage in during a trip to the park.

The folks at Disney Food Blog report similar ups and downs when it comes to giving this novelty nosh a fair shake. Though there seems to be no denying the unusual qualities offered by the blend, whether or not "unusual" means "fantastic" requires highly individualized interpretation. For parkgoers who are game to give it a go, they can minimally say they tried it, even if they didn't like it. And if they do end up liking it, there's more where that came from. Everybody wins. Especially the Disney corporation.

JoJo's Shake Bar beat Disney to the pickle shake punch

Did Jojo's Shake Bar, the wonderland of sugar and color where everything turns into a shake piled high with goodies, really have the idea to market pickle milkshakes before the kingdom of the mouse? Well, yes. And no. Mostly no. An image appeared on an Instagram post from Jojo's account, announcing the imminent arrival of a brand-new flavor: the pickle shake. The picture showed the rim of the cup adorned with herbs and pickle slices, while the shake itself was topped with pickle-infused whipped cream and a full-sized pickle. 

It was beautiful and brilliant, and it came with a green-striped straw that looked suspiciously similar to the one in the EPCOT version. But the comments and laughing-crying emojis quickly indicated that this shake was a well-timed seasonal gag that only those unfamiliar with Jojo's penchant for sweet shakes would fall for. And yet, this tasty tomfoolery didn't stop some commenters from declaring how popular a pickle milkshake might be for Jojo's. Maybe it will come to life some day, when sugar has lost its appeal and sweet shakes are ready for a hit of something shocking.

Chick-Fil-A tried a pickle shake as an April Fool's Joke

Leave it to Chick-Fil-A, a chain known for its judicious use of pickles, to pull a puckerific prank on its devoted audience. When April 1 rolls around, folks at franchise locations load their socials with humorous references to a brand new flavor in the shake family: the frosted pickle milkshake. The outlet's quintessential soft serve is inundated with tangy pickles and topped with a blast of whipped cream, garnished with more pickle slices, of course. It's quaint enough to fool the most dedicated diners. But it's all a clever ruse; there's no Chick-Fil-A pickle shake to be had.

Search the internet for this mythical dessert, however, and you'd swear this unwise blend of sugar and brine was the real deal. More cleverly faked photos and enthusiastic descriptions show up every year. The idea of a sweet and sour combination at this popular chain may extend into the imaginary with the pickle shake, but everyone who's eaten there knows the real pucker power belongs to its irreplaceable lemonade. Now that concoction is a real punch in the taste buds. No foolin', April or otherwise.

Pickle ice cream is an ancestor

While tossing pickles into ice cream is one solution to quell your hunger for creamy foods that are also sour and salty, whipping up a full-blown pickle ice cream is a tad more creative. Some versions of the concoction even add a drizzle of crunchy peanut butter to round out the crispy and creamy elements. Really, if you're going to throw pickles and ice cream together, what could it hurt to add peanut butter, too?

A quick no-churn recipe by Food Network lets ambitious culinary crafters get to their weird flavor fascinations even faster. And for those who just can't wait until the liquid ingredients set, Nightfood offers a pickle ice cream you can stock up on. It's best to have your unusual snacks on hand when hunger strikes instead of hoping you can churn your own frozen treat. So in the event that a pickle milkshake sounds like something worth trying and you don't have the wherewithal to put all those ingredients in the blender together, you can add a few scoops of pre-made pickle ice cream in with milk and ice cubes and find an easier path to sweet and sour satisfaction.

Dill pickle milk is another variation ... or is it?

There's no reason to combine pickles and milk, other than an uncontrolled sense of gustatory adventure or absolute boredom with literally anything else in your fridge. And yet, pickle milk has made an appearance on the beverage landscape, and it's no mere mirage wavering in the distance ... or maybe it is. Bearing the repulsive name Pilk, this unnecessary beverage seems to have appeared in dairy cases out of nowhere, much to the shock of consumers who never asked for this kind of trouble. 

As happens frequently in the age of AI, some commenters on Reddit cried foul when they saw this meme-ready bottle. "That's a Photoshop of fairlife milk packaging," says one user, which is a fair assessment. Further research reveals no viable evidence that pickle-based milk in any form or flavor actually exists as anything more than a troubling internet meme. This leaves Pilk free to be used as the name for the TikTok trend of blending Pepsi with milk, a rehash of the old Laverne & Shirley staple milk and Pepsi. Have drinks always been this confusing, or did we just enter an alternate dimension?

Pickle juice popsicles are a thing too

Maybe a milkshake doesn't sell the idea of frozen pickle treats as well as a pickle popsicle would. Luckily, these tart treats are on the market as well for those daring enough to dive in. Meanwhile, making your own pickle pops allow you to experiment with different flavors by selecting a brine that works best for your palate. This seems like a trap since anything frozen that isn't sweet is going to taste like disappointment no matter how selective you may be. Imagine tearing into a familiar frozen pop wrapper on a scorching day, expecting grape, blue raspberry, or lemon-lime to cool you down sweetly, only to be met with a super salty pickle brine instead. Blech.

If you're tempted to taste but not in the mood to make your own, order a package from Amazon and freeze them to your heart's content. The label on Van Holten's package suggests enjoying the packets unfrozen if you'd like, which amounts to drinking a bag of pickle juice. If you're going to spend money on individually packaged pickle juice, you might as well turn it into an ice pop to see what the fuss is about.

Sonic had a popular pickle juice slush

Because one fast-food outlet can't seem to get in on a trend without the rest following suit, Sonic had its own entry in the pickle-flavored frozen treat race with a pickle slush. It was the grooviest green you've ever seen, and it made a quick return for late summer 2022 before evaporating in the lingering heat. The fast turnaround on this nuclear green oddity may have been for the best.

Anyone interested in trying a version at home, where it's possible for weird food trends to live on forever, can crack the lid on Slushie Machine Guide's pucker-worthy recipe. According to the recipe, all it takes are ice cubes and leftover pickle juice, which you should never throw out because then you would be unprepared for opportunities like this. This is an eat-immediately-if-at-all creation, so be prepared to sip right away. What will be worse, the brain freeze or the permanent pucker as you devour your slush? Maybe it'll be a tie.

It's inspired other products

It seems it isn't enough to upset the world of flavor predictability just with pickle milkshakes. Somehow, this upside-down blend has worked its way into other popular products, items known for their delightful flavors that now have something to prove to the world. Items like ... lip balm? Yes, pickle milkshake lip balm is offered by Licker Lips, in addition to other sweet and savory options. While it makes sense to put something puckery on your pucker, the tingly sting of pickles seems a poor choice. Maybe the creaminess of the milkshake element helps soothe the chap on your smacker and keep the balm as an actual balm. The company also makes plain-old dill pickle and bacon-flavored lip balm, so take it with a grain of salt.

Not one to pass up a marketing opportunity, Amazon packages dill pickle and pickle milkshake lip balm together in a three-pack. This is undoubtedly its way of showing appreciation to the pickle milkshake fans of the world with added doses of their favorite flavor to keep handy for those moments when it's simply impossible to snack on pickles, in milkshakes or otherwise.

Maybe you'd prefer a pickle smoothie

After you've had a chance to track down your favorite store-bought pickles, you might find yourself interested in blending them into a smoothie with peanut butter instead of munching on them solo. This combination consists of your favorite peanut butter, a packet of protein powder, and pickle juice. It may take a little trial and error to come up with a consistency that works best for your sensibilities. Then again, you're making a pickle and peanut butter beverage, so it may take a lot of trial and error to get the balance right.

Think of this mash-up as a green drink with extra green and sodium to spare, something your body needs in controlled doses. Even having protein, healthy fats, electrolytes, and wild flavor in every sip, this one-of-a-kind concoction may be a once-in-a-lifetime idea to test out. But what's not to love about that? Perhaps the flavor ... and even that may grow on you over time. If not, there's bound to be a new and exciting taste trend coming down the pike to replace pickle beverages any minute now.