Sonic's Peanut Butter Bacon Shake Review: It's Pretty Good, But Needs More Pork

The last few months of the year are a great time for limited-edition fast food offerings. You get Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all in a row — all amazing food holidays filled with inspiration that quick-serve chains can use for seasonal specials.

Sadly, now we're in the lull after all that holiday excitement. It's the dead of winter, everyone's back at work, and many people are trying to recommit to exercise. Have no fear, though, because Sonic is here to get weird with it. The chain is ready to tempt you to give up on your New Year's fitness resolutions with a couple of temporary peanut butter and bacon-focused menu items. I rolled up to my local Sonic to sample both the Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger and Peanut Butter Bacon Shake and somehow lived to tell the tale. Here are my thoughts on the bacon shake. Spoiler alert: it was very tasty, although there were a couple of things about it that I didn't love.

What's in the Sonic Peanut Butter Bacon Shake?

This frosty menu item's name is pretty self-explanatory. It's Sonic's standard vanilla soft serve blended with peanut butter and tiny, chopped-up pieces of bacon. The whole thing is crowned with a mountain of whipped topping and a maraschino cherry. In the menu picture, the whipped topping is showered with bacon crumbles, but the example I tried did not have that garnish. The whole thing is reminiscent of Burger King's infamous Bacon Sundae from around a decade ago, when American bacon obsession seemed to be at its peak. I'm not sure this ice cream stunt will draw as many eyeballs in 2024 as it would have 10 years ago.

Like the other shakes at Sonic, you can customize this treat with other add-ins and toppings if you'd like — whether you should is another question entirely. Peanut butter and bacon is enough for me; once you start throwing in Oreo crumbles, strawberries, and hot fudge, things start to get dicey. The one extra that intrigues me is banana, which would basically give you a blended version of an Elvis sandwich.

How much does it cost and where is it available?

The Peanut Butter Bacon Shake costs the same as the other fancy milkshakes on Sonic's menu (or as the chain calls them, Master Shakes). In my area, that's $3.99 for a mini, $4.99 for a small, $5.79 for a medium, and $6.99 for a large. I found Sonic's sizing to be quite generous — a small was more than enough for me, and I wouldn't order anything larger unless I was planning on splitting it.

Per a Sonic press release, you have about a month to sample this limited-time-only shake. It debuted in Sonics nationwide on January 8, and the chain plans on serving it until February 4. However, if it's exceptionally popular, there's a chance it may run out faster, as it's advertised to only be around "until supplies last" (though I imagine Sonic always has peanut butter and bacon lying around, so I don't know what ingredients it would be running out of).

How the Peanut Butter Bacon Shake compares to other Sonic menu items

Sonic has an extensive menu of frozen delights. For me, the chain's ice cream and cold drinks have always been the biggest draw of this restaurant, not its hot food. Joining the Peanut Butter Bacon Shake on the list of Master Shakes are other indulgent creations like the Strawberry Cheesecake Master Shake and an Oreo and Reese's Peanut Butter Master Shake (the bacon shake is conspicuously not made with Reese's peanut butter — is Reese's afraid to be associated with this product?). You can also buy standard shakes in various flavors, as well as Sonic Blasts, which appear to be the chain's riff on a Blizzard or McFlurry.

While there is plenty of variety in Sonic's ice cream menu, there is nothing else quite as unhinged as the Peanut Butter Bacon Shake. However, it does fit in with the chain's overall ethos, as Sonic is all about throwing questionable mix-ins into tubs of frozen sugar. After all, where else can you get a slush blended with Nerds candy?

What is the nutritional value of the shake?

The precise nutrition stats of this limited-time shake are hard to pin down, as they're not listed on Sonic's site. The best I can do is guess that they're similar to the Oreo and peanut butter shake, since that one also features peanut butter and another calorically dense mix-in.

With that information in mind, I would describe the Oreo and Reese's Peanut Butter Master Shake's nutritional profile as mildly alarming. If I had kids, I would tell them it was a "sometimes food" for sure. Even a mini is estimated to deliver a small meal's worth of calories at 540. That bumps up to over 1,500 for the large, which is more than three-quarters of the standard 2,000-calorie diet used on FDA nutrition labels (the actual number of calories your body needs varies from person to person).

The sugar numbers aren't pretty either. A mini contains 51 grams of sugar, which is already over the 50-gram FDA-recommended daily value for added sugar. A large contains exactly 3 times the daily limit, at 150 grams. Assuming the Peanut Butter Bacon Shake's numbers are similar, eating one along with a burger and fries could easily put you over your daily caloric needs in a single meal.

Sonic's Peanut Butter Bacon Shake is worth buying

If I just close my eyes and pretend that I never read the nutrition info for Sonic milkshakes, I can heartily recommend that you sample the Peanut Butter Bacon Shake. Sonic's soft serve is top-tier fast food ice cream. It may not be quite as good as what's served by Dairy Queen or Culver's, but it's much better than soft serve from McDonald's or any other burger place. It actually tastes like milk and it's not horrifyingly sweet. Sonic soft serve is also perfectly creamy, and my milkshake came without an ice crystal in sight.

In terms of the mix-ins, the peanut butter dominates the proceedings, and it tastes great. However, the bacon is pulverized into such tiny granules that it doesn't make much of an impression. You get a hint of meaty, smoky savoriness that pairs well with the peanut butter, but I would have liked Sonic to have the courage of its convictions and lean into the bacon element a bit more. The flavor combination works; the shake would be even better if there were bigger pieces of bacon that still retained some crispiness and gave you intense pops of porky deliciousness. Also, the maraschino cherry on top can go die in a fire — I'm skeptical of them at the best of times, and the cherry really doesn't go with the bacon at all. Fortunately, it's easy to fish it out and throw it over a cliff before you enjoy the shake.