The Real Difference Between A McFlurry And A Sonic Blast

There's a lot of things in the world of fast food that go out of their way to try and beat the band with flashy advertisements and catchy names, but in the end, they all just seem to be the same old song-and-dance. How many advertisements for chicken sandwiches have you seen today scrolling through your Twitter feed? How many times have you seen snarky "clapbacks" from fast-food social media accounts to another fast-food giant's social media account about each other's burgers or pizza without explaining what makes them different? In a world where everything feels like it's just trying to copy the next latest fad and peeking at each other's playbooks to stay ahead, are here any two products out there that are actually different despite their similarities?

Perhaps there are two ice-cold treats that can break the cycle of repeating and copying fads. One comes served to you from the hands of a roller-skating waitress like something from a 1950s teenage hangout, and the other comes to you from within a classic American icon marked with a pair of golden arches. The question now posed for your consideration is this: What makes McDonald's McFlurry and Sonic's own Sonic Blast so different?

The McDonalds frozen classic: the McFlurry

Introduced in 1997, McDonald's McFlurry is the company's classic soft-serve ice cream treat that's always accompanied by a long, hollow straw-like spoon, which, via Medium, is designed to connect to a machine that blends toppings into the ice cream. The base flavor is always a sweet, soft vanilla ice cream that can be customized with a wide range of toppings, such as Oreo cookies, fun-sized M&M's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and Snickers bars. 

The McFlurry's simplicity (ice cream plus toppings) hasn't hurt the reputation of McDonald's soft-serve snack, but in other countries across the world, there is a treasure trove of McFlurry flavors. In the United Kingdom, customers could purchase Chocolate Orange McFlurries, which consisted of the vanilla soft-serve mixed with chunks of Terry's Chocolate Orange slices, drizzled with chocolate orange sauce, before it was phased out (via The Sun). In Australia, a combination of soft-serve, sweet bubblegum syrup, and plenty of colored marshmallows are mixed together to form the Bubblegum Squash McFlurry, which seems to be discontinued as of the moment even though many have clamored for its return (via Facebook). In Venezuela, the rich and thick caramel-like dulce de leche is mixed with ice cream and crushed cookies to make a Dulce de Leche McFlurry (via FoodBeast).

There's a wide variety of mix-ins and flavors you could add to your McFlurry, wherever you are. But does the Sonic Blast have this same amount of customization?

A carhop classic: the Sonic Blast

At first glance, the Sonic Blast appears to be almost exactly the same as the McFlurry: soft-serve vanilla ice cream with your selection of toppings. These toppings can include chunks of cookie dough pieces, Butterfinger bars, Reese's cups, and all the other sugary treats one would expect to find swirled into their soft serve.

Unlike it's golden-arched relative, however, the Sonic Blast's more unique flavors are available to the public in the United States, rather than spread out across the globe. This summer, Sonic released new Cheesecake Blasts, which consists of either chunks of cheesecake mixed into ice cream or cheesecake and vanilla ice cream blended together with strawberries (via Thrillist). In 2016, "Flavor Funnels" were released, which consisted of thick inner cores of various flavors (chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, and Oreo stuffing) surrounded by a tall outer layer of ice cream and toppings, allowing a customer to get a bite of different flavors with every spoonful (via Chew Boom). While they did bear a striking similarity to a certain Dairy Queen treat, the Sonic Blast allows a bit more variety for local customers rather than the exotic, but far more distant, flavors of the McFlurry.

The nutritional difference between McFlurries and Sonic Blasts

It's perfectly fine to give into your sweet tooth every once in a while to enjoy a cold and smooth treat. Like everyone who enjoys a bit of an indulgence, you certainly don't want to go overboard, right? When you're craving a cup of ice cream and candy bars, you'll at least want to have one that wouldn't leave you feeling like you just put on a few extra pounds.

Both McDonald's and Sonic offer their own versions of the classic cookies and cream combination: the Oreo McFlurry and the Oreo Sonic Blast, respectively. According to Fast Food Nutrition, the 12-ounce regular-sized Oreo McFlurry has 570 calories, with over 157 calories coming from fat and a whopping 360 calories coming from carbohydrates. The dessert also contains 19 grams of fat and 90 grams of carbohydrates. In comparison, the 14-ounce small Oreo Sonic Blast contains 720 calories, with 38 grams of fat and 84 grams of carbohydrates (via CalorieKing). Despite being made of similar ingredients, the Sonic Blast seems to be the more offending of the two — though, it's not as astounding as the large Oreo Blast, which boasts a bold 1,200 calories (via Eat This Much).

It would appear that if you're in the mood for an ice cream shake, it's best to stick to McDonald's, at least if you want to keep as healthy as possible.

The most unique flavors

There's plenty of flavors and variations of the McFlurry and the Sonic Blast to be sure. But are there any that caused a widespread amount of fanfare? Are there any flavors that are eagerly looked forward to in either the heat of summer or the freezing festivities of the winter season? 

In 2021, Sonic introduced the Oreo Big Scoop Cookie Dough Blast, a combination of an Oreo Blast and a Cookie Dough Blast poured into a tall frosty glass and capped off with crushed Oreo pieces, chocolate chips, and a huge scoop of edible Oreo cookie dough (via Inspire Brands). Although it had a limited lifespan until May 2021, the reviews for this beast of a blast were enough to turn fans into real-life Cookie Monsters. "It's like if some lovable klutz knocked a handful of Oreo into the batch of chocolate chip cookie dough they were whipping up in the mixer," wrote The Impulsive Buy. "In other words, divine."

In the United Kingdom, folks eagerly look forward to the Malteser Reindeer McFlurry. Per Insider, this McFlurry is topped with reindeer-shaped Maltesers, Malteser clusters, and a rich chocolate sauce and already found a home in the hearts of fans, with one Twitter user giving a very simple review.

"If you notice I put on 3 stone over the forthcoming months, just blame McDonald's for doing a Maltesers reindeer McFlurry and my inability to say no," the fan wrote.

Chill out! The debate between McFlurries and Blasts

Despite all the fancy flavors and calories, the only thing that can make or break a dessert are the reviews. Fortunately for both Ronald McDonald and Sonic, the McFlurry and the Sonic Blast have found rave reviews.

Fast Food Menu Prices' review hailed the M&M McFlurry for its cheap price at $3 for a regular-sized McFlurry compared to prices at Dairy Queen and Starbucks for a similar treat, as well as its texture of crunchy bite-sized M&M's and cold, creamy ice cream. "If you want something sweet, crunchy, and cheap, an M&M McFlurry is a no-fail option," per the review. Various reviews on FamilyRated describe the McDonald's dessert as "addicting," "delicious," and "Heaven in a cup."

According to the BrandEating review, "the [Butterfinger] Sonic Blast tastes as much as you would expect," noting its mellow ice cream flavor and the crunchy pieces of Butterfinger inside the cup. Fast Food Menu Prices' review declares the Sonic Blast ice cream flavor to be delicious and points out the uniqueness of the candy flavors offered in each Blast — although they do admit that the "flavor funnels" are a bit too sweet.

Whether you're a fan of a McFlurry or a tall Sonic Blast, it all seems to be a matter of taste. While being similar, the Sonic Blasts and McFlurries both have differences in flavor and texture, allowing you to make a delicious choice.