The Wendy's Chocolate Frosty Ingredient You Might Not Expect

If you're the kind of person who prefers milk chocolate over dark chocolate, chances are you're probably a big fan of the chocolate Frosty at Wendy's. The fast food chain's milkshake-softserve hybrid isn't known for being super chocolatey, but it sure does pair well with a burger and fries. As Wendy's explains on their Square Deal blog, this was no accident. In order to ensure that his hamburgers wouldn't be outshined by his Frosties, Wendy's founder Dave Thomas insisted on developing a recipe with a "light chocolate flavor" that would complement the rest of the meal rather than overpower it with chocolate.

Wendy's further elaborated in another Square Deal blog post that Thomas turned to Fred Kappus, CEO of food distributor Kappus Company and the chain's Frosty machine supplier, for inspiration. Kappus's idea was based on the ice cream from Thistledown racetrack in Cleveland. Thistledown's signature ice cream flavor was a malty chocolate mixed with vanilla. "Without going into too much detail, all I can say is Dave [Thomas] loved the secret formula," Kappus wrote.

Every Wendy's chocolate Frosty contains vanilla

Though Wendy's won't reveal specific measurements for their signature Frosty, the Square Deal blog did share that if locations ever ran out of the Frosty mix during the first few years that Wendy's was in business, they were instructed to substitute exactly half vanilla soft serve and half chocolate soft serve. 

Wendy's doesn't skimp on the vanilla, in terms of both quantity and quality. Rather than using the imitation kind, the Frosty recipe calls for all-natural vanilla. In fact, there are no artificial flavors in a Frosty, and the cream, milk, and cocoa are all premium. According to Wendy's VP Denny Lynch, it's been that way since the day the original Frosty appeared on the menu when Wendy's first opened in 1969 (via Fox News). Since then, the recipe has seen hardly any revisions. "The only difference is that ice cream has a large amount of butter fat, so we've lowered the [percentage] of butter fat in our Frosties to meet customer demand," Lynch explained to Fox News. As for the vanilla, it's safe to say that part of the recipe isn't getting removed any time soon.