We Tried The New Churro Shake From Sonic - Here's How It Went

If you have ever been to a Sonic Drive-In restaurant, seen one of their commercials on TV (or YouTube), or been even vaguely aware of American fast-food culture over the course of the past half century or so, you are probably aware that the chain offers a lot of different beverage products, most of which are resoundingly sweet. And those two words are perfectly applicable to the latest foodstuff on the Sonic Drive-In menu, the new Churro Shake. But note we don't say "overwhelmingly sweet" or use descriptors like cloying or sickly sweet or any such pejoratives because while big and intense in taste, this shake hit the spot. At least about half of it did — we'll get to the nitty-gritty of it all in a bit, describing our first-hand taste test experience with the newest (and we mean newest — as you'll see, this shake isn't even available to all customers yet) Sonic offering.

First, let's run through all the details, like what's in the shake, what it costs, where you can get it, and for how long this newest sweet treat will be hanging around. Because unlike the Cheese Tots or SuperSonic Breakfast Burrito or, say, Coca-Cola Classic, this menu item is only going to be available for a limited time (Of course, in our experience, "limited time" menu items tend to become permanent if they sell well enough and gain widespread popularity, so we'll see how it plays out this time).

What's in Sonic's new Churro Shake?

What's in the new Churro Shake? Well, a lot of sugar, to be sure. Per Sonic, the new Churro Shake consists of "real ice cream blended with caramel and cinnamon sugar then topped with a cinnamon sugar churro, whipped topping, and a cherry." To be precise, the shake consists of vanilla ice cream, cinnamon sugar, and caramel, while the base toppings are whipped cream, a maraschino cherry, and an actual piece of churro — the same kind of fried sweet dessert you might get at a fairground (It's also worth noting that churros are on the Sonic menu right now — you can get a five-piece order of "warm, crispy churros coated with cinnamon sugar" at most locations right now for only $1.49, though they are available for order only via the Sonic app, per a press release sent out on the same day of this writing.)

Not sweet and fancy enough for you with whipped cream (or whipped topping, to be precise), a sweet cherry, and a churro on top? No problem. Additional optional toppings include fresh sliced bananas and/or fresh sliced strawberries. And hot fudge is also an option. Want to mix in some more flavor (and sugar and calories)? You're really gilding the lily if you do, but Sonic lists Oreo cookie pieces and Reese's peanut butter as mix-in options. Oh, and you can also have chocolate syrup mixed in.

How much does the new Churro Shake cost?

The Churro Shake isn't one of the cheapest items on the menu, but it's not going to break the bank, either. At the Sonic Drive-In we visited (a few miles east of New York City proper, for reference), a medium Churro Shake cost $5.39. A quick check around in the Sonic app revealed that to be the same price as the chain's Strawberry Cheesecake Master Shake, also in a medium size. A medium Classic Chocolate Shake? That's a bit less, at $4.89.

Is the Churro Shake worth the price, especially as it costs only 40 cents less than a Sonic Cheeseburger (which is priced at $5.79, for the record, at the restaurant we visited)? Yes, it is, and not least because the Churro Shake actually has significantly more calories than a Sonic Cheeseburger. The price is justified here because this shake tastes like a rich, high-quality treat. For reference, a medium-sized shake from a Baskin Robbins in the same neighborhood (priced via Uber Eats, it should be noted) costs $8.98, which makes the Sonic shake pricing seem downright fair (almost $9 seems a bit steep for a shake, if you ask us, but that's a digression for another day).

The shake is widely available, but only for a little while

As of July 25th, 2022, the new Churro Shake from Sonic is available far and wide — you should be able to get one at any Sonic anywhere, which means you can find a Churro Shake in every state in America except for four — the states that are sans Sonic are Hawaii, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, according to data company ScrapeHero. But there are several catches here. For starters, during this, the shake's first week of availability, it can only be ordered via the Sonic Drive-In app — this is a common tactic among fast-food companies and other brands these days, as it forces people to adopt app usage; in the case of Sonic, we can say we really didn't mind, because the app is refreshingly easy to use. Starting on August 1st, however, anyone — even a non-app-using person — can get a Churro Shake just by walking into a Sonic and ordering one. Or, better yet, by driving through or driving up and ordering that way.

The second catch? As noted, you'll have to buy one sooner than later. As of now, Sonic is only planning to offer its new Churro Shake until September 25th. So that's a two-month window of opportunity for app users and a mere seven-week stretch of availability for non-app Sonic customers.

How does the new shake compare to other items on Sonic's menu?

At the risk of sounding a bit jaded, the new Churro Shake from Sonic is ... a milkshake. It's a good one, to be sure, with a unique flavor profile we'll discuss later, but it's a shake, and shake is a shake. At the time of this writing, Sonic offers no fewer than 13 different milkshakes (to be clear, they are always careful to say "shake" and not use the word "milkshake" as to do so implies specific and limited ingredients — we're using the term casually). These include many that, like the Churro Shake, are in Sonic's "Master Shake" category, like the OREO Chocolate Master Shake or the Strawberry Cheesecake Master Shake.

There is also the Classic Shake category which has the Vanilla Classic Shake, the Strawberry Classic Shake, and the Reese's Peanut Butter Classic Shake, to name but a few. So is the Churro Shake a wild departure from the norm for Sonic? Is it a new and totally unexpected menu item that no one saw coming? No, not at all, really. It's just a really good milkshake that joins the chain's deep bench of similar offerings for a little while.

What's the nutrition info?

If you're super concerned about eating only the healthiest foods, you should probably avoid fast food chains in general, you probably shouldn't indulge in milkshakes, and you definitely should not consume fast food chain milkshakes. The Churro Shake is not the healthiest of foods. A medium-sized Churro Shake packs in 960 calories when topped with its standard cherry, whipped topping, cinnamon sugar, and churro garnish. Remember how we said it had more calories than a Sonic Cheeseburger? Well, it does, and by about 240 calories, at that.

At the time of this writing, the exact nutrition info for the new shake is not readily available — not beyond the hefty calorie count, anyway. So we're going to do some extrapolation here. The Sonic shakes for which complete nutrition information is available that have the closest calorie count to the Churro Shake are the Strawberry Banana Shake and the Strawberry Cheesecake Shake. Both, in a medium size, have 930 calories, or 30 less than the Churro Shake. With their stats averaged together and remembering the slightly higher calorie count in the Churro Shake, we find that there are likely around 375 calories from fat, 42 grams of fat, 28 grams of saturated fat, 125 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 grams of sodium, and about 12 grams of protein. That last stat is at least a bit redeeming; the rest are... pretty scary. But hey, it's a treat, not a part of your regular diet, right?

Did we like the new shake?

Yes, we really did enjoy it, resounding sweetness and all. First, the criticisms: The whipped topping was too dominant in some bites of the shake when we used a spoon. Its sweet cream flavor overpowered the cinnamon churro taste of the shake. When sipped through a straw, however, the churro taste (and the classic vanilla ice cream base) were solid. Also on the negative side was the fact that, by the time we were home from the Sonic — a drive that lasted a bit more than 20 minutes because we hit every light — both the piece of churro and the maraschino cherry had sunk out of view down into the depths of the shake, never to be seen again.

And we mean never — we didn't finish the shake. But that was more of a comment on ourselves than on the Churro Shake. We paired the shake with a Sonic Cheeseburger and a medium-sized order of fries, and after finishing most of the burger and fries and about half of the Churro Shake (not to mention a good number of sips of a Cherry Burst with Bursting Bubbles — see below) we were beginning to question our life choices. Had we been enjoying a Churro Shake alone, the sweet, cinnamon-flavored, lightly toasted-tasting shake would have been enjoyed to the last drop (or scoop or bite, call it what you will), and with no other calories needed for many hours.

We also tried the returning Cherry Burst with Bursting Bubbles

Sonic didn't just roll out a brand new shake this week in the form of the Churro Shake, it also brought back an older beverage that had been a favorite of many Sonic fans. That would be the Cherry Burst with Bursting Bubbles. Per Sonic's press release, "adding bursts of cherry flavor to the iconic lineup of Sonic beverages, Bursting Bubbles are featured in the fizzy Cherry Burst and the icy Cherry Burst Slush," though the press release also notes that "Bursting Bubbles can also be added to any of your favorite Sonic drinks or Slushes for an additional charge," so you don't have to stick with the Cherry Burst to "enjoy" little bits of popping stuff in your drink. We add the quotation marks there because, candidly, we did not enjoy this drink. If drinking little balls of candy that pop in your mouth sounds good to you, go for it, but this drink was off the mark for us.

That said, the flavor of the Cherry Burst beverage itself was pretty good. It was quite sweet, so it actually got better and better the more the ice melted and diluted it, but as an occasional treat, we can see this being our beverage of choice to accompany a burger and fries — it's a much lower calorie choice than a shake, at any rate, only packing in 260 calories for a Cherry Burst, and that's with the Bursting Bubbles.