Sonic is known for its wide selection of milkshakes and other flavors. They have plenty of other dishes, including American-style fare like burgers, hot dogs, and fries, but I’ve always found their milkshakes to be the best reason to stop by and pick something up.
Unfortunately, not all of their drinks are available throughout the year.
In the rest of this guide, I’m going to go through my thoughts on the best Sonic milkshakes, including which flavors are commonly available, why I think they stand out, and what you should keep in mind while ordering them. That said, this is my personal preference, so don’t take the order too seriously.
Lastly, unlike some other brands, Sonic’s milkshake machines are fairly reliable. They’re not guaranteed to be up because any equipment at a fast-food restaurant can break, but milkshakes are usually available in most parts of the country.
If you’re like me and live in an area where it gets hot in summer, that reliability matters.
Check out our favorite milkshakes at Sonic, from classic flavors to inventive ones!
Sonic’s Cheesecake shake is always a pleasant choice on hot days.
What makes this shake work for me is that it’s tasty, but mildly so. Cheesecake doesn’t hit you in the face as an orange drink can.
The graham cracker mixed in also provides some texture and additional variety in the flavor, and I find that to be a vital part of its success.
For this drink, I suggest skipping the cherry and not adding any additional toppings.
There are plenty of drinks where things like chocolate syrup and Oreo crumbles enhance things, but the cheesecake shake works best when you keep it simple.
For something a bit bolder and sweeter, Sonic’s Caramel shake is a solid rendition of a popular flavor.
The caramel mixes well with the vanilla ice cream they use as a base. Cherries are optional here, but I suggest eating them first because it might be hard to taste after you’ve had some of the drink.
This shake also goes well if you start adding chocolate extras to it.
I recommend hot fudge over the chocolate syrup.
The hot fudge will cool down quickly enough and stick together so you can enjoy it when you want, rather than drizzling a chocolate flavor on top and having that vanish right after you start.
Chocolate shakes are my personal go-to, especially when I’m tired and don’t feel like going for a fruitier or more complex flavor.
Chocolate is one of the simplest shakes you’ll find, just chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream before any toppings, but Sonic’s iterated the mix and ratios into a reliably enjoyable drink.
I customize this shake more than any other.
Oreo cookies and peanut butter are both excellent additions to a standard chocolate shake, offering extra flavor and texture when you’re enjoying it.
I don’t like hot fudge as much here because the shake doesn’t need more of that, but true chocolate lovers may enjoy that.
I’m going to speak a little blasphemy: I don’t like plain vanilla flavors.
It’s not that vanilla is fundamentally bad, but it’s primarily a base flavor and tends to get better when you add other things.
I’ve only ordered Sonic’s Vanilla shake once, but when I did, I added both Oreo cookies and hot fudge. The resulting drink was perfectly fine on its merits.
That said, I recommend adding strawberries to this drink if you order it.
Mixing them in will give the whole shake a slight strawberry flavor, and that’s a noticeable improvement over the basic drink.
Alternatively, if you’re buying for someone and don’t know their preferences, a vanilla shake is rarely a poor choice.
Out of all the flavors Sonic offers, Banana is my least favorite.
Like Vanilla, I’ve only had it once, and in this case, I went out to try it before writing this article so I could give an honest opinion.
To Sonic’s credit, they include a lot of real bananas instead of relying entirely on artificial banana flavoring, and that makes this shake better than it would otherwise be.
Chocolate toppings go well here because banana pairs nicely with them. You can also add fresh strawberries, which is another standard flavor combination.
The banana might be a bit too strong, however, so consider trying a vanilla shake with both strawberry and banana toppings.
Oreo Cheesecake is an excellent shake at Sonic, although I’m probably biased on this one.
This is essentially the same as the regular Cheesecake shake, but the added Oreos give it a chocolate flavor and noticeably more texture when you’re drinking.
The OC is a shake where you may want a spoon instead of a straw.
The reason I like this shake is that it’s a good halfway point between the regular vanilla and chocolate shakes.
It’s not a full-on chocolate drink, but it does have more flavor than a vanilla shake with a bit of chocolate syrup drizzled on top.
In a way, this is the most average-flavored shake they sell, and it works out nicely.
Despite the name, the Hot Fudge shake is less about actual hot fudge and more about the flavor they use.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, this is closer to a dark chocolate shake, making it more muted than the regular chocolate one.
It’s nowhere near bitter, but if you have a sensitive tongue, you’ll definitely notice the difference between these drinks.
Unfortunately, Sonic usually doesn’t offer actual hot fudge on top of this drink, which I’d prefer to get.
I generally enjoy dark chocolate flavors, but as far as shakes go, I think the Oreo Cheesecake ends up working a little better. Kids who love chocolate may appreciate this variation on the standard flavor, though.
Sonic offers their espresso shakes irregularly, so you may not see them on the menu when you go.
I also take issue with the name here, because all reports are that Sonic uses cold brew coffee for this shake. That matters because espresso and cold brew are quite different drinks.
Anyway, the resulting shake flavor is a relatively mild coffee, which goes well with the base vanilla ice cream to create a comfortably smooth drink.
This drink is arguably a fancy milk coffee, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on how you feel about coffee in general.
Peanut Butter is another common milkshake flavor. I don’t order this one too often because I prefer a chocolate and peanut butter mix, with chocolate as the base instead of the flavoring.
Other people like peanut a lot more, though, and that’s where this blend comes in.
I always recommend getting this shake with a chocolate add-on, but avoid the caramel as that can clash a little with the peanut flavor.
Peanut butter is generally sweet to start with in shakes, and balancing that out is vital for getting a better drink.
Cheesecake works in many of the best Sonic milkshakes, and that’s apparent in the Strawberry Cheesecake mix.
This particular drink has a lot of texture, making it almost like a liquid cake instead of a smoother, traditional drink.
Sonic usually has great drink consistency, and the effort it takes for that is on full display here.
Sonic uses real strawberries for flavoring here, not just a flavored drink mix, so expect to see bits of fruit in your drink if you look at it.
The Strawberry Cheesecake shake is complex on its own, so I recommend avoiding extra toppings. Chocolate is usually nice, but it can throw off the balance of flavors here and hide the subtler nuances.
This drink probably qualifies as a milk mocha. Coffee isn’t for everyone, but it pairs well with chocolate.
Specifically, coffee can enhance chocolate flavors by making sweeter things a little more noticeable, which is why so many chocolate cake recipes suggest adding a little espresso powder.
I prefer regular chocolate flavors more, but Sonic’s Oreo Espresso is better than their coffee mix if you’re looking for a complex flavor.
Unfortunately, like their other coffee-based drinks, it’s only available irregularly. If you’re interested in trying this drink, make sure to check their menu occasionally and grab it quickly when it shows up again.
Strawberry is an interesting flavor for milkshakes. It’s not fundamentally bad, but it’s challenging to get right.
Sonic addresses this with their Classic Strawberry shake, which is basically similar to the cheesecake version but smoother and without the graham crackers.
Vanilla ice cream always mutes strawberry flavors a little, so you won’t get the same punch of flavor as, say, a strawberry fruit drink.
However, blending so there’s still some bits of real strawberry visibly left takes this drink up to the right level. Adding fresh banana is a good choice, too.