How many calories are in a Portillo’s cake shake?

A Portillo’s cake shake is a popular menu item at the famous Chicago-style hot dog chain Portillo’s. It’s made with real ice cream and cake pieces blended together to create a thick, creamy milkshake. But with its rich ingredients, a cake shake likely packs a hefty calorie punch. So just how many calories are in a Portillo’s cake shake? Let’s take a detailed look.

What Is A Portillo’s Cake Shake?

A Portillo’s cake shake is a milkshake made with rich vanilla bean ice cream and chunks of moist chocolate or vanilla cake blended throughout. The cake chunks add great texture and flavor. Portillo’s cake shakes come in three sizes:

– Small – 12 oz
– Medium – 20 oz
– Large – 32 oz

In addition to classic chocolate and vanilla cake shakes, Portillo’s also offers seasonal flavors like strawberry cheesecake, cookies & cream, mint chocolate chip, and more. The cake shakes are handspun extra thick using a special machine. They’re topped with whipped cream and a cherry for a picture-perfect milkshake.

Nutritional Information For Portillo’s Cake Shakes

Portillo’s provides nutrition facts for their cake shakes on their website. Here’s how many calories are in each size:

Small Portillo’s Cake Shake (12 oz)

– Calories: 680
– Total Fat: 24g
– Saturated Fat: 15g
– Trans Fat: 0g
– Cholesterol: 105mg
– Sodium: 250mg
– Total Carbohydrates: 105g
– Dietary Fiber: 0g
– Total Sugars: 81g
– Protein: 8g

Medium Portillo’s Cake Shake (20 oz)

– Calories: 1,020
– Total Fat: 34g
– Saturated Fat: 23g
– Trans Fat: 0g
– Cholesterol: 155mg
– Sodium: 370mg
– Total Carbohydrates: 157g
– Dietary Fiber: 0g
– Total Sugars: 130g
– Protein: 12g

Large Portillo’s Cake Shake (32 oz)

– Calories: 1,540
– Total Fat: 50g
– Saturated Fat: 33g
– Trans Fat: 1g
– Cholesterol: 235mg
– Sodium: 550mg
– Total Carbohydrates: 236g
– Dietary Fiber: 0g
– Total Sugars: 195g
– Protein: 18g

As you can see, the calorie count jumps up significantly with each larger size. The small cake shake already packs 680 calories, while the large packs a whopping 1,540 calories.

Calorie Breakdown Of A Portillo’s Cake Shake

What accounts for all those calories in a Portillo’s cake shake? Let’s take a look at where they come from:

Calories from Fat

There’s a good amount of fat in a Portillo’s cake shake. The small cake shake gets 24g total fat and 15g saturated fat. The large option has 50g total fat and 33g saturated fat. All that fat from the ice cream contributes a lot of calories.

Calories from Carbs

The majority of calories in a Portillo’s cake shake comes from carbohydrates. There’s 105g total carbs and a big 81g of sugar in a small shake. The large shake has 236g carbs and 195g sugar. The cake chunks and milkshake base provide most of the carbs.

Calories from Protein

While not a big percentage of the total, the milkshake does contain a bit of protein too. There’s 8g protein in the small and 18g in the large.

So in summary, most calories come from fat and carbohydrates, with minimal protein.

How Portillo’s Cake Shake Compares To Other Desserts

To put the calorie count of a Portillo’s cake shake in context, let’s see how it compares to some other popular desserts:

Dessert Calories
Portillo’s small cake shake (12oz) 680
Krispy Kreme original glazed donut 190
McDonald’s McFlurry (M&M’s) 510
Starbucks Grande Java Chip Frappuccino 420
Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie pint 1,160

A small Portillo’s shake has around 140 more calories than a McDonald’s McFlurry, and about 260 more calories than a Starbucks Frappuccino. It also exceeds the calorie count of most donuts. However, a full pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream still packs even more calories overall.

So while Portillo’s cake shakes are high in calories, their count is comparable to similar milkshakes and ice cream treats. The thick, creamy texture and cake chunks do come at a calorie cost.

Tips For Enjoying A Portillo’s Cake Shake In Moderation

Despite their high calorie count, you can still enjoy a Portillo’s cake shake in moderation with these tips:

– Opt for the small size instead of medium or large to cut calories.

– Share your shake with a friend. Splitting it cuts the calories in half.

– Use a small straw to slow down your sipping and make it last longer.

– Savor every creamy sip instead of gulping it down. Smaller sips are more satisfying.

– Pair your cake shake with a lighter meal, like a grilled chicken sandwich and side salad.

– Avoid adding extra toppings like candies or cookies on your shake.

– Make your cake shake a special treat every once in awhile instead of a regular indulgence.

– Balance your daily calories if you want a shake. Opt for lighter meals earlier in the day.

– Order your shake with a cup on the side and drink only half. Take the rest home.

With portion control and mindful sipping, it’s possible to work a Portillo’s cake shake into your diet in moderation, even with the high calorie count.

Should You Make Portillo’s Cake Shakes At Home?

The convenience of grabbing a pre-made shake at Portillo’s is hard to resist. But you can also recreate this iconic Chicago treat at home. Here are some pros and cons of making a Portillo’s-style cake shake at home:


– Customize the ingredients to your liking
– Lower calorie options by using lighter ice cream
– Add other mixins like peanut butter or candy
– Make smaller portion sizes
– Cost effective compared to buying out


– Requires more effort than ordering out
– Hard to replicate the signature thick texture
– Buying cake and ice cream can get expensive
– Don’t have the special blender machines
– challenging to copy exact Portillo’s flavors

Making cake shakes at home does require more work, ingredients, and kitchen equipment. But you’ll have more control over portion sizes and calorie counts.

Homemade Portillo’s Cake Shake Recipe

If you want to recreate the Portillo’s cake shake experience, here is a recipe to make a chocolate cake shake at home:


– 2 cups vanilla ice cream
– 1/4 cup milk
– 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
– 1/4 cup crushed chocolate cake or brownie pieces
– Whipped cream for topping
– Cherry for garnish


1. Add ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup, and crushed cake pieces to a blender. Blend until thoroughly combined and creamy.

2. Pour into a tall glass and top with whipped cream and a cherry.

3. For a thicker shake, use less milk. For a thinner consistency, add more milk to taste.

The homemade version will be fresher and let you control the thickness and chocolate flavor. While not exactly like Portillo’s, it can satisfy that cake shake craving without leaving home.

Nutrition Tips For Cake Shakes

To make your Portillo’s cake shake a bit healthier, keep these nutrition tips in mind:

– Use reduced-fat or lowfat ice cream. It cuts calories and fat.

– Choose chocolate cake over vanilla cake for a boost of antioxidants.

– Load up on calcium and protein with a nonfat milk base.

– Avoid extra toppings like candy to cut added sugar.

– Use just a splash of chocolate syrup instead of going overboard.

– Pick seasonal fruit shake flavors when available for more nutrients.

– Share your shake or only consume half to reduce calories.

– Enjoy cake shakes only occasionally as a special treat.

With smart customizations and portion control, you can still enjoy the iconic combo of cake and ice cream in a shake, even when watching your nutrition.

The Verdict On Portillo’s Cake Shakes

So how many calories are in a Portillo’s cake shake? The small single serving shake already packs 680 calories. Jumping up to the large 32oz size brings you to a whopping 1,540 calories and 50g of fat.

While the calorie count is high, Portillo’s cake shakes provide an indulgent dessert treat made with quality ingredients. Enjoying them in moderation by splitting with a friend or ordering a small, and balancing them with lighter meals can allow you to work this iconic Chicago specialty into your diet.

Or you can make a lighter homemade version with lowfat ice cream and reasonable portion sizes. However you enjoy them, Portillo’s cake shakes deliver the perfect blend of rich, creamy ice cream and moist cake pieces for a satisfying dessert experience.

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