McDonald's Frozen Strawberry Lemonade: Don't Believe The Hype

May 24, 2011   67 Comments

Snack Girl couldn't help but notice a coupon for a FREE cup of frozen strawberry lemonade from the Golden Arches in her newspaper.

McDonald's Frozen Strawberry Lemonade

And, being Snack Girl, she found herself going to redeem this coupon at McDonald's yesterday. Why? Well, it seems that many of my friends (yes, I have friends) were curious about this product.

As you know, the nutrition facts of this drink will not be on the side of the 16 ounce cup - so here they are:

280 calories, 0 g fat, 68 g carbohydrates, 0 g protein, 0 g fiber, 30 mg sodium, 7 Points+


Lemonade Base: Water, sugar, lemon juice concentrate, orange juice concentrate, natural flavors (botanical source), citric acid, colored with fruit juice, ascorbic acid, lemon oil.

Strawberry Flavored Syrup: Water, sugar, strawberry puree concentrate, natural (plant source) and artificial flavor, xanthan gum, propylene glycol alginate, citric acid, potassium sorbate (preservative), sodium citrate, red 40.

There are over 13 teaspoons of sugar in this drink - which is very similar to the concentration of sugar in soda.

My problem with it isn't that it is sugar water with some flavor. My issue is that it tastes bad. How can you mess up sugar water?

Notice the ingredient "propylene glycol alginate" - this additive helps give a "slushie" consistency - see my review of the Dunkin Donuts' "Coolatta": You Can De-Ice an Aircraft With This New WORST Drink Winner.

I suppose that would be fine with me except that propylene glycol alginate also has a bitter taste. And, I can taste it in the drink!

McDonald's, did you taste this before you decided to get America hooked on your latest creation? The Frappe was absolutely yummy - 560 Calories For Your Rapid Consumption From McDonald's - if a bit high in calories.

This "treat" is tart, syrupy and BITTER. What are you thinking?

My suggestion is to THROW OUT the free coupon for the drink and just avoid going to McDonald's. I know it is hard to pass up free stuff (and as you see - I didn't) - but it isn't worth it.

First of all, the drink tastes yucky and secondly you will probably buy some fries to go with it that will be soggy. They are just trying to suck you in to get you to buy more stuff.

This marketing idea works, by the way, because I ended up buying a chicken sandwich. Later, during my tummy ache, I regretted that purchase.

If you love Slushies - go to 7-Eleven and buy one there. They don't have "propylene glycol alginate" in them.

Have you tried McD's Frozen Strawberry Lemonade?

if you caught the Public Enemy reference here - yes, I think McDonald's is a Public Enemy :)

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I got it for my 17 year old and my husband, both who are not picky eaters... and they both hated it... we came home and they both handed theirs to my younger kids...who like anything slushie based... and they refused it as well... I am going to say this is a big flop for mcdonalds... but hey we all shouldnt be eating there more reason to not go LOL trust me I still love me a big mac tho.. sigh :(

GASP its 7 freaking PP GET OUT!! AHHHH see I had one and my friend told me that it was 3pts EEEEKKKK (it was last week) OH I will NEVER EVER drink one of those esp. after your post I should have waited for your post yes its true "FREE" at Mickey D's is just a trap.. Thanks for the heads up darling!

I have coupon blog and when this coupon made the rounds I decided not to post it because I think it's a disgusting product. Granted others may think it's great, but I try really hard to post deals for healthier products. I rather not have my readers gain a lb or destroy their health because something is free.

We had our McDonalds remodeled a couple of years ago and since my kids (13 & 15) like healthier options (they are both swimmers, so no soda's either)for on the go meals we decided to be the only ones in town who don't eat at our McDonalds! So far so good! It kind of makes it not tempt us when we look at it that way.

I was going to go out today to redeem the coupon and buy one for my daughter as a treat, but I just tossed it in the garbage instead! Thanks for keeping us away from wasted calories that taste bad!

Propylene glycol alginate is also used in some cosmetics. I have to avoid it because it makes my skin BURN.

That's funny--we use alginate in my chem lab. I generally try to AVOID eating/drinking things I use in the lab--seems like a good rule, don't you think? :)

See, this is why I haven't had anything from McD's since 2007.

My mom got one the other day and I had a sip... it is horrible! It tastes bad and can't imagine it having any sort of health benefit. If you want lemonade, make the real thing or something a little less chemical tasting. Crystal Light's "Pure" line is very tasty for an alternative for those like me who don't have time to squeeze lemons

Thanks Snack girl for looking after us all the time. I am spreading the word on this one.

i wouldn't go near it just due to the carbs (sugar!)....but what is VERY good at McDonalds is their "grilled chicken ceasar salad"...i skip the dressing and add my own, plus a little bit of slivered almonds - absolutely delicious!

My friend and I tried it over the weekend and I was not impressed at all with it. we decidied we could make our own version of it with Crystal light and fresh strawberries and ice in a blender. a lot less calories and without the allure to get us in to buy more stuff at Mc D's... Just a thought

Have my free coupon right in front of me. Thanks for the info because now it is going into the trash!

BLECH! I think McDonald's is the devil - LOL

I refuse to even buy a water from them...

I can't imagine spending 7pp on a drink unless it was a frozen margarita. :P

Please give us a healthy alternative. I had something similar at Culvers, and it was so incredibly good. I would love to replicate it. My daughter even has a little slushie machine, so I could use that, if I need to.

When I saw the ad it looked so good, but I knew it would just be sugar water. I had no idea it would taste awful. I saw a recipe to make a similar thing at home. Not sure the measurements but put a whole lot of ice in blender, ad your fav lemonaide and some strawberries. Blend until the right consistency, ad more lemonaide or water if needed while blending. There is some sugar in the lemonaide but it makes a great treat!!

I seriously wasn't diggin the combination from the get-go. I guess this just solidifies my reasoning why. And also,not to mention the sugar content! That much sugar would have me bouncing off the walls.

I have this coupon. . .guess I'm not using it. How much sugar is in McD's Sweet Tea?

Rats! I have that coupon posted on my wall at work and I was going to treat myself on Friday. It is hard to ignore a freebie, but I appreciate the review - I knew it sounded too good to be true. I am tossing my coupon in the trash NOW~

Does McDonald's have anything that tastes good? It's amazing you can run a whole business off crap. Everything is a chemical soup concocted to look like a "food like substance" and the line is wrapped around the one I pass each morning. People are like sheep going to the slaughter. Then they get mad becaue McDonald's is ALLOWED to sell such items. you have to buy them? NOT!

McDonalds is officially trying to kill me now. ORANGE Juice?? Really?? I'm allergic for Christs sake I don't expect any orange in anything Lemon! Good thing the sugar made me not want to pick this bad boy up the other day.

280 calories for LEMONADE! Whoah! No thanks!

@Leslie. McDonalds isn't a restuarant so much as a company. They don't serve "dishes." They sell "products." Their "food" (if you want to call it that) isn't really food. It's goop. If I had to eat there, I'd get their fruit-n-yogurt parfait, which is the "realest" thing there, and some tea but everything else is goop. Their strawberry shakes don't even contain any strawberries. People go there because their products are something quick and easy to put in your belly when you're squeezed for time. No one, except maybe a five-year-old child, goes into a McDonalds expecting a meal fit for a Roman emperor. McDonald's edible merchandise (I can't bring myself to call it food) is what it is. Goop. Masses of mass-produced goop.

Also, I want to say I never tasted this beverage but from the description, I think I'd rather drink battery acid.

I've had it and I like the taste, not something you want to have every week but what's wrong with once in a while? So many restrictions and rules. I personally don't have ready access to all these gourmet and organic brands, nor do I have the money to spend on them. Sometimes I think you diet cops take things too far. You make it so people are afraid to eat anything. It may be great for some people but I don't want to live my life analyzing the nutrition content of my food to death.

I got this and hated it too!! Waaay too many points for me!! I found a sparkling lemonade with three different flavors (Cherry Limeade, Blueberry Lemonade, and Pink Lemonade) at my Wal-mart and there are zero calories and only 68 cents for a 2 liter bottle!! I'm obsessed!! It's pretty sweet so 1 or 2 glasses/week is perfect for a little break from my usual water consumption ;)

I am throwing out my coupon!


I recently went through the drive thru at McDonalds and when they tried to up-sell the strawberry lemonade, my response was "Only if it's sugar-free." I guess no one ever said that one because I had to repeat it.

Poor McDonald's...The sad thing is people think this "concoction" tastes good and is good for them. Next month, their "food scientists" will have come up with some other concoction to rake in more dough.


If you haven't looked up "propylene glycol alginate" for yourself, click on:


Nothing like making an informed decision.

I agree with you on the idea that the strawberry lemonade was bitter. I got one when my son begged us to go so he could get his fave chicken nuggets. I sipped maybe a third of the cup and got no strawberry just a big mouthful of too tart lemon. This does smell like lemons but considering there is so much sugar you wouldn't know it considering how tart the lemon flavor was. If you want great lemonade go to Toomer's Corner and see the Trees before they die off from the poison that horrible man put on them. Lisa, I am referring to Auburn University in Auburn Alabama. The drugstore in the center of town is famous for it's lemonade.

I tried this just the other day when the weather was hot and I had found a coupon for a free one. Needless to say, I see why it was free--because it wasn't worth a penny! It was absolutely horrible, syrupy, and I tasted no trace of lemonade. After one drink, I handed it to my husband, he took a drink, and then threw it out immediately.

I used the free coupon because I was curious and I love lemonade. While it wasn't the best frozen lemonade I'd ever had, the drink wasn't bitter-tasting to me, just sweet (maybe a little too sweet). Anyway, less than an hour later I had a horrible stomachache and am pretty sure it was the lemonade that caused it since I didn't buy anything else at McDonald's to go with the free lemonade. Definitely won't be buying that again.

I tried was soooo HORRIBLE...NEVER AGAIN!!! The syrup was sooooo sweet/bitter...if that's possible...just a bad drink...too bad...had high hopes...DON'T BUY...or even get for free...

I heard a commercial on the radio for this today. It said the lemonade was "lightly sweetened with strawberries." I never realized that strawberries and sugar were the same thing...

"If you love Slushies - go to 7-Eleven and buy one there. They don't have "propylene glycol alginate" in them."

I work for 7-Eleven and totally loved that line! :) Thanks for this very informative article!!

McDonald's has delicious frappes and iced coffees, but the strawberry lemonade was disgusting. Not to mention the little reddish-orange bits that float around in the top when it started to melt... Total waste of money. :(

@Casey....I'm sure those little reddish-orange bits weren't real fruit but instead another man made concoction to mimic a "food like" substance.

I had tried the drink before I read your post and I have to agree. It wasn't good. Bad McDonald's :(

i was excited getting my free coupons in the paper, so i decided to surprise my daughter with one after school.

normally when i go to applebees or chilis or someplace similar i always order my strawberry i was thrilled to be getting a FREE one .


imagine my surprise when i tasted this "drink" as soon as it hit my taste buds, i got immediate heartburn and my stomach felt like it caught fire. my daughters reaction" oh mama i dont like this its gross"

we both tried to drink it , cause ive tried to teach her not to be wasteful....HOWEVER, we BOTH ended up tossing it after only 2 or 3 sips .

ewwwww. no thank you. i have like 6 coupons for these things

What do you expect its McDonalds? I even found out their fries are pureed and then fried plus they have milk in them. They probably have other ingredients we don't know about too.

Wow, this is truly a new low for Micky D's. Not only are they awful in more ways than I can count, but now they want to get you hooked on their junk for free. More and more reasons to avoid McDonald. Yes!

Interestingly enough, I paid full price & a Angus Delux Burger. I was running late to volunteer at the Food Shelf, and hadn't had lunch, yet.

I did like, but it took me 3 days to finish it. Maybe that was due to the radiator fluid it contained... Thanks for the heads up.

ps. I live in the state that makes the most maple syrup in the country and "made" McD's offer real maple syrup for their oatmeal, in all their VT locations.

warning!do not drink this.I was thirsty so took three pulls on my straw and got such a piercing pain in my head I ALMOST PASSED OUT. NO KIDDING!Iwas sick for hours. thats how I found this website.wanted to see what could make me so sick.some friends had the same experience.I told my husband never to buy me anything from Macs again!

I sampled this drink at one of their First Taste press events. I wasn't a huge fan of it. I found it too sweet for my liking. The strawberry and lemonade combination is really nice, but you can make a much tastier beverage by adding sliced strawberries to homemade lemonade - no artificial flavors, colors, or extra syrup.


The bad thing about this is that people have become so addicted to "cool" sugary "beverage substances" that a lot of people think it's great. I see people coming to the gym slurping on this stuff as if they're drinking a wholesome, healthful beverage. They fuel their workouts with junk and wonder why their bodies remain the same.

My 13 year old daughter hated it!

I guess I'm the ONLY person on this blog that ABSOLUTELY LOVES EM'! I've had to have one everyday for the past 2weeks. I love em' and fortunately I've never had to count calories,etc. My weight has been the same since I was 18 and. I'm 35 now and I will continue to enjoy them until they take em' off their menu. Yummy!

well i work for mcdonalds , and i have to admit i agree with most on here i do not like it at all i think it is very bitter , there ice coffees are great and other smoothies are pretty good but as many people on here who do not like the new drink there are lots that do we sell so much of it during the day i cant belive it because i just cant stand the taste but to each his own i guess

@Amy... I honestly don't think McDonald's has anything to worry about. There are more sugar addicts than those who care what they ingest.

I love it!!!! I get it without the strawberry syrup and it is very good!!!


This was the worst lemonade I've ever tasted. this lemonade has a ton of sugar in it but all you taste is sour bitter lemon. how can you add that much sugar and it not taste sweet?? and how can mcdonalds mess up something so simple as lemonade???? I don't even remember tasting any strawberry. the best strawberry slushy's are at Sonics, as they use real strawberries in it and can suck up pieces of the strawberries through your straw.

This stuff looked so pretty on the advertisement and so pretty in the cup. Man is it gross. It's not so much the fake lemonade part of it, which tastes like slushy Country Time powdered lemonade mix; it's the strawberry! There is nothing strawberry about the strawberry in McDonald's strawberry lemonade. Wow was that bitter. Kids didn't like it either and normally they would go crazy over slushy fruity drinks.

Save yourself the gag reflexes and freeze some strawberries. Then grab the lemonade of your choice, and add frozen strawberries in your blender. Voila. Much better!

You couldn't be more right... I love love love strawberry lemonade and though I'm not a fan of McD's I had to try it. It was NASTY and seriously an abomination. Strawberry lemonade should be pink and delicious, not neon orange/yellow/red and disgusting.

I have to chime in. I love (unfortunately) the McCafe shakes. They may be the old shakes in new cups, with whipped cream and a cherry, but I'd never had them before.

I decided to get my shake, and the strawberry lemonade, as I love slurpies/icees. I decided to drink the lemonade walking home, as I was very thirsty.

I live in NYC, and I was walking down the street drinking it and was totally disgusted by it. I got the idea I would hand the almost full beverage to a homeless person nearby, but concluded that would not be a nice thing to do. I just tossed 98% of my beverage in a trash can.

What a total mess of a drink. Whatever was going on in there tasted absolutely disturbing!

I am sticking with my 7-11 Fanta Blue Raspberry Slurpee, when I need a frozen drink.

That is funny how much everyone hates the taste. I actually think it tastes great! I had some terrible allergy issues that were giving me a sore throat, and I drank one every day for a week and I always felt better while drinking it. Maybe my taste was messed up by the cold symptoms. I make my own at home now with organic lemon juice and frozen strawberries, but I love the sour taste still.

@Jamie Lee...Yeah...those chemicals will burn the infection right out of your throat...

This tastes good? is it any wonder?

artificial flavor, xanthan gum, propylene glycol alginate, citric acid, potassium sorbate (preservative), sodium citrate, red 40.

McD's is just plain BAD food - any items they added to their menu as "fresh" are NOT.

Salt & Sugar......McGross!

The old adage - "I knew it sounded too good to be true". if something sounds like this - it aint!

I feel for the word "strawberry" I thought it had to be healthy. It was awful. I felt like I was drinking strawberry flavored sugar water. I had two sips and pitched it.

I can't believe all these comments. I absolutely LOVE this drink and will pay any points to have it. I'm just hoping 16 oz. is the medium, as I just had a small this morning and was thinking it was more like 5.


I bought one earlier, thinking that something nice and cool would be perfect for the hot weather. NOT!!! After a few sips I poured it out but an hour later my stomach started to hurt bad not to mention it made me sick.

I was sick only 30 min after drinking this. Take the blogger's advice. Don't do it. 4 years later it looks like they didn't take your advice - it's still disgusting.

My 10 yr old daughter tried the frozen strawberry lemonade and thought it was ”ok” despite the bitter tart taste. I took a sip from her and thought it was too sugary. Her triglycerides level is 245 from her recent trip to the doctor’s office so I really shouldn’t have bought that for her, it will just make it worse. I will not buy that again and after reading your article I definitely won’t be. I can’t believe they put propylene glycol alginate in it and try to make people consume it, it’s outrageous!

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