Panera Is Testing Its First-Ever Milkshakes Ahead Of Summer

Panera Bread, a fast-casual restaurant famous for its lighter fare — from soups and sandwiches to mac and cheese — is introducing a sweet and creamy treat. Milkshakes are entering the menu for a limited time so Panera can get an idea of whether the dessert makes sense as a permanent menu item. The addition of milkshakes might come as a surprise to fans of the popular chain as currently Panera's desserts only include items from its bakery, including cookies, brownies, and various pastries (via Panera Bread).

According to Nation's Restaurant News, the three new "Bakery Shakes" are largely inspired by the chain's bakery offerings. The shakes are named "The Kitchen Sink", after Panera's Kitchen Sink cookie, "Fudge Brownie Swirl" after the chain's chocolatey hand-held treat, and "Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl," which doesn't have a bakery menu equivalent, but still sounds like a promising future addition to our list of the best Panera menu items.

The latest in a long line of innovations

Though it's the first time Panera will be offering milkshakes, the St. Louis-based company is no stranger to innovating with new menu items. In 2020, the company debuted its flatbread pizzas nationwide; in 2021, it brought in a grilled mac and cheese sandwich; and in 2022, Panera joined the chicken sandwich wars with its own signature offering.

This suite of shakes seems poised to be a part of Panera's continued success. Panera, which operates nearly 2,200 locations across 48 states (via Panera Bread) is currently the No. 12 largest fast food chain in America, according to QSR Magazine. Panera's milkshakes will make their test run in different cities throughout Texas for a limited time (via Nation's Restaurant News). Pending successful results, we may see them as a nationwide addition to Panera's menu once we're in the warmer months of next year.

Though there's no word yet on if we'll see a return of the iconic double bread bowl. One can only hope.