Vanilla milkshakes really don’t get enough love. This classic ice cream treat may seem like a staple, but as someone who worked in an ice cream shop for over two years, I can tell you firsthand that the simple, straight-up vanilla shake is actually not a very common order.

Case in point, Wendy’s has taken the vanilla frosty off its menu at various times over the years to make room for seasonal flavors. I can’t confirm this, because I don’t have access to Wendy’s proprietary ordering data, but I would bet you a vanilla milkshake that’s because vanilla is the least popular frosty flavor.

And I get it. When you’re going out for shakes, there are so many exciting options. Chocolate, cookies & cream, banana, even Grimace. It’s hard to resist adding a fun mix-in or trying that funky limited-edition flavor. Plus, vanilla often gets unfairly written off as “boring” or “plain.” But there's really something to be said for the classic, classy vanilla. It’s like the little black dress of milkshakes. And if there were ever a day to go for vanilla, it’s today, National Vanilla Milkshake Day.

In honor of this momentous occasion, here’s our definitive (and entirely subjective) ranking of the best vanilla shakes at fast food restaurants.

8. McDonald’s

McDonald’s vanilla milkshake is very affordable. Unfortunately the flavor is quite artificial, lacking the complex deliciousness of true vanilla. Which makes sense, because McDonald’s, like most fast-food chains, uses vanilla syrup made from vanilla extract, not real vanilla beans. But for some reason, their vanilla flavor tastes the most artificial. Also, there’s really only a 50% chance you’ll be able to order this shake, because McDonald’s ice cream machine is so frequently broken.

7. Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen is known for all their fun flavors and crazy mix-ins, so I guess it kind of makes sense that they aren’t really focused on their vanilla shake. I’m guessing not many people are ordering just vanilla when there are so many other options available. And that’s probably good, because DQ’s vanilla shake is kinda bland and…milky. Like, too milky. I will probably regret typing this, but I like thick shakes and I cannot lie.

6. Jack In The Box

Jack in the Box has really good shakes in general, so we are starting from a high bar here. My mom is forever reminiscing about their (tragically discontinued) frosty banana milkshake, so if any JIB insiders are reading this, please bring back frosty banana. But we are talking about vanilla today, and while JIB’s vanilla shake gets bonus points for thickness (see above), it loses points for blandness. Although this shake is creamy and refreshing, it has only a hint of vanilla flavor. This is why people think vanilla is plain. JIB needs to crank up the vanilla flavor by, like, 250%, and this shake would be perfect.

5. Wendy’s Vanilla Frosty

Yes, I know this is not technically a milkshake. But it’s basically a thicker version of a milkshake, which I obviously love. Wendy’s vanilla frosty gets bonus points for affordability and texture, but although the vanilla flavor is good, it’s kinda bland. This is another one where the flavor needs to be turned up about 250%.

4. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is constantly bragging about its hand-spun shakes. But what does that really mean? Basically, a real human being puts the ingredients in a blender and blends them up using their hands. But not with their hands, with the blender. No hands should be in your shake, just to be clear. This is in contrast to some other fast food chains, which use a pre-blended shake mix. Perhaps as a result, Chick-fil-A’s vanilla shake has a less artificial, more homemade taste and is actually flavorful enough. I mean, they could still turn up the flavor a notch, but it’s definitely not as bland or artificial as the lower-ranked selections on this list.

3. Sonic

Sonic is great. I mean, this is a fast-food chain that knows how to do ice cream. Plus, the servers come out on roller skates. What’s not to love? And even with 1,063,953 possible drink combinations, Sonic still kills the vanilla shake. Creamy, flavorful, and so thick that drinking it with a straw requires some serious suction, this shake checks all my boxes.

2. Steak n’ Shake

Steak n’ Shake has the word shake in their name, so you know it’s gonna be good. And it is. Thick, rich, and flavorific, this is a solid shake. It slides in above Sonic because if you eat in, you can drink it out of a super classy, better-for-the-earth glass cup. Which obviously makes it taste even more delicious.

1. Culver’s

Okay, honesty time. I didn’t actually work at an ice cream shop, I worked at a frozen custard shop. What’s the difference? Well, frozen custard contains pasteurized (pasteurized!) egg yolks and is churned at a slower rate, so it incorporates less air. This results in a creamier texture and better mouthfeel than ice cream, despite a lower percentage of butterfat. And it makes great shakes. Yeesh, that gave me déjà vu. Anyways, although I worked at Whit’s and not Culver’s, I am always an advocate for frozen custard. With its creamy texture and solid vanilla flavor, Culver’s vanilla shake earns the number one spot on my very subjective list.