How to Make the Best Milkshakes Ever!
The Ultimate Milkshake - A Thing of Beauty
Do you want to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills, but don't want to spend hours slaving away in a hot kitchen? Then look no further! Impress them with an ice-cold milkshake.
Milkshakes are great in summer, but as one of life's simple pleasures, they should be enjoyed all year round. It can be hard to find a great recipes, so I hope you will find inspiration here.
It seems that it should be easy to make a milkshake, but it can be very disappointing when you do make one and the shake doesn't come out as you'd hoped. Wouldn't it be great to be able to impress your friends and family with an authentic, thick, ice-cold milkshake?
While they can be tasty, restaurant milkshakes (especially from the big chains) are generally made from mixes and I can promise you that with just a little bit of effort, then you can do much better yourself. It will most definitely be worth it and will have a good chance of being healthier!
No matter the season, you can use always use fresh or frozen fruit to make a great range of great milkshakes, but read on and you will find some more unusual ideas.
Milkshakes should be fun, to make and drink, so don't be afraid to try something new. Maybe you'll find a new favorite for yourself, your kids or your whole family!
How to make the perfect milkshake - 1 - The Basics
These are the basics when looking to make the perfect milkshake.
If you remember one thing, it is don't skimp on the ice-cream!
Make sure everything is as cold as possible. Ice-cream, utensils, blender jug, milk and flavorings.
The coldness is the thing which will give you that thick, creamy consistency.
I'd suggest scooping ice-cream into balls when it is a bit soft, then re-freezing them (don't let it melt all the way of course). Then you'll have a ready supply.
There aren't that many ingredients, so get the best you can.
I think that expensive ice-cream is essential. It is more expensive for a reason - its better and doesn't contain as much air as the cheaper versions. I like Haagen-Daas - but take your pick. Make sure you get one made with cream to ensure it is dense.
Try to avoid the light ice-creams. They don't weigh a lot because they are mostly air and so you'll find yourself sticking far more ice-cream than you'd imagine to get a good consistency. In that case, you probably lost the calorie savings from it being light in the first place.
- AVOID SYRUPS.
Don't use commercially produced syrups. Aside from the sometimes suspect ingredients, they won't give you the true flavor you are looking for.
Try making your own, they aren't that hard and you can freeze fruit syrups easily. Or get the frozen fruits from the grocery store - they were picked and frozen when ripe, so are a great way to have a nice peach shake at Christmas!
The simpler the better. If you go too crazy with adding flavors and stuff to your milkshakes you will like lose the essence of the perfect milkshake. Cherry, banana, peach, chocolate peanut butter, chipotle may sound fancy, but chocolate peanut butter banana is going to come out much better.
Vita-Mix Blenders - Serious about your shakes? You need a serious blender.
Debates rage as to whether a Blendtec or a Vita-Mix blender is the best. They are both great but I prefer the Vitamix and would recommend it to anyone who likes making milkshakes and smoothies at home.
I can't stress enough just what a difference a great blender will make to your milkshakes. No more air bubbles getting trapped, just quick and easy well blended shakes. They are expensive but worth it if you make a lot of milkshakes and the really good ones help you do a lot more in the kitchen too.
How to make the perfect milkshake - 2 - Step-by-step guide
Get your straw ready - this is how to make a perfect milkshake.
Note: the quantities below are rough - a lot of the fun of a milkshake is its ease, just blend some things and there you have it. If you need to be more precise, use the below as a guide and then refine for next time, plus I'd always be tempted to make more and then measure out a specific serving size!
- DECIDE WHAT TO MAKE.
Sounds obvious, but you need to make sure you have all the ingredients, as you don't want to stop when you've started.
- COOL EVERYTHING.
Put all the utensils you can in the fridge or freezer to cool.
This helps to give the thick milkshakes we all love
- MIX MILK AND FLAVORINGS.
Leaving the ice-cream in the freezer, blend together your icy milk and the flavorings.
No need to over blend, in most cases 10-15 seconds will be enough.
I'd suggest 1/3 cup of milk per 8 oz milkshake, but use more if you like it runnier and a bit less if you want it super thick.
Experiment with how much flavorings you like - half a medium banana usually works for and 8 oz shake, but if you are using other fruits or syrups then I'd start with 1/2 cup for each 8 oz shake.
Don't be afraid to taste at this stage and add more flavors if needed.
- ADD ICE-CREAM.
Straight from the freezer, add the ice-cream and blend everything together. Again, it doesn't need long. 10-15 seconds will likely work fine.
You need a lot of ice-cream. I'd say something like 6 oz for each 8 oz shake, but you may find you need more or less depending on the brand, your blender, etc.
- POUR INTO CHILLED GLASSES.
At this point, the worst thing you can do is to pour the perfect milkshake into a warm glass and the thickness will soon melt away.
Instead, get your glasses from the fridge, pour the milkshake in, and stick a straw in.
Milkshake of the Moment
What's in the blender right now?
Could you make a cranberry milkshake? Maybe if you have a great blender you could make a vanilla and dried cranberry shake, but I'm not sure a raw cranberry shake would be great!
Photo is from Flickr - by NickSS - used under Creative Commons 2.0
Some milkshake recipe videos on YouTube
These don't necessarily follow my guide on how to make the best milkshake, but there is no harm in watching a short video and seeing if you can pick up some tips.
The best milkshakes money can buy?
Here we will curate a list of what other people say are the best milkshakes in America and around the world.
- America's best milkshakes
A list of America's best milkshakes from USA Today. Do you agree?
Green machine milkshakes
Avocado milkshakes are something that I've heard of, but for some reason I can't bring myself to try them. I like avocados on their own, so always just eat them. For some reason, it seems kind of weird, but they are very popular in Asia I believe, so let us know in the comments if you have tried these and think they're good.
Crazy milkshake ideas
Here are some good ideas for starters (follow the standard instructions for making a perfect milkshake, just with these extras):
1. Pie Milkshakes - you know when you have some pie left over, why not stick it in the blender with some milk and ice-cream and get a great dessert in a glass? Apple, pumpkin, sweet potato - these all work, as I'm sure would cherry, etc.
2. Candy Bar Milkshakes - hardly original, but easy
3. Savory Milkshakes - similar to a smoothie, sticking some dried spices into a milkshake could be a revelation, or it could be awful - warning - haven't tried this!
4. Breakfast Milkshakes - banana and peanut butter; maybe some cereal - although there is a chance it would turn into a soggy, inedible mess. You can always add flaxseed and things to boost the nutritional content.
Starbucks Frappuccino - Is it a milkshake or not?
Starbucks are currently running their treat receipt promotion (in the US), so I'm sure a lot of people are taking advantage of this to get an afternoon frappuccino.
I've been thinking whether a frappuccino is a milkshake or not? I can't decide. I'm leaning to thinking they aren't milkshakes, but what do you think?
Do you think a Starbucks Frappuccino should be considered a milkshake?
Milkshakes for breakfast?
Cereal is boring. Why not have a milkshake for breakfast? There are a lot of flavours - fruit, malts, etc. that would work just great for breakfast - hey, you could even call it a smoothie if you must!
When is the best time for a milkshake?
Are you a morning milkshaker, or is it strictly in the afternoon or evening for you? I'd probably take one any time, but would lean toward the afternoon time. I'd love to know if you agree! And to make it more interesting, you can't pick both at the same time - although you could always vote twice.
When do you like drinking milkshakes?
Milkshake - strawberry
Milkshake TV show?
Should there be one?
Do you think that milkshakes deserve a show on the Food Network, Cooking Channel or The Travel Channel?
Surely one of the world's favorite drinks could provide enough interesting material for a series. You go out around the country (or why not the world?) sampling the best milkshakes and milkshake locations and then you show people how to make them in their homes. If sandwiches can win on Next Food Network Star, surely they can find a regular slot for milkshakes?
A milkshake is a universal treat and the possible combinations are almost infinite, so the show could run for ages. Think it would get boring? I don't think so, the personalities and the locations would keep the viewers hooked.
You could have shows for kids, milkshakes in the air, milkshakes on boats, milkshakes on your deck, milkshakes watching TV, milkshakes driving to work.....
You could have a search for the best vanilla shake, compare home-made vs. shop-bought vs. fast food restaurant vs. gourment restaurant.
Anyone else agree this is a winning idea?
Hopefully Food Network or Travel Channel will be on to me soon to set this up!
[picture credit - Ashley R Good - Flickr]
Milkshakes in the Movies - (and on TV)
Milkshakes occasionally star, or at least make an appearance in movies and TV shows. Some of the famous ones, or at least ones I know about are listed below.
Unfortunately, I suspect that in the world of product placement, milkshakes will be less prevalent as it is hard to brand a homemade banana milkshake. Most likely sodas will be the beverage of choice, as their marketing budgets allow them to pay to be shown.
Milkshake blog postings
Some links to blog postings around the internet relating to milkshakes (mostly how to make good ones).
Milkshake Blender - Blendtec - Ultimate blenders
Serious milkshakes you need serious tools.
These are the ultimate tool for the milkshake lover and will come in handy for all your other blending needs too.
Do you have one? Are they as good in practice as the hype would suggest? Let us know in the comments section.
Best Milkshake Ever News/Reviews - Milkshakes
Some links to the best milkshake ever news and reviews.
Good Eats - Alton Brown
Part science show, part cooking show, Good Eats is always a good watch, even when its not about the milkshakes!
St Patrick's Day Milkshakes
Green, green, green
St Patrick's Day is here, which means all things Irish:
- Green Milkshake - make your favourite milkshake, but add some green food colouring to make it green like the Emerald Isle!
- Consider using one of Ireland's famous beverages as a base for an adult milkshake to aid in your celebrations!
There are a lot of special ice-creams and gelato flavors for St Patrick's Day. Try a Guinness or Irish Cream milkshake. For kids, just go green with some milk chocolate chip!
Serve it up with some Corned Beef, Cabbage and Irish Soda bread and you can pretend you are in Dublin!
Christmas Pudding Milkshake?
Merry Christmas! - Festive Milkshakes
Eggnog, mulled wine are nice, but milkshakes are nicer!
I'm sure you have stocked up with recipe books, glasses and other milkshake paraphernalia (some links to which you'll find below), but you probably are thinking that these are presents for the summer.
I put it to you, that in fact, winter is an excellent time to delve further into the joys of milkshakes.
There are the obvious....
Eggnog, Cinnamon/Nutmeg, Cranberry
But I think it is time for something more interesting.
Christmas Pudding Milkshake
Mince Pie Milkshake
Yule Log Milkshake
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
Cranberry Vanilla Milkshake
Can't you imagine how good these could be? Take a wedge/slice/hunk of one of those, chuck it in a blender - add ice-cream and milk and whizz away. I can guarantee you will be amazed at the results. The depth of flavor will translate well to a milkshake and before you know it, you will be getting tons of compliments from your guests.
I'd stay away from turkey milkshake and mulled wine milkshake, but maybe you are braver than me....
So, let us join together and plead the case for milkshakes all year round, particularly as part of your holiday traditions.
Let us know how you get on and what your favorite festive milkshake is.
(Picture of the Christmas Pudding links to a recipe)
Do you need an excuse for chocolate shakes?
Easter is great for milkshakes and thoughts inevitably turn towards chocolate, which is great because chocolate milkshakes are so good.
Kicking it old school for Easter how about a chocolate malt?
1) Something like Nesquik with added malted milk powder for an easy 'back to your child hood shake'
2) Make some chocolate syrup with your favorite chocolate and use that as the milkshake base (yes its more work, but worth it!)
I'd love to hear your tips on making the perfect milkshake.
Also, where do you like buying milkshakes from. Sure, making your own is the best way to guarantee quality but sometimes its nice to let someone else do the work.