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How To Make The Best Milkshakes Ever!

Updated on September 14, 2014

Classic Milkshakes

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!

Happy blending!

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!

  1. COLD.

    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.

  2. QUALITY.

    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.

  3. 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!

  4. SIMPLE.

    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!

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. ENJOY!

Strawberry Milkshake

strawberry milkshake
strawberry milkshake

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.

avocado milkshake
avocado milkshake

Avocado Milkshake?

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?

See results

Milkshake-ology - A great primer for the beginning milkshake expert

All good courses have coursework, right? This book is great for giving you milkshake making confidence.

Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes
Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes

Sometimes you can try and make your own milkshakes with no help, but when you are starting off its really nice to have a recipe book so you can get the proportions of milk/ice-cream right and you don't go crazy with the flavors.

When you've learned the basics, then you can start experimenting succesfully and really wow your friends and family.

Bobby Flay is a famous chef and he has a chain of Bobby's Burger Palaces (well 3 anyway) up in the New York/New Jersey area. He knows a thing or two about milkshakes and his book has a great section on how to make them consistently good.

Worth it for the milkshakes alone, this book also has some great burger recipes.

 

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!

Please vote for this lens

If you loved this lens, please consider nominating it for Lens of the Day. Milkshakes deserve to be in the spotlight! Thanks a lot!

Nominate this lens for Lens of the Day

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?

In the morning?

In the morning?

Submit a Comment

  • LluviaDeArte 3 years ago

    Morning Shakes are the best, especially if you are constantly on Squidoo! Thanks for the great lens. It made me thirsty for one.

  • Richard Tame 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

    @CatJGB: Sounds good to me!

  • CatJGB 4 years ago

    I make them for my boys fro breakfast....raw milk, pastured egg yolk, cocoa, rapadura and avocado.....a chocolate thick shake for breakfast!

In the afternoon or evening?

Submit a Comment

  • Johanna Eisler 3 years ago

    I like my hot coffee in the morning, my cold shakes in the afternoon. ;)

  • webaudio 4 years ago

    Sounds so good and delicious!

  • stanger66 4 years ago

    My favourite is Banana Milkshake

  • rudhushudu 4 years ago

    evening

  • anonymous 4 years ago

    Definitely afternoon

Milkshake - strawberry

From Flickr: Ashley R Good
From Flickr: Ashley R Good

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?

Christmas Pudding - great start for a milkshake
Christmas Pudding - great start for a 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

Stollen 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)

Easter Milkshakes

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?

Two options:

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.

Any tips of your own?

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    • profile image

      Ronel Wakeford88 2 years ago

      Thank you. This gave me confidence to try and make a milkshake for the very first time.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 3 years ago

      My family loves homemade milk shakes, but I don't make them often enough to suit them! ;)

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great info...

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 4 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Who doesn't love milkshakes? They're perfect not just for summer! Yum! ^_^

    • StephenJackson2 profile image

      StephenJackson2 4 years ago

      Love milkshakes, so I thank you for this lens! :)

    • RJTame profile image
      Author

      Richard Tame 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      @LesleyC LM: Sounds really good!

    • LesleyC LM profile image

      LesleyC LM 4 years ago

      I dig milkshakes! One of my favorite is to freeze fruits like strawberries, bananas, mangoes, peaches etc and then blender them with some milk and perhaps some protein powder to make a power milk shake! Love your lens!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Australia

      You have certainly upgraded the humble milkshake into a science! Blessings.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love icedream

    • Mikewrites LM profile image

      Mikewrites LM 5 years ago

      very cool lens I love milkshakes some good ideas too!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I would love to try making milkshakes. We do make fruit smoothies at home at least 3 times a week, but it would be nice to have a milkshake once in a while. :)

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      good.. :)

      how about adding MiB3 in the 'Milkshakes in the movies' section? Will Smith drinks a chocolate shake a couple of times..

    • RJTame profile image
      Author

      Richard Tame 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      @magnoliasouth: I will defer to you on the technicalities and I think the 8oz is volume. I must have based the quantities from some recipe although I can't recall which. I am sure it was a rough recipe too; I imagine most people generally don't measure, just throw things in and blend away. I might try an experiment sometime and see what happens, but until then I think its best to just consider any extra as a bonus!

    • eternisemoi profile image

      eternisemoi 5 years ago

      I love milkshakes!

    • RJTame profile image
      Author

      Richard Tame 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      @yourselfempowered: Sound like great combinations!

    • RJTame profile image
      Author

      Richard Tame 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      @genuineaid lm: A classic, for sure!

    • RJTame profile image
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      Richard Tame 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      @ismeedee: Guess baking two pies would be one solution!

    • profile image

      JimDickens 5 years ago

      Fantastic subject

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      Oh how I love milkshakes! Love the pie idea except only one problem---- I never have pie...leftover??? haha!! Maybe the idea is to make one pie to eat and another for milkshakes!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love milkshakes, too!

    • genuineaid lm profile image

      Vlad 5 years ago from USA

      I like to blend together frozen strawberries, vanilla ice cream, some ice, and some milk... Turns out a very delicious Strawberry milk shake :)

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

      Some fabulous milkshake flavours here. I like Horlicks milkshake and fresh banana milkshake - ooh and Toblerone milkshake! :)

    • profile image

      magnoliasouth 5 years ago

      Ummm... I think there is a problem with this recipe, unless I'm missing something. Let's see, 1/3 cup + 1/2 cup + 6 oz (3/4 c.) = a little over 1 1/2 cups cups OR 12 fluid ounces (whichever you prefer) for one single 8 fluid ounce serving.

      Now, if you're talking 6 oz by weight, then it's even more! 1 ounce by weight of ice cream = roughly 1.3 fluid ounces of packed ice cream which would then mean 14.4 fluid ounces for one single 8 fluid ounce serving.

      I may have that second part wrong (math wise), but the weight ounces are definitely less than fluid ounces AND the first part is definitely correct.

      Also, if you're wondering where I got the ounces by weight in fluid ounces, it's from Bobby Flay's book: Burgers Fries and Shakes, pg 134.

      Granted, I don't mind - the more the merrier - but I thought you may want to know.

    • RJTame profile image
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      Richard Tame 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      @BradKamer: Sounds like a good idea. But how would you go about it?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Breakfast milkshakes! Now there's a great idea!

    • profile image

      BradKamer 5 years ago

      How about a make your own Shamrock shake?

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 5 years ago

      great info! nice lens!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Great tips --- as I posted on another lens today, though, I really need to stop looking at food lenses! lol

    • profile image

      blanckj 6 years ago

      Gotta try them. Thanks.

    • profile image

      karitina 6 years ago

      We add vanilla, bananas, strawberries, eggs and sugar, and make a great breakfast for my kids

    • profile image

      jgelien 6 years ago

      So many milkshake flavors, so little time! wWat a delicious lens.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Yummy. I love a good cold strawberry milkshake :)

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      Yummy lens. Thank-you for the wonderful recipe, We needed it. 5 stars*****