A cold, creamy milkshake is one of life's simple pleasures.
Thick, frozen, and oh-so-satisfying, a milkshake never fails to refresh on a hot day or provide a sweet indulgence anytime you crave one.
But why wait in line at an ice cream shop when you can easily make milkshake magic at home?
In just a few minutes, with a blender and simple ingredients from your kitchen, you can blend homemade milkshakes customized any way you like that rival any restaurant or soda fountain.
Read on for the scoop on inventing your delicious, thick milkshakes bursting with different flavors and toppings using this comprehensive guide.
We'll cover the key ingredients, blending tips, endless flavor ideas, fun presentation, and storage so you can become a milkshake master.
Ingredients Needed To Make a Milkshake
Making a delicious milkshake at home is easy with just a few simple ingredients. The two main ingredients needed are ice cream and milk.
For the ice cream, opt for full-fat ice cream for the creamiest, richest shake. Ice creams labeled "frozen dairy desserts" tend to have more air whipped in and cheaper ingredients that don't blend as smoothly. Go for premium ice creams like Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry's, or high-quality grocery store brands. Vanilla ice cream makes a great base for any flavor milkshake you want to create.
When it comes to milk, whole milk works best to make a thick, creamy milkshake. The higher fat content helps it blend smoothly and lends richness. If you only have lower-fat milk options, like 2% or skim, you can use a half-and-half creamer or even heavy whipping cream to amp up the texture. Full-fat coconut milk is a great alternative to regular milk for dairy-free milkshakes.
Once you pick out the basics of quality ice cream and milk, get creative with mix-ins and toppings to customize your milkshake.
Here are some delicious ideas:
- Syrups: chocolate, caramel, strawberry, butterscotch
- Spreads: peanut butter, almond butter, Nutella, cookie butter
- Fruit: bananas, strawberries, mangoes, pineapple
- Candy/cookies: M&Ms, Oreos, chocolate chips, butterfingers
- Crunchy toppings: cereal, granola, crushed graham crackers, nuts
- Sauces for drizzling: hot fudge, chocolate, caramel, maple syrup
With quality ingredients and fun customizations, you're ready to blend up the perfect milkshake!
How to Make a Thick Milkshake
A thick, spoonable milkshake is pure ice cream indulgence. Follow these tips to achieve ultimate milkshake thickness:
- Use a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Regular blenders need more milk to properly puree the ice cream, thinning it out.
- Go for a 1:3 ice cream-to-milk ratio. For every 1 cup of milk, use three big scoops of ice cream. Less milk relative to ice cream keeps things thick.
- Chill your serving glasses in the freezer while making the shakes so they stay cold and thick longer.
- Add creaminess boosters like malted milk powder, sweetened condensed milk, or coffee creamers. The extra fat and body help maintain thickness.
- Blend just until smooth, not too long. Overblending will aerate the milkshake, making it lighter and thinner.
- Skip the ice cubes, as they'll water things down. Use frozen fruit instead for flavor and coldness.
- If it gets too thick, gradually thin it with more milk than ice to maintain richness.
- Store leftovers in a freezer-safe container, not the glass, so it retains thickness when thawed later.
Follow those tips and slurp the thickest, creamiest homemade milkshakes ever through your straw. Embrace the brain freeze!
How to Make a Milkshake Without a Blender
Don't let a lack of a blender stop you from enjoying a cool treat. Here are three easy blender-free methods:
Bowl and Whisk Method:
- In a large bowl, add softened ice cream and milk.
- Using a wire whisk, vigorously mix, pressing and mashing against the sides and bottom to combine thoroughly.
- Keep whisking for several minutes until completely smooth and creamy.
Mason Jar Method:
- Combine ice cream and milk in a quart-sized mason jar.
- Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously until blended, for about 2 minutes.
- Add any mix-ins and shake briefly more to distribute.
Food Processor Method:
- Add ice cream and milk to a food processor.
- Pulse, stopping and scraping down sides until a smooth consistency is reached.
- Avoid overprocessing, or it will get thin.
While these no-blender methods take more time and effort, you can still achieve a deliciously thick, spoonable milkshake to satisfy your craving!
Milkshake Recipe and How to Make It
Follow this simple classic milkshake recipe for perfect shakes every time:
- 1 pint ice cream
- 2/3 cup milk
- Optional: 1 tbsp flavorings like chocolate or strawberry syrup, peanut butter, fruit, etc.
- Allow ice cream to soften at room temperature for 10-15 minutes until it's scoopable but not melted.
- Add milk and any flavorings to the blender.
- Scoop in ice cream. Blend at high speed for 1 minute until smooth and thickened, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
- Pour into chilled glasses and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, cherries, or other favorite toppings.
- Enjoy it immediately before it melts!
This basic formula whips up thick, creamy shakes every time. Customize it endlessly with different ice cream flavors, milk, and fun mix-ins!
Milkshake Flavor Combination Ideas
With the basic milkshake formula down, get creative with these delicious flavor combinations:
Chocolate Peanut Butter: Chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate chips
Cookies and Cream: Vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies
S'mores: Chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, graham cracker crumbs
Mocha: Coffee ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings
Mint Chocolate Chip: Mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate chips, mint extract
Birthday Cake: Vanilla ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, vanilla extract
Strawberry Cheesecake: Strawberry ice cream, cream cheese, graham crackers
Chocolate Raspberry: Chocolate ice cream, raspberries, chocolate shavings
Caramel Apple: Vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, chopped apples
Mango Coconut: Mango sorbet, coconut milk, toasted coconut
Endless flavor combos are possible. Invent your signature shake with your favorite ice creams, fruits, candies, and sauces!
Fun Milkshake Toppings
After blending up the perfect milkshake, go wild decorating your creamy creation with fun toppings:
- Whipped cream - For pretty swirls, top with homemade whipped cream.
- Sprinkles - Rainbow or chocolate sprinkles add color and crunch.
- Chocolate drizzle - Drizzle syrup in zigzags over the whipped cream.
- Cherries - No milkshake is complete without a maraschino cherry on top!
- Cookies/Grahams - Crush chocolate chip cookies or graham crackers and sprinkle over whipped cream.
- Candy pieces - Mini chocolate chips, M&Ms, or Reese's Pieces make fun additions.
- Crushed nuts - Chopped peanuts, almonds, or walnuts lend crunch.
- Waffle cone pieces - For extra decadence, top with crumbled waffle cone.
- Fresh fruit - Banana slices, berries, pineapple chunks, beautifully finished shakes.
- Sauces - Caramel, hot fudge, and strawberry sauce complement shakes when drizzled.
Get creative with toppings to take your milkshake presentation over the top!
Special Milkshake Ideas
Once you've mastered the classic milkshake, try these special shake ideas:
- Malted Milkshake - Add 2-3 tablespoons malt powder to milk before blending for old-fashioned flavor.
- Nutella Milkshake - Swirl in Nutella before blending for chocolate-hazelnut goodness.
- Banana Milkshake - Blend in 1 frozen banana for natural sweetness.
- Brownie Milkshake - Mix in crumbled brownies or brownie batter for intense chocolate.
- Cereal Milkshake - Sprinkle in Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, or your favorite cereal.
- Cookie Milkshake - Add crumbled cookies like chocolate chip, Oreo, or Snickerdoodle.
- Candy Bar Milkshake - Mix in chopped Snickers, Reese's, Twix, or your preferred candy bar.
- S'mores Milkshake - Blend marshmallows and graham crackers for campfire flavor.
- Pie Milkshake - Add slices of pie like apple, cherry, lemon meringue, and key lime.
Let your creativity run wild! Any flavor combinations are possible with these special shake ideas.
How to Make a Vegan Milkshake
To make dairy-free and vegan milkshakes:
- Use non-dairy ice cream like coconut, almond, oat, or soy-based.
- Swap the milk for plant-based milk like almond, oat, soy, coconut, and cashew.
- Sprinkle in vegan cookies like Newman-O's instead of Oreos.
- Top with dairy-free whipped topping like Reddi-wip or homemade aquafaba topping.
- Drizzle with vegan chocolate sauce made with coconut oil instead of butter.
- Mix in sorbet for fruit flavor rather than sherbet, which contains milk.
With rich coconut ice cream, protein-packed soymilk, and crushed cookie toppings, you can definitely satisfy a milkshake craving sans dairy!
Storing Leftover Milkshakes
Ideally, milkshakes are best enjoyed freshly made. But here are tips if you have leftovers:
- Transfer extra into a freezer-safe container to reblend later. Don't leave it in the glass.
- Freeze for up to 1 month for the best quality and taste.
- Thaw in refrigerator or at room temperature before serving.
- Add a splash of milk and reblend to restore smooth texture after thawing.
Freezing helps extend leftovers' life, but for the best flavor and texture, try to finish milkshakes soon after making them. The fresh ice cream taste can't be beaten!
What milkshake ingredients can I prepare ahead?
You can chop mix-ins like fruit and candy ahead of time. You can also make whipped cream topping and chill glasses in advance. But blend the ice cream and milk right before serving for ideal consistency.
Do you put ice in milkshakes?
No, avoid adding ice as it waters down shakes. Rely on frozen ingredients like ice cream, frozen fruit, or frozen milk in an ice cube tray instead of regular ice.
Can I make extra for later?
Yes, but freeze the leftover milkshake in a container, not the glass. Thaw in the fridge before reblending with a splash of milk to restore smooth texture. Enjoy within one month.
How long do milkshakes last unrefrigerated?
Milkshakes are best consumed right away. The frozen ingredients will quickly melt at room temperature. For the longest enjoyment, serve milkshakes in chilled glasses.
With an arsenal of recipes and tips for inventing perfect milkshakes, you have all the inside scoop needed to satisfy your cravings at home.
Experiment with rich ice cream flavors, fresh mix-ins, and piled-high toppings to invent your signature milkshake creations.
Make them for dessert, as afternoon snacks, or just because.
With the ability to customize shakes exactly to your taste, you may never return to ordering them at restaurants again.
Now grab a spoon, turn on your blender, and treat yourself to a cool, freshly blended milkshake anytime the craving strikes.