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How to Make a Milkshake

A Rich, Creamy, Frosty Milkshake is Easier Than You Think

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How to Make a Milkshake

How to make a milkshake.

Photo © John E. Kelly / Getty Images

How to Make a Milkshake

A milkshake is one of the most refreshing and satisfying summertime treats, but they're great all year round — and if you know the basic recipe you can make your own milkshakes anytime you want.

The main thing is getting the right ratio of ice cream to milk, and then adding any flavoring ingredients you care to use. And the temperature of the ice cream is more important than you might think.

But before we get to that, one of the common mistakes people make with homemade milkshakes is using too much milk. You really just want a splash of milk, a couple of ounces at the most. More than that will make the milkshake too runny.

Also, you should never add ice to a milkshake. The last thing you want to do is dilute the rich creaminess of the milk and ice cream combo with frozen water. Save the ice for making smoothies.

The Best Ice Cream for Making a Milkshake

Another thing: In most cases, you're going to want to use vanilla ice cream. That's right, even if you're making a chocolate milkshake, or strawberry or some other flavor. Vanilla ice cream is like the blank canvas. The flavoring comes from the chocolate syrup or the fresh strawberries or crumbled up cookies or whatever. If you use chocolate ice cream, the result will be too sweet. The same goes for using strawberry ice cream for a strawberry milkshake. Stick with vanilla ice cream as your base.

As for the temperature of the ice cream, what you want to shoot for is around 20°F. What this translates into is that your ice cream should be fairly soft — about the consistency of soft-serve. Why? Because if your ice cream is too hard, you'll have to add too much milk to thin it out, and that will throw off the ice-cream-to-milk ratio.

Now, your freezer probably keeps your ice cream at about 0°F, which means you are going to want to let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes to soften up. Not too long — you don't want it to melt. Just long enough to soften up a bit. You can use an instant read thermometer to gauge the exact temperature if you wish, but really, just think soft-serve consistency.

So, here are is a simple chocolate milkshake recipe, followed by a few variations:
  1. Let the ice cream (vanilla, please) soften at room temperature until it is the consistency of soft-serve. In the meantime you can put the glass you'll be serving the milkshake in in the freezer to let it chill.

  2. Add three generous scoops of ice cream to the blender, along with 2 oz. (¼ cup) of whole milk.

  3. Squirt in around ¼ cup of chocolate syrup and add a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

  4. Blend until smooth and serve in the frosty glass. You can top the milkshake with whipped cream, sprinkles, a cherry, or whatever suits your fancy. Or just enjoy it plain.
  • Milkshake variations:
  • For a chocolate malt, add ¼ cup of malt powder to the recipe above.

  • For a strawberry milkshake, substitute 1 cup of frozen strawberries for the chocolate syrup.

  • Or for a cookies and cream milkshake, throw in two or three (depending on how big they are) cookies of your choice instead of the chocolate syrup.

  • And of course, a vanilla milkshake is not exactly a variation. It's more like the basic milkshake and it is a wonderful thing. Just blend the ice cream, milk and vanilla extract. You will not be disappointed.
As you can see, once you know the formula of using three softened scoops of vanilla ice cream, two ounces of whole milk plus some flavoring, you can pretty much make any type of milkshake your heart desires.
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