Making a milkshake may seem like a no-brainer – it’s just ice cream and milk, after all! But the ratio of ice cream to milk makes all the difference.
Too much milk, and you end up with a soupy (but sweet) slurry. Too much ice cream, and you need a spoon to eat it. We like our milkshakes to have a rich, thick, and creamy consistency that still slips through a straw.
All you need is ice cream, milk, a blender, and this simple guide on how to make the best milkshake at home for a delicious sweet treat any time the craving strikes!
How to Make a Milkshake
- Allow ice cream to sit out for about 7 minutes to soften slightly. Transfer ice cream into a blender with milk.
- Blend on low until smooth and creamy – 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Drizzle caramel sauce around the inner sides of a glass (if using). Pour the milkshake into the prepared glass and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks for Making the BEST Milkshake
Follow the 5:1 ratio. Are you making a milkshake for yourself or a crowd? We’ve found that a 5:1 ratio of ice cream to milk has the perfect texture, but feel free to make it 4:1 if you like your milkshakes a little thinner.
Soften your ice cream first. Straight out of the freezer, ice cream is rock-hard and difficult to scoop. Let it sit for 5-7 minutes until it’s slightly softened, and you can easily scoop it out. This helps it blend more easily without having to add more milk.
Don’t add mix-ins or toppings until the end. For any of the flavor variations below, get your milkshake to the consistency you want before adding extras. This way, you can chop them up small but not so small that they completely blend with the ice cream, changing the overall flavor and texture.
Use whole milk. You can use skim, 1%, or 2% milk, but whole milk will give you ice cream shop-quality shakes.
Use frozen glasses. This is especially helpful on warm days! To keep your milkshake from melting as soon as it hits the glass, freeze the glasses for at least a couple of hours so everything stays chilled while you sip.
Don’t over-blend. You only need about 30-60 seconds to whip everything together. Over-blending will heat things up and make your shake runny, regardless of the ratio of ice cream to milk you use.
Flavor and Mix-in Variations
We like to keep things classic with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry (and maybe a little caramel sauce drizzled inside), but the flavor variations are endless.
When adding larger pieces of cookies or candies, get your milkshake to the right consistency, add your mix-ins, and blend for an extra 20-30 seconds until the pieces are just small enough to suck through a straw.
Try some of these fun milkshake flavors:
- Chocolate lovers. Want chocolate instead? Use chocolate milk and chocolate ice cream, add chocolate syrup drizzle to the glass, chocolate chips, and brownie.
- Strawberry shortcake. Vanilla ice cream, whole milk, frozen strawberries, and graham cracker pieces. Drizzle the glass with strawberry syrup and top with whipped cream and more graham cracker crumbs.
- Birthday cake. Use vanilla ice cream and whole milk, 1/2 a teaspoon of birthday cake or cake batter extract, and top with whipped cream and sprinkles.
- Almond joy. Use vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. Drizzle chocolate syrup in the glass and top with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, shredded coconut, and sliced almonds.
- Dairy free. You can easily make a dairy-free milkshake at home by using dairy-free ice cream and plant-based milk. Coconut, oat, and soy milk are great options because they are thick and creamy compared to other plant-based milk.
Or make your own by combining any of these delicious mix-ins:
- Cookies. Try chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, brownies, shortbread, or thin mint cookies.
- Coffee or tea. Add 1-2 teaspoons of finely ground espresso, matcha powder, or hot cocoa mix.
- Flavor extracts. If you want a different flavor base than vanilla, add half a teaspoon of extracts like lemon, almond, birthday cake, or caramel.
- Fruit. Add half a cup of frozen or fresh fruit. Try strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, bananas, or mango.
- Nut butter and spreads. Add extra richness with peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, Nutella, marshmallow fluff, or any jam or jelly flavor.
- Nuts. When adding hard foods, it’s a good idea to add them pre-ground so they’re small enough to go through a straw. Add walnuts, pecans, almonds, or peanuts.
More Milkshake Topping Options
Syrup drizzle. Add any syrup flavor to the inside of your glass and on top. Chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, and strawberry are some of our favorites!
Crunchy toppings: Anything small or that you can crumble can top your milkshake. Try graham crackers, waffle cones, shredded coconut, candy bar pieces, or chocolate chips.
Make it boozy. Add a shot of your favorite liquor or liqueur. Rum, vodka, bourbon, and Buttershot or peach schnapps are all fun options. You can even top your milkshake with bourbon-infused cherries!
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do you thicken a milkshake? If your milkshake is too runny, just add another scoop of ice cream and blend for another 30 seconds. If it’s extra hot out, freeze your blender canister and glasses 1-2 hours before making your shake to keep things frosty!
- Do you put ice in a milkshake? A milkshake is just milk and ice cream. If you add ice, the shake will become watery and won’t have the smooth creaminess you expect from a quality shake.
- Can you make a milkshake ahead of time? We don’t recommend making a milkshake ahead of time as the consistency will never be as smooth and creamy as it will be right after blending. You could make it, freeze it in an ice cube tray, and then let it thaw out again, but the texture will be off and not nearly as delicious!
Our Favorite Foods to Enjoy with Our Milkshake Recipe
There are no rules on when to enjoy a homemade milkshake, but if you’re looking for the perfect meal to pair one with, we have a few options!
- With a Jucy Lucy Burger and Onion Rings
- A Roast Beef Sandwich and Baby Bloomin Onions
- Steak Sandwich and Polenta Fries
- Animal Style Fries
More Delicious Ice Cream Recipes You Will Love
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- 2 1/2 cups high quality vanilla ice cream (or strawberry or chocolate)
- 1/2 cup cold whole milk
- whipped cream
- caramel/chocolate syrup
- maraschino cherry
- Allow ice cream to sit out for about 7 minutes to soften.
- Transfer ice cream into a blender with milk.
- Blend on low until smooth and creamy – 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Drizzle caramel or chocolate sauce around the inner sides of a glass (if using).
- Pour milkshake into prepared glass and top with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry. Serve immediately.