Tips on How to Make Amazing Milkshakes at Home – with Recipes

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Tips on how to make amazing milkshakes at home in your blender with recipes for different milkshakes too. And of course, instruction on how to take your milkshake to the next level with a freakshake.

What is the history of the milkshake?

history of the milkshake

The first known reference to milkshakes in print was in 1885 but it wasn’t the beverage we know today. It was an adult alcoholic beverage made of cream, eggs, and whiskey “for medicinal purposes” – more like an egg nog than a milkshake.

By 1900, alcohol was no longer in the recipe. Milkshakes were called “wholesome drinks made with chocolate, strawberry or vanilla syrups.” But there still wasn’t any ice cream in them. They were shaken by hand with ice like a cocktail shaker.

In 1911 Hamilton Beach invented the drink mixer, so milkshakes were on the menu at soda fountains. People called vanilla shakes “white cows”. (I’m not sure why, maybe it was because they were served alongside the Black Cow root beer float. See our black cow recipe.)

walgreens retro photo

Walgreens store circa 1930s

walgreens In-Store Soda Fountain 1930s

Hankering for History says, “In 1922, Ivan “Pop” Coulson, a Walgreens employee, sought to improve on the company’s chocolate malt beverage. As a wizard at the soda fountain, Coulson was always mixing together concoctions. The original recipe was milk, chocolate syrup, and a spoonful of malt powder. However, with one added ingredient Coulson would shape form to a magnificently delicious beverage that would stand the test of time. Using ‘generous’ scoops of vanilla ice cream, manufactured in Walgreen’s own plant, it gave the malt beverage a thick consistency and a richer taste.”

Visit their website for more milkshake history, and to try Coulson’s original Walgreens recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Malted Milk.

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In 1922, Stephen Poplawski, the owner of Stevens Electric company invented the electric blender and milkshakes were available in restaurants – and even homes. Dairy Queen was the first fast food chain to offer milkshakes in 1949, quickly followed by others.

Today the trend has returned to adult milkshakes with alcohol again, so I guess we’ve come full circle. (See our Minty Shake with Baileys as proof.)

Use the best ingredients for the best milkshakes.

As with any recipe, a milkshake is tastier and more enjoyable when you start with the best ingredients such as ice cream made with real cream, and whole milk. If you use low-fat ice cream it will water down your milkshake. Life is short – go for the gold! Don’t have a “diet milkshake” that you won’t thoroughly enjoy.

How to have a luxuriously rich milkshake that wows the crowd.

You can take your milkshake a step farther and make it a mixture of whole milk and half-and-half cream for that creamy dreamy richness.

(BUT never ever use whipping cream or heavy cream in your blender because it will turn to butter!)

To make it easier for your blender at home, soften the ice cream first.

You can scoop the ice cream right into the blender and let it soften for 5 minutes before adding the other ingredients, or if your blender has a hard time, add the milk first and then the softened ice cream and the mix-ins. And while we’re talking about mix-ins, make sure they aren’t too much for your blender either!

What are milkshake mix-ins?

A mix-in is the fun little bits that you add to a milkshake to make them extra special. Milkshake mix-ins are things like Oreo crumbs, fruit pieces, mini chocolate chips, and other foods that make the extra punch of flavor in your milkshake.

Your mix-ins will be pulverized in the blender. This is how you can add cookie pieces to add flavor to your milkshake without it catching in your straw! Use full sized foods as a garnish and turn your beverage into a freakshake.

What is a Freakshake?

pink and blue donut freakshakes

A freakshake is a milkshake taken to monstrous proportions. It’s a form of milkshake artistry! Add other snack items as a garnish for your freakshake and make it a memorable event. You can add donuts, candy, chocolate bars, cookies, candy floss, marshmallows – whatever you can think up. (For more information see How to Make a Freakshake.)

How do you make a milkshake thicker?

If you add too much milk, use low-fat milk or blend a milkshake too long, it will have a thinner consistency. Fortunately, it’s very easy to make a milkshake thicker. Just add another scoop of ice cream (or two if required) and blend to the correct consistency. Just barely pourable is a nice consistency.

How do I make a milkshake thinner?

If you prefer your milkshake thinner add an extra 1/4 c of milk to the recipe. If you’ve already made your milkshake and it’s too thick, just add a milk little by little until it’s the right consistency. Not all of us want a workout sucking on a straw!

How much ice cream is in a scoop?

Who wants to measure ice cream in a measuring cup? An ice cream scoop holds about 1/2 cup of ice cream. So 6 scoops is 3 cups of ice cream and you add 1 cup of whole milk and your flavorings and mix-ins.

How to make milkshakes at home: the step-by-step guide.

Time needed: 15 minutes.

It’s so easy to make milkshakes at home. Once you give it a try, you’ll have milkshakes on the menu all summer!

  1. Start with ice cream.

    To make one milkshake you need 1 1/2 cups of ice cream, or 3 scoops. Use good quality ice cream made with real cream. Let ice cream soften about 5 minutes. (Put glass in freezer to get frosty.)

  2. Next is milk.

    Use 1/2 cup of whole milk or 1/4 cup milk with 1/4 cup half-and-half cream to make it richer. (Don’t use whipping cream or heavy cream because it will turn to butter in the blender.)

  3. Add flavorings.

    Add syrup, fruit, or spices to flavor your milkshake as desired.

  4. Add mix-ins.

    Add cookie pieces or cookie crumbs, sprinkles, etc. Remember that whatever mix-ins you add are for flavoring or appearance. They will be pulverized in the blender. (If it is for decoration, put it on the top.)

  5. Decorate as desired.

    For simple decorations, add whipped cream with a sprinkle of toppings on top and a cookie to garnish. From there the only limit is your imagination! For a freakshake start with a scoop of ice cream to float on the very top and add snacks and goodies as desired. For more information & inspiration see How to Make a Freakshake.

Make milkshakes at home with a drink mixer under $50 at Amazon.

Here are our milkshake recipes:

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What is your favorite kind of milkshake and why? Have you ever made a Freakshake? We want pics!