How To Make A Great Vanilla Milkshake: Tips & Information

A smooth, creamy milkshake is always a lovely treat. And the classic vanilla flavor is a timeless favorite that most everyone will find delicious. Learning how to make a great vanilla milkshake means you can have a perfect milky treat whenever you want.

Making a milkshake is simple, just blend milk and vanilla ice cream into a smooth, frothy liquid. But results can vary, especially if you don’t use good ingredients and the right ratios for them. There are many little things you can do to make the difference between mediocre and excellent. And once you learn how to make them correctly, you will knock your friends' and family members' socks off.

Vanilla Milkshakes: A Timeless Classic


The vanilla milkshake may just be one of the most timeless and popular cold treats. Milkshakes have a long history in America and around the world, and there are a variety of types and flavors. It can be a dessert, and a beverage served with your food or even a refreshing snack. The typical way to make a great vanilla milkshake is to blend ice cream and milk. These days, you have many different alternatives to choose from for milkshakes.

Many fast food chains have special machines that make milkshakes out of specialized ingredients, using a different method altogether. They can differ a lot in both taste and texture from the handmade variety. However, it's hard to beat, or even match, the classic vanilla milkshake.

History of Vanilla Milkshakes

The first milkshakes emerged sometime in the mid-to-late 1800s and were first referred to in print in 1885. This original milkshake was a different beast than the frosty, frothy dessert we know and love today. In fact, it was more similar to eggnog. What's more, early milkshakes contained whiskey and eggs. They were consumed both as a treat and as a health tonic. Sometime around the turn of the century, people started serving the concoction with ice cream. It caught on quickly, and as people did more experimentations on how to make a great vanilla milkshake, the ice cream became a key ingredient over time.

The emergence of the electric blender played a big role in changing and popularizing the milkshake as we know it. As these machines became widespread in diners, malt shops, and soda fountains, the smooth and creamy milkshake of today replaced the old recipe. This frothy, whipped milk drink is still the standard today. The flavors are still the same for the most part, a testament to the fact that they had figured out how to make a great vanilla milkshake.

Why You Should Learn How to Make a Great Vanilla Milkshake

Few things are as refreshing on a sunny day as a cold, sweet vanilla milkshake. It’s a delicious afternoon snack, and a quick and easy dessert for a movie night with friends or family. A shake's also a great way to treat and possibly impress a date with a delicious, handmade treat. It’s cheap and simple, and the result far surpasses the sum of its parts.

Compared to the pre-made milkshakes you can pick up at fast food windows and supermarkets, the homemade kind is both better and cheaper. You know what goes into it, and you can make it just how you want it. That is great if you're going to please a picky eater, a vegan, or someone with other dietary restrictions. It’s as easy as replacing or omitting an ingredient, and you’ll still end up with a great vanilla milkshake.

How to Make A Great Vanilla Milkshake from Scratch

Alright, let’s get to the good part and look at how to make a great vanilla milkshake. When it comes to equipment and skills, you don’t need anything other than a blender. The first thing to look into is choosing the right ingredients. While there are nearly endless options out there for both ice cream and milk, they’re not all created equal, and some are not suitable for a great milkshake. When you pick the ideal ingredients, you’ll get a fantastic shake every time.

Getting the best milk


As the name implies, this is the main ingredient and the most important to get right. It determines the texture and overall character of the final milkshake. The most important factor is the fat content of the milk. It determines the creaminess and how well the mixture emulsifies when you blend it, more fat is better, so you’ll want to get whole milk. A milkshake is meant to be a decadent indulgence, so treat yourself.

If you want to make a vegan milkshake, you can use almond milk. The taste and general character of the milk go well in a vanilla milkshake. Oat milk is another good option, and so is soy milk. One downside to using these plant-based milk substitutes is that they’re not very creamy. So consider adding a bit of oil to make up for this.

One important pointer for how to make a great vanilla milkshake is to avoid using too much milk. It’s a common mistake, sometimes a deliberate choice with the intention of making the shake stretch further. However, the runny and bland result is not a great milkshake. All you need is a splash of milk, no more than a few ounces per serving. Any more will lead to a runny mess that shouldn’t be called a milkshake.

Choosing the right ice cream

ice cream

The next lesson on how to make a great vanilla milkshake: be selective with the ice cream. There are so many options out there that can ruin your shake. The cheap kinds don’t have any actual vanilla and often barely meet the definition of ice cream. It’s worth paying a bit more for the right ingredients. Both the texture and the flavor of your vanilla milkshake depend on this. Remember, it’s a treat, so treat yourself to better quality ingredients.

First of all, make sure that the ice cream you get contains real vanilla and decent cream. It will say somewhere on the packaging. To make the search easier, look for ones that say things like “old fashioned” on the box. It’s worth repeating that you’ll want to avoid low-fat products because they have a negative impact on the thickness and creaminess of your milkshake.

When you’re ready to make the ice cream, make sure to let the ice cream sit out for a while before starting the process. If the ice cream is too cold, it will be harder to make a great milkshake. It won’t blend as well, it may seem thicker than it is and you may be tempted to add more milk, which will make the finished shake too runny once it warms up. The ideal temperature for your ice cream is around 20 F. Since the typical freezer keeps things around 0 F, you’ll want to let the ice cream sit out for a while. Not too long, it’s ready when it’s soft and easy to scoop.

Perfecting your vanilla milkshake

The milk and ice cream can be enough to make a good vanilla milkshake. But this article is about how to make a GREAT vanilla milkshake, so there are a few more factors to look at before you make one.

Taking the flavor from good to excellent isn’t hard. All it needs is a bit more vanilla and a bit more sweetness. There are a few different solutions to both goals, but it’s best to stick with a classic combination of sugar and vanilla extract. Any vanilla extract will do, but it’s better to get a higher-quality option. You don’t need much so that a bottle will last for multiple batches of vanilla milkshakes.

If you want to make your milkshake extra nice, you can add various toppings. Good examples are berries, chocolate shavings, caramel, or chopped nuts and cinnamon. You can experiment a lot and find your own unique favorite topping or combination.

Tip: Always serve your milkshake in a chilled glass to keep the proper temperature and consistency. Since you're learning how to make a great vanilla milkshake, it would be a shame to waste it by improper serving.

Great Vanilla Milkshake Recipe

The following are two variations of our favorite vanilla milkshake recipe.

Thin milkshake (2 servings)

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1.5 cup cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Thick milkshake (2 servings)

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


First, let your ice cream soften for a few minutes, then put all of the ingredients into a blender. Next, blend the ingredients until you get a smooth, creamy milkshake. Once your milkshake is blended, pour it into well-chilled serving glasses, add toppings and enjoy your great vanilla milkshakes.

Bon Appétit

Now you know how to make a great vanilla milkshake. The great thing is that the more you treat yourself and your loved ones to this delicious milky treat, the better you will get at making it. You can always find a time and a reason for a great vanilla milkshake.


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