If you’re having trouble deciding which flavor of ice cream to order at your favorite local shop, consider ordering an ice cream shake instead! An ice cream shake is exactly what it sounds like—a concoction of ice cream and milk that blends up into a creamy beverage perfect for hot summer days. Here are 10 great ways to make your very own ice cream shake.
Though some people prefer their shakes without any fruit, if you want yours to be especially refreshing, consider adding a scoop of fruit along with your mix-ins. This can also make your shake more filling and satisfying. Try one of these fruits as mix-ins: banana, raspberry, strawberry, mango or peach.
If you have a blender, you can even make your own fresh fruit puree that you can use in your shakes. If you want to add some extra sweetness and flavor, consider using vanilla or chocolate ice cream instead of fruit as your base. Both can help enhance your shake’s taste, with flavors that work well with most fruits.
Use milk to make your shake richer and creamier. There are a number of flavored milks on the market, so you can easily add your favorite flavor without having to add extra sugar. Skim milk has fewer calories than whole milk, so if you’re watching your weight, it’s a good choice. It will also keep your shake thick and creamy.
Go heavy on the syrup
A lot of ice cream shake recipes have too much milk and not enough syrup. This means that you’re mostly getting water, which doesn’t add any flavor and won’t help you feel full—that’s what you want from your dessert! So, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of milk, replace it with 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup syrup.
This can be adjusted depending on how thick you like your shakes. For example, if you like them a little less thick, use 1/2 cup milk and 3/4 cup syrup, instead. Or if you want something closer to an ice cream milkshake, use 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup syrup.
Add ice cream
Ideally, you want a ratio of 1 part ice cream to 2 parts liquid (milk or cream), although if you like it thinner, go with 3:1. Here’s how that looks in action. Add vanilla ice cream directly into a tall glass, then top with whole milk until it reaches roughly two-thirds of the way up—leave space at top for mixing! Pour in more ice cream, followed by heavy whipping cream; stir until smooth.
You’ll notice that adding extra ingredients, like syrups and extracts (or even liquor!), goes on top of ice cream. As with mixing it, stir until smooth. For frozen drinks or alcoholic shakes, shake well for about 10 seconds before serving in a cocktail glass—it’ll be more aesthetically pleasing. If you want your drink to keep its consistency as you drink it, make sure your glass is at least three-quarters full when you start.
Consider options like cinnamon, nuts, candy
When it comes to creating mouthwatering ice cream shakes, there are seemingly limitless flavor options and combinations. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a wide variety of ingredients. Consider adding your favorite sweets like candy or nuts, as well as fresh fruit like berries or bananas. And when it comes to ice cream flavors, don’t hesitate – any flavor will work in a shake!
The final ingredient you’ll need is ice. If you want a smooth, creamy shake that doesn’t have any bits of ice in it, try blending your ingredients for at least a minute. For texture and chunks of ice, blend for just 30 seconds or so. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how long to blend shakes because everyone prefers different consistencies!
Flavor the milk before using it
Do you want your ice cream shake to taste like vanilla? Add some pure vanilla extract. Want chocolate? Add a little cocoa powder (unsweetened). Want strawberry ice cream? Mash up some fresh strawberries and add them in with some milk or water (or both, if you want it creamier). You can make just about any flavor of milkshake by adding things like cinnamon, sugar, or honey before blending in your ice cream. It’s a great way to add variety without all that extra sugar.
Making your own ice cream also gives you more flexibility with sweeteners. You can avoid processed sugars (which often come from genetically modified sources) and avoid allergens that might be in store-bought ice cream. Making your own is also a great way to save money since it’s usually cheaper than store-bought, even when you buy organic.
Add whipped cream for extra volume
A dollop of whipped cream not only makes you shake look amazing, but it also adds extra volume. To make your own, just whip one cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form and top of that cup o’ cream with a teaspoon or two of sugar. You can even add chocolate syrup for extra flavor. Not only will you end up with more ice cream in your glass, but you can cut down on how much sugar goes into your drink and reduce calorie intake. Not bad!
Don’t mix too much or you won’t get any swirl!
If you want swirls of ice cream in your shake, don’t mix up too much of it. More ice cream, you add, the less there will be to mix with milk and other flavors, leaving you with a mess rather than a creamy treat. Depending on how many ingredients you’re adding, start with 4–6 scoops. As long as your measurements are right, you can add more after that if desired. You also have plenty of time later to taste-test and make adjustments!
Experiment with recipes (e.g. add strawberry purée before pouring over ice cream!)
One of my favorite things about ice cream shakes is that there are so many variations. So if you’re bored with your shake routine, it’s time to experiment with new recipes. For instance, I like to add fresh strawberry purée before pouring over ice cream—it makes for a refreshing take on strawberry shortcake!
When you’re getting ready to eat your new concoction, don’t forget about toppings. If you’re feeling indulgent, top your shake with whipped cream or chocolate syrup for a real treat! Otherwise, some sliced fresh fruit is a nice way to add some healthy options. Have fun experimenting with different recipes and enjoy!
If you find a favorite recipe, don’t forget to try adding it in during summer months, when frozen fruit is plentiful. Or if you want a richer shake but still want it to feel like summer, substitute non-dairy ice cream or even non-dairy yogurt for your standard dairy option.