ice cream for milkshakes

9 Best Ice Cream for Milkshakes

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Looking for the best ice cream flavor for milkshakes? Then you are at the right place! If you are done making boring milkshakes, then it’s time to branch out and try a range of interesting and delicious flavors!

What is the best ice cream for milkshakes? While there are several classics like vanilla and chocolate, you can also use butter pecan, coffee, rocky road, peanut butter, cookies and cream, and more flavors to make your favorite milkshakes.

Read below to learn more about the best types of ice cream for milkshakes and how to make the perfect shake every time!

The Art of Making Milkshakes

If there is one thing that is constant in every culture and cuisine, it’s milkshakes! They have been with us since the invention of ice cream and people around the globe have developed several ways of making them. 

No one truly knows when milkshakes were invented but many agree that they first popped up during the 1920s when a Walgreens employee mixed 2 tablespoons of vanilla ice cream in their standard milk beverage recipe.  

Fast forward a couple of years, and milkshakes were the new norm with many people using a wide variety of ice creams to make their favorite beverages.

During the late 90s, ice cream production entered an all-time high and with this, milkshakes took on new heights as well.

Unsurprisingly, fast-food chains played a big role in making milkshakes extremely popular. For example, McDonald’s was one of the first fast-food chains to make milkshake production easy and cost-effective.

Previously, milkshake production required cold-chain storage, heavy machinery, and expensive ingredients. All of this took a lot of time and money to manage – but McDonald’s changed this by adopting powdered milkshakes. 

The powder contained thickening agents, milk powder, flavors, and emulsifiers to give it the texture and taste of milkshakes.

This technique required no refrigeration and cost a fraction of using regular methods of making milkshakes.

This initial move allowed McDonald’s to heavily invest in their beverage line up and it proved to be an important change for the milkshake industry in general. 

Today, many companies still use powdered mixtures to make milkshakes but McDonald’s, including many others, has incorporated back ice cream since cold chain technology has become cost-effective. 

There are three primary components for making high-quality milkshakes:

  1. High-Quality Ice Cream
  2. Full-Cream Milk
  3. Sweeteners and Flavorings

High-Quality Ice Cream

At the heart of every milkshake is a great-tasting ice cream! When making milkshakes at home, be sure to pick an ice cream brand that delivers on texture, thickness, and flavor.

Please keep in mind that ice cream that tastes great on its own will not always translate to a great milkshake.

The best way to pick a great-tasting ice cream is to check its list of ingredients. If the ice cream is a frozen dessert product that doesn’t contain real milk or cream, then it will likely not make for a great milkshake. 

The term “frozen dessert” allows companies to use a range of chemicals, vegetable fats, and artificial flavorings without including milk. Sure, some ice creams might include milk products but for cost-cutting reasons, you will find several brands that sell “creamy” ice cream that is made using thickeners and emulsifiers instead of real milk.

Traditional ice cream is made from a simple combination of milk, cream, and natural flavorings. We recommend going with tried-and-tested high-quality brands to make milkshakes, like the ones mentioned below!

Full-Cream Milk

Want to make the best milkshake possible? Then you can’t skip out on high-quality milk. Most popular commercial milkshakes have full-fat and creamy milk in them to give them a distinct flavor and thickness. 

If your milkshakes are turning out flat, then there is a high probability that you aren’t using the right type of milk. Instead of going with skimmed milk, try full-cream milk.

Sure, it adds on extra calories, but if you want the best then you will have to use high-quality dairy.

We only recommend using skimmed milk or other low-fat milk products in the case of strict dietary restrictions. If you don’t have any issues with milk then always go with full-fat milk for the best experience. 

Sweeteners and Flavorings

This is where you can get creative! Plain milkshakes are great but if you are fed up with making the same smooth-tasting milkshake then it’s time to branch out! 

There are two ways to add diversity to your shakes. The first method involves using chunky ice cream that includes nuts, cookies, or other flavorings to give them an altered texture. The second method is to use additional ingredients like chocolate chips, strawberry jam, nuts, wafers, candies, and more! 

These ingredients can help elevate the flavor of any milkshake and can also add an interesting texture to them. Try experimenting with different toppings like vanilla and strawberry jam to take your milkshakes to the next level. 

Another method for improving milkshakes is to use additional sweeteners like honey or even zero-sugar alternatives. 

These sweeteners can not only help you cut down on calories but they can also make your milkshakes taste better.

Honey is a great addition to many milkshakes as it can add a highly complex flavor without being too sweet. 

How to Make Milkshakes – The Right Way

Here is what you need to make any type of milkshake:

ice cream for milkshakes
  • 2 cups of your favorite ice cream (any flavor from below)
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • whipped cream
  • additional toppings as required


Step 1: Add 2 full scoops of your favorite ice cream to a blender.

Step 2: Add the milk to the blender.

Step 3: Blend the mixture until frothy. This should ideally take about a minute at the highest setting but you can also blend for more time until the mixture turns smooth.

Step 4: Pour the milkshake into a glass and then top it with whipped cream or other toppings as required. 

Note: If you want a thicker milkshake then you can use more ice cream and less milk. For thinner milkshakes, go with more milk. 

You can also up your milkshake game by decorating the glass with chocolate syrup or virtually any other type of flavored syrup. 

Here is how to prepare a glass of milkshake:

Step 1: Take a clean, tall glass and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 

Step 2: Use any type of syrup to decorate inside the glass. Just pour the syrup and rotate the glass to get “streaks” of syrup around the glass. We recommend going with chocolate or strawberry syrup for the best experience. 

Step 3: Put the glass back in the freezer for 30 minutes so that the syrup adheres to the glass without getting messy.

Step 4: Now follow the above steps for making milkshakes and pour out the shake into the prepared glass. Enjoy! 

Note: We don’t recommend that you store milkshakes because they can lose their flavor and texture within 4-5 hours. The best way to store leftover milkshakes is to freeze them. Just seal the container and put it in the freezer at 0F. 

To thaw the milkshake, just store it in the fridge for about 6-8 hours. You can also mix it back in the blender to rejuvenate its texture!

9 Best Ice Cream for Milkshakes

Now that you know all about milkshakes and how they are made, it’s time to look at the best ice cream flavors for making milkshakes at home!

FlavorBest Feature
1.Vanilla Ice CreamPlain and Simple. Vanilla goes great with everything and can also be combined with other flavors on our list.
2.Chocolate Chip Ice CreamGo for high-quality chocolate chip ice cream. Great for adding flavor and texture.
3.Strawberry (with and without chunks)Strawberry ice cream with a bit of jam can completely elevate any milkshake! 
4.Cookies and Cream
Crunchy, chewy, and just delicious! The best ice cream flavor for many types of milkshakes. 
5.Coconut Ice creamGet a tropical flavor with coconut! Goes great with vanilla and other fruit-flavored ice creams.   
6. Mint Chocolate ChipWant a bit extra? Then go with a mint chocolate chip as a base for your favorite milkshakes.
7. Peanut Butter Ice creamA highly underutilized ice cream flavor that can take your average milkshake to the next level.    
8.Coffee Flavored Ice CreamLove coffee? Then try any high-quality coffee-flavored ice cream as a base for your shakes.  
9.Rocky Road Ice Cream Chocolate, marshmallows, and nuts – a highly addicting combination for milkshakes.  

1. Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla is a classic flavor that can go well with any type of topping. Use vanilla as a base for your milkshakes and experiment with it by mixing in other flavors too.

The beauty of vanilla is that it can complement the flavor of any fruit and nut – and you can go with high-quality vanilla to truly up the ante!

vanilla ice cream

Vanilla ice cream is widely available and you can try several different types of vanilla ice cream to see what works best for your favorite shakes. Want more? Then try blending in fresh fruit with vanilla to get even more value from it.

2. Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Chocolate and vanilla go head-to-head in the flavor world. Both are extremely popular flavors but if you are like us, then you might want to go with a high-quality and highly decadent chocolate ice cream for milkshakes. 

chocolate chip ice cream

Chocolate ice cream is available in many different varieties which means that you can experiment with it to get varying textures and flavors! For the best experience, try using gooey and heavy chocolate syrup as a topping – we guarantee that it will make everything so much better than going with plain chocolate ice cream! 

3. Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry ice cream is hard to beat and you can use it to make a range of delicious milkshakes. Strawberry on its own is sweet enough that you won’t need any other topping with it, but if you want to switch it up, then we recommend adding strawberry syrup or jam to elevate the flavor and texture of the shake.

strawberry ice cream

You can also try going with raisins or nuts to add a crunchy texture to the milkshake. Try going with 3 scoops of strawberry ice cream with 1-2 tablespoons of jam, and 1 cup of milk. 

4. Cookies and Cream

Cookies and cream is hard to resist and you can use its chunky texture in several ways when making milkshakes at home. Since the base of this flavor is usually vanilla, you can also pair it with other flavorings to give it a slightly better flavor. 

cookies and cream ice cream

For example, add in chocolate syrup or decadent chocolate ice cream with 1 scoop of cookies and cream to make a delicious chocolatey and creamy milkshake. 

5. Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut may not be the first choice for people as an ice cream flavor but it can open up several possibilities! Coconut ice cream is an excellent flavor that can pair well with many of the flavors we have mentioned on our list. 

coconut ice cream

You will get a rich and tropical flavor from the coconut and you can also throw in chocolate chips to take the milkshake to the next level. If you want to keep it simple, then just mix 2 scoops of coconut ice cream with 1 cup of whole milk and 1-2 tablespoons of honey!

6. Mint Chocolate Chip

Mint chocolate chip is either a hit or miss with people but if you want to shake things up, then we highly recommend that you try out this flavor for milkshakes! 

mint chocolate chip ice cream

Go for a high-quality mint chocolate chip ice cream. Cheaper varieties of this flavor use too much mint which can be overpowering. Try going with a premium mint chocolate chip that tastes great on its own!

You can also control the mint flavor by using toppings or by mixing in a different flavor like vanilla or cookies and cream. 

7. Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Peanut butter ice cream is a highly underrated and underutilized ice cream flavor for milkshakes. Take the example of Shake Shack’s peanut butter shake! It’s like drinking a liquid Snickers bar! 

peanut butter ice-cream

Peanut butter on its own provides a salty, peanutty, and rich flavor that can make a range of beverages. Our favorite is a peanut butter and chocolate chip shake. You can also add a bit of sea salt and caramel syrup to the shake to make a salted caramel peanut butter milkshake! 

For starters, just go with a high-quality peanut butter ice cream and blend it with whole milk. Top it off with chocolate or caramel syrup and enjoy.

8. Coffee Flavored Ice Cream

Just like peanut butter, coffee is another underutilized ice cream flavor. We get it, it is difficult to find great-tasting coffee-flavored ice cream. But if you go with premium brands then we guarantee that you will find a coffee ice cream that is worth using in a milkshake. 

coffee flavored ice cream

The beauty of this flavor is that it can be used to make a range of coffee-centric beverages that rival artisanal and commercial coffee houses. You can also pair this flavor with virtually any type of chocolate flavor to make it sweeter and even more delicious. 

9. Rocky Road Ice Cream

Rocky Road is a sacred flavor that people don’t want to change because it is already perfect. Don’t worry, we feel the same way! Just add 2 scoops of rocky road with milk and give it a blend. Throw in some freshly roasted almonds or nuts to make a great-tasting milkshake!

The inclusion of marshmallows makes it a highly decadent flavor that can be further intensified if you use chocolate-flavored candies like M&Ms or even hazelnut wafers.

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