How to Thicken a Milkshake

by M.T. Wroblewski

A straw may be in the glass, but if you can’t fully enjoy a milkshake without using a spoon, it’s probably a safe bet that you like thick milkshakes best. Most milkshakes consist of two basic ingredients: milk and ice cream. While it’s worth experimenting with some of the many ice cream brands you can find at the store, there are a few ways you can thicken a milkshake. So get a fat, wide spoon ready for action.

Count on rich, full-flavored ice cream and milk to produce a thick milkshake. Ice milks and “frozen yogurts” might be palatable in a bowl, but they often lack the fat and richness that results in a hearty shake. Likewise, whole milk is more likely to produce thicker shakes than 1 percent or skim milk.

Crush some ice cubes to thicken your milkshake. Your ice cream may be cold, but crushed ice will bolster the chill in the milk to produce a thicker shake.

Substitute heavy whipping cream for the milk. The cream will create almost a fluffy texture – and just might require a spoon.

Add a little yogurt or crème fraiche – a naturally soured cream – to thicken your milkshake. If you cannot find the latter in a store, combine 1 tablespoon of buttermilk or plain yogurt into 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours before folding the thick mixture into your milkshake. But taste it beforehand; crème fraiche has a nutty flavor that might alter your milkshake experience.

Add some chocolate syrup or chocolate fudge to thicken chocolate shakes. For example, you might combine 1 cup of rich chocolate ice cream, ¾ cup of whipping cream and ¼ cup of fudge for a milkshake that could pass for a rich dessert.

Mash a complementary fruit to thicken a milkshake. A cold, mashed banana, for example, will add bulk to a frothy banana milkshake. Cold strawberries will add dimension to a strawberry milkshake.

Infuse meaning in the second syllable of “milkshake” and shake up the ingredients mightily, preferably in a blender. Those hand-held plastic shaker bottles – well-known to dieters who consume liquid shakes on the run – cannot compete with the intensity of an electric blender and the thick consistency you’ll find when you uncover the pitcher.

Items you will need

  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Ice cubes
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Yogurt or crème fraiche
  • Chocolate syrup or chocolate fudge (for chocolate shakes)
  • Mashed fruit (for fruit milkshakes)
  • Straw and spoon


  • Milkshakes shouldn't be confused with smoothies, which are fruit and ice drinks that are devoid of ice cream.

About the Author

If you can't see the world, then you may as well try to meet (or at least talk to) everyone in it. So goes the hopeful thinking of many journalists, including Mary Wroblewski. This is why you'll see her work in a wide variety of publications, especially those in the business, education, health care and nutrition genres. Mary came of age as a reporter and editor in some of Chicago's scrappiest newsrooms but softened up long enough to write nine children's books as well as one nonfiction tome.

Photo Credits

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