My children love milkshakes and are quite picky about them. There is nothing wrong with that, except I often find myself trying to figure out how to make a milkshake without ice cream as we don’t normally have a container of vanilla ice cream sitting in our freezer. I would typically go and buy ice cream when I know I would be making milkshakes. I suspect this is the case with many people.
Necessity is the mother of invention as they say. Necessity, or perhaps my laziness about going out to shop for ice cream, made me research, experiment and find cool ways to make milkshakes without ice cream. The reality is, you don’t even need ice cream to make a good milkshake. With a little bit of work you can make a great milkshake that tastes and has the same texture as the traditional one made with ice cream. Maybe even better depending on the quality of ice cream you happen to use.
For quick and easy milkshakes without ice cream you need the following three basic ingredients:
- ice cubes
This is what the majority of no ice cream milkshake recipes you will find use as a base. The truth is, milkshakes made with just these basic ingredients are thin-bodied and watery, don’t have the right consistency, and can’t really compete with an ice cream based milkshake. The good news is that with a few easy tweaks you can transform them into something very special.
To whip up a good milkshake you don’t need a super powerful blender like the super-duper Vitamix Professional Series or the Ninja Professional, though those are very nice to have for smoothies. Actually, you can do better than that for your money. After an extensive research I purchased a new blender last year that actually performs even better than either of those two blenders. It’s my beloved work horse Waring Pro MX1000RXT XTREME commercial blender which costs considerably less and delivers an incredible 45,000 RPM at peak power. The milkshakes come out airy, velvety smooth and are a pure enjoyment to drink. Just like they are supposed to be.
And if you are also into smoothies, this blender can’t be beat. It liquefies ingredients that ordinary, less powerful blenders won’t without adding additional liquid, and pulverizes things like seeds so don’t even feel them in the drink. My Strawberry Banana Yogurt Smoothie is a good example.
That said, any inexpensive blender or even a Stick Hand Blender will suffice. Brett Reichler, Corporate Executive Chef for BR Guest Hospitality, while being interviewed by Food Network stated that “If you don’t own a blender, you can also use a stick-blender, which works just as effectively.” “If you don’t have either one of those, grab a stainless steel bowl and a whisk, you should never deny yourself a milkshake because you don’t have a blender.”
I think the statements above are a little bit of an exaggeration, though. We used a stick blender to make smoothies at home for a period of time. I would say the results were acceptable but far from excellent. The milkshake texture was not nearly as velvety smooth as what my Waring Pro blender delivers. I personally would pick a cheap blender over a stick blender any time. A whisk should be used as a last resort and don’t expect a nice airy, silky smooth texture.
The basic milkshake without ice cream requires milk, sugar and ice cubes. You can get away with just milk and sugar, but adding ice will provide thickness desirable in a milkshake.
Basic Milkshake Without Ice Cream
12 ice cubes
2 cups milk
1/3 cup white sugar (plus more to taste if needed)
2-3 drops vanilla extract
Blend ice, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a blender until smooth.
If all you have is skim or low fat milk, try adding some fruit or berries. Both fresh and frozen will work perfectly well. Fruit and berries improve the body, thickness and flavor of the drink.
Basic Milkshake Without Ice Cream with Strawberries
6 ice cubes
2 cups milk
1/2 cup white sugar (plus more to taste if needed)
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
2-3 drops vanilla extract
Blend ice, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and fruit together in a blender until smooth.
Using skim or low fat milk will result in a fairly watery drink that will lack milkshake consistency. The more milk fat is in the milk, the more body and smoothness the milkshake will have. If you want pure, unflavored milkshake, use 50 percent milk and 50 percent half and half or heavy cream. As a matter of fact, a milkshake made with equal parts milk and heavy cream will taste very close to the one made with ice cream. Add half a cup of fresh berries for more flavor.
Basic Milkshake With Heavy Cream and Berries
6 ice cubes
1 cup of milk
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar (plus more to taste if needed)
1 cup fresh blackberries
Blend ice, milk, cream, sugar, and fruit together in a blender until smooth.
Another way to get the body and the consistency typical of a milkshake made with ice cream is to add bananas. Bananas will lend their creamy, silky-smooth texture to the milkshake. This milkshake has a very pronounced banana flavor. If you like bananas, you will love this milkshake.
Basic Milkshake With Bananas
3 ripe bananas
2 cups of milk
1 Tbsp of honey (you can also use corn syrup or maple syrup)
Peel the bananas. Cut into pieces, add milk and blend on high speed for about 15 seconds.
Add honey and continue blending until smooth.
If you want a healthier, low cholesterol, lactose-free and vegan milkshake – substitute milk for almond milk. Almond milk is a plant milk that has a smooth, creamy texture and nutty taste, and is perfect for milkshakes. Adding an avocado will further improve the texture and add creaminess and smoothness.
Healthy Basic Milkshake With Avocado
6 ice cubes
1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 tsp fruit syrup (e.g. raspberry, strawberry)
4 Tbsp honey, corn syrup or maple syrup
2 cups milk
Blend ice cubes, avocado cubes, honey and milk until smooth. Pour into glasses and top with fruit syrup.
Milkshakes with Egg Yolks
While a milkshake without ice cream can be just as delicious, adding a thickener such as egg yolk will significantly improve its texture and make it taste more like a traditional milkshake. Elizabeth from Livingthenourishedlife.com likes to add raw egg yolks to smoothies because they give them a milkshake texture.
Wait a second, couldn’t using raw eggs result in food-borne illness? Yes, there is always that risk, however small it may be. What’s Cooking America recommends cooking egg yolks for use in such dishes as cold souffles, chiffons, mousses, mayonnaise and Hollandaise sauce. The same advice applies to milkshakes. To cook yolks for the milkshake, the recipe must contain at least 2 tablespoons of milk per yolk. Less liquid will result in scrambled eggs. To prepare the egg yolks, combine the yolks with the milk in a medium size sauce pan.
Cook in a heavy sauce pan over low heat until the mixture coats a metal spoon, bubbles, or reaches 160F.
Pour the mixture into a bowl sitting in an ice bath to cool it quickly.
No Ice Cream Milkshake With Egg Yolks
2 cups low fat or whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
2-3 drops vanilla extract
8-10 ice cubes
Combine 1/4 cup milk and the yolks in a medium size sauce pan. Whisk until blended. Heat the mixture over medium low heat until it reaches 160F. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl sitting in an ice bath to chill.
Blend egg mixture, ice cubes, white sugar and the rest of the milk until smooth.
Milkshakes with Custard
If you have the time and willingness to put a little more effort into making a milkshake without ice cream, you can make your milkshake taste just like the traditional milkshake. For that you need to make your own ice cream. Almost. We are going to make ice cream base, or custard, but will not be freezing it in an ice cream machine. We just need the taste and the body of the custard. After all, once you blend ice cream with milk in a blender all that freezing work that the ice cream machine has done will be undone. Essentially you will be going back from ice cream to the custard. By the way, custard-based ice creams tend to be richer and smoother, due to the emulsifying properties of egg yolks. As such, adding custard to the milkshake will really benefit its texture.
Before starting, prepare an ice bath to expedite the chilling of the custard. Fill a larger bowl with ice an some water so the cubes are barely floating. Place a smaller bowl inside the larger bowl. Then put a strainer over the smaller bowl.
Heat the milk with the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan on the stove. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks.
When the milk gets hot and steamy, remove the sauce pan from heat. Using a ladle, very slowly pour the hot milk over the egg yolks while constantly whisking.
If you pour too fast you will scramble the eggs. Now, scrape the mixture back into the sauce pan. Cook stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or until the internal temperature reaches 170F-175F.
Don’t let the temperature rise over 185F. If you do, the eggs yolks will curdle and you will end up with a grainy texture. In some cases you may be able to save it by using a hand blender, but it’s better not to have to do that. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the chilled bowl sitting over the ice bath. Keep stirring until the mixture is cool, about 5-7 minutes.
Most custard-based ice cream recipes call for pouring the warm custard right into the cold cream. Doing so will not cause any ill effect and will help stop the cooking and expedite cooling.
Custard Base Milkshake Without Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
A pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
4 large egg yolks
10 ice cubes
Place the egg yolks in a medium size bowl and whisk together.
Warm the milk, the sugar, vanilla seeds and vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), and salt in a medium saucepan. The mixture should reach about 180-190F, just before it begins to boil.
Slowly pour the milk over the egg yolks while constantly stirring.
Pour the egg mixture back into the sauce pan and heat over medium low heat until it reaches 175F, thickens and coats the spatula.
Pour the custard through the strainer into the chilled bowl sitting over the ice bath. Keep stirring until the mixture is cool, about 5-7 minutes.
Blend the custard with heavy cream and the ice. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.
Milkshakes with Corn Starch as Thickener
This milkshake recipe makes use of egg-less Philadelphia style-like ice cream base. Philadelphia ice cream is made of heavy cream, milk, sugar and vanilla as described in David Lebovitz’s awesome The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments book. The difference is that in this recipe I also add corn starch and powdered milk for thicker body and creamier texture.
Corn Starch Base Milkshake Without Ice Cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 heaping Tbsp powdered milk (instant skim milk powder)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus more to taste)
3/4 Tbsp corn starch
1 vanilla bean, seeded (substitute with two teaspoons vanilla extract)
10 ice cubes
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a pairing knife. Combine sugar, vanilla bean seeds and powdered milk in a medium size pot. Slowly add 1 cups of milk while constantly stirring. Add the bean pod to the milk.
Prepare the corn starch by combining it with the remaining 1/4 cup of milk. Whisk until corn starch and milk are blended and no lumps remain. Set aside.
Slowly bring the milk to a gentle boil, add cornstarch and keep stirring constantly, scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the mix thickens enough to coat the spatula, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the stove.
Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the mix into the bowl. Keep stirring for 5-7 minutes until the mixture is cool.
Slowly add heavy cream, constantly stirring.
Blend the mixture with 10 ice cubes. Serve immediately.
Milkshakes with Oil
Finally, here is another interesting way to make a milkshake without ice cream that I found on Hillbilly Housewife. The recipe uses milk, sugar, ice, vanilla extract and…. corn oil with non-stick oil spray for emulsification purposes. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about the recipe at first, but after trying it’s actually quite good. It has a nice texture and body which is lighter than that of milkshakes made with egg yolks or custard. My children liked it too. I made a few changes to the original recipe, such as reducing the amount of sugar as the original milkshake was too sweet for my taste. I also dropped unsweetened cocoa powder and substituted water and powdered milk for real milk.
Milkshake With corn Oil
1 cup of ice
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray
Blend ice, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, non-stick spray and corn oil until well blended. Pour into milkshake glasses and serve immediately.
I tried Stawberry milkshake and it was awesome. thank you so much for this exellent recipe.
You are very welcome.
Wow the milkshake i made without ice cream was good but it wasn’t the typical milkshake consistency I made the banana one but instead of using corn syrup or maple syrup I used maple extract and it tastes like a smoothie but better.
Amazing! Did not know that milkshakes could be made without ice cream. Just made basic one, and it was delicious. Will try the other variations soon!
very nice and tasty
This sounds so good! One thing I will suggest is this, use JELLO brand instant vanilla pudding. Make it according to package directions, then put it in ice cube trays to freeze. Whenever you want a quick, creamy, and delicious milkshake, simply blend them with milk, the more cubes you add, the thicker your shake will be. Personally i prefer this over milkshakes, its SOOO delish.
Great idea, Katherine. Thank you.
I just use milk, syrup, and a couple ice cubes or ball bearings in a cocktail shaker. The ice cubes/ball bearings just help whip more air into it. Comes out thin but very frothy. Ice cubes also help make it colder – the shaker gets cold as you shake it. I believe this is how milkshakes were originally made, and they’re quite good.
Can you use Frozen Blackberrys like t’he strawberry milkshake?
Because on t’he strawberry milkshake with t’he Frozen strawberrys It was Vert good.
Yes, you absolutely can.
happy o eat
Yummy recipes, but is there a substitute I can use for vanilla extract?
Thank you. You can use vanilla bean but I am guessing it’s not the kind of substitute you are looking for. Maple syrup in the exact same amount works the best as it has a similar aroma. It will add sweetness so account for that. If you are OK with other flavors, other extracts may work for you, like almond extract. I like dark rum or brandy, those add a nice flavor as well but those won’t be vanilla-like unless you use a liquor that is flavored with vanilla.
Hey, that sound delicious! I am going to try ASAP!!
strawberry one was awesome, used frozen strawberries instead of ice.
Can I use yogurt instead of ice cream?
I think you absolutely can, though I’ve never experimented with yogurt to make a milkshake. Yogurt will impart a tangy taste though, not characteristic of a milkshake.
To make the banana smoothie without ice cream seems fine but can i add vanilla pudding powder or will this make it the wrong texture completely
To be honest, I never tried pudding powder so I don’t know. But it sounds like a very interesting idea to try.
Yummy recipes! May I just suggest, for the one with oil .. don’t use corn oil, it’s really unhealthy. Use coconut oil or MCT oil from sustainable sources. They’d be much, much more healthy and probably taste better too!
Thanks for the recommendation, MT. I totally see your point.
Loved your recipes, especially the ones using banana and custard.
What does the ice do to the milkshake?
That’s a really interesting question, no one has ever asked me that. Technically ice is not necessary, it’s just water that will dilute your milkshake. However, when you pulverize ice in a blender, it won’t turn into water immediately and you will feel its texture. But most importantly, I add ice to make the shake cold or colder. Milkshakes just taste better to me cold.
How can I make a chocolate smoothie/shake without ice cream or ice?
Chocolate sauce (or cocoa powder for a lower calorie version, low sugar version) will give you a great chocolate shake. If using chocolate sauce you will need to adjust sugar down.
Can I use vanilla essence instead of using vanilla extract?
Absolutely. If you like how it tastes/smells, then it’s totally fine to use it.
Delicious. Never thought I could get such a thick shake without ice cream/ heavy cream. Tried the banana shake , with a minor modification. Added chopped nuts for crunch. Very happy with the result 🙂
how do i make it if i dont have vanilla extract ? please reply fast. i need to know quickly
If you don’t have it then you don’t have. Go without it.
this is great
This is a great recipe! So simple and delicious.
If I wanted to make a chocolate milkshake, but had no chocolate sauce, what could I use instead
Cocoa powder works great, I use very often for a low calorie, low sugar version. Pick a good quality cocoa powder.
To make this chocolate flavored, should I use chocolate syrup? If so, how much should I use?
There are a few ways. Chocolate syrup is a good way to do it. How much you add depends on how sweet you want it to be. I would start with a tablespoon or so, taste, then add more if needed. If you are using a recipe that specifies sugar, you will need to adjust it. I personally like adding unsweetened cocoa powder for chocolate flavor. Powdered chocolate drink mix is another method. A couple of tablespoons per cup of milk should do it. But, start with one and work your way up by taste.
Wow!!! I made this and coming from a hungry teen its amazing and very simple.
Kudos! Glad you liked it.
The strawberry smoothie is AMAZING!!!!!!!!
Thank you for the kinds words! Glad you liked it.
in a basic milkshake without ice cream , can we use chocolate syrup instead of vanilla extract
please reply fast
Absolutely, why not. Do not add any sugar at first. Start with chocolate syrup which will be sweet by itself. If you need more sweetness then add a little more sugar to taste.
I tried the Strawberry Milkshake recipe… My only criticism is perhaps too much sugar!!
The beauty of cooking at home is the ability to adjust recipes to suit your own taste. Some like it sweeter, some less sweet. It would be impossible to create one recipe to fit everyone’s taste.
Mmm very cool