The Absolute Best Milk To Use For Creamy Homemade Milkshakes

Whether you call it a New England milkshake, malt, or frappe — the classic ice cream-based beverage is a deliciously sweet and refreshing treat, and you can make it right at home. All you need is milk and ice cream, but some milks are better than others.

When trying to achieve that dessert shop-level creaminess at home, the best option to use is whole milk. Generally, milk with a higher fat content will produce creamier shakes. Whole milk is 3.5% fat, compared to 2% reduced-fat milk, and 1% in skim milk. The same rules apply to the ice cream you'll use for the blended treat. Traditionally made from cow's milk, the best ice cream to use will be a classic whole milk-based pint. Low-fat or alternative nut milk options, while great on their own, may not produce the same quality of shake if you want ultra creamy richness.

Typically, one pint of ice cream will net two milkshakes. To get that perfect thickness, the ideal amount of milk to use is around 2/3 cup. This will allow the blender to actually mix everything up, but not enough for the milk to overtake the flavor of the ice cream.

Ways to make creamy shakes without whole milk

If you're out of whole milk, or prefer other dairy options, and still want to achieve a thick and creamy milkshake, there are other options. In a pinch, sub in heavy whipping cream — but keep in mind this will make your shake extremely rich. Yogurt can also work; but, to mitigate some of its tanginess, you can add a few drops of vanilla in the blender. 

If you want to go the non-dairy route, coconut milk's 24% fat content makes it an excellent substitute for whole milk. Coconut is also a great option if you like the flavor, but it can become overpowering, so it won't always be the best choice depending on the other flavors in your shake.

Frozen banana slices are another great way to add some creaminess to your shake if you're lacking in the dairy department. Often used to make what the internet has dubbed 'nice cream,' this application can also be used for milkshakes — just blend down to create a similar texture.

Although unconventional, avocado is another creamy ingredient your milkshakes may be missing. Because the fruit has a lot of rich fat content but a mild flavor, it'll lend your shake all of its buttery thickness without overpowering the flavor of the other ingredients. You could even use frozen avocado chunks to get the same effect as frozen bananas.