What's the best blender for milkshakes?
June 19, 2012 11:38 AM   Subscribe

What's the best blender for milkshakes? Detailed instructions on making a chocolate milkshake with said blender would also be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by jtothes to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I like my Magic Bullet. I can make each milkshake separately, with a pleasing consistancy (thinner or thicker) depending upon each person's taste.

Get the chocolate-iest ice cream you can find. Add whole milk, then Hershey's chocolate syrup.


posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:44 AM on June 19, 2012

I absolutely adore my Vitamix, but you don't need something that high-powered for a milkshake. I'd just use an immersion blender, because they're really easy to clean and will do an excellent job on something as soft as ice cream.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:46 AM on June 19, 2012

I've never found a particular blender to be better for milkshakes than others. They're pretty easy to make, mechanically speaking.

As far as detailed instructions: Put 2-3 scoops of ice cream, 3/4 cup of whole milk, one extremely generous squeeze of chocolate syrup into blending vessel, mix until smooth.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:48 AM on June 19, 2012

Seconding the 2 or 3 piece $25 immersion blender over the 21-piece, $99 Magic Bullet, which seems like overkill for a milkshake. Should you have a prejudice against immersion blenders, a standard old-fashioned blender has been used to produce milkshakes for like 50 years.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:51 AM on June 19, 2012

Don't forget malt powder.
posted by primethyme at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've always used whatever blender I have on hand, and it's always worked just fine. Ice cream is easy to clean as it just melts and doesn't get stuck in the blades.

Ice cream + milk + chocolate sauce (the chocolate sauce is very important). You can of course change things up by using other flavours of ice cream, or coffee or alcohol instead of milk, etc, but don't leave out the chocolate sauce.
posted by jeather at 11:53 AM on June 19, 2012

I have the Ninja Professional Blender (NJ600?) and that sucker will blend a THICK shake. It's got blades that go almost to the top. It's not cheap at all, but it is powerful, big, and is pretty easy to clean.

Please, please in the name of all that is good and holy in this world, do not ever add malt powder.
posted by Blake at 11:55 AM on June 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

A milk shake is not a malt. That is the way of madness and blasphemy.

What kind of milkshake are you looking for, since that's a loaded regional word.
posted by k5.user at 12:01 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: A regular milkshake?
posted by jtothes at 12:03 PM on June 19, 2012

100 grams vanilla ice cream
75 grams whole milk
50 grams peanut butter for texture (crunchy worked well, actually)
25 grams Nesquik (no HFCS)
Banana (optional).

Everything into a pint-or-larger glass and hit it with an immersion blender. (Make sure your stick can make it to the bottom of the glass.) Not too long or you'll melt everything.

It's on the thin side because that's how I like my milkshakes.
posted by supercres at 12:22 PM on June 19, 2012

I love me a good peanut butter (+whatever) milkshake. And I found the best way to get the thick-yet-blended consistency I like is to use a large (7-9 cup) food processor.

Otherwise "blenders" tend to liquify my milkshakes too much. But like I said, I like mine thick...can't-use-a-straw thick :)
posted by jpeacock at 12:34 PM on June 19, 2012

Also using an ice cream maker and letting it not freeze entirely is a delicious option for milkshakes.
posted by jeather at 12:37 PM on June 19, 2012

Also check out this past Ask thread about blenders. I'll repeat myself:

Oster 4093 Classic Beehive Blender, Silver with the milkshake blade. That milkshake blade is the bestest thing ever.
posted by lyra4 at 12:40 PM on June 19, 2012

I'd go with an immersion blender (or any regular $30 blender is fine) and use Ruthless Bunny's recipe. That's what I would use as a baseline or for someone whose taste I didn't know. If you get chocolatey enough ice cream you can probably skip chocolate syrup, it just will be less chocolatey.

Really, just ice cream and some milk and then add ingredients or variations as you like. Just remember to get decent ingredients.
posted by mrs. taters at 12:40 PM on June 19, 2012

I put in about an inch and a half of Hershey's chocolate syrup, a raw egg, ice cream to the top of the blender packing it in, a dash of vanilla and sometimes a package of Carnation instant breakfast chocolate version for health. Then I fill the crevices with milk (whole if you really want to go for it) and blend until it is mixed.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2012

A few thousand Soda Jerks can't be wrong...The Hamilton Beach Frappe mixer.
posted by Gungho at 12:57 PM on June 19, 2012

I agree with Gungho. A milkshake is traditionally made with a drink mixer, not a blender. The milkshake blade that lyra4 looks promising as an aside, but the problem is you're not going to be able to move the cup up and down around the mixing blade like you can with a drink mixer.

Personally, because I love the tiki drinks, which traditionally use a drink mixer and not a blender for the most part, and I decided to go whole hog; I got the 1/3 HP Hamilton Beach Drink Mixer. Now, let's be honest. It's way overkill for home use, but it will tear right through nearly ice-like density frozen ice cream without skipping a beat. I love the thing and it'll last a lifetime, but if I had to do it all over again I'd go for the considerable cheaper home version like this.

Just let the ice cream thaw a little bit away from total-block-of-ice land and it'll do the job great.

Mixing a chocolate milk shake is really an eyeballing sport.

1) I like to start out with a couple of scoops of french vanilla ice cream.

2) Then pour in a nice amount (around a 1/4 of a cup) chocolate syrup (make sure you get a chocolate syrup that use real chocolate, or better yet make your own).

3) Turn on the drink mixer while slowly adding milk, keep an eye on it til you start (not finish) getting a texture you like. I find a 1/3 of a cup is generally enough for a nice thick shake. Keep the mixer running for 10-15 more seconds and it should be good. If you have lumps in there first move the cup around and let them get broken up by the mixer. If that doesn't work, add just a touch more milk.

Add whipped cream you're like that. By the way, a drink mixer will whip cream like a dream.

The final step is to give up on drinking milk shakes at all and start having lots of Nui Nuis and Painkillers instead secure in your knowledge that you're using the proper drink mixer instead of the merely decent substitute of a blender.

Not that you'll be sober enough to care.
posted by bswinburn at 1:31 PM on June 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Get the chocolate-iest ice cream you can find.

I respectfully disagree. Unless you're going for over the top chocolate indulgence then the right way to make a chocolate milkshake is with vanilla ice-cream with chocolate syrup (Hershey's is fine) adding extra syrup for extra chocolate.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate syrup
A little Milk.
posted by bitdamaged at 1:44 PM on June 19, 2012

Why not just get the real thing?
posted by slkinsey at 1:46 PM on June 19, 2012

Personally, because I love the tiki drinks, which traditionally use a drink mixer and not a blender for the most part

bswinburn, what's your provenance for making this statement? As far as I know, the classic tiki technique as employed by Don the Beachcomber, et al. is to flash blend with a blender.
posted by slkinsey at 1:50 PM on June 19, 2012

I second the Ninja blender. I've been using it to make protein shakes which I make using whole ice cubes and frozen fruit among other things, it crunches right through it.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:16 PM on June 19, 2012

Because I love the topic I'm going to risk going off topic. Apologies to the OP.

Silkinsey: The information comes from Beach Bumberry in his authoritative (at least as far as I know) book Sippin' Safari.

Here, in one of my favorite threads at tiki central he explains why he recommends modern users use a blender instead of drink mixers (mostly because the quality of the lower end drink mixers has gone down) and you can see pics of one of the drink mixers a closed down bar used.

Now, I'm not saying all tiki drinks were made with drink mixers. Some, like the Boo Loo really need to be made with blenders in order to break up the pineapple chunks. I have little doubt that both drink mixers and blenders were both in residence at Don's. (It's totally different owners, but I can promise you the current Don's uses drink mixers almost exclusively).

One bar (The tiki-ti) which was started contemporaneously with the Don The Beachcomber by bartenders who were trained there still use drink mixers to this day.

Also, frankly, it just makes sense. In a high output environment it's much easier to clean and use drink mixers at high speed for mixing crushed ice drinks.

Trying to tease out the ingredients and techniques used in the original tiki drinks is quite challenging and reading the lengths Berry goes to track down bartenders and pharmacists who prepared the drinks is half the fun of Sippin' Safari. If you're a fan of the drinks at all it's really a must read.

Trying to bring some experimentation to the argument about which is actually better Blair Reynolds, a tiki fan bartender of some modest fame (and soon to be bar owner) in Portland OR, did a three part blog series on tasting drinks made with both (starts here, but the pics are, alas, gone).
posted by bswinburn at 2:22 PM on June 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Interesting. I was literally in a bar with Jeff last night, together with the developer of his Tiki+ app for the iPhone. If only I'd known, I would have asked. I have "Beachbum Berry Remixed," which is a compilation of "Intoxica!" and "Grog Log." There is nothing in there about a drink mixer versus a blender.
posted by slkinsey at 6:30 PM on June 19, 2012

At my coffee and gelato shop, we use this machine to make our shakes. If you look at the moving part, you can see that it is basically the same piece as the immersion blender. So go with that for making milkshakes.

We do 3 large scoops of chocolate ice cream, some Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, and whole milk.

I also make a great milkshake with vanilla ice cream, lots of chocolate sauce, a little caramel sauce, and some kosher salt. But that's just me.
posted by Night_owl at 9:19 AM on June 20, 2012

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