It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? There is not much mystery to making a vanilla milkshake: vanilla ice cream and milk blended until smooth.

It’s true, it is a very simple recipe, but there are a few tips to making the best vanilla milkshake at home.

The Ice Cream

The main ingredient is, of course, vanilla ice cream, though any ice cream lover will attest that not all ice cream are created equally and vanilla is not just vanilla.

When choosing your vanilla ice cream, look beyond the cheap $5 a gallon ice creams and go with something a little more specialized. Many of the smaller ice cream producers use real vanilla and quality cream and you will find that if you begin with the best you will end up with the best.

The Milk

I have found that the best milkshakes are made with rich milks, particularly whole milk. The low-fat and 1% milks don’t give the finished shake the richness that a nice, fat-filled milk does. The milkshake is already an indulgence, so why not? Have a salad for dinner to make up for it!

The Extras

A vanilla milkshake does not have to be boring and there are a few things that you can add to yours to make it just a little more interesting:

  • Vanilla Extract – I’ve included this in my recipe already, but I think it’s important to point out why… Just a little vanilla extract adds to the rich vanilla flavor of the shake and makes a subtle, though amazing difference.
  • Sugar – Also included in the recipe, just 1 Tablespoon of sugar adds just enough sweetness to make the shake pop.
  • Berries – Once you’ve blended and poured your shake, add a few fresh (washed) raspberries, blueberries, or chopped strawberries on top as an extra treat. A full strawberry can also be slit and rested on the side of the glass.
  • Spices – Cinnamon and nutmeg are two of the ground spices that are perfect for topping off a vanilla milkshake as well. Just sprinkle a dusting on the shake before you dive in.
  • Cookies and Candies – Chocolate chips, sprinkles, crushed or whole cookies… have fun topping your shake with any goodies you can find.
  • Whipped Cream – I don’t think there’s any explanation needed because every ice cream dessert is better with whipped cream!

How to Make the Perfect Vanilla Milkshake

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1 Drink

How to Make the Perfect Vanilla Milkshake

It's simple, yes, but the little things that you can add to a vanilla milkshake take it from boring to extraordinary!

Photo Courtesy: © janecocoa / Dollar Photo Club


  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 3/4 cup cold whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • Toppings of your choice


  1. Add all of the ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a well-chilled glass.
  4. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy!


If you want a thicker shake, reduce the milk to 1/2 cup. Likewise, if the shake is too thin after blending, add a little more ice cream. Too thick? Add a little milk.

The quantities above will make a single milkshake. If you want to blend up more shakes at one time, simply multiply all of the ingredients by the number of servings you want. However, do not overload the blender. Sometimes it is best to do more than 2 shakes in separate batches to ensure a smooth blend.

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How to Make the Perfect Vanilla Milkshake
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