How to make the perfect milkshake

Have two minutes? Then you have enough time to create a tempting frozen sweet treat. Here’s how to make the perfect milkshake.

How to Make a Milkshake

Photo by Brian Feulner/BDN

With machines humming and cartons of ice cream filling nearby, cousins JC Gifford Jr. and Ryan Porter excitedly popped open a quart of Muddy Boots ice cream and handed out spoons. Fresh from the belt in the Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream Factory, the creamy vanilla ice cream base was swirled with a house-made caramel and bits of chocolate brownie.

There was a vat of caramel nearby, feeding its rich, gooey liquid gold into the ice cream. Employing every last ounce of self-control, I managed not to drool over its beautiful brilliance.

Gifford's Ice Cream

Photo by Gabor Degre/BDN

Together with BDN features writer Kathleen Pierce and photographer Gabor Dugre, we sampled the soft, velvety ice cream — ice cream that was just minutes old.

I love my job.

The cousins compared the just-made, not totally frozen ice cream to a milkshake and tossed around other flavors that they particularly love fresh off the belt (orange sherbet? It’s amazing when it’s soft like that, they said).

Of course, that got me thinking about milkshakes. As a child, my exposure was limited to the ridiculously thick ones from a certain fast food joint that were anything but straw-friendly. I remember struggling to get a little taste of the cool strawberry ice cream-as-drink. It was never a fun experience — especially since it seemed more like work than the sweet enjoyment it should have been.

These days, milkshakes are a delicious once-in-awhile treat that I love to make for my kids.

When I make milkshakes, I use a 1:4 ratio of milk to ice cream. That creates a thick and creamy milkshake that is totally straw-friendly. Whole milk will create a richer drink. And for the ice cream, always choose a brand and flavor you love. If you start with good ice cream, you will end with a better drink.

How to Make a Perfect Milkshake

Photo by Brian Feulner/BDN

After tasting the just-made Muddy Boots ice cream, I couldn’t wait to try it in a milkshake (oh, the power of suggestion) with extra caramel, whipped cream and a cherry on top. It takes just two minutes to make this — simply add the ice cream and milk to a blender, mix and enjoy.

You can also dress up this shake up by adding mix-ins or toppings.

Milkshake Recipe

Photo by Brian Feulner/BDN

And really, who doesn’t like milkshakes? They are a once-in-awhile treat that reminds you of childhood and summers and soda counters. If you are old enough to remember such things.

Illustration by Eric Zelz/BDN

Illustration by Eric Zelz/BDN

Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Ryan Porter’s name. That has been corrected. 

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is editor of Bangor Metro magazine and senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News. She is the author of "The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook," (Sept. 2018, Rockridge Press) and the co-author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains" (March 2015, DK). Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, and more. She also writes about food at