Best Ice Cream to Use for Milkshakes

The Best Ice Cream to Use for Milkshakes 2024

A milkshake is only ever as good as its core ingredient—ice cream. Get this foundation right, and you’re well on your way to milkshake heaven. But what is the best ice cream to use for milkshakes, and how do you choose?

The answer lies in a few key factors: the type of ice cream, the flavor, its quality, and how it all comes together in your blender. This article will take an in-depth look at the world of ice creams and their potential for creating the creamiest, most delicious milkshakes. This piece shares different ice cream bases, popular and unique flavors, and even touch on some ice cream recipes and brands that are perfect for blending up a storm. Whether you’re a milkshake enthusiast or a curious foodie, get ready to dive into the sweet and creamy world of the best ice creams for milkshakes.

What Makes Ice Cream Ideal for Milkshakes?

Not all ice creams are created equal when it comes to milkshakes. The key to a great milkshake is finding an ice cream that is creamy, with a smooth and rich texture. This usually means opting for a higher fat content and paying attention to the type of milk used in the ice cream base.

Ice Cream Bases

The base of the ice cream is the foundation of its texture and flavor. Here are the most common types of ice cream bases and how they can impact your milkshakes:

  • Cream Base: Also known as a French ice cream base, this traditional option is made with cream (or a combination of milk and cream) and often contains egg yolks. The high fat content from the cream and yolks creates an incredibly rich and creamy texture, making it an ideal choice for milkshakes. Vanilla ice cream, a classic milkshake flavor, is commonly made with a cream base.
  • Philadelphia-Style Base: This American-style base omits the eggs and instead uses a higher proportion of heavy cream, resulting in a lighter texture. It’s a versatile option that can still provide a rich mouthfeel, especially if you opt for a brand with a higher cream content.
  • Custard Base: With a similar composition to the French base, custard-style ice cream includes egg yolks but typically uses a higher proportion of milk to cream. This results in a denser, richer ice cream with a higher fat content, making it perfect for indulgent milkshakes.
  • Gelato Base: Gelato often has a higher proportion of milk to cream and sometimes includes egg yolks, resulting in a denser, silkier texture. While traditionally served at a warmer temperature, gelato’s unique texture and flavor can make for interesting milkshake creations.
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When choosing an ice cream base for milkshakes, it’s best to opt for cream, custard, or gelato bases, as these tend to provide the creamy texture and rich mouthfeel that characterizes a great milkshake.

Flavor Considerations When Choosing the Best Ice Cream to Use for Milkshakes

The flavor of the ice cream is, of course, a key component. While personal preference plays a significant role, certain flavors are classic choices for milkshakes, and others offer unique and intriguing possibilities:

  • Vanilla: A timeless classic, vanilla is a versatile flavor that forms the basis of many milkshakes. Its subtle sweetness and creamy vanilla bean notes provide a perfect canvas for adding mix-ins and creating a wide range of flavor profiles.
  • Chocolate: Another crowd-pleaser, chocolate ice cream, provides a rich, indulgent base for milkshakes. From milk chocolate to dark chocolate varieties, there’s a spectrum of flavors to explore, and it pairs beautifully with a range of mix-ins, from peanut butter to cherries.
  • Strawberry: Fruit-based ice creams like strawberry offer a refreshing change, providing a sweet-tart base for milkshakes. They work especially well when combined with a touch of balsamic vinegar, bringing out the berry’s natural sweetness.
  • Unique Flavors: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Unique ice cream flavors can create truly memorable milkshakes. Think outside the box with options like salted caramel, cookie dough, matcha, or even cheesecake-flavored ice cream. These can be the star of the show or used as a creative accent when blended with other flavors.

Quality Matters

When it comes to ice cream, quality can vary significantly, and this will impact the taste and texture of your milkshakes. Opting for a higher-quality ice cream usually means better ingredients, a smoother texture, and more intense flavor.

Look for ice creams that use real, whole ingredients, such as fresh milk and cream, and natural flavorings. Avoid artificial additives and stabilizers, as these can impact the overall taste and texture. Reading the ingredient list can give you a good indication of the quality, and it’s worth investing in a premium brand to take your milkshakes to the next level.

Ice Cream Recipes and Brands for Milkshakes

Now that we’ve explored the key considerations, it’s time to dive into some specific ice cream options. The following recipes and brands offer excellent choices for creating decadent, creamy milkshakes:

  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: For a classic, go for a traditional vanilla bean ice cream. The Beanery’s ‘Old-Fashioned Vanilla Bean’ ice cream is a wonderful example, made with real vanilla beans and a custard base, resulting in a rich, creamy treat. It provides the perfect foundation for a range of milkshake flavors.
  • Chocolate Indulgence: For chocolate lovers, a deep, dark chocolate ice cream is a must-try. Ghirardelli’s ‘Intense Dark Chocolate’ ice cream uses a cream base and their signature chocolate, resulting in a silky smooth texture and intense flavor. Blend this with a touch of milk and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an extra chocolatey milkshake experience.
  • Strawberry Dream: Capture the taste of summer with a fresh strawberry ice cream. Haagen-Dazs’ ‘Strawberry’ flavor is a beautiful example, made with real strawberries and a touch of vanilla, creating a creamy, fruity base. For a milkshake, add a splash of strawberry puree and a hint of balsamic reduction for a complex, sweet-tart flavor.
  • Salted Caramel Delight: Caramel ice cream provides a wonderful base for milkshakes, and when you add sea salt to the mix, you get a delightful contrast of sweet and savory. Try Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ ‘Salted Caramel’ flavor, which combines a creamy base with the perfect balance of salty and sweet. Blend with a touch of butterscotch sauce for an indulgent, caramel-filled milkshake.
  • Matcha Madness: For a unique twist, matcha ice cream offers a vibrant green tea flavor. Trader Joe’s ‘Matcha Green Tea’ ice cream is a great option, with a creamy base and a subtle, earthy matcha taste. Blend this with a touch of honey and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds for a matcha milkshake that’s both delicious and visually appealing.
  • Cookie Dough Bliss: Cookie dough ice cream is a fun and indulgent choice, offering a sweet, creamy base with delicious doughy chunks. Ben & Jerry’s ‘Cookie Dough’ flavor is an iconic option, packed with generous chunks of cookie dough and chocolate chips. For a cookie dough milkshake, blend with a touch of milk and a dash of vanilla extract to enhance the sweet, buttery flavors.
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These are just a few examples of the wonderful ice cream options out there that can elevate your milkshakes. Experiment with different brands and flavors to find your perfect match, and don’t be afraid to get creative!

Tips for Creating the Perfect Milkshake

what is the best ice cream to use for milkshakes

Now that you’ve selected your ice cream, here are a few final tips to ensure your milkshakes are the best they can be:

  • Temperature Matters: For the creamiest milkshakes, start with slightly softened ice cream. Let it sit out of the freezer for 5–10 minutes before blending. This will result in a smoother, more cohesive shake.
  • Liquid Base: While the ice cream provides the majority of the flavor and texture, a small amount of liquid is necessary to help the blending process. Opt for whole milk or heavy cream for the richest results, and add a small amount at a time to achieve your desired consistency.
  • Mix-Ins: Don’t be afraid to add extra mix-ins to your milkshakes! These can include chopped nuts, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, or fresh fruit. When adding fresh fruit, consider using frozen varieties, as this will help keep your milkshake cold and thick.
  • Toppings: Milkshakes are a great canvas for creative toppings. From whipped cream and sprinkles to fresh berries or a cherry on top, the possibilities are endless. Get creative and decorate your milkshakes to make them truly Instagram-worthy.
  • Blending: When it comes to blending, it’s best to use a high-powered blender to ensure a smooth, creamy result. Start at a low speed and gradually increase to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated evenly. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, usually thick and creamy, but still easily drinkable through a straw.
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So, What is the Best Ice Cream to Use for Milkshakes?

Creating the perfect milkshake starts with choosing the best ice cream, and now you have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Remember to consider the base, flavor, and quality of the ice cream, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different options. Whether you’re a traditionalist or a flavor adventurer, there’s an ice cream out there that’s perfect for your milkshake creations.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to grab a spoon (and a straw!) and dive into the delicious world of milkshakes, one scoop (or sip!) at a time.

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