Milkshake vs Ice Cream: Exploring The Main Differences

January 24, 2024 5 min read

Chocolate and Strawberry Milkshakes

We’re back to give you the scoop of the unique traits that make you fall in love with these popular frozen treats. Let's start by diving into the world of ice cream, a classic dessert loved globally, to discover what makes it so special. Then, we'll shake things up a bit by moving into the wonderful realm of milkshakes, exploring how this beloved beverage puts a creative spin on traditional ice cream.

What is Ice Cream?

As ice cream connoisseurs, we see ice cream as more than just a dessert; it's a blend of art and science. Ice cream is a frozen dairy dessert made from a mixture of cream, milk, sugar, and sometimes eggs. It is churned to incorporate air and create a smooth and creamy texture. 

This can be achieved with a no-churn method as well for your own homemade ice cream experience without a machine. The science remains the same no matter which method you use to create ice cream, however there are differences between traditional ice cream and soft serve ice cream processes. 

What is a Milkshake?

One of the most common questions we get is “Is a milkshake just melted ice cream?” The answer is no. A shake is not just melted ice cream, it’s a blending of milk, ice cream, and flavorings such as syrup or fruit. The ingredients are mixed together until smooth and creamy, then poured into a glass for serving. Milkshakes can come in a variety of flavors, including chocolatevanillastrawberry, or even more unconventional options like peanut butter or cookie dough.

Taste And Texture

Milkshakes, blended with milk, offer a creamier and subtler taste compared to the richer and more pronounced flavor of ice cream. The texture of a milkshake is smooth and fluid, easily sipped through a straw, while ice cream boasts a firmer, scoopable consistency that melts slowly in the mouth. Essentially, milkshakes provide a milder, drinkable version of the intense, creamy delight found in traditional ice cream.

Preparation: Ice Cream... The Traditional Way

  • Step 1: The preparation of ice cream begins with heating milk, cream, sugar, and other ingredients such as vanilla in a saucepan.
  • Step 2: Once the mixture is heated and well combined, it is then allowed to cool before being poured into an ice cream maker.
  • Step 3: The ice cream maker churns the mixture, incorporating air and preventing ice crystals from forming, resulting in a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Step 4: After churning, the ice cream is transferred to a container and stored in the freezer until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Step 5: Variations in the preparation process can also include adding inclusions such as nuts, candies, or cookie dough during the churning process to create different flavors and textures.
These steps require some skill and attention to detail. At True Scoops, our ice cream mixes are a 2-step process that even kids can make. The best part is no ice cream maker is required and come in food-safe pint containers, which you can use to freeze your custom flavor. 

Preparation: Milkshakes... The Traditional Way

  • Step 1: To prepare a milkshake, start by choosing a base liquid, such as milk, cream, or a non-dairy alternative like almond milk.
  • Step 2: Add the desired flavorings, such as chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, fruit, or flavored syrups, to the base liquid.
  • Step 3: Combine the base liquid and flavorings in a blender, along with a scoop or two of ice cream.
  • Step 4: Blend the ingredients until smooth and creamy, adjusting the thickness by adding more ice cream or liquid as needed.
  • Step 5: Pour the milkshake into a tall glass, and optionally top it off with whipped cream, sprinkles, or a cherry for a fun and decorative touch. 

Sure, milkshakes are easy to make, but what if you have no ice cream on hand or your True Scoops is still freezing? Well, have no fear, quick shakes are here! Check out the new True Scoops milkshake kit, which comes with just about everything you need to make a milkshake in less than a minute. The kits come with milkshake glasses, ice cream mix, dessert crumb topping, and straws. You'll need milk of choice or water, some ice, and whipped cream, which is optional. But who doesn't love whipped cream and a cherry on top of a shake? 

Ingredients: Ice Cream

  • Heavy Cream: Provides richness and creaminess to the ice cream.
  • Whole Milk: Adds to the creaminess and helps in achieving the right consistency.
  • Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the ice cream.
  • Vanilla Extract: Imparts the classic vanilla flavor.
  • Salt: A pinch to enhance the overall flavor profile.

Ingredients: Milkshakes

  • Ice Cream: Typically vanilla, but any flavor can be used as a base.
  • Milk: Adjust the amount to achieve desired thickness; whole milk is commonly used for creaminess.
  • Flavorings (Optional): Syrups (like chocolate or strawberry), fruit, or other flavor enhancers.
  • Whipped Cream (Optional): For topping.
  • Garnishes (Optional): Such as a cherry, sprinkles, or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Nutritional Value

You’re probably wondering which is healthier ice cream or milkshake?  While both are treats that should be consumed in moderation, a standard serving of ice cream might be slightly healthier than a milkshake due to generally lower calorie, fat, and sugar content. However, the healthiest option depends on the specific products or recipes used and how much is consumed. For a healthier alternative, consider versions made with low-fat milk and ice cream, and be mindful of portion sizes.

Here's a general overview of the typical nutritional content for standard servings:

Ice Cream:

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup (about 65-70 grams)
  • Calories: Approximately 130-250 calories (depending on the fat content and added ingredients like chocolate, nuts, etc.)
  • Fat: Around 7-16 grams, mostly saturated fat from cream
  • Carbohydrates:Approximately 15-30 grams, primarily from sugar
  • Protein: About 2-3 grams
  • Calcium: Varies, but can be a good source due to the dairy content


  • Serving Size: 1 medium cup (about 12 ounces or 350 milliliters)
  • Calories:Approximately 300-800 calories, depending on the ingredients (like type of ice cream, added syrups, toppings)
  • Fat:Roughly 8-25 grams, with a significant portion being saturated fat
  • Carbohydrates: Around 45-120 grams, mainly from sugars (sugar in the ice cream and any added syrups or toppings)
  • Protein: About 6-15 grams, depending on the amount of milk and ice cream used
  • Calcium:Significant amounts from milk and ice cream

Serving Styles 

Ice cream is traditionally served in scoops, either in a bowl or cone, often topped with syrups and other sweet toppings for sundaes or as part of elaborate desserts like banana splits and floats. Milkshakes, on the other hand, are typically served in tall glasses with a straw, frequently topped with whipped cream and a cherry or other confections. Both offer versatile serving options, from simple and classic to elaborate presentations like freak-shakes or paired with baked goods.  

Craving Ice Cream or a Milkshake?

Create your own rich and delicious homemade ice cream with True Scoops premium ice cream mix. Just pick your base flavor, choose from vanilla beanchocolate, or strawberry, follow the instructions, and enjoy!

If you want to slurp a shake, True Scoops recently launched a new milkshake kit that comes complete with milkshake glasses, your choice of ice cream mix, your choose of dessert crumb topping, and cute heart-shaped straws. The perfect gift just in time for Valentine's Day! But don't worry, the milkshake kits will be here to stay all year round and will change out some of the component seasonally! 


Shelly & Kelly 

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