How do you thicken a milkshake in a blender?

A smooth, creamy milkshake is a classic treat that’s always in demand. But sometimes milkshakes can turn out too thin, watery and unsatisfying. The good news is that there are several easy ways to thicken up a runny milkshake right in the blender!

Add More Ice Cream

The simplest way to thicken a milkshake is to add more ice cream. Ice cream contains fat and air which gives milkshakes their rich, thick texture. If your milkshake is too thin, try adding 1-2 more big scoops of ice cream and blend again. Adding more ice cream will increase the milkshake’s viscosity and give it a richer, creamier mouthfeel.

Use Higher Fat Ice Cream

Using higher fat ice cream can also help thicken up a milkshake. Ice creams that contain at least 10% milkfat tend to produce thicker, more luxurious milkshakes than lower fat ice creams. Some great high fat ice cream options include:

  • Premium or gourmet ice cream (14-16% milkfat)
  • Gelato ( typically 8% milkfat)
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt (9% milkfat)

The higher milkfat content in these ice creams results in increased viscosity and a more indulgent, shake-like consistency.

Whip the Ice Cream

Whipping or aerating the ice cream before adding the other ingredients can help thicken up a milkshake. To whip ice cream, let it soften slightly on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Then pour it into a blender and whip on high speed for 30 seconds to 2 minutes until light and fluffy. The air incorporated into the whipped ice cream will increase the milkshake’s volume and produce a thicker consistency.

Add Thickening Agents

Adding a small amount of a thickening agent is an easy way to improve the consistency of a milkshake. Some options include:

Thickening Agent Amount to Use
Instant pudding mix 1-2 tablespoons
Whey protein powder 1-2 tablespoons
Cornstarch 1-2 teaspoons
Gelatin 1 teaspoon

These ingredients will add body and improve the milkshake’s texture. Start with a small amount and blend well to avoid clumping.

Use Thicker Dairy

Substituting some or all of the milk for a thicker dairy product can help give your milkshake a creamier consistency. Some options to try include:

  • Evaporated milk – Adds rich flavor and viscosity
  • Sweetened condensed milk – Very thick and creamy
  • Heavy cream or half and half – Adds fat for thickness
  • Full fat Greek yogurt – Smooth and rich
  • Cream cheese – Extra thick texture

Aim for a 1:1 ratio when substituting one of these products for regular milk. The increased viscosity will improve the overall thickness of the milkshake.

Reduce the Milk

Using less milk can also help concentrate the milkshake for a thicker blend. Try reducing the milk by 1/4 cup at a time until you achieve the desired consistency. With less milk diluting it, the shake will set up thicker right in the blender.

Let It Chill

Giving your milkshake time to chill and set up after blending can help improve the thickness. Milkshakes are emulsions of fat, ice cream, milk and air. Letting them rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours allows the emulsions to stabilize, resulting in a viscous, shake-like texture. Top with whipped cream and enjoy your perfectly thick milkshake!

Troubleshoot Thin Milkshakes

Sometimes milkshakes turn out runny no matter what you try. Here are some common causes of thin milkshakes and how to fix them:

Problem Solution
Melted ice cream Use freshly scooped hard ice cream
Too much milk Reduce milk amount
Low-fat ice cream Use regular or premium ice cream
Added juice or puree Use less or omit to avoid thinning
Blending too long Blend just until combined

Paying attention to these details can help ensure your milkshakes blend up thick and icy cold every time.

Tips for Thick Milkshakes

Here are some final tips for getting perfect milkshake thickness:

  • Use very cold ingredients right from the freezer or fridge
  • Add mix-ins like cookies or chocolate chips for extra thickness
  • Don’t over-blend which can cause thinness
  • Add toppings like whipped cream for a thicker sip
  • Use a straw for easier thick milkshake drinking!


With a few simple tricks, you can easily achieve a deliciously thick milkshake straight from the blender. Adjusting the amounts of ice cream, milk and mix-ins along with incorporating air and chilling allows you to customize the desired consistency. Mastering these milkshake thickness techniques will let you create shakes that are luxuriously creamy, never runny. Now grab a glass and start enjoying thick, old-fashioned milkshakes any time you crave them!

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