How do you use a old-fashioned milkshake maker?


Old-fashioned milkshake makers, sometimes called Hamilton Beach drink mixers, were popular appliances in the 1950s and 60s for making thick, creamy milkshakes at home. While modern blenders can also make milkshakes, there’s something fun and nostalgic about using one of these vintage machines. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use an old-fashioned milkshake maker to whip up a delicious retro treat.

Assemble the Ingredients

The classic milkshake is made with ice cream, milk, and flavored syrup. Start by gathering the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, or other flavor as desired
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional)
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish (optional)

For best results, use high-quality ice cream with a creamy texture. You can experiment with different flavors like chocolate, strawberry, or coffee ice cream too. Place your ice cream in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using to ensure it’s very cold and firm.

Assemble the Milkshake Maker

Old-fashioned milkshake makers have three main parts:

  • Metal cup/container: This holds the ingredients.
  • Motorized blade assembly: This fits onto the cup and blends the shake with spinning blades.
  • Cover: This lid fits over the top while blending.

Make sure all parts are clean and dry before assembling. Place the metal cup into the milkshake maker base if it’s detachable. Otherwise, the cup will be built-in.

Add the Ice Cream

Now it’s time to build the shake! First add your ice cream to the metal cup. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to transfer it from the freezer container to the shake maker. Pack the cup firmly with ice cream. Depending on the size of your cup, you’ll need around 2 heaping cups of ice cream.

Pour in the Milk and Flavoring

Next, pour your 1 cup of cold milk over the ice cream. Add your flavored syrup too – drizzle it over the top or down the side of the cup. This will create that classic marbling effect when blended.

Attach the Blade Assembly

Place the metal blade assembly onto the top of the cup, fitting it securely over the ice cream and milk. Different models may attach differently – yours may twist or lock into place. Consult your vintage milkshake maker’s instructions if needed.

Blend the Milkshake

Put the cover or lid onto the assembled cup. Make sure the cup is fitted properly into the base. Now comes the fun part – turning it on! Switch your milkshake maker to its “on” setting. You should hear the motor start to blend the contents.

Let it run for 1-2 minutes, stopping to check the consistency after 1 minute. For a very thick, classic diner-style shake, blend until you can hear the motor labor to churn the thick milkshake. For a slightly thinner drink, blend for less time.

Pour into a Chilled Glass and Serve

When your shake has reached the desired consistency, turn off the machine. Remove the cover and detach the blade assembly. Then pour the creamy, chilled milkshake into a tall glass. Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry if desired. Sip and enjoy your old-fashioned treat!

Tips for Success

Here are some tips to get picture-perfect milkshakes every time with your vintage machine:

  • Chill your glassware ahead of time for a frosty drink.
  • Use very cold ice cream straight from the freezer.
  • Cut ice cream into smaller chunks for easier blending.
  • Don’t overfill the metal cup – leave room for ingredients to blend.
  • Start with less milk, adding more slowly through the spout if needed.
  • Blend in short pulses if shake is too thick.
  • Wipe metal parts dry after washing to prevent rust.


If you encounter any problems with your old-fashioned milkshake maker, here are some troubleshooting tips:

Issue Solution
Milkshake is too thin
  • Use more ice cream and less milk
  • Make sure ice cream is very firm
  • Blend for longer
Milkshake is too thick
  • Use less ice cream and more milk
  • Blend in short pulses
  • Add more milk through the spout slowly
Chunky texture
  • Cut ice cream into smaller pieces before adding
  • Blend for longer
Metal cup doesn’t fit
  • Try gently twisting cup into place
  • Ensure cup and base are matched parts
  • Grease threads with non-stick spray if needed
Motor won’t turn on
  • Check that unit is plugged in
  • Ensure blade assembly is properly attached
  • Let motor rest if overheated
  • Have unit serviced by a repair shop

Cleaning Your Milkshake Maker

It’s important to clean your vintage milkshake maker properly after each use. Here are some tips:

  • Unplug the machine and let parts cool before cleaning.
  • Disassemble all removable pieces – cup, blades, cover, etc.
  • Wash metal parts in warm soapy water using a soft brush.
  • Do not submerge the motor base in water.
  • Rinse all pieces and dry thoroughly.
  • Wipe down the base with a damp cloth.
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing on vintage finishes.
  • Dry metal thoroughly to prevent rusting.

You can also run the blender for a minute with some warm water and a drop of dish soap to clean the inside of the metal cup. Never put metal parts in the dishwasher or soak for long periods. Keep your milkshake maker clean and it will work like a charm for years!

Milkshake Variations

Once you master the classic vanilla milkshake, get creative with these tasty flavor variations:

Flavor Ingredients
Chocolate Chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream
Strawberry Vanilla ice cream, strawberry syrup, sliced strawberries
Cookies & Cream Cookies and cream ice cream, Oreo crumbs
Mint Chocolate Chip Mint chocolate chip ice cream, chocolate syrup, mint leaves
Salted Caramel Vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, sea salt
Mocha Coffee ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cocoa powder

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your own milkshake inventions! The possibilities are endless when you use an old-fashioned mixer.

Serving Suggestions

Milkshakes made with vintage mixers have a delightfully thick, frosty texture perfect for sipping with a spoon straw. Here are some fun ways to serve your old-fashioned shakes:

  • Spoon straws – These retro straws have a spoon on the end allowing you to scoop up the thick milkshake.
  • Tall malt glasses – For the full diner feel, serve shakes in a tall curved glass.
  • Whipped cream – Top each milkshake with a generous swirl of whipped cream.
  • Fun sprinkles – Kids and adults alike love extra toppings like rainbow sprinkles.
  • Maraschino cherries – No vintage shake is complete without this retro red cherry on top.
  • Milkshake flights – Offer mini milkshakes in unique glassware for tasting different flavors.

However you choose to serve them, a milkshake from an old-fashioned mixer is sure to impress your guests.

Maintaining Your Vintage Machine

With proper care and maintenance, your antique milkshake maker should run smoothly for decades. Here are some tips for keeping it in working order:

  • Wipe exterior with a damp cloth to keep chrome housing clean.
  • Always unplug when not in use.
  • Never submerge base or expose motor to water.
  • Check blades for wear and replace if needed.
  • Consult manufacturer instructions for lubricating moving parts.
  • Consider replacing rubber feet or gaskets over time.
  • Store appliance unplugged in a dry location.
  • Service motor with an authorized repair shop as needed.

Well-built vintage mixers like Hamilton Beach models can be workhorses in your kitchen with proper maintenance. By caring for all parts and being gentle during cleaning, your milkshake maker should churn out shakes for decades to come!


Whipping up frosty, creamy milkshakes at home is a breeze with an old-fashioned drink mixer. Simply assemble cold ingredients like ice cream, milk, and flavored syrups in the metal cup. Turn on the motorized blades for 1-2 minutes until smooth and thick. Then pour into a chilled glass and top with whipped cream and a cherry for a retro treat.

From proper assembly to cleaning and maintenance tips, following this guide will keep your vintage milkshake maker performing its most important job – bringing back the classic American milkshake! Reminisce about malt shops and soda fountains of the past while enjoying the thick, frozen blends only a old-fashioned machine can properly churn out. So grab your spoon straws and get ready for a trip down milkshake memory lane.

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