The difference between a shake and a malt

First of all, milkshake and malt are two different drinks but essentially look the same since they have been classic drinks for several years already. And you might have received all sorts of answers but this time, we will give you the exact differences between these two drinks.

To give you a glance, both are made from their basic ingredients such as ice cream, milk, flavoring, and all those mix-ins. The only thing that makes the two different is the other one has malted milk that thickens the drink.

These sorts of drinks have become popular again with the restaurant chain – shakeshack taking off.

Can you guess which drink it is? Read more below.

What Is the Difference Between a Milk shake and a Malt Milkshake?

Let’s get into the milkshake first.

A milkshake has technically no mixture of ice cream in it. A classic milkshake is usually made of milk, flavoring syrup or frozen yogurt, and ice. But in recent years, it eventually innovated into something that contains an ice cream (usually vanilla and strawberry). It is a cold blended beverage that creates an irresistible creamy consistency. Of course in modern times with the advent of blenders smoothies are also very popular now.

Milkshake Recipe
Milkshake Recipe with Cookies

Common sweeteners mixed in this drink are either fruit syrup, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup, or butterscotch. The mixture is often served with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream on top to make it more appealing and delightful.

On the other hand, a malted milk drink(malt shake) is thicker than a milkshake in texture. It also tastes sweeter because of the malt powder in the mixture along with other ingredients such as milk, sugar, or other sweeteners, and of course, ice cream. These ingredients result in a savory-sweet, nutty, and sour taste, making it distinct from a milkshake. This is because a malted powder is basically a mix of malted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated whole milk. While the milkshake is made thicker by the milk and ice cream ingredient, a malt gets its thicker and smoother texture from the malted powder.

With that, malt can be classified as a type of milkshake but a milkshake cannot be classified as a malt. And if you are going to ask which is healthier, we would choose the milkshake. This is because malt comes from a grain product (malted barley) and an additive that has a calorie count of 700, while a milkshake has an average calorie count of 356.

If you try to buy a malt drink or malted shakes in a diner, you would see that it is also more pricey than a milkshake. One of the most popular drinks is also a chocolate malt which has cocoa powder added (remember the five-dollar milkshake in pulp fiction)

Where Did The Malt and Milkshake Come From? (Origins)

These two blended and cold drinks are classic American dishes that you can buy wherever you are in the United States. Milkshakes were originally made in 1885 as a healthy eggnog type of drink that is mixed with whiskey. The 1900s came and whiskey was replaced with chocolate syrup and other sweeteners that can be consumed by all adults and children.

Back then, it was not that popular at all until an employee of Walgreens, Ivan Coulson, created a milkshake by adding a malted powder and ice cream, making it more tasty and appealing for all customers. And that is the kind of milkshake that we enjoy today.

Moreover, a malted drink was first discovered in 1870 by William Horlick of Wisconsin and was made popular in 1887 through a mixture of powdered whole milk, malted barley, and wheat. Before it became a popular drink, it began with a mix of cane sugar and powdered baked wheat, which was basically crushed wheat bread and made into a powdered form and needs to be cooked before consuming.


What is a Malted Milk Powder?

As previously mentioned, malted milk powder is made from evaporated milk or whole milk, wheat flour, and malted barley. This was originally used as nutritional supplements for infants and disabled people since it is easier to chew and digest. Furthermore, it is a fine light-yellow color with a mellow, nutty, and natural sweetness which is commonly used for beer, malt vinegar, whiskey, and of course, shakes.

Other kinds of malted milk powder come in chocolate, food colorings, flavoring, salt, sugar, and other additives. Its crunchy and brittle texture makes it enjoyable to eat and mix in various drinks. Now, diners across several countries serve this as a flavor to a milkshake and labeled as a concrete drink because of its thickness.

As mentioned above, a malted milk powder is versatile enough to be used in several ways. It is regularly used in cakes, puddings, bread, toffee, and fudge since it creates a sweeter taste, especially for wheat bread.

Is Malt Good For Your Health?

Health experts believe that malt-based foods have health benefits for the human body because they contain essential vitamins and nutrients from the milk content. Malted food is also better for people who are recovering from illness since the nutrients in the products are able to provide strength in the body easily.

Technically, ingredients such as whole milk powder, wheat flour, and malted barley are responsible for producing essential vitamins and nutrients since they are considered nutrient-rich food. Fortified proteins found in malt will definitely help in building and repairing muscles and tissues, which is very crucial for those who are into extreme physical activities.

Vitamins B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium are a few of the essential vitamins and minerals that you can get to help you strengthen the bones, fight against bacterial infection, blood fortifier, and eases insomnia.

How do you thicken a milkshake?
How do you thicken a milkshake?

Malted Milkshake Recipe

Now that you have enough to learn, let us teach you the classic and irresistible vanilla milkshake that you usually find in every American diner.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-pint vanilla ice cream
  • 6 tablespoon malted milk powder
  • 1-pint chocolate ice cream
  • Sugar or any sweetener of your choice


1. Place 1/2 cup of milk and 3 tablespoons of malt powder in a blender and blend thoroughly until dissolved and smoothened.

2. Add the vanilla ice cream into the blender and blend until smooth. Gradually add the remaining ingredients until fully mixed.

3. Divide the mixture into two glasses and pour the first half of the shake into a container and place into the freezer.

4. Remain the second half into the blender and pour 3 tablespoons of malted milk powder. Blend until smooth.

5. Gradually add the remaining ice cream until thoroughly mixed.

6. Pour the milkshake into an empty glass and let it freeze for 10 minutes.

7. Stir and serve with either an added malted milk powder, a scoop of ice cream, or whipped cream.

Is A Malt Thicker Than a Milkshake?

A malted shake has a thicker consistency than a milkshake due to the added malted milk powder. Generally, a malt should be blended until it becomes as thick as possible, but at the same time, you should still be able to drink it through a straw.What does adding malt to a milkshake do – it gives it a really deep earthy malt flavor – some people love it and some people do not.