Malted Chocolate Milkshake Recipe

The secret to making a chocolate milkshake better: a healthy dose of malted milk powder.

A malted chocolate milkshake is poured from a blender into a pint glass.

Serious Eats / Yvonne Ruperti

Why It Works

  • A generous amount of malted milk powder results in a bold, satisfying flavor.
  • Starting with chocolate ice cream—rather than vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup—keeps the milkshake from being overly sweet.

I don't know what it is, but there's something about the flavor of malt that's hooked my taste buds for life. Forget the chocolate syrup and the Strawberry Quick, when I was little I'd beg my mom to keep the pantry stocked with Ovaltine and Carnation malted milk powder. And Whoppers? Little balls of ecstacy.

So what exactly is this "malty" stuff that I can't resist stirring into anything dairy? Well to start, malt is simply grains of cereal that have been soaked and germinated, then dried up nice and toasty. Of all the cereal grains, barley is the most common grain to malt, and it's used to impart flavor to foods such as vinegar, beer, whiskey, Whoppers, and Malta soda drink.

Malt extract is a thick sweet syrup made from heating the malted grains with water, which activates enzymes in the malt that transform the starches into sugars. It was a gem of food in the 1800s because its nutritive properties made it ideal as a dietary supplement. Riding that bandwagon were William and James Horlick, who created an instant powder of malt and dried milk that could be easily stirred up into a healthy drink for kids. To their surprise, the powder became hugely popular with adults too, as people realized that this "malt" substance was not only good for you, but pretty darn tasty to boot. The soda counter at Walgreen's was the first place to whip up malt powder into a milkshake, and the rest is sweet history.

Whirling up a malted milkshake is practically a no-brainer—just toss ice cream, milk, and malt powder into a blender and you're done. But even so, I realized that it pays to work with set ingredient amounts so that you end up with a creamy bodied milkshake and the perfect balance of malt flavor. As my "more is better" mentality forever dominates my decisions, my first instinct was to pile on the malt, but malted milk powder is already super sweet, and balancing it with more milk made the shake too loose. I ran into the same problem with chocolate syrup—I wanted the shake to be super chocolatey but the addition of chocolate syrup was way too cloying.

In the end, I decided to keep it simple and just start with a chocolate ice cream that was up to par. Another trick: Start with a chilled blender bowl and your shake will stay frosty. And for the malt? To me, Horlicks brand has the intense maltiness that I'm looking for, much more so than Milo or Ovaltine. Though I couldn't test Carnation malted milk here in Singapore, I would expect it to taste great too.

July 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 1 min
Total: 1 mins
Serves: 2 servings

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  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 4 tablespoons malted milk powder


  1. Blend all ingredients together until well blended and smooth, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Special Equipment



For the creamiest results, use a good quality ice cream such as Haagen-Dazs. I used Horlicks malted milk powder for this milkshake, but Carnation brand should work just as well. To help keep the milkshake from melting too fast, chill the blender pitcher first.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
481 Calories
17g Fat
76g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 481
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 202mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 76g 28%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 64g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 8%
Calcium 224mg 17%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 652mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)