Milk shake vs. Malt

Milkshake vs Malt: What’s the Difference? 2023

Milkshake vs Malt: What’s the Difference? Well, we think it is really a matter of taste.

A malted milkshake is simply a milkshake, with added malted milk powder for flavor. So if you like the slightly burned marshmallow, the caramelly taste of milk, you will enjoy a malted milkshake, as long as your favorite flavors mix well with that malty taste.

We will proceed to tell you all you have ever wanted to know about milkshakes and malted milkshakes. And we guarantee your mouth will be watered by the end of this article. So calm down and stop drooling on the keyboard.

Blend milk, ice cream, and flavors, and you have it. The wonderful milkshake. Probably the closest adult version of mother’s milk: rich, sweet, creamy, and comforting.

A malt, or malted milkshake, is a milkshake with malt powder added. Malt powder is a kind of dried powdered milk.

If you are not sure about the flavor, think malted milk balls, that ubiquitous movie theater candy treat, and you will know if malt is a flavor that appeals to you. In fact, malt is included in many foods, like breakfast cereals, for example.

It has a special flavor that many of us crave. So how does it work in a milkshake?

In The Beginning

It was a happy day in 1885 when the word milkshake was coined. Although, like most things in “Olden Days”, this drink was more likely to put hair on your chest, as it was made with raw eggs and whiskey, and used as a kind of folk medicine for when your system needed a boost (or as a tonic for a hangover).

This medical milkshake soon devolved to a sweet treat, minus the eggs and whiskey (although a spiked milkshake sounds pretty good, actually: but we will get to that later in the article). The devolution of the medicinal milkshake was still associated with good health by the 1900’s.

Remember, that was a different era. People were more likely to be working to keep their weight up than facing obesity.

Milk was considered a healthy food, adding protein and calcium too often nutritionally deprived turn of the century folks. The most popular flavors, then as now, were strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla, which were achieved through the addition of syrups to the shake.

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In the 1920’s, the malted milkshake became popularized by a Walgreens employee who added a couple of scoops of ice cream to malted milk. Malted milk was a popular drink, kind of like chocolate milk, but with added malt powder.

With the addition of ice cream, the malted milkshake was born, creating many happy days for teenagers who went to the malt shops to hang out. So lose the malt and you get the milkshake.

How were all the teenagers in those happy days able to integrate these malted milkshakes without the twin scourges of obesity and diabetes that we have nowadays? According to our sources, they danced. A lot!

The malt shop quickly became an alternative to saloons and pubs, as this was the era of prohibition. It is a kind of sweet way to socialize, as compared with a smokey bar.

Maybe it’s time to bring back soda shop socializing! Sounds better than Tinder. But for a real retro taste, try a malt and visualize your ancestors.

Malt & Malted Milk—What Are They, Anyway?

Milkshake vs Malt

Malt is a sweet powder or syrup made from a grain (barley is traditional), that has been processed. Barley syrup is a natural sweetener usually found in health food stores, but the sugary malt powder you will most likely find in a malted milkshake is pure sugar (just with a more distinctive flavor).

If made into a milk powder, it will have some protein, but don’t fool yourself. This is not health food. Malted milk is malted barley, wheat flour, and whole milk evaporated into a powder.

If you want to try a malted milkshake at home, you can find it near the chocolate milk mix in your supermarket. Think of it as chocolate milk powder’s whey less popular cousin.

It was basically a way to get kids to drink milk, by loading it with sugar and malt flavor. Ahh, the good old days.

Malted milk powder enhances the flavor of the other ingredients in a milkshake, giving you a sweet, rich-tasting malt. Just add one teaspoon per shake. You can add it to any flavor of milkshake to enhance the experience. (Disclaimer: Some extremely complex ice cream flavors may not be super delicious with malt, so use your judgment and keep it simple).

Your Most Basic Malted Milkshake Recipe

Your Most Basic Malted Milkshake Recipe

Malted Milkshake

Tired of being basic? Just try swapping the vanilla ice cream for your favorite flavor, and getting fancy with syrup flavors. You can even swap out the syrup for spirits, for an extra kick. (Think: Kahlua Coffee Malted Milkshake ([…groan of pleasure. I think I just drooled on the keyboard]).
Course Drinks
Servings 2


  • 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon of malted milk powder
  • Malt candy garnish
  • Whipped cream garnish
  • Cherry garnish


  • Mix milk and ice cream and syrup in the blender.
  • Add malted milk powder.
  • Blend for a hot second so the powder is thoroughly mixed in, but the milkshake doesn’t lose its consistency.
  • “Shake it up” by putting some chocolate syrup on the rim of your old fashioned milkshake glasses.
  • Top with malt candy and whipped cream with a cherry on top. Or lose those if they don’t appeal to you. This is supposed to be fun, after all!

In Conclusion…

  • If you long for Earth Mother, comfort food, or a sweet treat, milkshakes are actually medicine. Drink up!

  • Milkshakes are an alcoholic substitute. If you are on the wagon, drink up!

  • Add a little alcohol for the best of both worlds: comfort food, and liquid courage. Drink up!

  • If you like whoppers, you will like malted milk powder in your milkshake. So…

Drink up!

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