Magic Milk Shakes

I love this recipe because it makes very rich milk shakes without any ice cream. I don’t always have ice cream in the house because the kids eat it so fast. With this recipe we can have delicious frosty milk shakes for a fraction of the cost of those using ice cream. And all the ingredients are on the pantry shelf.

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups ice water
  • 1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 1-1/2 trays of ice cubes, as much as you can spare
  • 2 tablespoons corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purposes

Place all of the ingredients into the blender, including the oil and the non-stick spray. Use less water for thicker milk shakes and more water for shakes that are easy on your blender motor. The blender should be about 3/4’s full. Place the lid on. Process for a full 2 minutes. Pour into cups and serve. Makes 4 – 12oz servings. For preparation tips please see below.

Reader’s Tip: A reader named Chris made these with Splenda replacing the sugar measure for measure and said they turned out perfectly. If you like Splenda, then this tip would be a great way to reduce the calories and make them sugar-free. Thanks for sharing Chris!


  • Add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee for a mocha shake
  • Add 1 very ripe banana for a chocolate banana shake
  • Add a big spoonful of peanut butter for a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake.
  • Add a few broken red and white candy mints for a refreshing Chocolate Mint shake.
  • To make Vanilla Milk Shakes, omit the cocoa powder, reduce the sugar to 1/2-cup and add 1 tablespoon (yes a full tablespoon) of vanilla flavoring. For a french vanilla milk shake crack in an egg too.

Give these "magic"" milk shakes a try. Delicious chocolate shakes without any ice cream.

A few tips and a long rant:

I get more email about this recipe than I do about almost anything else. The people who love it always add the oil and the nonstick spray. The people who hate it seem to think they can get by without these ingredients. Let me make things clear. Fat makes things creamy. It may seem weird to add vegetable oil to a beverage, but manufacturers do it all the time. Coffee creamer has oil and shortening it. Fancy coffee mixes and hot cocoa mixes have oil and shortening added. Whipped topping and many ice creams have added vegetable fats. Read the labels if you don’t believe me. Dairy fat tends to go rancid when it is dried so it is seldom used in commercial products. Instead food manufacturers use vegetable fats, usually of the hydrogenated variety. They are cheaper than dairy fats, don’t require refrigeration, and are easier to use.

Fat is added to foods for many different reasons. For this recipe it acts as a flavor carrier and adds richness and depth to the texture and flavor of the finished shake. Oil is the ingredient that makes your milk shakes thick and creamy. If you make it without any added fat you will not get a milk shake that resembles Wendy’s Frosties. You will get chocolate ice. Chocolate ice is nice, but it isn’t a rich, creamy Frosty.

Think about how creamy mayonnaise is. It’s 99% vegetable oil. All of that creaminess comes from mixing oil with a small amount of vinegar and an emulsifier (eggs in the case of mayo). Then it’s all whipped to creamy perfection. To make your milk shakes creamy you need to emulsify the milk and the oil, the same way the oil and vinegar must be emulsified for mayonnaise. To emulsify something is to mix it up really well, so the particles won’t separate on standing.

Nonstick spray contains liquid lecithin as it’s active ingredient. Lecithin is found in eggs and in soybeans, both of which are natural emulsifiers. You can buy liquid lecithin at your local health food store or online from natural food resources. If you liked, you could use 1/2-teaspoon of liquid lecithin instead of the nonstick spray. Most folks don’t have liquid lecithin laying about the house though, so I give you the option of using nonstick spray instead.

Liquid lecithin is derived from soybeans. It is a fat; a healthy fat. When manufacturers discovered that liquid lecithin has nonstick properties they put it in a can with a propellent and thus invented nonstick spray. Before manufacturers discovered this, old hippies and health food freaks were using lecithin to grease their baking pans and adding it to salad dressings so they would stay mixed longer. Today, some vegans use liquid lecithin as an egg substitute in baking. Most store-bought chocolates and salad dressings have liquid lecithin added to give them the creamy satiny quality that we all look for in these products.

Which brings us back to this recipe. If you want a luscious, satisfying milk shake then follow the recipe and add the oil and the nonstick spray as directed above.
Before you write me and complain that this recipe advertises something that it doesn’t deliver, please check the recipe to see if you left anything out or fudged on any of the ingredients or directions. Try the recipe again, being sure to measure everything carefully. If you don’t add enough ice, then the recipe won’t be very thick. If you add too much water, then your blender will be overloaded. If you don’t add enough dry milk, then it will taste watery. If you only blend it for a moment or two, then it will be chunky instead of creamy. If you omit the oil and nonstick spray then you won’t get a milk shake. You’ll have something similar, but it will fall short of the mark. The directions are specific for a reason. If you follow them then you will have satisfying results. Assuming you doing everything as written and you still are not pleased, then you may write me and complain. I may be able to help out. Thank-you.

–The Management

P.S. In my original recipe I pointed out that for an almost fat free milkshake you may omit the oil and only use a squirt of nonstick spray instead. Many people were satisfied with this version and enjoyed it immensely. Since posting my rant, they have emailed requests that I include this option for others who may need it for dietary reasons. If you prepare milk shakes with this option and are not satisfied with your results, then try it with the oil added, to see if you like it better. After trying both versions you may write me and complain if need be.

I just love these homemade drink recipes. Here’s another favorite of mine for a chai tea mix.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Shanley Allen - August 27, 2011

Hubby did the magic milkshakes tonight. He mixed up all ingredients for a vanilla then added a box of Sugar Free instant banana puding mix (smaller size box). Also 1 ripe banana, all I can sat is WOW! these were excellent. thanks for a great reipe. Also, I should mention that the ice was the LAST THING he mixed in. He got all the other ingredients good and blended and then thickened it with the ice.

Sarah - September 12, 2011

If you halve the recipe you can make it in a Magic Bullet for two. Okay, one if it’s for me.

Amanda - September 14, 2011

Can I use a different oil than corn oil? I don’t have any on hand….

Amy B - December 8, 2011

I was wondering if you would replace the corn oil with MCT oil?

Josh - January 12, 2012

Tried this last night, to disastrous results. Found the milkshakes basically tasted like oil and didn’t taste like chocolate, or anything else. I halved the recipe and didn’t even use the full amount of oil (I used less than a tablespoon).

Tried it again today without the oil and now I have two delicious milkshakes, cooling in the freezer until my wife gets home from work so we can enjoy them together.

Lindy - January 30, 2012

Would the recipe work with regular or rice milk instead of dry milk powder?

Sarah J - February 10, 2012

I tried the recipe today and it turned out great! You don’t even taste the corn oil! It tastes so delicious! It is so yummy, y’all should try it too, it would turn that disaster of a day up and yummy! You have to use dry milk powder, and you have to use canola oil/or corn oil. Either way its still good. You have to use everything according to recipe, Josh.

Ailidh - May 21, 2012

Hi, I don’t keep non-stick spray in the house so was wondering what I could use as an alternative? Eggs?

Oliver - May 30, 2012

Hi, could you make an ice cream recipe using vegetable without cream? Thanks

Mary J - August 19, 2012

I was searching for recipes that call for liquid lecithin, and came across this milkshake recipe. I read your rant and loved it. I take lecithin every day because it’s so good for skin health, but I needed some variety instead of my daily fruit smoothie. I plan on trying this recipe with liquid lecithin instead of the spray oil and substituting the corn oil with coconut oil which has too many health benefits to list. I’ll post how it turned out. Bye

    The Hillbilly Housewife - August 20, 2012

    Thank you, Mary J. Yes, please do post any recipe you try. I know many people who are trying to use coconut oil but aren’t finding enough recipes. I would love it if you would share them here or in the recipe sharing section. Thank you.

Betty - April 3, 2013

When I copied this recipe sometime back I laminated it to be sure that I kept it in good condition, lol. First I followed directions but now that my grandson is a diabetic I use sugar substitutes. I also use coconut oil instead of corn oil because I do not use any corn oil. I have also used Crystal Light paks to sweeten & flavor. I don’t use powder milk except for that. I have used sugar free French Vanilla pudding to make egg free eggnog so I think I’ll try it in a milkshake like Shanley mentioned,

Suzanne - May 18, 2013

Can this be made and put in the freezer? As I live alone I couldn’t eat(rather shouldn’t)the whole recipe. If so, how long would it keep?

Kevin - May 28, 2013

I just want to say that you must follow the recipe. Me and my wife are now having the greatest laugh. I was looking for a milkshake recipe without ice cream and stumbled upon yours. Still not having all the ingredients I substitute vegetable oil for corn oil. Almost frozen milk for the water,ice & milk powder and the only pan spray I had was butter flavored. For sugar I tried using corn syrup to help thicken the mix. Did you know that karo corn syrup has high fructose corn syrup in it? Well neither did we. we looked it up on there website and it hasnt since 2005, probably why ours is also yellow, lol. We proceeded with the new recipe and low and behold? The most disgusting thing I’ve ever drank. Lmao. However, my point, add the oil. Although this was disgusting, it did indeed have a nice creamy flavor of disgusting. I think next week when we go shopping we’ll grab some of the ingredients and try it for real. Thanks for the tips. Although I didnt get a great milkshake, we did learn a bit tonight about oil and creaminess. Hope everyone can enjoy the laugh we had.

callie - May 30, 2013

Wow this is the coolest thing I’ve made all week. Thank you so much for this recipe! It was just the thing I needed on this PMStastic day 😉 it really hit the spot.
I made the vanilla version sans egg and it was delish!

Sami - January 24, 2014

Wow! After I made these it tasted too sweet and kinda nasty but I realized it tasted exactly like straight creamer so I added a bit to my coffee and it tastes magical! Never buying creamer again!

Courtney - July 26, 2015

I honestly didn’t expect this to taste good at ALL but it turned out great!! I had to use vegetable oil instead of corn oil but it tasted fine.

Myrna - November 17, 2015

Can you tell me if I can substitute for the oil coconut oil instead?

    Hillbilly Housewife - November 18, 2015

    No, coconut oil will not work. It’s solid at room temperature and since the drink is cold, you’ll end up with chunks of solid coconut oil in the drink.

Wendy - January 9, 2016

This is so good. I have a coconut oil pan spray (it is made by PAM) and it works fine. We’ve made this 3 times now. It’s nice because you don’t need ice cream to make it and you can use Splenda to sub for the sugar.

Hayley - February 4, 2016

Tried this and really loved it. I run a weight loss blog so I probably shouldn’t reveal I occasionally make this to satisfy my sweet tooth. It’s definitely worth the calories, though!

    Hillbilly Housewife - February 6, 2016

    We all need a treat every once in a while… plus throwing some high calorie food in there shocks the system and keeps our bodies burning calories. :)

Leave a Reply: