Malt vs Shake: What’s the Difference?


When it comes to ice cream-based foods, milkshakes have to be near the top of the list for me. Nothing quite hits the spot on a hot summer day other than a milkshake. I, personally, love a good chocolate shake, but the flavor options are almost endless. Of course, these sweet treats wouldn’t be considered paleo…but I can’t deny that I love a traditional milkshake – just ice cream, milk and any extra flavoring (real strawberries, chocolate syrup, etc). But some people may prefer a malt shake. But, do you know what the difference is between the two? 

If you don’t, stick around. We’re going to get into the difference between a malt shake and a milkshake. You don’t want to miss this. 

Malt vs Shake: What’s the Difference?

First – What’s a Milkshake? 

Let’s start with the basics. Let’s break down a milkshake into its very basic components. 

What goes into a milkshake? It’s quite simple really. You only need ice cream, milk and any additional flavoring. Chocolate syrup, strawberries, bananas, peanut butter…literally, whatever flavors you like, you can throw it into the blender with the ice cream and milk. Place all of those ingredients into a blender and turn it on. Blend it until it reaches your desired consistency. 

That’s all it takes to make a delicious, no-frills milkshake. Sip your creation out of a tall glass with a fancy straw if you really want to take it up a level. You can even throw a cherry on top if you’re into that sort of thing. 

What’s a Malt Shake? 

There is one single ingredient that sets a malt shake apart from a milkshake. I’m sure that you can guess what it is. 

That’s right. It’s malted milk powder. 

The ingredients for a malt shake are exactly the same as the ingredients for a milkshake with the addition of malted milk powder. Just a spoonful of malted milk powder will do. You can throw all of those ingredients into a blender and blend it until it reaches your desired consistency or level of creaminess. Feel free to sip with a straw or add that cherry on top. 

What is Malted Milk Powder?


Now that we have discussed the difference between a milkshake and a malt shake, let’s dive a bit deeper into that mystery ingredient – malted milk powder, also sometimes simply called malt powder. What is it? Where does it come from? What are other ways to use it? 

Let’s get into it. 

According to Wikipedia, malted milk is “a powdered gruel made from a mixture of malted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated whole milk powder.” This powder is commonly used in drinks, foods and baking. And, of course, candy. If you’re a fan of Whoppers Malted Milk candy, then you are very familiar with this toasty-tasting powder. Some other popular foods with malted milk include Ovaltine and robin’s egg candies. 

History of Malt Powder

To understand the origins of malted milk powder, we have to go as far back as the 1870’s. Two brothers, James and William Horlick, started a company named J&W Horlicks to manufacture infant food. Their brand of baby food took off and within ten years, they had created a new formula that included dried milk. This formula was eventually patented as “malted milk.”

Word got around about this malted milk formula, and before long, explorers were packing the malted milk with them because it not only gave them necessary nutrition but it was also non-perishable and would withstand long travel. As the powder gained popularity, Americans started drinking the concoction for enjoyment. Before long, the powder was mixed into ice cream to make the malt shake and malt shake shops were popping up in towns across the country. 

This is how the malt shake came to be. 

Where Can You Buy Malt Powder? 

You can find malt powder at most grocery stores, most often in the baking aisle or powdered drink area. Of course, in today’s digital age, Amazon or online grocers are an option as well. By far, the most popular brand of malted milk powder is Carnation.   

Are You Ready for a Malt Shake?

chocolate malt milk shake

Now that you know all about malted milk powder, I bet you’re ready to sip on a malted milk shake. Grab your ice cream, milk, malt powder and a blender, and you’ll be well on your way to sipping a delicious malt shake. Enjoy! 

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