Sep 032015

Magic Milk Shake

I invented this recipe over a decade ago when the kids were begging for milkshakes, and there was no ice cream in the house. I kept thinking about smoothies and protein drinks and slim-fast powdered shake mix and how people claimed that they could make them taste like milk shakes by adding ice cubes to the mix. I fiddled around with blender and eventually came up with recipe.

I have made it with powdered soymilk and it works just as well as powdered dairy milk. Use enough powdered soymilk to make the equivalent of 1-quart of liquid milk.

Readers have told me that they use artificial sweetener and it works just fine. Dieters leave out the oil and tell me it still turns out good. I prefer it with the added vegetable oil, but you may feel differently. I think these taste an awful lot like Wendy’s Frosties.

This recipe has been one of my most popular and widely shared. I’ve seen it in several published cook books and on many other websites since I invented it. Here, for your pleasure, is the original.

Miss Maggie’s Magic Milk Shakes


  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1-1/2 cups instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 4 cups of of ice cubes, or 1 to 1-1/2 trays
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purposes (optional, but nice)


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-full. Place the lid on the blender. Process for a full 2 minutes. Pour into cups and serve.

Makes 3 – 16oz servings or 4 – 12oz servings.

NOTE: Liquid milk won’t work in this recipe. Only powdered milk will work.

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 but 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. Add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee for a mocha shake.
  2. Add 1 very ripe banana for a chocolate banana shake.
  3. Add a big spoonful of peanut butter for a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake.
  4. 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 1/3-cup and add 1-tablespoon (yes a full tablespoon) of vanilla flavoring.

Vanilla shakes are easy to doctor up with fruit flavorings. You can replace the cold water with liquid from canned fruit, plus enough extra water to make 1-cup. Add a few pieces of canned or fresh fruit to the mixture and blend as directed. Canned peaches are delicious for a Peach Shake. Fresh, frozen or canned strawberries are my favorite.

  5 Responses to “Miss Maggie’s Magic Milk Shakes”

  1. I’ve loved this recipe ever since I first found it on your old site! The kids love it too – I actually may have to get more powdered milk just to satisfy them, since I ran out a while ago.

  2. Oh yay! It’s definitely one of my more popular recipes. I was at Dairy Queen the other day and a friend bought a Blizzard. I noticed on the menu that a large blizzard was almost $8! This entire recipe is less than $1.50, and makes way more than a large DQ Blizzard. I wonder who can afford to pay for stuff like that? It boggles my mind!

  3. Hi, Maggie:

    I’m supposed to be doing some “real and serious” computer work, but I just had to check in with you. and I’m so glad I did! I’ve been making something similar to this since Weight Watchers came on to the diet scene so many years ago. But it wasn’t as thick as yours I’m sure.

    I’d like to make a small suggestion and that is to pick up a small jar of malt. I don’t care so much as milkshakes but I love malts. You need to use it up quickly because it draws moisture like a magnet draws iron. And then you have a solid mass of malt powder and you’ll need an ice pick to pry even a little bit.

    What kind of blender do you have? A few years ago hubby and I were at Bed, Bath and Beyond and they were cutting prices on their Ninja blenders. I commented how much I would like to have one of those to make really thick milkshakes. He bought it for me on the spot as well as an OXO hand mixer. My old hand mixer I bought at a dime store right after we were married and we’ve been married over 40 yrs! That NINJA is a goin’ jessy. I’m so proud of that thing. I often make banana mini muffins when I have a couple of over ripe bananas. I just drop all of the ingredients into the NINJA, put it on pulse and wait until the batter is almost smooth and fold in some coarsely chopped pecans (not more than 1/4 cup and it makes 24 + mini muffins) so I don’t think I’m getting too much fat. And that’s all the fat in the entire batch.

    (Incidentally, the blender and hand mixer were Christmas for me.)

    It’s starting to storm so I’d better cut this short, turn off the computer and unplug all the appliances here in my sewing room.

    I’ll try and let you know how the milkshakes turn out. If they taste like Wendy’s Frosty I know Ill love them. And a lot cheaper than Wendy’s and probably not nearly as calorific.

    Take care.


  4. Hey Frankie. If your old hand mixer lasted 40 years then it must have been a good one :-). I have seen the Ninja blenders and almost bought one a couple times but I just can’t make myself spend $100 on a blender. Even the ones on sale for $89 seem like more than I can afford. Then other times I see how good they work and think that I should just bite the bullet and invest in one. For now I have a very good Oster blender that has a special setting for frozen blender drinks. It does the job pretty well. Until it breaks I just can’t justify a new one.

    Glad to read your doing well Frankie. Always a pleasure 🙂

  5. What are the exchanges for this using splendid instead of sugar

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