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Malt vs Milkshake: Which One Is Creamier?

Malt vs Milkshake: Which One Is Creamier?

Malt vs milkshake are two famous beverages that are often confused with each other. Here’s a quick FAQ about their origins, taste, and textures.

Malt and milkshake remind us of old-time diners and fun summer days. Both are yummy drinks that many people love. But what makes a malt different from a milkshake? it what’s inside or how they taste? 

Even though they might look the same, they have special things that make them different. In this article, we’ll learn about these two drinks and find out what makes each one special. Whether you like malts or milkshakes more, you’ll enjoy finding out about them!

Malt: A Closer Look

A malt shake, often just called a “malted,” is like a regular milkshake but has malted milk powder added. This powder, made from wheat, malted barley, and milk, gives the shake a unique, rich, and slightly nutty taste and a creamier texture.

The creation of malted shake dates back to the late 19th century. It began with British food manufacturer William Horlick, who invented malted milk powder in 1873. Originally designed as a digestible powdered milk supplement for infants and the infirm, the product took a delicious turn in 1922. That year, Ivar “Pop” Coulson, a Walgreens employee, blended the powder with ice cream, making the first malted milkshake.
Malts offer a multitude of flavor options. While the classics like chocolate and vanilla reign supreme, adventurous souls can explore the world of fruit-flavored malts, where the likes of strawberry and banana add a tasty twist to the traditional.

Milkshake: A Closer Look

A milkshake is a cold beverage made by blending milk, ice cream, and often flavorings or sweeteners such as fruit syrup, chocolate syrup, or caramel.

Originating in the late 19th century, milkshake was first described in the 1880s as an adult drink with eggs and whiskey. By the early 1900s, they evolved into the ice cream blends we know today. As noted in the book “Listening to America,” milkshakes became popular in malt shops, where students would hang out. 

Milkshakes offer a unique experience—smooth, sweet, and refreshing. Their texture is thinner than that of malts and lacks the creamy consistency that comes from malted milk powder. 

Milkshakes can be creative. Besides classic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, other fun tastes include mix-ins like cookies, candies, and fruits.

Malt vs Milkshake: The Differences


The main difference between malts and milkshakes is their flavor. Malts have a unique malted taste, with notes of caramel and vanilla. In contrast, milkshakes offer a purer, sweeter taste without the malted touch.


Texture also plays a pivotal role in differentiating these beverages. Malts boast a thick, creamy, and luxurious consistency, owing to including malted milk powder. Meanwhile, milkshakes present a thinner, smoother texture, as they lack this key ingredient.


The composition of these treats also sets them apart. Malts prominently feature malted milk powder, while milkshakes rely on a combination of milk, ice cream, and sweeteners. This difference in ingredients gives each their unique flavors and textures.


Both malts and milkshakes offer a plethora of flavors to explore. However, malts tend to emphasize their malted base, often infusing that characteristic flavor into the variations. In contrast, milkshakes shine through their diverse mix-ins, toppings, and inventive combinations.


Can you substitute one for the other? While we encourage culinary experimentation, it’s essential to acknowledge that the flavor and texture of malts and milkshakes won’t perfectly align. If you seek to emulate the thick consistency of malt in a milkshake, consider augmenting it with malted milk powder or crushed malted milk balls to achieve a similar texture.

Here’s a basic comparison table for malt vs milkshake:

TasteRicher, sweeter, and more toastyPurer, sweeter
TextureThicker, creamier, and more luxuriousThinner, smoother
IngredientsMilk, ice cream, malted milk powderMilk, ice cream, sweeteners
VariationsOften infuses malted flavor into variationsDiverse mix-ins, toppings, and inventive combinations
SubstitutionPossible, but flavor and texture won’t perfectly alignAdd malted milk powder or crushed malted milk balls for similar texture.

Is a malt thicker than a milkshake?

Without a doubt, a malt is typically thicker than a milkshake. The defining factor is the inclusion of malted milk powder in malts, imparting a rich, velvety consistency. When you try a malt,  you’ll notice its thick consistency, setting it apart from a milkshake’s thinner and smother texture. Malt is your best pick if you like creamy drinks.

The bottom line

Malts and milkshakes offer distinct experiences, each a tribute to its own unique charm. Malts entice with their malted flavor and creamy texture, while milkshakes captivate with their uncomplicated sweet note and adaptability.

The key takeaway is that both malts and milkshakes have earned their rightful places in the pantheon of dessert beverages. Whether you crave the nostalgia of a malt or yearn for the boundless possibilities of a milkshake, it’s a matter of preference.

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