Top 10 Milkshake Flavor Combos

Mint Choco-Chip, Mocha, Peanut Butter and Chocolate and More

Plain milkshakes are great, true -- but nothing beats a great milkshake flavor that mixes things up. Take Cookies n' Cream milkshakes (vanilla milkshakes with Oreo cookies or similar), for example. It's one of the most popular blended milkshake flavors out there, and let's face it: a plain vanilla milkshake simply doesn't compare! I don't even really like Oreos, and I still find a creamy, cookie-chunk-filled vanilla shake to be far superior to a plain one.

So if milkshakes with combined flavors are so much better than regular milkshakes, what are the best of the best? What are the most popular and delicious flavor combos out there?

To find out, I spoke with Michael Strange, president of the ever-popular Bassetts Ice Cream Company in Philadelphia, asked a few friends whose milkshakes bring all the boys (and girls) to the yard and checked with a few internet forums. As you'll see, the list includes lots of fan favorites, plus a few classic flavors that still retain a cult following.

  • 01 of 10

    Cookies and Cream Milkshakes

    Oreo Madness Milkshake
    Bassetts Ice Cream Company

    Crushed-up cookies add so much texture and flavor to a Plain Jane vanilla shake. Cookies and cream milkshakes are so popular, and people usually, people opt for Oreo milkshakes. Something about the vanilla ice cream mixing with the crisp cookies and the soft vanilla cream filling just works. But there are other ways you can make them, too.


    My personal favorite? Cookie dough chunks in lieu of cookie chunks. Yum! That said, other cookies work well, too. A big fan favorite is Girl Scout cookies, especially Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs. Shortbread cookies are good in a chocolate milkshake. Peanut butter cookies are truly tasty, too.

    Recipe Hacks

    Don't have Oreos? See the variations above. Or, change the whole game with chunks of iced cake in place of the iced cookies. It may sound odd, but it tastes great.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Top with freshly whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. And use something better than Oreos! Newman's Own "Newman O's" are a natural alternative to the usual cookie of choice. Homemade cookies (baked until crisp) and chocolate biscotti pieces are great picks, too.

  • 02 of 10

    Chocolate Swirl Milkshakes

    Pouring chocolate
    Chocolate syrup isn't just for wintertime hot chocolate drinks! Bring it into the summer sun with a chocolate swirl milkshake. ALEAIMAGE/Getty Images

    Also known as a "Black & White", this favorite is a vanilla ice cream milkshake with chocolate syrup either blended in during the milkshake making or swirled in afterward.

    It's Bassetts' most popular flavor. Michael Strange says it's because "the flavors work really well together" and "this combination has been around for years, and many people think of this as the 'classic' milkshake, evoking childhood memories." Cheers to that!


    Instead of a smooth swirl, go for a Milky Way swirl with added chocolate chips. Or use a different base ice cream (such as mint or strawberry).

    Recipe Hacks

    Out of chocolate syrup? Blend in chocolate powder, Nutella or finely chopped (or grated) chocolate instead.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Ingredients are key. Pick a stellar vanilla ice cream. Use homemade chocolate syrup or gourmet chocolate sauce instead of the usual Hershey's syrup. Add a bit of vanilla bean if desired. If you want a really blinged-out milkshake, top it with gold flakes.

  • 03 of 10

    Chocolate-Chocolate Milkshakes

    Chocolate milk shake smoothie on white background
    Mmm, chocolate. fcafotodigital/Getty Images

    Also known as "Double Chocolate" or "Chocolate Overload", this milkshake is for true chocoholics only.

    The basic idea is that it's a chocolate milkshake with more chocolate added in. This can be as simple as chocolate ice cream blended with chocolate syrup, or something much more chocolaty. At Bassetts, they make their Chocolate Overload milkshakes from dark chocolate chip ice cream blended with chocolate brownie batter and topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. 


    For add-ins, try chocolate candies, brownie bits, chocolate cookies, chocolate cake or chocolate syrup/sauce. Some people like to make Double Chocolate into a boozy milkshake, too. If you want, try it with Kahlua, a chocolate liqueur, vodka, brandy, bourbon or vodka.

    Recipe Hacks

    Don't have chocolate ice cream? Care a little about your sugar intake? Cool. For something really chocolaty but intensely less sweet, start with a vanilla shake and build up chocolate flavors on top of it, using cocoa powder to get your main chocolate flavor. If you love the full-on sweetness of a double-chocolate shake, you can use chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup for the base flavor, and then add mix-ins for the second level of chocolatey flavor.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Start with a premium vanilla ice cream base. Add pure, raw cacao powder, gourmet chocolate sauce or finely chopped bits of bittersweet chocolate. For chocolate mix-ins, try homemade fudge, chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate ganache. For other mix-ins, try a good brandy, dried organic orange peels, gourmet berry jam or fresh, pitted cherries. Top with homemade whipped cream (or chocolate whipped cream) and a pinch of cinnamon or freshly ground nutmeg.

  • 04 of 10

    Peanut Butter Milkshakes

    A Peanut Butter Dream milkshake, complete with lots of toppings. Bassetts Ice Cream Company

    Whether it's a vanilla shake or a chocolate one, peanut butter is a fantastic addition. Most people add a tablespoon or so of peanut butter to the blend to get the flavor they love.


    Try peanut butter in a chocolate or a vanilla shake. For extra flavor, add in broken peanut butter cups or top with whipped cream and a little chocolate sauce. Delicious! A frozen banana also gives it that peanut butter-banana flavor (and makes it a little healthier, right?).

    Recipe Hacks

    Don't have peanut butter? It's OK. Add peanuts instead, and blend longer.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Peanut butter milkshake = good. Almond butter milkshake = better. Macadamia nut milkshake = better yet. Hazelnut milkshake = mind blowing. Try different kinds of nuts to see what appeals to you. Top with gourmet or homemade peanut butter cupscandied nuts (such as Jordan almonds or candied pecans), nut brittle pieces (perhaps from this Macadamia nut brittle recipe) whipped cream and/or gourmet chocolate sauce.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Mint Chocolate Milkshakes

    Springs of mint in a glass mug
    Fresh mint leaves can be the perfect topper for your Mint Chocolate shake. Margarita Komine/Getty Images

    Sometimes called "Thin Mint" milkshakes or "Grasshopper" milkshakes, these are a classic mix of chocolate and mint. Most people start with a mint chocolate chip ice cream and add in some chocolate syrup. Some people take it a step further with broken bits of mint-chocolate cookies or candies, such as Thin Mints, Grasshoppers, York Peppermint Patties or Andes Mints.


    Add in chocolate chips, make it a boozy milkshake with Peppermint Schnapps, or simply top it with extra mint-chocolate cookie pieces and a dollop of whipped cream.

    Recipe Hacks

    No mint-chocolate ice cream? Start with vanilla (or chocolate chip ice cream) and build from there. Get your minty freshness from mint extract, finely chopped fresh mint leaves or a dose of Peppermint Schnapps. Add in chocolate pieces or chocolate chips. Voilà! Mint chocolate chip milkshake.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Skip the waxen chocolate pieces and artificial color found in most mint chocolate ice creams. Instead, pick a gourmet mint chocolate ice cream, make your own, or start with vanilla ice cream and add finely chopped fresh mint leaves and shaved bittersweet chocolate pieces. Top with pieces of homemade peppermint patties and a fresh sprig of mint, or with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

  • 06 of 10

    Coffee Milkshakes

    A "Mudslide Milkshake" (coffee ice cream blended with chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle) at Bassetts. Bassetts Ice Cream Company

    Mocha. Cappuccino. Mudslide. These popular milkshake flavors all have one thing in common: coffee.

    There are two schools of thought on making a coffee milkshake. One is to start with coffee ice cream and to keep it simple or to add chocolate if you want it to be a mocha milkshake. The other is to start with a vanilla or chocolate ice cream and to add coffee for the coffee flavor. I recommend the latter, as it gives a much better flavor.

    Try using cold-brewed coffee or a shot of espresso for the best coffee flavor.


    For a cappuccino milkshake, start with vanilla ice cream. For a mocha, start with chocolate or add coffee and chocolate to vanilla ice cream. Top with whipped cream and chocolate syrup (or toffee pieces, as pictured). For a flavored cappuccino taste, add a little powdered flavoring or flavored simple syrup.

    Recipe Hacks

    Don't have coffee ice cream? Good! Your milkshake will be better for it. Don't have the beans for cold-brewed coffee or espresso? Instant coffee is passable, too.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Again, it's all about ingredients. Pick your coffee wisely. Brew it well.

  • 07 of 10

    Very Berry/Vanilla Berry Milkshakes

    It's simple, delicious and even a little healthier than your usual milkshake: Take a vanilla milkshake. Blend in frozen berries. Enjoy.


    Don't just stick to strawberry! Consider raspberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, currants and other berries as well. And although a vanilla milkshake base is best, you can also use strawberry ice cream (or a berry gelato) for a "very berry" flavor.

    Recipe Hacks

    No berries? No problem. A good berry jam atop a vanilla milkshake is incredibly tasty.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Use fresh, organic berries, or make fresh berries into a berry reduction sauce. If you're using cherries or raspberries, consider adding some chocolate pieces or cocoa powder, too.

  • 08 of 10

    Butterscotch Milkshakes

    Bowl of Butterscotch Chips
    No butterscotch on hand? Try melting down butterscotch chips to add flavor to your shake. Foodcollection/Getty Images

    Like the famous malted milkshake, the butterscotch milkshake was hugely popular years ago and has now become a cult classic. It's rich, sweet and just a little salty. It has just the right balance and is especially appealing to people who enjoy treats like British puddings with treacle.

    Butterscotch milkshakes are easy to create. Simply make a vanilla milkshake, and swirl in some butterscotch sauce.


    Add butterscotch candies or toffee bits. (Toffee is a close relative of butterscotch in the candy family, and they go well together.)

    Recipe Hacks

    Don't have butterscotch handy? If you can get some butterscotch chips, melt them down and use them. Otherwise, you'll need to adapt. You could go with caramel sauce instead, or you can replace the butterscotch with a bit of black strap molasses (black molasses being one of the main ingredients in butterscotch) or a brown sugar simple syrup (brown sugar being another main ingredient in butterscotch). They're not the same, but they are very good.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Use homemade or gourmet butterscotch.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Banana Vanilla/Chocolate Milkshakes

    This is one of two fruit-flavored milkshakes on the list. And while bananas may not get as much "super fruit" hype as berries, they are also very tasty and healthy. And, I might add, they are just as great in milkshakes!

    Bananas are usually added in chocolate or vanilla milkshakes. Most people add frozen bananas (which were peeled when very ripe and then frozen in a plastic bag or other sealed container) to keep the temperature down. Want a recipe? Try this chocolate banana milkshake recipe.


    You can also use fresh bananas (which make a good topping, too). For more flavor, add peanut butter or chocolate sauce, or top with whipped cream.

    Recipe Hacks

    Out of bananas? Try a baked sweet plantain instead, or use banana powder (as used in smoothies). If truly desperate, you can substitute banana flavoring for the banana, but I don't recommend it!

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Go for caramelized bananas or baked sweet plantains. Add a little powdered cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg. Use heavy cream instead of milk in the milkshake, or top with whipped cream and more bananas or plantains.

  • 10 of 10

    Candy Flavored Milkshakes

    Studio shot of chocolate bars
    Experiment with blending different combinations of popular candies and candy bars into your milkshake. Tetra Images/Getty Images

    Candy gets added into milkshakes all the time. Whether it's M&Ms, pieces of candy bars or something more obscure (I've heard that sour gummy candies are popular in vanilla milkshakes), candy milkshakes are here to stay.

    Most candy milkshakes are made with a vanilla base. Simply chop up the candy if it's bigger, then blend it or stir it into the milkshake. Add a little more on top, and you're good to go.


    Play around with different kinds of candy. Chocolate flavors are popular, but you can also go with candies in flavors like fruit, caramel, licorice, marshmallow, nougat or peppermint. You could opt for a flavored chocolate, like coffee-flavored chocolates. Whatever makes you smile!

    Recipe Hacks

    No candy? Oops. Now you have a problem. Sorry, can't help you here.

    Gourmet Upgrade

    Choose gourmet candies, like candied fruit, crystallized ginger, goat's milk caramels/sea salt caramels, English toffee, chocolate truffles or herbal pastilles.