Home Articles Malt vs. Shake (What’s the Difference?)

Malt vs. Shake (What’s the Difference?)

It’s an age-old question: what’s the difference between a malt vs. shake?

They’re both fantastic treats and are similar in concept. But the difference lies in their consistency, taste, and how they’re made.

Strawberry, grapes and peach milkshake served in tall glasses, and fresh fruits on a white wooden table

In terms of similarities, milkshakes and malts both come in the classic flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

They’re found at various restaurants and ice cream shops today. Milkshakes are more common and popular, but don’t let that fool you. Both have their own delicious qualities and are equally enjoyed.

Let’s finally answer this creamy conundrum: malt vs. shake, what’s the difference?

To find out the differences between malts and shakes, we have to take a closer look at each of them.

Chocolate milkshake, with chocolate powder topping, and white blue-stripped straw dipped on it.

What Is a Shake?

A shake is a creamy dessert made with only two simple ingredients: milk and ice cream. But it didn’t start out that way. 

Milkshakes originated in 1885 and were made with alcohol and served in taverns and clubs. At the time, they were cocktails made with eggs and whiskey.

The original milkshakes were more like eggnog than the shakes we know and love today. The eggs and whiskey shaken together in a cocktail shaker became a creamy consistency. 

In the 1900s, milkshakes were revamped into creamy desserts. Ice cream replaced the eggs, and milk was used instead of whiskey.

Milkshakes are now more of a dessert or treat than a cocktail.

Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla Creamy Malt Shake

What Is a Malt?

A malt is like a shake but includes malted milk powder. They’re also sometimes called malted milkshakes.

Malted milk powder makes the shake a little bit richer. It enhances the flavors of the milkshake and gives it a delicious yet subtle flavor.

With the powdered consistency, malts are also slightly thicker than shakes.

Because of the way malted milk powder is made, it doesn’t always taste very good with fruit flavors.

For this reason, fruity malts are uncommon. Malts usually stick to chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.

What Is Malted Milk Powder?

This flavor-enhancing powder is made with malted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated milk. 

Interestingly enough, malted milk powder was used as a nutritional supplement for infants and people with disabilities.

It’s easily digestible and since it’s a powder, it can just be mixed with water to create a milk-type drink.

Eventually, it became more popular, and many people started drinking it regardless of age or abilities.

It has a rich taste with sweet and toasty notes. It also acts as a thickener in most liquids. The most common flavors are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. 

Chocolate, milk and strawberry milkshakes with straw, topped with cream puff, chocolates and fruits.

Malt Vs. Shake: What is the Difference?

So now you know what milkshakes and malts are. Let’s go over how they’re different from each other. 

How They’re Made

The technical difference between milkshakes and malts is easy to determine. Milkshakes are made with a minimum of two ingredients, while malts are made with a minimum of three. 

Milkshakes are made with milk and ice cream, and malts have the added malted milk powder. 


When it comes to taste, I believe there is a clear difference. However, others find it more subtle.

The flavor of a malt is rich and toasty. I would describe it as having “a little something extra” compared to a regular milkshake.

A regular shake tastes almost exactly like the ice cream or flavoring used to make it. Malts have a more subtle or pronounced malt flavor depending on how much malt powder is used.


Another difference between milkshakes and malts is the thickness. Although both are frozen and creamy, malts are a bit thicker. They’re usually just barely drinkable.

The malt powder is mixed in after the milk and ice cream are already blended. It makes the drink thicker and even creamier. 

Malts and shakes might be different, but they’re delicious regardless. You can’t go wrong with either one!

Malt vs. Shake - What's The Difference

Did you like the recipe?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Share on social media:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

Leave a Comment