Difference Between Smoothie and Milkshake


Milkshakes and smoothies are a treat which is easily available and you can even make them at home. Both of these drinks have different taste, texture and even the way they are prepared. Many get confused between them and often use them interchangeably which is even worse. 

In this article find an overview of how smoothie and milkshake differ from one another in terms of ingredients, use and preparation.

What is milkshake?

A milkshake is a sweet beverage made by blending milk, ice cream, and flavorings or sweeteners such as butterscotch, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup, fruit syrup, or whole fruit into a thick, sweet, cold mixture. It may also be made using a base made from non-dairy products, including plant milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk.

Milkshakes originated in the United States around the turn of the 20th century, and grew in popularity following the introduction of electric blenders in the subsequent two decades. They became a common part of youth popular culture, as ice cream shops were a culturally acceptable meeting place for youth, and milkshakes became symbolic of the innocence of youth.

What is Smoothie?

A smoothie is a thick and blended beverage made by combining a variety of ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, liquids (such as milk, yogurt, or fruit juice), and additional additives like ice, protein powder, or sweeteners. Smoothies are known for their smooth and creamy texture, and they can be consumed for various purposes, including as a nutritious snack, a meal replacement or a refreshing drink.

Depending on the desired flavor and nutritional goals, smoothies can include a range of additives. These might include protein powder, nut butter (like peanut or almond butter), seeds (chia, flax, or hemp seeds), honey, maple syrup, or sweeteners like agave nectar.

All the ingredients are combined in a blender and blended until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. The result is a thick and frothy beverage.

Smoothie vs Milkshake: Key Differences

Primary IngredientsFruits (fresh or frozen), vegetables, yogurt, milk, or fruit juiceIce cream, milk, and flavored syrup or ice cream
TextureSmooth and thick, often with a pulpy or fibrous texture due to fruit and vegetablesCreamy and thick, with a milkshake’s characteristic thickness and creaminess
Dairy ContentOptional; can be made dairy-free using alternatives like almond milk or coconut milkTypically contains dairy, such as milk and ice cream
SweetenersNatural sweetness from fruits or honeySweetened with sugar, syrup, or ice cream
Nutritional ContentCan be high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber due to fruit and vegetable contentGenerally higher in calories and fat due to ice cream
Flavor VarietiesWide range of flavors, including fruit combinations and green smoothiesClassic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and fruit varieties
Health Conscious OptionsOften considered a healthier option due to the potential for nutrient-rich ingredientsGenerally considered more indulgent and higher in calories
ConsistencyThinner consistency compared to milkshakesThicker and richer consistency
Dietary RestrictionsSuitable for various dietary preferences, including vegan and gluten-freeMay not be suitable for lactose-intolerant or dairy-free diets
Refreshing FactorOften perceived as refreshing and hydrating, making them popular as breakfast or post-workout optionsTypically viewed as a dessert or indulgent treat
Serving OccasionsCommonly consumed as breakfast, snacks, or as part of a healthy dietOften enjoyed as a dessert or treat
Common Add-InsProtein powders, greens (spinach, kale), seeds (chia, flax), and supplements for added nutritionWhipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and flavored syrups for added sweetness and decoration

Key Takeaways

  • The base liquid in a smoothie provides the necessary liquid content for blending and consistency. Common choices include milk (dairy or non-dairy options like almond milk or soy milk), yogurt, fruit juice, or water.
  • Common fruits that can be used in smoothie include bananas, berries, mangoes, and pineapples, while spinach, kale, and avocado are popular vegetable choices.
  • The key element that distinguishes a milkshake from a regular milk-based beverage is the inclusion of ice cream. The ice cream contributes to the milkshake’s creamy texture and rich flavor. It is common to use vanilla ice cream as a base, but other flavors can be used to create a variety of tastes.
  • Milkshakes can be flavored in numerous ways. Common flavorings include chocolate syrup, fruit syrups, vanilla extract, malted milk powder, and various fruits or berries. These ingredients add sweetness and unique flavors to the shake.