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Milkshake vs. Malt: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
A milkshake is a creamy beverage made from milk and ice cream, while malt refers to germinated cereal grains or a shake with malted milk powder added.

Key Differences

A milkshake is typically a combination of milk, ice cream, and often flavorings like fruit or chocolate, blended until smooth. In contrast, malt can refer to sprouted cereal grains that have been dried, commonly used in brewing and distilling.
Many diners and restaurants offer milkshakes on their menus, providing a thick and creamy treat. When malt powder, derived from malted barley and wheat, is added to a milkshake, it creates a malted milkshake, offering a distinct flavor and texture.
While milkshakes are popular worldwide as refreshments or desserts, malt, in the context of grains, holds significance in the production of beer, whiskey, and certain food products, showcasing its versatility.
There are countless variations of milkshakes, from simple vanilla to combinations like Oreo or strawberry. Malt, on the other hand, not only refers to the grain preparation process but also to malted milk powder, which is a mix of malted barley, wheat flour, and whole milk.
One can enjoy a milkshake at various establishments or make it at home using a blender. Malt, when not referring to the shake, plays a crucial role in fermentation, where its sugars are converted into alcohol in brewing.

Comparison Chart

Basic Definition

A blended drink with milk and ice cream.
Germinated, dried cereal grains.

Common Use

Beverage or dessert.
Brewing, distilling, or a milkshake variant.


Milk, ice cream, flavorings.
Barley or other grains, malted milk powder.


Creamy and smooth.
Grainy or a specific thickened texture in shakes.


Diners, dessert menus.
Beer, whiskey, malted milkshakes.

Milkshake and Malt Definitions


Milkshakes often contain additional flavorings or sweeteners.
Her strawberry milkshake tasted like summer.


Malt can be used as a flavoring in foods and drinks.
The malt powder gave the milkshake a unique taste.


A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage blended from ice cream and milk.
I ordered a chocolate milkshake at the diner.


The malting process involves soaking, germinating, and drying the grains.
The quality of malt can greatly influence the beer's flavor.


Milkshakes can be served in various thicknesses, from thin to ultra-thick.
The milkshake was so thick, I needed a spoon to eat it.


Malt can also refer to malted milk powder.
I added some malt to my drink for extra richness.


A milkshake can be a standalone dessert or accompany a meal.
A burger with a side of fries and a milkshake is my favorite meal.


Malt refers to cereal grains that have been sprouted and dried.
The brewery sources high-quality malt for its beer production.


Milkshakes are popular across many cultures with regional variations.
In India, a mango milkshake is a common treat during summer.


Malt is fundamental in the production of alcoholic beverages like beer and whiskey.
Different malts impart distinct flavors to the whiskey.


A beverage that is made of milk, ice cream, and often flavoring and is blended or whipped until foamy. Also called shake; also called regionally cabinet, frappe, velvet.


Grain, usually barley, that has been allowed to sprout, used chiefly in brewing and distilling.


New England A beverage made of milk and flavored syrup, whipped until foamy.


An alcoholic beverage, such as beer or ale, brewed from malt.


How does a malted milkshake differ from a regular milkshake?

A malted milkshake includes malted milk powder, giving it a distinctive taste, while a regular milkshake does not.

What is a milkshake?

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

What is malt?

Malt refers to germinated cereal grains that have been dried through a process called malting. It's often used in brewing and distilling.

What is malted milk powder?

It's a powdered mix of malted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated whole milk.

Is malt always associated with milkshakes?

No, malt is used in various products, including beers, whiskeys, and certain baked goods.

How is malt made?

Malt is made by soaking cereal grains in water to let them germinate, then drying and roasting them.

What are common flavors for milkshakes?

Popular flavors include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and banana.

Why add malted milk powder to a milkshake?

It adds a rich, nutty flavor and a unique texture to the milkshake.

Which is thicker: a milkshake or a malt?

Generally, they have similar thicknesses, but it can vary based on the ingredients and preparation.

Can malt be used in cooking?

Yes, malt can be used in various recipes, like bread, to add flavor and texture.

Do all diners and ice cream parlors offer malts?

Not all, but many traditional diners and ice cream shops in the U.S. offer malted milkshakes on their menu.

Can milkshakes be dairy-free?

Yes, dairy-free milkshakes use alternatives like almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk.

Is malt gluten-free?

No, since malt is derived from barley or wheat, it typically contains gluten.

Are milkshakes always sweet?

While most milkshakes are sweet, variations can be made with less sugar or savory ingredients.

Can I make a milkshake without ice cream?

Yes, but it might be less creamy. You can use milk, flavorings, and ice for a simpler version.

Why are milkshakes called "shakes"?

The term originally referred to the action of "shaking" ingredients together to mix them.

Are malts and maltesers the same?

No, Maltesers are a brand of malted milk ball candy, while malt is the ingredient used in making them.

How is the malt flavor in beverages and candies achieved?

It's usually from the addition of malted milk powder or malt extract.

Which has more calories: a milkshake or a malt?

It depends on the ingredients, but adding malted milk powder can increase the calorie content slightly.

Can I add malt to other drinks besides milkshakes?

Absolutely! Malt can be added to smoothies, hot chocolate, and other beverages for a unique flavor twist.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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