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Shake vs. Malt: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 22, 2024
A shake is a cold beverage made of milk, ice cream, and flavorings, while a malt is a specific type of shake with added malted milk powder.

Key Differences

A shake, often known as a milkshake, is a creamy, cold drink made primarily from milk, ice cream, and flavorings like fruits or syrups. Conversely, a malt, or malted milkshake, includes all these ingredients but is distinct due to the addition of malted milk powder, which provides a unique flavor and texture.
The shake's versatility allows for a wide range of flavors and ingredients, making it a popular treat worldwide. In contrast, the malt's defining component, malted milk powder, is made from a mixture of malted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated whole milk, which contributes a nutty, rich taste distinct from regular shakes.
Texture-wise, a shake tends to be smooth and creamy. On the other hand, a malt has a slightly grainier texture due to the malted milk powder, adding a layer of complexity to the traditional shake experience.
Nutritional content varies between shakes and malts. While both are high in calories and sugar, the malted milk powder in malts adds a small amount of vitamins and minerals, making them slightly more nutritious than regular shakes.
In terms of popularity, shakes are more widely recognized and available in a broader range of flavors. Malts, while also popular, are often seen as a nostalgic or specialty item, particularly beloved in certain regions and by those who prefer the unique taste of malted milk powder.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredients

Milk, ice cream, flavorings
Milk, ice cream, flavorings, malt powder


Smooth and creamy
Slightly grainy due to malt powder

Flavor Variety

Wide range of flavors and combinations
Limited by the inclusion of malt flavor

Nutritional Content

High in calories and sugar
Slightly more nutrients from malt powder

Cultural Perception

Modern, versatile treat
Nostalgic, specialty item

Shake and Malt Definitions


A milk-based cold beverage mixed with ice cream.
She ordered a chocolate shake at the diner.


To convert grain into malt.
The process to malt the barley takes several days.


To grasp and move someone's hand as a greeting.
They met and exchanged a friendly shake.


A type of shake with added malted milk powder.
He prefers a vanilla malt over a regular milkshake.


A rapid back-and-forth movement.
He gave the bottle a vigorous shake.


A type of alcoholic drink made from malted grain.
They enjoyed a bottle of single malt whiskey.


To unsettle or disturb.
The news really gave her confidence a shake.


Grain, typically barley, that has been germinated and dried.
The brewery sources its malt from local farmers.


A trembling or quivering motion.
The earthquake caused a noticeable shake in the building.


A sweet powder used in beverages and baking.
She added malt to her cookie recipe for extra flavor.


To cause to move from side to side or up and down with jerky movements
I shook the juice container.


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


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


What makes a malt different from a shake?

A malt includes malted milk powder, adding a unique flavor.

What is the main ingredient in a malt?

Malted milk powder, along with milk and ice cream.

Can any shake be made into a malt?

Yes, by adding malted milk powder to it.

What is a shake?

A creamy beverage made with milk, ice cream, and flavorings.

Are shakes healthy?

They can be high in sugar and calories, so moderation is key.

What is malted milk powder made of?

Malted barley, wheat flour, and evaporated milk.

Is malt powder the same as malted milk powder?

Yes, they are often used interchangeably.

Can shakes be made without ice cream?

Yes, using milk and flavorings alone.

Can malt be alcoholic?

Yes, in the form of malt whiskey or beer.

Is a malt a good source of nutrients?

It contains some vitamins and minerals from malt.

What flavors are common in shakes?

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and more.

Are there vegan options for malts?

Yes, using plant-based milk and ice cream.

Can you make malt powder at home?

It's complex but possible with the right equipment.

Is malt gluten-free?

No, as it contains barley which has gluten.

Can you freeze a shake for later?

Yes, though texture may change upon thawing.

Can shakes be dairy-free?

Yes, using alternatives like almond or soy milk.

How long does a shake stay fresh?

Best consumed immediately after preparation.

Are malts thicker than shakes?

Not necessarily, though they can be grainier.

Do shakes have to be sweet?

Typically yes, but there are savory versions.

What is the origin of malted milk powder?

It was developed in the early 20th century as a nutritional supplement.
About Author
Written 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.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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