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Shake vs. Smoothie: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 18, 2024
A shake is a creamy, often sweetened beverage made with milk and ice cream, whereas a smoothie is a blended drink made with fruits, vegetables, and often a liquid like juice or milk.

Key Differences

Shakes typically feature milk and ice cream as their base, creating a rich and creamy texture. Smoothies, on the other hand, are based on fruits and/or vegetables, blended with liquids like juice, yogurt, or milk, focusing on a refreshing and often healthier profile.
Shakes are known for their thick, creamy consistency, mainly due to the presence of ice cream. Smoothies offer a more varied texture, which can range from thick to thin, depending on the types and amounts of fruits, vegetables, and liquids used.
Generally, shakes are considered indulgent treats due to their high content of sugar and dairy. Smoothies often have a health-focused angle, incorporating fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich ingredients like seeds or protein powders.
Preparing a shake usually involves blending ice cream with milk and flavorings like chocolate or vanilla. Smoothies often require a more diverse preparation, blending a mixture of fruits, vegetables, and a liquid base, sometimes with added supplements.
Shakes are often associated with classic American diners and fast food, symbolizing comfort and indulgence. Smoothies have gained popularity in health-conscious and fitness communities, symbolizing a wholesome, energizing choice.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredients

Milk and ice cream
Fruits, vegetables, and liquid base


Creamy and thick
Can vary from thick to thin

Health Perception

More indulgent and sweet
Considered healthier


Blending with flavorings
Blending diverse ingredients

Cultural Context

Classic American diners/fast food
Health-conscious/fitness communities

Shake and Smoothie Definitions


A cold, creamy beverage made with milk and ice cream.
He ordered a chocolate shake with his burger.


A nutritious and often refreshing beverage option.
After the gym, he always has a protein smoothie.


To unsettle or disturb someone emotionally or mentally.
The shocking news shook him deeply.


A blended drink made with fruits, vegetables, and a liquid base.
She starts her day with a green smoothie.


A rhythmic movement in music or dance.
The song had a great shake that got everyone dancing.


A drink customizable with various ingredients.
I love adding chia seeds to my berry smoothie.


To move something back and forth or up and down rapidly.
She shook the bottle vigorously before opening.


Often consumed for an energy boost or meal replacement.
For breakfast, a banana smoothie gives me energy.


To free oneself from something or someone.
She's been trying to shake her bad habits.


Associated with health-conscious and fitness lifestyles.
Smoothies are a staple in her diet plan.


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


(Informal) A person regarded as being assured and artfully ingratiating in manner.


To cause to tremble, vibrate, or rock
The earthquake shook the ground. The wind shook the barley.


A drink that is made of fruit or sometimes vegetables and is blended with juice, milk, or yogurt and often ice until smooth.


A smooth-talking person.


A drink made from whole fruit, thus thicker than fruit juice.


(figurative) A blending of different things, a mishmash


A member of the mod subculture who is relatively non-violent and wears expensive clothing.


Someone with an assured and ingratiating manner


A thick smooth drink consisting of fresh fruit pureed with ice cream or yoghurt or milk


What is a milkshake?

A creamy, sweet beverage made with milk and ice cream, often flavored.

Are smoothies only made with fruits?

No, smoothies can include vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other healthful ingredients.

Can shakes be healthy?

Yes, shakes can be made healthier by using low-fat milk, yogurt, and less sugar.

Is ice cream necessary for a shake?

Traditional shakes include ice cream, but there are recipes without it for a lighter version.

How do you thicken a smoothie?

Adding more fruits, vegetables, or thickeners like yogurt or chia seeds can thicken a smoothie.

Are smoothies a meal replacement?

Some smoothies, especially those with added proteins and fats, can serve as a meal replacement.

Can smoothies help with weight loss?

Yes, when made with the right ingredients, smoothies can be a part of a weight loss diet.

Are shakes and smoothies the same?

No, they differ in base ingredients, texture, and often in their nutritional profile.

Can you add protein powder to shakes?

Yes, protein powder is a common addition to shakes for extra nutrition.

Do smoothies always contain dairy?

No, smoothies can be made dairy-free with plant-based milks or juices.

Can shakes be part of a balanced diet?

In moderation and with healthy ingredients, shakes can fit into a balanced diet.

Are all shakes high in sugar?

Not necessarily; shakes can be made with less sugar or sugar substitutes.

Is it okay to have a smoothie every day?

Yes, if balanced and varied, smoothies can be a healthy daily choice.

What makes a shake different from a malt?

A malt includes malted milk powder, giving it a distinct flavor different from a regular shake.

Can smoothies be made without a blender?

It's challenging, as smoothies typically require blending to achieve the right texture.

Do shakes have to be sweet?

While traditionally sweet, shakes can be made less sweet or even savory.

What's the best base for a smoothie?

It depends on preference and dietary needs; options include water, milk, juice, or yogurt.

Can shakes be vegan?

Yes, by using plant-based milk and ice cream alternatives.

Are frozen fruits good for smoothies?

Yes, frozen fruits are great for smoothies, adding thickness and coldness.

Are smoothies good for kids?

Yes, smoothies can be a nutritious and appealing drink for kids.
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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