America's Best Milkshakes Slideshow
Burger Lounge; various locations, California
With only two flavors on the menu — vanilla and chocolate, what else? — Burger Lounge perfects the classic milkshake. Jim Little, the culinary director at Burger Lounge, keeps to the philosophy behind his burgers (named as one of the top 10 burgers by Forbes travel blogs): no additives, nothing complicated. Little uses whole milk, a high ice-cream-to-milk ratio, and a hand-held mixer to make his perfect shake. (Click ahead to get Little's recipe for the perfect shake!)
A.G Kitchen; New York City
Why have just one American classic when you can have two? At New York City’s A.G. Kitchen, chef Alex Garcia likes to add in a slice of pie to the restaurant’s (already delicious) shakes: think of it as "drinkable pie à la mode." Flavors to try: peach pie (a slice of peach pie in a vanilla shake, shown here) or Key lime (a slice of Key lime pie in the kiwi-strawberry milkshake).
Bobby Burger Palace; various locations
At the 11 outposts of Bobby’s Burger Palace, helmed by famed chef Bobby Flay, the milkshake menu reads like a candy shop: try cola, vanilla bean, dark chocolate, pistachio, coconut, mango, black and white, and blueberry-pomegranate. Some locations offer spiked versions of their milkshakes, like vanilla-caramel-bourbon, pineapple-coconut-rum, and mocha-Kahlúa-vodka. You can look to Flay’s cookbook, Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes Cookbook, to see how seriously he takes his milkshakes: he uses fatty ice creams, like Häagen-Dazs, with a high butter-fat content for a dense, smooth shake. And the secret to the perfect Bobbly Flay milkshake? A three-to-one ratio of ice cream to milk.
Fair Oak Pharmacy; Los Angeles
This 1915 institution with a legitimate soda fountain knows a thing or two about milkshakes (and sundaes, and other sweet treats.) Fair Oaks is located in historic South Pasadena, Calif., and harkens back to a time when sodas were a treat and corner drug stores were a staple of American life. Its milkshakes are nothing to scoff at: Its chocolate-banana milkshake was named one of the 10 best in Los Angeles by LA Weekly, and received the title of best ice cream shop by LA City Voter last year.
Epic Burger; Chicago
For those looking for an all-organic milkshake, Epic Burger has it down. Founder and CEO David Friedman mixes up mindful milkshakes to go with his burgers, blending them up with wholesome ingredients — and no artificial ones. Even the peanut butter shake, a customer favorite, uses all-natural peanut butter with non-hydrogenated oils. That’s a win for all customers.
The Franklin Fountain; Philadelphia
You’d be hard-pressed to find a soda fountain as authentic as Philadelphia’s Franklin Fountain (take The New York Times' feature on them, which shows their authentic soda fountain uniforms and old-timey vibe). The shop takes its homemade ice creams and blends them into creamy milkshakes. Our favorites? Cherry-vanilla, Hydrox cookie, maple-walnut, and pistachio.
H Burger; Denver
a. Burgers and milkshakes, as American as apple pie. So it’s no surprise hip Denver burger joint, H Burger, has the lockdown on the best shake in Denver. The secret ingredient: liquid nitrogen. H Burger’s milkshakes are chilled with liquid nitrogen, giving them a denser texture (and the smoke-filled show is impressive). Pick from the classics (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry), strawberry-mint, chocolate-peanut-butter-fudge, and Nutella-marshmallow — which Top Chef winner Richard Blais claims is his own original recipe in a blog post. No matter who came up with the combo first, we're happy to enjoy it.
The Melt Shop; New York City
The New York City shop is known for its grilled cheese, but nothing complements a big slab of cheese like a milkshake. Melt Shop’s hand-spun milkshakes include the all-American flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and Black and White), but the specialty shakes are where it gets fancy: cookies and cream, orange creamsicle, coffee crunch, vanilla maple, and peanut butter and jelly shakes are all the rage.
The Milk Shake Factory; Pittsburgh, Penn.
Fifty-five flavors of milkshakes? Yes, please! Pittsburgh’s beloved Milk Shake Factory offers up some decadent choices you won’t find anywhere else: chocolate-cinnamon, Cajun chocolate, piña colada, chocolate raspberry truffle, and many more. This milkshake shop owned by a fourth-generation confectioner takes their milkshakes seriously; each milkshake is handmade by a Bastian-Blessing soda fountain, giving you the quality of a 1950s milkshake.
Serendipity 3; Miami
From the same chain that brought you Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and other fantastically oversized desserts come the creations of chef Chad Ellis at Serendipity 3's Miami Beach location. This outpost is known for its milkshake creations: Monkey Business Banana Walnut, Coffee Wake Up Call, and the most popular flavor, the Toasty S'mores milkshake. Ellis personally roasts the marshmallows in the kitchen before adding them to the blender with the vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and graham crackers for the Toasty S'mores, making this shake a Serendipity must.
Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe.; Portland, Ore.
With the world "chocolate" in the name of the café, you know you’re in good hands for a milkshake. Moonstruck, with five locations in the Portland area, has the chocolate shakes nailed. The flavors on hand: the classics (chocolate, vanilla), Conquistador (made with chocolate, caramel, and caramelized hazelnuts), Mayan (made with chocolate, cinnamon, almond, and vanilla), Brown Cow (made with chocolate and root beer), and Mint Tingle (made with chocolate, peppermint, and honeycomb chips).
Tommy's; Cleveland, Ohio
Shortly after Cleveland’s little-known Tommy’s opened in 1972, Rolling Stone honored it as the "Best Milkshake East of the Mississippi," no small feat. Since then, the old-school diner has kept its shake (and food) menu the same. (Cleveland’s Scene magazine recently named it the best milkshake it town, so you know it’s not an outdated honor.) Try a root beer, peach, or moosetracks shake.
BLT Burger and Go Burger Bar and Grill; various locations
If you don’t try the Twinkie Boy milkshake at BLT Burger and Go Burger Bar and Grill, you are missing out. Yes, that’s a full-sized Twinkie in that milkshake, along with caramel syrup and vanilla ice cream. Twinkies aren’t the only ingredient to grace these creative milkshakes, though; The Lunch Box milkshake (at BLT) includes peanut butter and grape jelly (naturally), and the Cookie Monster milkshake (at both restaurants) has real Chips Ahoy cookies mixed in with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream; Seattle
When customers literally email you to describe the "perfect in every way" milkshake they had at your store, you know you’re doing something right. And Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream in Seattle is experiencing just that: a wave of milkshake enthusiasts dying for their shakes made from premium ingredients. On tap at Molly Moon’s: balsamic strawberry, Stumptown coffee, salted caramel, and honey-lavender ice cream flavors.
Recipe: The Burger Lounge's Classic Milkshake Recipe
You can make Jim Little's Burger Lounge chocolate milkshake at home with his recipe.
• 12 ounces (1 ½ cups) vanilla bean or chocolate ice cream (he recommends using Dreyer’s)
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• Whipped cream
1. Mix ice cream with milk using a hand-held mixer or a spindle mixer to achieve a slow churn.
2. Blend until thick and a creamy consistency is achieved.
3. Top with whipped cream.