Shake Shack's Executive Chef Shares The Formula For A Perfect Milkshake

There's no better dessert for a sweltering summer day than a delicious, ice-cold milkshake. The drinkable ice cream classic is a fan favorite across fast food offerings, but nobody does milkshakes quite like Shake Shack. From a spicy, sweet collaboration with Tabasco to exciting experimentation for the restaurant's white truffle menu, Shake Shack continues to deliver on its namesake by shaking up the dessert world. And we can thank Shake Shack's John Karangis, executive chef and vice president of culinary innovation, for mixing up some of the best milkshake recipes. 

But how does the restaurant keep churning out amazing new products? Tasting Table spoke to Karangis, who disclosed the secret formula for a perfect milkshake: "It starts with the core ingredients." The key to a scrumptious milkshake is an excellent base, says Karangis, and Shake Shack uses its take on crème anglaise. Combining cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and sugar, Shake Shack creates its signature frozen custard foundation for all of its shakes. "So, that's kind of the secret," says Karangis. "It's fresh ingredients, made fresh, to-order."

It starts with an 'incredible base'

Straw or spoon, whipped cream or hot fudge, chunky toppings or smooth textures — there are so many ways to make milkshakes unique. With seasonal flavors like the fall Pumpkin Patch and Apple Cider Donut shakes, or summery Oreo Funnel Cake and Chocolate Churro shakes, Shake Shack knows how to capitalize on fun flavors. Just this year, they released the Tiramisu and Dreamsicle shakes, along with a hot honey and chile-infused creation as a celebration of their involvement with Tabasco.

Shake Shack builds all of their funky flavors from the same frozen custard foundation. "If you have an incredible base," says Karangis, "You have an amazing shake." Starting with that crème anglaise, the restaurant then adds any variety of ingredients, like fresh strawberries and chocolate, to the shake blender. "We have to be really strategic about what other ingredients we add," says Karangis, because each menu item needs to be great.

Shake Shack's high standard for milkshake excellence helps elevate the chain's offerings from diner to fine dining. With Karangis delving into the exciting world of culinary innovation, it's no wonder that Shake Shack continues to impress with its perfect milkshake formula. "It's a painstaking process but it is, in my opinion, the best in the business," he shares.