Are you a major fan of milkshakes too? I certainly am and NYC is a great place to really dive into the milkshake scene and eat to your heart’s content.
Having been in NYC for a month, I had ample time to try a few joints to find the best milkshakes in NYC. (And do some more research for future “empirical studies”.)
**** This post isn’t sponsored nor commissioned. ****
Wanting to sample both big and simple shakes in NYC, I tried both franchise establishments as well as lesser known, more local milkshake (and burger) joints in New York.
If you ask me, milkshakes also work awesomely well any time of the day, from classic brunch in NYC up until the evening (especially if you don’t drink alcohol like I do but want a cool drink. Pun intended.)
I love sharing my findings with you (including dairy free) and would love to hear your recommendations or experiences in the comment section too. Let’s share the shake love.
Note that these places also serve ice cream in case that’s more your thing or you need to drag someone with you who isn’t that hot on cold shakes.
Why Try Milkshakes in NYC
I am a major foodie and while I enjoy trying local food abroad, there are a few foods I made it my mission to sample abroad. You’d think they are staple familiar food items, but cheesecakes are hella different from country to country and milkshakes are too.
For instance, German milkshakes are basically just flavoured milk. The USA does thick shakes like it’s no one’s business and with so much competition, local shops have come up with quite a range of curious creations.
As a result, there are quite a few joints for milkshakes in NYC. Some are just plain cool ice cream parlours (catering to the Instagram crazy crowd) and others have made a name with elaborately decked milkshakes.
NYC is definitely a great place to give them a try. And I’m excited to share them with you.
Fun fact: June 20 is National Vanilla Milkshake Day in the USA.
Top 5 Franchise Milkshakes in NYC
I have this thing, a ritual you may call it, that whenever I’m in London I visit Five Guys for my signature salted caramel and Reeses milkshake. It’s like a full meal and it’s to die for. So naturally I wanted to try the same milkshake in NYC as well to see if it’s the same.
Sadly, I can’t say that it is. They offer peanut butter instead of reeses and it’s just not as good, I can’t really put my finger on it. But it’s still pretty damn good and deserves a mention. There are multiple Five Guys locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
So, here’s a confession. I’ve never tried any Shake Shack milkshakes and there are a few Shake Shack locations in New York, too. But of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for a classic Shake Shack shake.
Another popular franchise is Dairy Queen and New York City has a Midtown Manhattan location close to the metro. During my visit, they even had cinnamon roll shakes. How cool is that?! Classic flavours are chocolate, hot fudge or peanut butter.
While Bareburger is a chain with locations not just in NYC, it’s stores are mostly focused in the big city. It’s not inexpensive.
If you are a vegan or lactose intolerant but still love to try a shake, you’ll be happy to hear about their two vegan milkshake options. The base is coconut milk ice cream and hemp milk. See the rest of their shakes here.
Bonus: Ample Hills Creamery
For a NYC based chain with plenty of outlets all over Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens (and one in Florida), you gotta sample a treat at Ample Hills.
I visited the branch in Dekalb Market Hall. They create their own flavours and come up with cool new inventions, some seasonal. The milkshakes are made fresh from the ice cream flavour of your choosing and it’ll fill you up.
There’s even a factory and museum in Brooklyn that you can visit! If you want to get your creamy dessert even when you’re outside of the city, you can get a pack of ice cream shipped to you.
A franchise with international reach, Cheeburger Cheeburger’s New York location might be a bit on the outskirts, namely at JFK airport (and at Newark too). But if you are flying out or arriving, why not check it out for its crazy shakes?
Create your own mega shake by picking a regular or special blend shake or go straight to signature flavours, such as oreo green mint, mud pie or chocolate banana peanut butter.
The signature shakes are also unique to the local franchise and you can’t get them across the various domestic stores.
10 Best Milkshakes in Manhattan NYC
One of the best over the top milkshakes in NYC can be found at Serendipity 3. It’s a small, dimly lit and very whimsically decorated restaurant on the Manhattan Eastside. It’s popular though, so you might end up waiting in line if you come during peak hours.
The frrrozen chocolate shakes and sundaes are maaaaaaaassive and you might need help finishing. Their price is steep accordingly too, so be prepared to shell out $15.
Another hugely popular pace for NYC milkshakes is Black Tap. If you’re meeting someone here, make sure to be very specific about the location. I met up with friends twice and both times they ended up in another location as there are multiple Black Tap venues all over Manhattan.
Don’t make the mistake that I did and order food and one of the Black Tap milkshakes. It’s impossible to finish. And you’ll get a major sugar rush halfway through your shake, so come hungry and don’t go anywhere important after. You might be a bit hyper.
You can get classic shakes as well as NYC freak shakes (called crazyshakes) at either venue. Their latest addition is the Friends shake (dedicated to the iconic TV series), which comes in a massive cup as opposed to the slender glasses.
However, it doesn’t make it any less messier to eat. (In other words: Don’t wear nice clothes that can’t handle chocolate stains.) See their menu here.
Milk & Cream Cereal Bar
North Americans are really all about that all day breakfast, aren’t they? Well, you can get actual cereal bowls at Milk & Cream Cereal Bar in Chinatown. Pick your preferred two cereal types, such as fruit loops, rice krispies, reese’s puffs or frosted flakes.
Their unique ice creams are basically made up of crushed cereals or cookie dough with vanilla ice cream. If you go for a milkshake, then your cereal or is additionally blended with toppings, ice cream and milk for that creamy texture. (There’s dairy free milk available as well.)
I got to try them out (sponsored) and can totally recommend them. Should you not be able to get enough, you can get an entire ice cream pint to takeaway with you. I can’t promise it will make it home in one piece. *winkwink* See their menu here.
There are a lot of different flavours of ice cream in NYC but would you like to create your own? You can do that at Cold Mess on the Eastside. (I stopped by here on my way to Governors Island as the F line is close by.)
It’s a fun thing to do with friends. Sit at one of the tables and mash together your chosen flavours and toppings in the mixers and then dig in!
They have four different kinds of mixed milkshakes and they have a nice consistency so you can actually drink it but thick enough too. Unless you order the #instashake, they look rather bland (no extra decoration), but I care about taste the most.
They also serve food, such as burgers, sandwiches, salads and quesadillas. See the menu here.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
Did you know that Dylan’s Candy Bar was briefly featured in a NYC Gossip Girl scene as well? They offer a colourful range of hard candy, sweets, dessert pizza (e.g. with marshmallow toppings) and ice cream based goodies.
Their shakes range from regular milkshakes to seasonal specials. Shakes typically cost around $8, which isn’t expensive for New York City shakes. Try the Raspberrylicious for its creamy white chocolate shavings paired with raspberries and dark chocolate.
There are multiple locations in NYC now, so you don’t have to travel far to give them a try.
Big Gay Ice Cream
Unavoidable on Instagram and for a good reasons. The small ice cream shop in Manhattan packs a punch and its décor seems to be inspired by rainbow coloured sprinkles. It’s loud and proud and the creations served here are just delectable.
You can get soft serves decked in chocolate and sprinkles, ice cream sandwiches, sundaes and of course milkshakes at Big Gay Ice Cream! See the entire list (with photos) here.
Tick Tock Diner NY
A typical retro American diner experience and popular for its breakfasts (pancake and bottomless coffee alert), but you also get the typical offerings of burgers and fries. The price range isn’t budget but also not expensive.
They serve four kinds of classic NYC shakes, which are more of a frosty consistency and are perfect for chocoholics. View the menu here.
The diner is super close to Hudson Yards and Madison Square, so it’s a great place to stop for a bite and milkshake in Manhattan before doing your sightseeing.
Also, it advertises itself as the largest diner in NYC. So if you love all things superlative, you know where to go.
Also super instagrammable and handed in a hip glass jar for better preservation (while you take your photo) are the shakes from New Territories in Nola, Manhattan.
They offer three unique types with cute names like Unicorn Paradise (vanilla), Mr Grumpy (peanuts) and a seasonal milkshake (e.g. pumpkin spice). And as you may guess from the name, they are over the top NYC milkshakes.
All ice cream is made fresh every day and if you are oogling a particular flavour, you can get that as a milkshake as well. On top of that, you can even buy a mason jar to keep at home. See more merch and the menu here.
Hanging around Times Square? Enter the Hershey’s store. You might snatch a free sample. But what I went in for was to try the Hershey’s peanut butter milkshake. I’m all about peanut butter and their shake went for quite a lot of money, so I figured it better be good.
So I went to Do as I wanted to try the popular cookie dough in a cone. I am not a fan of eating raw dough but they make extra sure that the dough is all good to eat. It’s soooo damn sweet and quite a lot to eat though that I still wasn’t a fan.
But in my research I found out that they now included a cookie dough shake. Since it’s mixed with ice cream, it might be actually really nice. If you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section.
It’s not really a milkshake but it deserves an honorary mention. (Mostly just because I’m obsessed. Hehe.) When I was in Thailand I fell in love with Thai tea, which is iced black tea mixed with milk cream.
The tea franchise CocoFresh has a few locations in Manhattan and the basic milk tea is just so good. Plus, it’s listed as non dairy!
5 Best Milkshakes in Queens NYC
They might only have one type of milkshake, but from what I’ve heard, it’s very delicious. Shakes are made from hand dipped, premium ice cream and come with whipped cream (unless you order online).
You can, of course choose your preferred flavour and you can’t really go wrong with peanut butter. The burgers receive raving reviews as well. Check the menu online. They pride themselves on keeping things real and not bowing to modern hypes and trends.
Eddie’s Sweet Shop
Did you know that Eddie’s Sweet Shop is NYC’s oldest ice cream parlour? There’s a reason it has been operating since 1925 and become quite the NYC institution.
What you get here are classic shakes that both feed your soul and nostalgia. Even if you’ve been wandering the city all day long, you can get your fix of sweetness late into the night as the store closes 11:30pm. Try the shakes and egg creams.
For hearty burger style food on a budget and with a whole lot of tastiness, Petey’s Burger is a local secret. Even their shakes are affordable, listed at $5. They are dedicated to making no nonsense, fresh food.
Mom’s Kitchen & Bar
Brunch is a big deal in New York City and according to Yelp, Mom’s Kitchen & Bar easily ranks among the top 12 brunching spots. You can get your brunch all day, every day. Shakes in this joint are not for lightweight; they are big.
Each comes with a whole lot of tasty ingredients and a funny name to match. Take for instance Nutella, Ella, Ellay Ay, which – as the name suggests – is made from actual nutella spread mixed cocoa pebbles and vanilla ice cream. Menu can be seen here.
Another all day brunch spot in Astoria is Burger Club. Their shakes come in traditional flavours, such as banana, strawberry, chocolate or black and white and cost either $6.50 or $6.75. Other than that, the burger joint isn’t budget priced, but provides excellent offerings.
5 Best Milkshakes in Brooklyn NYC
Are you into fine chocolates? Chocolatier Jacques Torres (you might have seen him on Netflix!) has his own store near DUMBo in Brooklyn. Besides chocolate cakes cookies and bars, you can also get delicious milkshakes.
Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain
For that traditional, vintage American diner feel head to Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain. It feels like travelling back in time, from the looks of the small café to the style of the beverages. In the best of ways!
You can get classic ice cream scoops, sundaes and sodas. When it comes to milkshakes,choose between the classic thick milkshakes and specialty shakes with added ingredients, such as peanut butter, hot fudge or sprinkles.
For more of a sports bar feel, hit up Buffalo’s Famous in Brooklyn. It’s small with only ten tables but multiple TVs for watching sports events late into the night. It offers quite a range of milkshake flavours and the shakes are rather large, too.
Get one and pair it with a fresh set of juicy chicken wings. After so much sweetness you will want to balance out your tastebuds. (And because they are super popular.)
OddFellows Ice Cream & Co
The ice cream parlour OddFellows has locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens but I’m mentioning it here as it all started in Brooklyn.
Coffee lovers should definitely go for the Cold Brew Milkshake, made form coffee and freshly made ice cream. It’s like an extra special energy drink. You can even have them cater parties for you and whip up shakes with alcohol in it.
You can see the different flavours they produce each day on the website but be quick if you are set on one. They might sell out throughout the day.
Davey’s Ice Cream
The offerings at Davey’s Ice Cream are so popular that they run a string of stores in NYC. Their specialties do not only include made to order ice cream cakes (which you can order online), ice cream sandwiches and soda floats, but also a pie milkshake.
The latter is a yummy concoction mixing french vanilla ice cream, seasonal/peanut butter pie and chocolate sauce. Watch out for seasonal menu items or have a strong coffee shake for that extra bit of energy.
Now spread the milkshake love and share this article with a fellow shake connoisseur.
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