Vegan Milkshake with Shell Topping

By Alexandra Caspero on August 27, 2014

Secretly healthy milkshake swap! This creamy, dairy-free version tastes just like a regular milkshake- without any added sugars! Topped with a healthy “magic shell” topping.

Back to school.  This time of year always reminds me of milkshakes. And funnel cakes.

As kids, my mom always made the first day of school an epic adventure. We hunted for weeks before the big day to secure new outfits, combed through recipe books to select a special breakfast that morning, and raced home after that first day of school to a freshly prepared sugar-filled feast.

I have always loved the idea that while going back to school meant the end of another summer vacation, starting it this way made it seem like going back to school was just as enjoyable.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never left?
The BEST vegan milkshake! Can't believe it's healthy and only 250 calories! Topped with

It’s slightly ironic that I’ve never not lived by a school schedule. After college there was grad school, then my RD internship which parlayed right into my current position as a University Dietitian and nutrition instructor. So, even though I’m now grading the exams instead of taking them- my summer calendar still ends in August and Labor Day marks the beginning of yet another semester. Which, ever since kindergarten was reason enough to celebrate.

It’s probably why I had milkshakes on the brain when I stumbled across this post a few weeks back on Cupcakes & Cashmere. While Emily was showing us how to use homemade macadamia nut milk to make the best iced latte in America, I couldn’t get the idea of milkshakes out of my head.
(OK, maybe it has something to do with my multiple times per week obsession with this snickers shake).

Homemade Macadamia Nut Milk! The creamiest non-dairy milk and the perfect base for delicious vanilla vegan milkshakes!

To start this healthy milkshake makeover, we are going to make our own nut milk! Why make your own? Well, for starters it’s the best way to achieve that creamy, nut-fat that we want to be our base for the recipe.

We’ll use a combo of almonds, creamy macadamia nuts and a few dates to sweeten things up. Since we aren’t adding any additional sweeteners, the dates will serve as both a thickener and a sweet, caramel-like flavor. Dates are magic.

Place 3/4 cup of almonds, 4 dates and 1/4 cup macadamia nuts into a blender with 4 cups of water. Blend until very smooth. Then drain through a nut-milk bag. If you don’t have one, you can find them pretty cheap online ($6.50). I also use mine to make juice-without-a-juicer.  Homemade Macadamia Nut Milk! The creamiest non-dairy milk and the perfect base for delicious vanilla vegan milkshakes!

Now you’re ready to make the shake! After you’ve strained your homemade milk, add it back to the blender with frozen bananas. Bananas are the best soft-serve swap, and they don’t disappoint here. They make this shake creamy and thick- without a drop of ice cream.

Since back-to-school time equates to party/celebration time, we’re going to add a drizzle of magic shell to top things off.

Remember Magic-Shell ice cream topping? I don’t even know if they make it anymore, but I used to go to town on that stuff. Like 1 scoop ice cream to 1/2 cup magic shell. It was just so… magical. And full of additives and oil. Well, not my version.

A little melted chocolate and coconut oil do the trick. Swirl to your hearts content. Grab a thick straw (I love these glass ones) and enjoy!

The BEST vegan milkshake! Can't believe it's healthy and only 250 calories! Topped with

The BEST vegan milkshake! Can't believe it's healthy and only 250 calories! Topped with

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

The BEST vegan milkshake! Can't believe it's healthy and only 250 calories! Topped with "magic shell" chocolate topping. #vegan #glutenfree #paleo

Creamy Vegan Milkshake with Magic Shell Topping

  • Author: Alex
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dessert


You’ll never believe it’s dairy-free! Thick and creamy milkshakes with homemade magic shell topping. No added sweeteners! This is the best healthy milkshake swap!

  • Author: Alex
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Author: Alex
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dessert


  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 bananas, frozen and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. In a high-speed blender (Like a [url:1]Vita-Mix[/url] or [url:2]Blenc-Tec[/url]), add the blanched almonds, macadamia nuts, dates and 4 cups water. Blend until really smooth.
  2. Drain through a nut milk bag, reserving the solids for another use.
  3. Add the milk back to the blender with the vanilla extract, 4 bananas and 1 1/2 cups ice. Blend until thick and creamy.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the milkshakes into glasses and swirl with magic shell chocolate coating.


For individual milkshakes: The ratio for each milkshake is 1 cup milk to 1 frozen banana. If you have additional milk leftover, it will keep in the fridge for a few days. Separation is natural, just shake to combine before serving. Try leftover milk in these Iced Lattes. The magic shell will keep in the fridge! Top on everything and anything! You will need to re-melt it each time you want to use it.

did you make this?

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. angela
      October 7, 2014 AT 7:57 pm

      Yes but..putting the magic shell on top automatically makes it so that this is no longer vegan. You said it was melted chocolate.

      Chocolate isn’t vegan. It has milk and other animal products in it.

      1. DK
        October 7, 2014 AT 8:08 pm

        Hi Angela, while some chocolate has milk products in it, some chocolate is vegan. For this recipe I used dairy-free chocolate chips which you can find at Whole Foods.

    2. Kirtley Freckleton@ The Gist of Fit
      August 28, 2014 AT 6:14 am

      Wow that’s an amazing idea!
      Tough part is having those nuts around!! Gorgeous pics!!!

      1. DK
        August 28, 2014 AT 4:57 pm

        Tough part is having this milkshake around! I’ve been making it almost every day! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

    3. jill conyers
      August 28, 2014 AT 1:37 am

      Awesome photos and yummy recipe FTW!

      1. DK
        August 28, 2014 AT 4:58 pm

        Thanks Jill!

    4. Thalia @ butter and brioche
      August 27, 2014 AT 11:24 pm

      I totally am loving the look and sound of this “healthy” milkshake… definitely need to try out the recipe! Pinned!

    5. Katie @ Produce on Parade
      August 27, 2014 AT 5:03 pm

      Using macadamia nuts is genius! I can never find the raw, non-salted kind though. Darn it all! Love the magic shell topping too, it’s so pretty drizzled on top!

      1. DK
        August 28, 2014 AT 4:59 pm

        Is there not a Trader Joe’s in Alaska? I buy ALL my nuts at TJ’s- they have the best prices and I can find most of them raw! I wonder if soaking them and rinsing would help remove some of the salt? Or you could call this a salted vanilla carmel shake and be done with it 😉

    6. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner
      August 27, 2014 AT 2:37 pm

      I’ve never seen anything like this! I’m going to have to try it.

    7. Annie
      August 27, 2014 AT 1:12 pm

      Ditto the above! I am SO incredibly thirsty right now :-P!

    8. Jessica @ Nutritioulicious
      August 27, 2014 AT 11:31 am

      That looks amazing and the last pic of it above looks like it could be a magazine cover!

      1. DK
        September 12, 2014 AT 6:18 am

        Thanks Jessica! That means a lot! 🙂

    9. Dietitian Jess
      August 27, 2014 AT 7:58 am

      I didn’t realize you worked for a university, how cool! I would love to hear more about the classes you teach sometime 🙂 This will definitely rival your snickers shake!

      1. DK
        September 12, 2014 AT 6:17 am

        Thanks Jess! Teaching for a University is so much fun 🙂 It’s a job I never thought I would have, but now can’t imagine not teaching!

        I’ve got a few milkshakes coming for fall…clearly I am on a kick!

    10. Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon
      August 27, 2014 AT 7:00 am

      Yes please, sign me up! This looks incredible! Pinned!

      1. DK
        August 27, 2014 AT 7:25 am

        Thanks Marisa!