Slurp on this 5 ingredient Cardamom Date Shake - a vanilla milkshake with caramel-flavored date fruit and a twist of aromatic cardamom. This shake can be a naturally sweetened morning smoothie or add a few scoops of ice cream and you have a delicious milkshake on your hands! It's packed with plenty of fiber and protein to keep you feeling full and it'll cool you down during the summer. The perfect sweet treat!
Hot, hot weather? Nothing is better than a Date Shake! This dreamy creamy vanilla milkshake is the signature drink of desertous Palm Springs for a reason and it's super easy to make with fresh medjool dates.
The deep, caramelized flavor from the dates and cool, creamy vanilla ice cream makes this concoction perfect for enjoying the summer. Add a bit of freshly ground cardamom and you have a situation on your hands.
I seriously love this milkshake in the summers!
Why this Recipe Works
This milkshake is already beyond perfect for brunch, lunch with burgers, or a winter treat in front of the fireplace but here's a few more reasons I love it!
- It takes only 5 ingredients to make this milkshake! The ice cream is optional for no sugar or dairy added, too, and then it can be a delicious breakfast smoothie or afternoon snack. It would also be an ideal treat as the weather starts to cool off in the fall and dates are in season.
- Add the ice cream and you have a perfect drink for summer barbecues with grilled burgers.
- This shake is sweet from the ice cream and the caramel flavor that the dates lend. It's also super filling - with tons of protein and fiber to keep you full.
- Easily made vegan with almond or coconut milk and a vegan vanilla ice cream!
What is a Date Shake?
Palm Springs, California, home to Coachella Valley is a sunny haven for many on vacation. But it's also known as the "Date Capital of the United States", and produces 95% of the dates in the country.
The fruit was first cultivated in Palm Springs orchards in 1924. While there's quite a bit of debate regarding who exactly created the date shake, most credit is attributed to Russ Nicholl or Floyd Shields. One day, chopped dates were added to a vanilla milkshake and here we are! (Source)
What we do know for sure is that the date industry was booming in the late 1920s and early 30s. So much so that date shacks popped up everywhere in the 1930s! Today, the Date Shake is the unofficial drink of Coachella Valley. You truly can't leave the desert without trying a cooling milkshake.
Ingredients - Notes and Substitutions
- Dates - Use any pitted dates you'd like! I used Medjool dates, since that's what's easily available in the US. You can also use 2-4 tablespoons of date syrup instead, depending on preference. Dates are a great source of antioxidants and fiber. They sweeten the shake without any need for refined sugar.
- Milk - Use whole milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. I personally really like the way coconut milk tastes with the dates and cardamom.
- Ice Cream - Ice cream is entirely optional and you can omit it entirely if you'd like a smoothie. For the milkshake, use a plain vanilla bean ice cream or a vegan vanilla ice cream. You can also add frozen bananas and plain yogurt instead of ice cream.
- Vanilla Extract - Adds a bit of extra vanilla flavor.
- Cardamom - Use freshly ground green cardamom pods, you only want the black seeds inside the pods.
You can also add nut butter like almond or peanut butter, frozen bananas, chia seeds, or coconut flakes to this shake to make it even more filling. I wouldn't be opposed to a little sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon either!
How to make a Date Shake
Start with your prep for this milkshake. Pit the dates to remove the seeds as necessary.
Then, smash the green cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle. Discard the green outer pod and keep the black seeds. Use the pestle to freshly grind the black seeds into a powder.
Add the pitted dates, freshly ground cardamom, milk, ice cream, and vanilla extract into a high speed blender. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes, or until the shake is completely smooth, thick, and the dates are no longer chunky.
Give the milkshake a taste for sweetness and check the consistency. Add more dates or ice cream for added sweetness and thickness.
Pour the milkshake into tall glasses or milkshake glasses. Serve them immediately with a dollop of homemade whipped cream and half a pitted date. A sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg would be great here as well!
Maybe you want a lil' maraschino cherry on top, too!
Expert Tips and Tricks
Soften the dates in warm water. If you don't like the tiny chunks of dates in your smoothie, I'd recommend soaking them in warm water for at least 10 minutes before blending. It'll soften up the dates and make them easier to blend.
Add the ice cream scoop! You can make this shake without any ice cream and enjoy it for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon treat. However, add the scoop of ice cream and you have a delicious sweet treat on your hand. Perfect for pairing with burgers or even during Ramadan.
Use a high quality blender. A bullet blender won't work that well for this, because it won't break down the dates and you may be left with large chunks! Use a high speed blender like Vitamix.
Storage Instructions. If you don't use ice cream, you don't have to enjoy this right away! Cover the glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a day. Give it a stir prior to drinking.
More Shakes and Smoothies to try
Cardamom Date Shake
- 1.5 cups milk, see notes
- 4-5 medjool dates, pitted
- 5 green cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
- Put the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle. Crack open the pods with the pestle and remove the black seeds. Discard the green skin. Ground the black seeds into a powder.
- Add the milk, pitted dates, ground green cardamom, vanilla extract, and vanilla ice cream into a blender. Puree until smooth.
- Pour the milkshake into milkshake glasses. Serve with whipped cream and half a date.
- Use any dairy or plant-based milk. This tastes great with whole milk, almond milk, and coconut milk.
- The ice cream is optional if you'd like a no sugar added smoothie. You can omit the ice cream and have this shake for breakfast. The calories from the ice cream are included in the nutritional facts.
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