A milkshake is always a good idea. And a caramelized pineapple milkshake made with fresh pineapple caramelized with brown sugar, vanilla ice cream and milk is an excellent idea that adds a tropical element to the best ice cream recipe.
Homemade milkshakes are such a treat in our house. Not as healthy as a smoothie, but who cares, sometimes we need a treat. They are made with just a few simple ingredients and with the perfect ratio of ice cream to liquid base, you can have a perfectly creamy milkshake no matter the flavor, every time.
And trying new flavors is always so fun. There has yet to be a flavor that one of my kids won't love. Pineapple caramelized with a little brown sugar adds a rich deep caramel flavor that blends perfectly with vanilla ice cream. It is sweet, refreshing, tropical and adaptable. Fresh pineapple season is roughly from March - July making this the perfect treat when the weather is starting to turn a bit warm and when we are in the heat of summer.
Why you'll love this recipe
Milkshake recipes are super simple and if you've got a blender and a saute pan, this caramelized pineapple milkshake can come together in no time. Here's why this milkshake recipe is the best:
- Caramelized pineapple have a concentrated pineapple flavor. Cooking fresh pineapple in a bit of brown sugar intensifies the flavor of the pineapple and softens it up making it easy to blend with the other ingredients
- With my perfect base recipe for milkshakes, you are guaranteed a perfect consistency, just thick enough to be ice creamy, but thin enough to get it through a straw.
- It is easily adaptable. ADding a few ingredients can totally mix this up!
- It is easy and has minimal ingredients. Milkshakes don't really require anything other ice cream, milk and whatever your flavor is (this time pineapple). And they come together without any fancy equipment, just a blender!
What is the perfect ratio of milk to ice cream?
This is something that took me years, and fortunately for me, a lot of milkshakes, to perfect.
To get the perfect ratio of ice cream to milk in a milkshake you will need:
- Three large scoops of ice cream. Each scoop is approximately ½ cup, so you can also measure 1 ½ cups of ice cream
- ½ cup liquid (this includes ANY liquid you add to a milkshake, milk, vanilla extract, caramel sauce, chocolate syrup)
Minimal things here.
- Pineapple. I use fresh but you can totally use canned, just drain the juice out first.
- Brown sugar. For the caramelizing.
- Ice cream. Just plain vanilla.
- Whipped cream and cherry. Optional for some, but not for us.
How to make caramelized pineapple
This is a super simple step that really puts this pineapple milkshake over the top.
Put the brown sugar in a saute pan over medium heat. Do not preheat the pan before adding the brown sugar, this can cause the sugar to burn quickly.
Cook the brown sugar until it starts to melt and become caramel. Make sure to swirl it around the pan and watch closely so it doesn't burn. This will take about three minutes.
Add the pineapple to the caramel and cook swirling around to coat the pineapple in the caramel. The pineapple will give off some liquids and concentrate in flavor.
Tip for caramelizing pineapple
When you add the pineapple to the melted brown sugar caramel, the caramel will seize (meaning it will clump up and harden). This is because of the temperature of the pineapple. Don't freak out, or think it is ruined. It is fine, keep cooking and swirlin the pineapple around the pan. The sugar will melt again and coat the pineapple perfectly. Keep the flame on medium low, even if it seems like it isn't melting again. It will if you keep low cooking and swirling. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
Once you've made your caramelized pineapple and let it cool fully, you're ready to make your milkshake.
Everything goes into the blender, in no particular order. Simply turn it on!
Blend until the pineapple if fully pureed and the milkshake is fully blended. I start on low and turn to high for about 45 seconds.
Ingredient swaps and variations
So long as you keep the ice cream to liquid ratio the same, there is a lot of possibilities for varying this recipe:
- Make it boozy. Yes that's right BOOZE. An adults only milkshake is a great dessert for a hot summer date night or any night. Throw in a little rum, cream de cocoa, white chocolate liqueur, whatever is your fave!
- Make it extra tropical (and dairy free) by using coconut milk. Better yet, add rum with coconut milk and make a decadent pina colada milkshake!
- Use canned pineapple chunks. Fresh pineapple not available? No problem. You can totally use canned pineapple, just drain the liquid first.
Tips for success
- Try to soften your ice cream before blending. Just leave on counter for about 5-10 minutes before scooping.
- Use a blender, even if you have a milkshake maker. A milkshake maker will not puree the pineapple enough.
So this is a big one and goes for this caramelized pineapple milkshake and every milkshake recipe you ever try. DO NOT USE HEAVY CREAM in place of milk. In my head, I thought using heavy cream will make it even creamier and richer, but that did not happen! It doesn't blend well at all and becomes chunky, so you basically have chunks of butter in your milkshake. And it is gross, let me tell you.
Other frozen drinks
Everyday is a good day for a milkshake or a frosty beverage, here's some others you'll love
- 1 ½ cups vanilla ice cream three large scoops
- ½ cup whole milk
- 1 ½ cups fresh pineapple cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
To caramelize the pineapple
- Sprinkle the brown sugar in a NON preheated sauté pan. Place pan over medium/low heat and allow the brown sugar to melt. Swirl the pan to keep it moving and to help prevent burning (DO NOT STIR IT). Once the sugar is melted, add the pineapple chunks. The brown sugar caramel may seize and clump up, but that is ok, it will melt again. Continue cooking over medium/low heat until the caramel has melted again and coats the pineapple. The pineapple should cook down a bit, getting softer and release some of its liquid to intensify in flavor. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
To make the milkshake
- Put the ice cream, milk and cooled caramelized pineapple in a blender. Begin blending on low, and increase speed, until everything is completely blended.
- Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and a cherry if you wish.
If a thicker milkshake is preferred lesson the amount of milk by two tablespoons. For a thinner shake, increase the milk by two tablespoons.