Date Shake

Here’s how to make a date shake: a milkshake made with dates! This classic Palm Springs drink is easy to whip up at home.

Date Shake

Ever tried a date shake? This Palm Springs signature drink is an unexpected combination that works: creamy vanilla ice cream and Medjool dates. On our recent trip to Palm Springs, it was all anyone could talk about! Take one sip and it’s a revelation: creamy, aromatic vanilla ice cream is the ideal pairing for the caramel flavor of this fruit. There’s nothing more refreshing than this luxurious blend in the heat of the desert sun. Here more about how the date shake came to be, and a recipe to recreate one in your own kitchen.

What’s a date shake?

A date shake is a milkshake made with dates that originated in the Coachella Valley in California. It’s known as the unofficial drink of Palm Springs, where you can find it at many restaurants and in roadside stands in the Coachella Valley. The dates are a local product grown on date palm trees, originally imported from the Middle East but now a fixture in the region.

Most sources credit California date farmer Russ Nicholl for inventing the date shake in 1928. He combined the dates from his farm with a vanilla milkshake, and it instantly become a hit with the locals. By the late 1930’s, the trend had spread across the West coast.

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Date Shake

Ingredients for a date shake

The date shake is a simple concept: but every restaurant and roadside stand in the Coachella Valley has their own spin on it. On our visit to Palm Springs, we tried as many as we could: from a super-sweet shake topped with whipped cream and cookies to a vegan date shake made with soy ice cream. Some restaurants use a pre-made date paste, and others blend the the fruit right into the shake.

For this spin on a date shake, we went with classic ingredients and an easy method to make it simple to blend up at home. Of course, you can garnish with whipped cream and loads of toppings if you’d like! For this date shake recipe, you’ll need:

  • Medjool dates
  • Milk
  • Vanilla ice cream (vegan, if desired)
  • Nutmeg or cinnamon

First, you’ll let the Medjool dates soak with half of the milk for 10 minutes, to soften them and infuse the flavor into the liquid. Then blend it up with the remaining milk, vanilla ice cream and nutmeg or cinnamon!

Medjool date recipes

More on Medjool dates (and a substitute)

Medjool dates are the best choice for a date shake, if you can find them. They’re very large, soft dates with an intense caramel sweet flavor. This type of date has become popular for use in energy bars, sweetening desserts, and stuffed. Medjool dates are grown in the Coachella Valley: they were originally imported in the 1900’s by the USDA who determined California’s climate was ideally suited for date palms.

If you can’t find Medjools, deglet noor dates can work too. Deglet noor dates are also grown in the Coachella Valley. But this type of date is much harder in texture and not as sweet. You can also use the smaller and less sweet deglet noor dates, but we prefer the caramel toffee stickiness of the Medjool date here.

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Want a healthy variation?

Though the name sounds healthy, a date shake isn’t quite health food! So we developed a healthier spin on this drink: the date smoothie! This drink blends banana and Greek yogurt into the mix, instead of vanilla ice cream. Go to Vanilla Date Smoothie.

Date Shake

Tell us what you think!

Head to the recipe below and let us know if love this date shake recipe as much as we do. We’d love to know if you’ve visited Palm Springs (or if you’re a native) and what fond memories you have of sipping date shakes. For us, it’s sitting by the pool at our Airbnb dangling our feet in the water and sipping down that creamy goodness.

More recipes with dates

Got a bunch of Medjool dates to use up? Here are a few ways to use them:

This date shake recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Description

Here’s how to make a date shake: a milkshake made with dates! This classic Palm Springs drink is easy to whip up at home.


  • ½ cup Medjool dates*, pitted
  • ½ cup milk, divided
  • 1 ½ cups vanilla ice cream (vegan, if desired)
  • ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon


Notes

*You can also use the smaller and less sweet deglet noor dates, but we prefer the caramel toffee stickiness of the Medjool date here.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian