Date Shake History and Recipe

Date ShakeDate Milkshake is a tasty culinary creation, which is commonly made in the date-growing region, near Palm Springs, southern California.  These shakes may sound strange, but date shakes are fabulous!


In February, Indio California, hosts the annual National Date Festival with its Arabian theme.  Of course the specialty of the festival is the date shake.

Decades ago, you could find a lot of places to purchase date shakes in California.  Sadly, this is not true today!  But don’t worry – just make your own with the recipe below. The date shakes are filling, delicious, and full of calories!  This is a shake you eat more than you drink as the shake is very thick.  According to California legend, the date shake was invented in the 1930s by a California date farmer.

The first date palm trees in the United States were grown from seeds planted by Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries around 1769 in the San Diego, California.  Most of the missions were established along the Pacific coast, where the damp coastal climate is not suitable for producing dates.  Because of the coastal climate, only a few of these original date palms are still in existence (as landmarks only).

In 1890, the U.S. Department of Agriculture arranged for 68 offshoots (the suckers that grow out around the base of the tree.  Suckers produce fruit identical to that of the parent tree) to be imported from Egypt and Algeria.  According to historical records, the Arab growers were very uncooperative and feared competition.  Supposedly the shoots had to be smuggled out at night.


Date Shake Recipe - How To Make Date Shakes:
Prep Time
10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Date Shake Recipe, How To Make Date Shakes
Servings: 1 serving
  • 1/2 cup (approximately 4 to 5) California dates,  pitted and coarsely chopped*
  • 1/2 cup milk, cold
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (good-quality)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  1. In a blender, process the dates and 1/4 cup milk at high speed until smooth.  Add remaining 1/4 cup milk, vanilla ice cream, and nutmeg; blending at low speed until well mixed.  The goal is to achieve a paste-like texture with minimal chunks.

  2. Pour into a tall, chilled glass, top with whipped cream, and serve immediately.

  3. Makes 1 serving. 

  4. Variation Ideas:

  5. Chocolate Date Shake:  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons chocolate syrup.

  6. Chocolate Chip Shake:  Substitute chocolate chip ice cream for the vanilla ice cream.

  7. Orange Date Shake:  Substitute 1/2 cup orange juice for 1/2 cup milk.


Recipe Notes

* Preferably Medjool Dates. Other dates have thicker skins and don't blend as well.


Source:  Photo from Orange Coast Magazine.


Dates    Far West    Food History    Ice Cream, Sorbets & Granitas    Milkshakes   

Comments and Reviews

2 Responses to “Date Shake History and Recipe”

  1. Siffy

    Absolutely brilliant family loved it..i also tried with half a banana in it n it tastes really nice.Adding a bit more ice cream works as icing on the cake!
    Thank you!

    • Nancy

      It’s amazing how good the date shake is! Adding the banana is a great idea, I bet it makes it smoother.


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