The Frosty is a classic chocolatey frozen treat that’s delightfully light in texture. But let me be honest for a moment: Before creating this recipe I had been deprived of this treat for years. On a warm afternoon, I hit up the Wendy’s drive-thru to treat ma-self. It all came rushing back, a cool burst of frosty deliciousness that immediately took me back to a time when calories didn’t matter much. I neglected to order fries for dipping, which, in retrospect, was a missed opportunity. But my palate was reacquainted with the familiar chocolate soft-serve that somehow is so distinct from frozen beverages at other chains. A frosty is airy, a bit icy, and creamy without being overly chocolatey.
Surprisingly, the at-home version is equally as satisfying and it’s simple to make with just three ingredients you might already have on hand.
The copycat Frosty comes together with ingredients you may already have on hand. The best part is that you have options for how to make this frosty your own.
The chocolate milk
Option 1: Use premixed chocolate milk of your choice from the grocery store. Even non-dairy options work great. I tested a version with chocolate almond milk, because I had it on hand, and the results were fantastic.
Option 2: Mix your own chocolate milk. Use a chocolate syrup or chocolate powder mix and a milk of your choosing.
If you want the traditional frosty taste, buy a traditional jug of chocolate milk, premixed.
This is the key ingredient to getting the light fluffy texture. Cool Whip works best.
You can also make your own whipped cream if you’re feeling extra culinary. For a non-dairy variety, many stores carry whipped topping made of almond or coconut milk.
Sweetened condensed milk
A bit of condensed milk amplifies the sweetness and provides an added layer of creamy decadence.
If you want a non-dairy choice, add a little powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla extract or non-dairy vanilla coffee creamer.
Making the Frosty
There are two ways to bring the frosty together.
Blender method: This is the method I used
Start by freezing your chocolate milk beverage in ice cube trays. Freeze overnight so the milk is completely solid. For faster freezing, fill up multiple ice cube trays, only halfway full.
When ready, combine the frozen cubes, sweetened condensed milk and a bit of chocolate milk (or plain milk) in the blender. Blend to get everything started. Add in the whipped topping and pulse until incorporated.
You’ll want to keep as much of that fluffiness in the frosty. The frozen chocolate milk cubes also keep well in a freezer-safe container or zipper bag. Make extra cubes to have on hand for quick frosty creation anytime.
Ice cream machine method
For this method, you don’t have to pre-freeze the chocolate milk. Combine your chocolate milk, whipped topping and condensed milk in a bowl. It helps to fold in the whipped topping to retain the fluff. Place the mixture in the ice cream maker, following the machine’s instructions. This method is great because it will get you closer to the texture of a Wendy’s frosty. Ice cream makers help to form smaller ice crystals for a creamier and smoother final product.
I didn’t want to just stop at the frosty at this point. I’m a little extra, and since the frosty is a treat, I challenged myself to play around with the presentation. Would it be possible to color a chocolate drink? Could I turn a brown beverage into a rainbow? Well, yes, I could and I did, and it sure did brighten my day.
Make it rainbow
To create the rainbow version, start by choosing your colors. Gel food coloring works best here. The richer pigments help to shine through the brown base colors of the frosty. Blue, purple, orange, red and pink show up more vibrantly, but you can choose an assortment of colors for any theme.
Once the frosty is made, separate evenly into bowls for each color. Add a few drops of food coloring into the bowls to start. Stir completely, adding more color, as needed, a few drops at a time. Once the frosty is the desired color, place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the colored frosty from the freezer and give each color a quick stir. Serve by layering into your cup. The best way to do this is to place each color into the cup, getting the spoon close to the surface. Also, make sure the frosty mixture is thick enough. If the consistency is too thin, the layers will bleed together. If the mixture is too thin, place it back in the freezer, checking and stirring every 15-20 minutes until it’s thick and creamy again. You can top with confetti sprinkles and a straw. A light stir of the straw will start to blend the layers together in a beautiful ombre.