The 3-ingredient copycat Frosty you can make at home

Wendy's Frosty is nothing short of iconic. According to Wendy's original Frosty guy, Fred Kappus, the drink was born in the 1960s, when it was inspired by a frozen treat at a racetrack in Cleveland, Ohio. The sign at the track read "SECRET FORMULA, FROSTED MALTED," but the secret was pretty easy to figure out: They mixed together vanilla and chocolate to create a smooth, malty flavor. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to the chain's burgers and french fries, and the rest is history.

According to Reader's Digest, the chain was selling 300 million Frostys per year by the mid-2000s, and they haven't stopped there. Frosty promotions continue to soar, from Wendy's 50-cent Frostys for their 50th anniversary in 2019 to the announcement of their new flavor, the Birthday Cake Frosty. But for us, it's all about that classic chocolate Frosty, but getting it from the drive-through isn't always an option. So we wanted to figure out how to make it at home and mixed together a very short ingredients list to create a 3-ingredient copycat Frosty you can make at home. Is it as tasty as the original? Does it have that same semi-melted consistency we've come to know and love? Read on to find out.

Gather the ingredients for this 3-ingredient copycat Frosty

Before we got started, we took a peek at the ingredients list on Wendy's website for their classic chocolate Frosty. We knew that they — for sure — use more than three ingredients, but we wanted to try to be as authentic as possible with our shortened list. There were several familiar ingredients like milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, cocoa, and natural vanilla flavor. We skipped over all the stabilizers and emulsifiers, like guar gum, sodium citrate, and vitamin A palmitate, knowing that we could find some of them in store-bought products.

In the end, we chose the three ingredients that would maximize the flavor bang for our buck: chocolate milk, Cool Whip, and sweetened condensed milk. The chocolate milk would knock out the milk and cocoa components while the Cool Whip contained additional milk, corn syrup, and guar gum — an ingredient that keeps ice crystals from forming in milk, making ice cream extra creamy. The sweetened condensed milk would bring it all together with a punch of sugary flavor.

You'll find a full list of the ingredients, including the step-by-step blending directions, at the end of this article.

Do you need an ice cream machine to make a 3-ingredient copycat Frosty?

Wendy's uses ice cream machines to make Frostys in their restaurants, but that doesn't mean you have to. According to The SQUARE Deal, the original Frosty was made in a standard, four-quart soft-serve ice cream machine, but the company quickly sized up to larger machines to handle the volume. Luckily, we're only making enough Frosty to serve one person at a time, so you don't need any fancy equipment. Instead, we'll freeze the ingredients and blend them together using a high-powered blender.

If you do want to scale this recipe up to make enough for a crowd, we do recommend using an ice cream machine instead of a blender. Pouring the ingredients into the ice cream maker is not only easier to pull off, but making several batches in a row might overheat the motor on your blender. Just keep in mind that the bowl of the ice cream machine probably needs to be frozen before getting started, so check with the manufacturer and follow all the directions before proceeding.

Is Cool Whip a required ingredient to make 3-ingredient copycat Frosty?

Cool Whip is one of the staple ingredients of our 3-ingredient copycat Frosty recipe for a few reasons. For starters, it's sweet like ice cream but contains a lighter, softer texture and consistency. That's important for replicating Wendy's Frosty because the texture is closer to soft-serve than ice cream. We also mentioned earlier that Cool Whip contains guar gum, a food additive made from legumes. It's high in fiber, so it may contain some health benefits, but it's mostly used here to thicken up the whipped topping and keep the milk from forming ice crystals.

If you're not into all the additives in the container of Cool Whip, you could certainly make your own whipped cream. Keep in mind that cream doubles in volume as it's whipped, so you would only need to whip 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. You'll also want to add about a tablespoon of powdered sugar to the mix to give it the right sweetness. When you're finished whipping, store the whipped cream in the freezer for at least an hour before making the recipe below.

What can you do with the rest of the sweetened condensed milk?

Our 3-ingredient copycat Frosty recipe makes a single serving, so you only need one tablespoon sweetened condensed milk. That leaves a lot of product left in the can. The good news is the leftovers will last a while — three weeks in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer. Leaf recommends transferring the sweetened condensed milk to an airtight container, as the product becomes less fresh as it's exposed to air.

From there, you can use the remaining can for your favorite recipes. We've created several 3-ingredient recipes that use a can of sweetened condensed milk, including 3-ingredient banana bread and 3-ingredient fudge. Removing a single tablespoon (or roughly a 20th of the can) shouldn't impact the recipe too much, so bake away. In addition to baked goods, have some fun with no-bake recipes like key lime pie or no-churn ice cream. You can also add sweetened condensed milk to iced coffee or tea drinks, or create a refreshing Brazilian lemonade drink by blending it with limes, water, and ice.

Start by making chocolate milk ice cubes for a perfect 3-ingredient copycat Frosty

Okay, now that we've reviewed all the ingredients, it's time to get started making our 3-ingredient copycat Frosty. The only way to make this recipe without an ice cream maker is to freeze the chocolate milk in ice cube trays. That means you'll have to plan ahead. It takes at least four hours for the milk to freeze, and it may take longer, depending on the temperature of your freezer. We recommend preparing the ice cubes a day in advance to be sure they have enough time to freeze fully.

It should take about 1-1/4 cups of chocolate milk to fill a 16-cube ice cube tray. If you don't have an ice cube tray handy, you could also freeze the milk in a freezer-safe bag. When the milk is completely frozen, smash the ice until the pieces are small enough to fit into the blender. In a pinch, you could also use a (thoroughly cleaned) plastic egg carton or a regular egg carton lined with aluminum foil to make ice cubes.

Blend the ingredients until the 3-ingredient copycat Frosty is smooth

When the chocolate milk cubes are completely frozen, place them in a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix) along with the Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk. Turn the blender on and puree the mixture until it's smooth and creamy. You will definitely need to scrape down the sides from time to time, as it takes a while for the blender to break down all those ice cubes. If your blender comes with a tamper, use it; it will make life so much easier!

When the 3-ingredient copycat Frosty is finished blending, it will be thick like ice cream but soft like a milkshake. Spoon the Frosty into a cup and enjoy it with a spoon or a straw. (Or, dip some fries into it; we won't judge.) This recipe makes about 16 ounces of Frosty, and you can store any extras in the freezer. Keep in mind they will freeze solid, so give yourself enough time to let the Frosty sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before enjoying the leftovers.

How close did our 3-ingredient copycat Frosty get to the original?

Everyone loved this 3-ingredient copycat Frosty. One of the taste testers commented that it was richer and more chocolatey than Wendy's original, so we made a second batch and added a splash of vanilla extract. The extra ingredient went a long way to make the Frosty taste almost exactly like the original, but we didn't mind the richer flavor without it, either. As far as texture goes, this recipe was spot on. It had the same soft-but-firm consistency we've come to love with these milkshakes, and we could eat it with either a spoon or a straw.

Although the chocolate Frostys are our favorite, we did try a second version with regular milk instead of chocolate milk. Not surprisingly, it tasted similar to the vanilla Frosty, but we did have to make a few modifications to get it the rest of the way. You'll definitely want to add the vanilla extract to this mixture, and we added extra sweetened condensed milk to amp up the sweet vibes.

In the end, it's totally possible to make Wendy's copycat Frosty recipes with only three ingredients, so stock up the freezer and say goodbye to the drive-thru. Although you'll still have to hit it up from time to time if you want to pick up some dipping fries!

3-ingredient copycat Frosty directions

Prep time: 5 minutes (plus 4 hours to freeze the chocolate milk)

Cook time: 0 minutes

Serves: 1 (16-ounce) serving

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cup chocolate milk, frozen in an ice cube tray
  • 1 cup Cool Whip
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk

(Optional ingredients)

  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Divide the chocolate milk between 16 ice cube trays. Freeze for at least four hours or until the milk is completely frozen.
  2. Place the chocolate milk ice cubes into a blender with the Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk.
  3. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Use the tamper, if you have one, to make it easier to force the chocolate ice cubes into the blender's blade.
  4. Spoon the copycat Frosty into a cup and enjoy with a spoon or straw.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in the freezer. The Frosty will become frozen solid, so let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before enjoying.