Alcohol-Free Drinks

Timna's Popcorn Milkshake

April 13, 2016
3 Ratings
  • Makes 6 to 8 small portions (it will be enough)
Author Notes

Chef Nir Mesika at the restaurant Timna in New York shrugs off our usual standards for popcorn—the crunch we chase—and instead narrows in on its salty, buttery flavor. Airy, snappy popcorn, bedamned—Mesika is about to soak it to the point of no return.

Boil popped popcorn in half-and-half, sugar, and salt (haters of damp popcorn, look away), then let it chill out overnight; the starch from the popcorn will leach into the dairy, thickening and flavoring it. Some hours later, obliterated the kernels—now pillow-soft and fat with milk—in a food processor and strain the mixture. You're left with a pure popcorn flavor in the body of a cold, frothy drink.
Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 6 1/2 cups popped popcorn (from about 6 tablespoons unpopped kernels, popped with a small amount of neutral-flavored oil)
  • 1 quart half-and-half
  • 6 ounces sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 ounces salt, to taste (I prefer somewhere right in the middle)
  • Popped popcorn, ground cinnamon, and crumbled halvah, for garnishing
  1. Pour popped popcorn into a saucepan (you can use the same one you just used to pop it), then add half-and-half, 6 ounces of sugar, and salt.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, allow to cool completely, and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, pour the mixture into a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until well combined. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, pressing to extract all liquids from the kernels.
  5. Serve in very small glasses (or very small portions) and garnish with popped popcorn or, like they do at Timna, with ground cinnamon and crumbled halvah.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • EmilyC
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
  • Jessie

8 Reviews

FrugalCat August 1, 2020
Any suggestions for a liquor to add to this?
Jessie May 30, 2016
Finally tried this. I...wasn't a fan. I LOVE popcorn and popcorn flavored everything. This flavor is overpowering to the point of sickening. Don't bother with the salt. I tried cutting the finished product with almond milk, whipping cream, and finally water. I got it to a subtler place so now it's more of a flavored milk, which is better. Just be forewarned that this recipe's flavor is like a punch in the face (and not the good kind).
Sarah J. May 30, 2016
I'm so sorry you didn't like it Jessie! Definitely a strong flavor. I'm curious: Did you use microwavable popcorn (the kind that comes in bags) or did you pop it yourself?
Jessie May 31, 2016
Popped it myself with a neutral oil as instructed. :o)
Jenn May 13, 2016
Looks great, and I can't wait to try it, but I keep reading it over and over looking for the part where you add ice cream and blend or freeze it...How is this a milkshake?
akmarosi May 14, 2016
I'm wondering the same thing! As it is, the recipe sounds like flavored milk. Are we supposed to freeze the milk at some point? Add ice cubes? Ice cream?
Sarah J. May 14, 2016
Nope—this is the whole recipe! The drink gets very cold and thick because of the long chill in the refrigerator and the starch from the popcorn!
EmilyC April 15, 2016
This looks great and reminds me of hardlikearmour's popcorn ice cream (in sundae corn format!) that I tested for a CP a few years back: