Making Next-Level Smoothies At Home
You want to know how to make a smoothie—and not just any smoothie. One that rivals those perfectly creamy ones that your favorite health food store or juice bar charges upwards of $10 a pop for. Well, look no further, because we have everything you need to know about how to make the tastiest smoothie you’ve ever had, and how to adjust the ingredients based on your favorite flavors, textures, nutrition goals—oh, and foods you already have in your kitchen. With a little know, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make next-level smoothies in your own kitchen.
The Basic Smoothie Recipe
Smoothies are pretty straightforward to make. The key is getting the proportions for the base right and then choosing your favorite ingredients to add to it. Here’s the perfect base recipe for any smoothie:
- 1 to 2 cups greens (you can substitute fruit)
- ½ to 1 cup water or liquid
- ½ ice
- ½ to 1 whole banana
- Go with more banana if you like it sweeter and creamier, more greens if you want to boost the health factor, and more liquid if you want to easily sip it through a straw. In addition the base, you’ll want to add more of your favorite ingredients for flavor, texture, and nutritive benefits. This can include:
- Frozen or fresh fruit: ¼ to ½ cup of your favorite varieties
- Protein and/or healthy fat: 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 tablespoon of nut or seed butter, and/or ¼ avocado
- Crunch or texture: chia seeds or nuts (optional)
- Herbs and spices: 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, or whatever else you like to spice things up with (optional)
- Sweetener: Honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar (optional)
- Just remember that more ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean a better smoothie. Choose flavors that will work together—experiment if you don’t already have a preference—and when in doubt, go simple. For example, banana, strawberry, yogurt, almond milk and ice isn’t fussy but sure is tasty.Once you’ve chosen your smoothie ingredients, don’t just throw them all in the blender and go to it. There’s a bit of an art to what order you add those ingredients in. Getting it right will ensure that all your ice breaks up, your fruit gets pureed and distributed evenly, and you’ll end up with the smooth texture smoothies are known for.
Step 1: Frozen fruit
When we think “smoothie,” many of us think of bananas. That’s because bananas offer sweet (but not too sweet) flavor and when they’re blended, they provide that signature rich, creamy-smooth texture a smoothie is named for. So you can’t go wrong with bananas in your smoothie base.
Store peeled, ripe bananas in quarters in a sealed container in your freezer. That way, you can just pop in however many you need for whatever type of smoothie you’re making.
Don’t like bananas? Popular substitutes to achieve the same thick, creamy quality include cooked oats, avocado, yogurt, silken tofu, or just a half to a whole cup of your favorite frozen fruit. You might even find that you need little or no ice because you’re getting the coldness and iciness from your frozen fruit.
Step 2: Fresh fruit & veggies
Of course, you can skip the frozen produce and make a smoothie with that amazing fresh fruit you just picked up at the farmer’s market. You’ll just need to add plenty of ice if you like it chilly, and stick with soft, ripe fruits. Be sure your fruit is soft and free of large seeds before you add it to the blender. Peel your fruit, and chop it into smaller pieces if it’s large or a little on the firm side. For best results, avoid tougher skinned fruit, like pears and apples unless you’re using a powerful blender. Some of our favorite fresh ingredients include fresh spinach and ripe avocado. Spinach is detoxifying and vitamin packed, and actually has sweet taste with no bitterness—ideal for those that are hesitant about anything green in their smoothies.
And ¼ to ½ of an avocado can turn any smoothie into a decadent meal you can eat with a spoon. The healthy fats found in an avocado will help you stay full for hours.
Step 3: Protein and other powders, sweeteners & more extras
Any optional ingredients come next. This can include:
– Nut or seed butter. Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, soy butter, and sunflower seed butter are all delicious additions—and they add protein to help curb your appetite.
– Powders. A scoop of protein powder or a nutrition boosting powder can be a great addition to almost any smoothie, and beneficial if you’re looking to add more protein into your diet.
– Sweetener. To sweeten naturally, add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. But be sure to taste your smoothie before you add sugar, as you may not need it if you’ve used sweet, ripe fruit, such as frozen mango, banana, or blueberries.
– Texture or crunch. A sprinkle of cocoa nibs or chia seeds can give your smoothie a fun crunch, and added minerals and good healthy fats. Cashews add the perfect amount of creaminess and satisfying feel, without being overly nutty tasting.
– Seasonings and spices. Some people love to add a sprinkle of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, vanilla bean powder, or turmeric for an extra kick to their smoothie.
Step 4: Liquid ingredients
Next, pour in ¼ to 1 cup liquid—milk and yogurt are probably most popular. You also can’t go wrong with almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, unsweetened fruit juice, or even a bit of plain water. This will help your smoothie stay thin enough to sip.
Step 5: Blend
Then, blend all your ingredients so far. This will help ensure that the fruit is fully pureed and the flavors are mixed together before your blender does the hard work of crushing the ice.
Step 6: Ice
Add about a half-cup of ice—a tiny bit more or less depending on how cool and frosty you like your smoothies.
Step 7: Blend again
Blend everything together until smooth. Then pour it into a glass or cup, and your smoothie is ready to drink.
How to make a smoothie thicker
A common problem with smoothie making is to have it come out thin and runny—after all, you wanted a smoothie, not juice. This is an easy problem to solve. Simply throw in some of those ingredients well known for thickening smoothies—avocado, protein powder, chia or flax seeds—and re-blend.
How to make a smoothie with/without milk or yogurt
If you’re lactose intolerant—or avoiding dairy for other reasons—you can make a delicious smoothie without dairy milk or yogurt.
- Coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, coconut water, and even regular water can be used in just about any smoothie. There are even plant-based yogurts you can add in for richness.As you get more skilled at making smoothies, you’ll likely want to make ingredient changes or additions based on the items you have on hand, your dietary restrictions and/or your personal preferences. There’s no wrong answer here. This is the beauty of making your own smoothie; you can make it however you want.