page updated on October 02, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions About Smoothies

What are the most popular smoothies?

The top smoothie flavors fall into three categories:

Fruit smoothies, such as strawberry banana, focus their flavors on the power of fruits. Generally the more bold and direct the flavor, the better—strawberries, blueberries, et cetera.

Green smoothies use vegetables such as kale or spinach to pack a huge vitamin punch. These can include fruits or dairy, but the focus is on green leafy veggies.

Frozen smoothies use ice or frozen fruit to add texture and a refreshing temperature. It's easier to make these smoothies without a dairy ingredient (milk or yogurt) or a dairy alternative.

What are the most popular smoothie ingredients?

We made this infographic from analyzing the best-rated smoothie recipes from several smoothie sites; we hope you enjoy!

Can you make a smoothie without dairy?

Yes! You can use any dairy alternative, such as rice milk, almond milk, or coconut milk, as well as any related yogurt products. You don't even need yogurt or milk of any sort in many fruit smoothies. A substitute such as orange juice, grape juice, or even a little water will do the trick.

One advantage of using a milk product is that you get protein and liquid, but you can add protein powder to any liquid you like.

Do you need ice in a smoothie?

No! A cool smoothie tastes great on a hot day, but you can make a smoothie at room temperature with whatever ingredients you like.

If you just can't resist a cool strawberry banana smoothie, remember that you can use frozen fruit. Strawberries are easy to freeze and keep well. Frozen bananas make good smoothies if you prepare them properly—peel them first and cut into small slices before freezing.

We've had good luck with frozen fruit juices too.

Is plain or flavored yogurt better in a smoothie?

If you don't mind the taste of plain yogurt—if you're only using it to add a creamy texture and some protein—then it's a nice base for a smoothie. It won't detract any from the taste of the other ingredients, except for imparting a slight sour yogurt taste. If that taste is to your liking, such as in a savory smoothie, consider a spoonful of sour cream and slightly less (plain) yogurt.

We prefer the taste of vanilla yogurt and the texture of Greek yogurt. It's like adding a little bit of vanilla extract to a cake or cookie recipe: there's a hint of something more interesting going on beneath all of the other flavors. With that said, we've used honey-flavored Greek yogurt before and it goes very nicely with berries such as strawberries.

If you're getting the idea that all of these smoothie recipes and guidelines depend on what you like, then great! You have the freedom to experiment and discover the perfect smoothie recipe for you!

What kind of fruit goes well in a smoothie?

You can use almost any fruit you like in a smoothie. We've had good luck with the classics, though. For example, we like to use a base of a banana or an apple or an orange and then add something with stronger flavor, such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries. There's really no requirement that you mix fruits, however.

You could just as easily make a smoothie from banana or yogurt and any of those fruits. Be sure to think about why you're making the smoothie, however. Are you trying to recreate a delicious mixed drink, such as a pina colada (pineapple, coconut milk) or are you trying to emphasize one specific flavor (plain yogurt and lots of peaches)?

Do you need an expensive blender to make smoothies?

Any decent blender should make good smoothies. Be careful that you use a blender which can handle ice or frozen fruit, however. We're partial to the Vitamix blender family (the households behind this site own four Vitamix blenders), but anything you use which does the job will do the job.

Can You Make Smoothies with a Food Processor?

Yes, if you're cautious. If your food processor has powerful ice-crushing blades, you're probably in the clear. Otherwise, be very careful about how you layer your ingredients (see How to Make a Smoothie). If you're using solid fruits such as apples, cut them into quarters or smaller pieces so that they don't bind the blades. Start slow and increase speed gradually only as you see that your food processor is running effectively.