page updated on August 30, 2015

How to Make a Smoothie

Avocado Orange Banana Smoothie Image

How to make a smoothie: the perfect healthy snack, full of vitamins and fiber. It's fruity, cool, and delicious!

A smoothie is a great way to get raw fruit and vegetables in your diet, and it's easy to take with you on the go. Whether you throw in low calorie protein powder, want a healthy morning shake, or are cutting calories and upping fiber, your blender can unlock delicious nutrition in moments! Kids love them and adults approve of this healthy treat. It takes no more than to prepare, and you're done!

Make the Perfect Smoothie

Start with a high quality blender. We proudly use Vitamix blenders, specifically the Vitamix Professional 750 and the Vitamix 5200, so our smoothies always come out great! Any decent blender will work if you're careful. You can even make smoothies in a food processor, in a pinch. (It'll handle ice better than a really cheap blender anyhow.)

Add liquid. This can be water, milk, yogurt, or fruit juice.

Add something frozen, whether ice, juice, or frozen fruits.

Add fresh or canned fruit or vegetables to taste.

Add any extras such as spices, peanut butter, protein powder, or powdered vitamins—whatever your heart desires.

Add the Liquids First

Most smoothies use at least one liquid ingredient. The rule of thumb in our recipes is 1/4 to 1/3 cup of liquid per each cup of solid ingredients. This can be water, juice, milk cream, or a non-dairy alternative, such as soy or nut milk. Almond milk is especially tasty. Add the liquid first. When the blades spin so rapidly, they'll force larger ingredients to the top of the mix as they don't fit in the small spaces. If you're not careful, you'll get an air bubble forming as larger chunks are pushed up and to the sides of the container. If instead you have liquid at the bottom, the currents of liquid will fit in the smaller spaces and help everything mix together, blending thanks to the blades.

Yogurt is a great ingredient—Greek yogurt especially, thanks to its texture—but sometimes a few cubes of ice or a couple of tablespoons of other liquid work well. We tend to prefer vanilla yogurt, but honey or unflavored are also popular.

Be Patient

Start blending at a low speed. Let your blender work up momentum to move the larger chunks of fruit to the blades to chop them finely. Gradually increase speed to high. This is especially true when using frozen fruits or nuts; the slower you go, the more blending power you have at the start.

If you start too fast or turn up the speed too quickly, you risk making that dreaded air bubble. That makes for a chunky smoothie you'll have to dig out with a spatula—not bad if you like something like a thick strawberry banana smoothie, but less ideal if you want to blend in other ingredients.

Clean Up Immediately

Immediately after pouring your drink, clean your container with warm water. The smooth blended goodness which makes a smoothie delicious also makes it sticky and hard to clean when it dries. Our Vitamix is super easy to clean (especially with the automatic cleaning cycle), but if you're diligent about rinsing with warm water immediately, you'll be fine. We've heard good things about Blendtec.

Drink Immediately—Or Let Rest

Letting a smoothie sit tends to make it less frothy, but some smoothies will separate. In particular, the Spinach Apple Banana Smoothie will turn into a green juice floating atop a chunky green mixture if it sits for more than a few minutes. It's far better blended together, and the same goes for all green smoothies, in our experience.

Other smoothies—especially those with a lot of air whipped up into them, generally because they have a really light or frothy ingredient—benefit from sitting for a few seconds.

If you're in a rush, prepare the ingredients beforehand—chopping fresh ingredients and measuring the others. Start only when you're ready to eat!

Good Smoothie Ingredients

What ingredients are best in a smoothie? Whatever you want! Our standard approach starts with a banana and an apple. You can start with whatever you have on hand, though. We've made delicious treats with peanut butter, with pineapple, with carrots, with spinach and kale, and more. (We've even added celery to the Spinach Pear Grape Smoothie). If you're going for complete nutrition, protein powder smoothies add a lot of power to your day without changing the flavor.

Making Frozen Fruit Smoothies

If you like cool drinks, use at least one frozen ingredient. Instead of watering down your drink with ice, be creative with frozen fruits. Grapes are great—see our amazing Spinach Pear Grape Smoothie! Frozen juice such as cranberry or orange works well too.

The amount of ice affects how smooth or chunky your smoothie is (assuming your blender's motor is powerful enough to handle everything you put in it). The more ice, generally the chunkier the end result, though you can adjust that with blending time. Too much ice or too much frozen fruit and you'll end up with a sorbet—delicious, but harder to drink through a straw.

The Perfect Smoothie

The perfect home smoothie is all about your own taste and style. Experiment. What's the worst that can happen? You get to eat your results! You'll discover which fruits and vegetables go well together. Hint: look for flavors and textures which complement each other.

How do we rate smoothies?

How to Make a Smoothie rating: 5 stars (by BlenderRecipeReviews.com)

Now how about browsing our delicious smoothie recipes for ideas, or see our frequently asked questions about smoothies.

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