How to Make Smoothies So They Turn Out Delicious Every Time

Hint: It’s all about layering

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how to make smoothies: overhead view of a blender with strawberries and bananas inside
Galina Tsyrulnik/Getty Images

Maybe you’re just jumping aboard the smoothie train, or you’ve got a few go-to recipes but are looking to up your breakfast and snack game. If you’re wondering how to make smoothies so they turn out delicious every single time, you’ve come to the right place (because as it turns out, there is a wrong way to do it). Follow our tips and you’ll be sipping a scrumptious avocado-apple smoothie in no time.

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How to Make Smoothies: 6 Tips to Follow

1. Always Start with Liquid

If you want to break every other smoothie rule, at least follow this one: Always start by adding your liquid base to the blender. It doesn’t matter what type of liquid you use, but the order is essential to making sure your smoothie can actually blend into a creamy mixture. A liquid base allows the blades of your machine to easily whir around and draw down the other ingredients like a vortex. (Plus, if you add any powdered mix-ins, like collagen or protein, they can dissolve more readily in the liquid.)

2. Use Frozen Fruit

If you make a smoothie with fresh fruit, it’s not going to be the end of the world. But using frozen fruit will keep the drink extra cold without adding ice, and it will maintain the ideal consistency. Stashing some frozen pineapple, mango, berries and the like in your freezer will make smoothie mornings a breeze, but you can also freeze your own fresh fruit if it’s ripe and in season. (That’s a great way to avoid wasting produce if it’s about to go bad, too.)

3. Make It Thick, but Not Too Thick

This is a smoothie, not ice cream, so you should be able to sip it through a straw without issue. Make sure you use enough liquid to blend with ease, but not so much that your smoothie is soupy. In general, you can try a fruit-to-liquid ratio of 2:1 and adjust as needed. Smoothie too thick? Add more liquid. Too thin? Try a thickening ingredient, like banana, avocado, Greek yogurt, oats or a scoop of nut butter.

4. Add Extras

Speaking of add-ins, don’t feel like you’re limited to fruit, vegetables and dairy alternatives. Add dimension to your smoothie by including flavor and texture enhancers like spices, extracts, nuts and seeds. (Some of our favorites include ground cinnamon, fresh ginger, vanilla extract, hemp hearts and flax seeds.) Sweeteners and acid can balance the flavor of your smoothie, too—try honey or maple syrup to add sweetness with more complexity than just sugar, and fresh lemon or lime juice for a jolt of tart flavor.

5. Use the Right Blender

We get it, we assign sentimental value to our appliances too. But if you’re trying to make an ultra-creamy berry smoothie with your 12-year-old blender that you bought for $7 in a garage sale, you’re not going to be happy with the results. A high-speed blender (like a Vitamix) isn’t absolutely necessary for making a smoothie, but it will give you the most luscious texture in the shortest amount of time. If you aren’t interested in spending that much money, there are less expensive blenders on the market (like this Ninja) that perform comparably.

6. Follow the Correct Order of Ingredients

Making a smoothie is like solving a mathematical expression: Following the right order of operations is key. But instead of PEMDAS, it’s LPSGTF…which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Just think of your smoothie in layers and add your ingredients to the blender in this order: liquids, powders and sweeteners, greens, thickeners (like banana, nut butters and yogurt) and, lastly, frozen items (including fruit and ice). Not sure you can remember all that? Consult our handy illustration:

how to make smoothies illustration
Digital Art by Dasha Burobina

Psst: If you’re making your smoothie in a personal blender with a cup instead of a pitcher, you’ll want to add the ingredients in the opposite order since you’ll flip it upside down to attach it to the base.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make Smoothies Ahead of Time?

Sure you can. You can make a smoothie “pack” by measuring out whole ingredients and freezing them in a resealable bag. To make the smoothie, simply dump the ingredients into your blender along with a liquid and blend. Or you can blend the smoothie up and freeze it in an ice cube tray, then blend the cubes again when you’re ready to enjoy it.

Do Smoothies Need Ice?

If you use frozen fruit, nope, your smoothie doesn’t need ice. In fact, we prefer to not add ice because it can make the smoothie watery as it melts, and it doesn’t add any flavor. However, if you like adding ice to your smoothies, don’t let us stop you. Just add it at the same time as your fruit for easy blending.

What Liquid Can You Put in a Smoothie?

Technically, you can put any liquid you’d like into a smoothie as long as it’s cold. (Iced coffee? Go for it.) Our preferred liquid is non-dairy milk, like oat or almond, but you can use regular milk, fruit juice or coconut water, too. Water works, but keep in mind that it doesn’t add any flavor.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...