No one likes a runny smoothie, so here are some tips to making a smoothie thicker or thinner. These tips, tricks and secret ingredients will help you make thicker smoothies every time.
Have you ever spent time making the perfect smoothie, only to open the blender and discover it is a runny mess inside? Or perhaps it is one big gloopy blob?
Been there. We make smoothies at least twice a week, so I've seen it all.
But I also know exactly how to fix both of these common smoothie problems.
The truth is your smoothie needs something added to help with the consistency, but you have a number of options.
Madison's Pro Smoothie Tip:
To make sure you are maxing out your blender's capabilities to yield a smoothie with a great and delicious consistency, always load up your blender pitcher in the following order:
- liquids first
- then soft fruits or vegetables
- then greens
- then frozen fruits and ice
- any powders on top
Your blender matters
One other secret to better smoothies? Your blender. When the blades are dulled from years of use, the blender can't work as well as it once did.
It will struggle more and more to cut through chunky items like ice or frozen fruit. To combat this, you'll likely need to add more liquid, which will result in watery smoothies.
Check your warranty to see if you're able to acquire a replacement. Otherwise, it might be time for a new smoothie-making friend.
My favorite is the Vitamix — it has a big price tag, but it has honestly lasted us for years and still treats frozen fruit as though it were brand new. We purchased ours refurbished and it's worked perfectly!
If your smoothie is too thick
The easiest way to thin a very thick smoothie is to add liquid (whatever liquid was in the original recipe is best!).
- milk (dairy or nut milk)
- juice (e.g. orange juice)
Add a ¼ cup at a time. Turn your blender on and let it mix in the new addition. Keep going until your smoothie has reached your desired consistency.
Adding liquid will also help a smoothie that has frozen fruits getting "stuck" in the blender. This Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie uses both frozen and fresh fruits, which helps to keep it from getting too thick.
If you add ice, it will thicken your smoothie, but as it melts the smoothie will dilute and become thinner, so that is something to keep in mind.
If your smoothie is too thin
There are a number of ways you can make a smoothie thicker. Here are some of my favorites:
Bananas are one of the top ways to add volume to your smoothies. They're cheap, healthy, keep for a few days on the counter and double as a hearty snack!
Fresh bananas are a great way to add some of their smooth, creamy texture to your smoothie. However, frozen bananas will add even more thickness to a smoothie because of the cold temperature.
Keep in mind that you will likely be able to taste the banana when you add it to a smoothie. It's ideal for a Strawberry Banana Smoothie, of course, but for one where you might not want the cloying taste of banana to shine through, it will be more obvious.
(P.S. You can always use them to make Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins on the weekend if you don't use them all in smoothies during the week!)
While adding milk might dilute a smoothie too much, yogurt adds the same delicate flavor, but with a much thicker, creamier texture.
Any type of yogurt will add thickness to your smoothie. You can even use non-dairy yogurt if you prefer.
Ice is a great way to add thickness to a smoothie. However, if your blender blades are dull, sometimes ice chunks will remain.
Another problem with ice: it melts. If you sip your smoothie slowly, keep in mind it the ice will melt into water that will dilute your smoothie. This process is slow, so there's nothing wrong with using ice to thicken your smoothie.
Fresh or frozen fruit
In general, any smoothie recipe with frozen fruit will lend itself to a thicker smoothie. Even flash-freezing the fresh fruit first will help! But in a pinch, more fresh fruit can help make your smoothie thicker.
You can also use a mixture of fresh and frozen fruit. For example, my Tropical Island Green Smoothie uses frozen pineapple and mango with a fresh banana, but honestly, it would work fine with fresh fruit and ice.
Ripe avocado acts similarly to banana in a smoothie. They bring the same smooth silkiness to smoothies as they do to dishes like guacamole. Try it in a healthy avocado smoothie or hide its flavors behind berries and other fruits. It would be an excellent addition to the Kale Smoothie with Fruit as well!
In a smoothie, the seeds get broken up with the blender so this process helps the whole smoothie to get thicker faster.
I always have chia seeds on hand to make Strawberry Chia Seed Muffins on weekend mornings (when I don't make smoothies).
A few spoonfuls of uncooked, old-fashioned oatmeal to your smoothie will act as a thickening agent. Just like chia seeds or as in a bowl of oatmeal, the oats will expand and help make your smoothie thicker without adding any flavor.
This papaya smoothie is a great example of using oats in a smoothie.
If you're anything like me, you usually have oats around for baking recipes such as apple crisp, so they are a great go-to if you're out of bananas and yogurt.
A staple in vegetarian meals (like my tofu lettuce wraps), tofu might not seem like a go-to ingredient for smoothies.
However, it can be a great addition. Cut up cubes of tofu and toss it in with your smoothie. It will create a smooth, silky texture, and it's utterly flavorless. You won't even know it's there!
Packed with extra protein, it's perfect for sweet recipes like this Chocolate Strawberry Greek Yogurt Smoothie.
Let me know how your smoothie-making goes! I'd love to hear if you tried one of these methods. Leave a comment below!