I’m a believer that smoothies are the perfect meal or snack no matter what the weather. It is never too cold to have an awesome smoothie! Since smoothies are such a tasty way to pack in a meal on the go, I put on a big sweater and happily drink them even when the temps are frigid.
We originally published our first guide on smoothie making way back in 2015, and since then, millions of folks have visited this post and used our recipes to make the best ever smoothies! I consider these smoothies simple classics because they have great flavor, all the ingredients are easy to source (no specialty stores here!), and they pack a nutritional punch that can nourish you nicely. These are the kinds of smoothies that I think everyone should know how to make, and chances are, you’ll find a favorite combo among these recipes. There really is no wrong way to make a smoothie, but I think these recipes are a great jumping-off point if the blender intimidates you.
Are smoothies healthy for you?
Before we dive into the quest of how to make a fruit smoothie, let’s dive into the why. Our philosophy here at Wholefully is that smoothies can be an incredibly nourishing part of your diet. Just like with our juicing recipes, we say it’s always better to eat whole fruits and veggies where possible. But it’s not always possible! Smoothies do make it easy to pack in all the nutrients of your favorite produce into one drinkable cup—which is great when you’re on the go or short on time.
And let’s be honest, smoothies are just freaking delicious! We are big believers that you also need to nourish your soul with your food, and if drinking a perfectly tangy and sweet smoothie brings a smile to your face, then that’s healthy as healthy can be.
How to Make a Fruit Smoothie
Making a fruit smoothie is as simple as tossing ingredients in a blender and letting it rip, but we want to make sure you succeed every time, so here’s our exact process:
- Add liquid to your blender. I typically use unsweetened almond milk, but you could use any other kind of milk, fruit juice, or even just water.
- Add in any fibrous foods. If you are adding in spinach or other greens, this is the time to toss them in.
- Add in your frozen fruits and vegetables. I like to keep at least frozen bananas and frozen strawberries on hand for smoothie making. Any frozen fruit works!
- Add any fresh fruits or veggies you’d like to use. Here is where you’ll toss in fresh strawberries or an avocado half.
- Top it off with your favorite nutrition mix-ins. Add protein powder, collagen, chia seeds, turmeric—whatever you’d like to boost the nutrition of the smoothie.
- Blend away! I like to start my blender on low and then slowly ramp up to full speed. This makes sure everything is mixed well and the blades don’t get stuck. I blend until the smoothie looks silky, and then I pour and enjoy.
What’s the best blender for making smoothies?
Blenders have gotten so advanced in the past few years, that it’s hard to pick one that won’t blend up a great smoothie! If you’re blender shopping, here are the three blenders we recommend for daily smoothie-making:
- MOST AFFORDABLE: Cuisinart Immersion/Stick Blender—Don’t let it’s small size fool you, this tiny handheld blender is packed full of power, and will easily make a smoothie for you every day! It’s perfect if you’re limited on counter space.
- MEDIUM: Ninja Professional Blender—For under $100, you get an incredibly powerful blender that makes a dreamy, creamy smoothie. This was the blender we used in the Wholefully test kitchen for years, and it’s a great starter-level, but still high-powered, blender.
- SPLURGE: Vitamix Professional Blender—A Vitamix is the top of the line when it comes to blenders, and it’s what we use every day in the Wholefully test kitchen. It comes with a hefty price tag (think: more than your car payment), so if you’re just blending a smoothie every now and again, there is no need to make the splurge. But if you do a lot of cooking or make a lot of smoothies or blended drinks, you might want to start saving your pennies for a Vitamix. It’s a lifetime appliance that is a dream to use!
What’s the best liquid for making smoothies?
We like to use (unsweetened) milk of choice. If you’re a fan of coconut milk, use it. Like cow’s milk? Go for it. A fan of almond milk? Cool. Use whatever milk you like in your smoothies—you can’t go wrong. I just recommend you stick to unsweetened and unflavored versions. That gives you the most control over the smoothie.
Do you put ice in a smoothie?
We recommend using frozen fruit to both chill and thicken your smoothie. This gets you the right texture and temperature without watering it down. However, if you are fresh out of frozen fruit, you can toss in a handful or two of ice cubes into the blender to make your smoothie frosty and thick.
What do I use to sweeten a smoothie?
All of these smoothies here use frozen fruit as a base, which adds a nice baseline of sweetness that you can build on if your tastebuds would like. My recommendation is to blend up your smoothie without any added sweetener, then taste. Add in honey or maple syrup to taste. Many times, I don’t need to add anything! Another great natural option for sweetening: pitted Medjool dates. Throw in one or two of those bad boys and let the blender do its thing. You’d be amazed at how sweet your smoothie will be!
Protip: Stock up on bananas!
When I go grocery shopping, I buy the biggest ripe bunch of bananas I can find. Then when I get home, I peel them, break them into chunks, and then freeze them flat on a cookie sheet. When solid, I transfer them to a ziptop freezer bag.
How can I make my smoothie healthier?
The smoothie recipes below are plain, but if you want to expand your smoothie horizons, go for it! Toss in chia seeds or protein powder or hemp seeds or flax or whatever else makes your heart happy. If you have a standard set of mix-ins you like, you can even freeze them into booster packs—great for really quick and easy smoothies!
How do I make smoothies if I don’t like bananas?
Lucky for you, we have an entire post of recipes to make a smoothie without banana. Try those recipes, or tweak any of the recipes below by:
- Subbing in 1/2 cup additional plain Greek yogurt (to add creaminess), plus 1 tablespoon additional sweetener and a handful of ice cubes in place of the frozen banana in these recipes.
- Other options: canned pineapple, sweetened yogurt, canned pears. Adding half a ripe avocado can really help make up for the creaminess that bananas usually add, too.
How do you make vegan smoothies?
Use plant-based Greek yogurt (you can even make your own coconut milk yogurt) and stick to maple syrup and plant-based milks.
What are some great smoothie recipes?
Alright, now that you’re fully versed on how to make a great smoothie, let me share with you some of our absolute favorite combos! Click on any image to jump over to that specific smoothie recipe.
Classic Simple Smoothies (perfect for beginners!)
These smoothies are a great place to start. No weird ingredients that you have to special order, just fresh, real food that you can find at any typical supermarket.
No Banana Smoothies
Allergic to bananas or just don’t like them? We’ve got you covered. All these smoothies are banana-free and have no-added sugar.
Are you looking for even more smoothies? No worries, we’ve got you covered:
- Clementine Avocado Smoothie. If you’ve never added avocado to your smoothie before, you are missing out! The flavor is so mild, that you can’t taste it, but the texture is dreamy, creamy smooth, and the healthy added fats help keep your fuller longer.
- Cold Buster Smoothie. When you’re feeling under the weather and your throat is sore, this smoothie for colds is soothing and nourishing.
- Coffee Smoothie. Get a jolt of caffeine and your breakfast all in one cup! This is packed full of coffee flavor.
- Persimmon Smoothie. Packed full of autumnal flavor, this spiced smoothie is creamy and sweet!
- Spinach and Pear Smoothie. Bright green and fresh in flavor, this smoothie is a perfect light breakfast.
- Sweet Potato Smoothie. Sweet potato in a smoothie? YUP! It tastes like a delicious pie. You’ll love it!
- Apple Smoothie. This smoothie is packed full of healthy spinach, but tastes like apple pie!
- Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. This pumpkin smoothie is perfect for the weather is still warm but your heart wants fall to show up.
- Dark Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie. This smoothie is rich and dark, and it tastes decadent enough you could sip on it for dessert!
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie. All the flavors of your favorite sandwich in a tasty smoothie! Pick your favorite jelly to add to this peanut butter smoothie.
- Tart Cherry and Spinach Smoothies. We show serving this cherry smoothie as a light breakfast in a bowl, but you could easily pour it in a glass and sip away!
And check out some of our favorite smoothie hacks, too:
- How to Freeze Strawberries. There are lots of ways to use frozen strawberries, but smoothies are definitely one of my favorites!
- How to Freeze Blueberries. We freeze as much fruit as we have room for every summer, for smoothies all year long.
- How to Cut a Pineapple. Don’t be intimidated by that spiky skin—here’s the easiest way to cut a pineapple.
- Smoothie Booster Packs. Never let spinach go bad again! Drop these frozen smoothie packs into your smoothies to boost the nutrition.
- 3 Ways to Meal Prep Smoothies. Yes, you can make ahead smoothies! And we have three ways to show you how.
What’s a great smoothie formula?
While we’ve got tons of great smoothie recipes for you to try, we know you’ll eventually want to break out on your own and make your own custom creations! When you’re ready to fly the smoothie nest, follow our perfect smoothie formula for a great smoothie every time.