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How to Thicken a Smoothie

How to thicken a smoothie - Acai smoothie bowl

If you’re like me and you love smoothies, sometimes you want a thicker, more filling smoothie. If you’re curious as to how to thicken a smoothie and build the perfect smoothie bowl, or you’re trying to fix a watery or slushy-textured smoothie, I have you covered!

I’ll provide you with some general tips on how to make a smoothie thicker and how to fix a watery smoothie. At the end, I’ll share one of my favorite recipes, this Acai Smoothie, and explain how you can make it into the perfect smoothie bowl!

Now, these tips are applicable to any smoothie recipe that you want to be thickened. Always be sure to add the ingredients listed below incrementally and adjust as needed to suit your preferences.

Now, let’s get down to business!

Use Frozen Fruit

Bananas in a blender

Using frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit will certainly help to guarantee a thicker smoothie. To freeze fresh fruit to use later, prepare the fruit as needed to get it ready to blend.

For example, peel your bananas and slice them into 1-inch size chunks, remove the stem off the strawberries, and slice in half if they’re bigger berries, etc.

When putting fresh fruit in the freezer, I recommend lining a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper and placing the fruit on this flat surface to freeze before putting into a bag. Otherwise, you risk your fruit freezing into one giant blob.

Add Oats

Oats in a jar

I love adding oats to my smoothie. Not only will it thicken your smoothie, but it will also add fiber and protein, all while having little to no impact on the flavor.

Did you know you can add raw oats directly to your smoothie? They’re perfectly safe and nutritious to eat raw. That being said, you can add cooked oatmeal if you prefer. If using cooked, allow the oatmeal to come to room temperature or colder before blending.

If adding uncooked, consider blending the oats on their own before adding to your smoothie so as to help with the texture.

I recommend adding ¼ cup of pre-blended whole rolled oats per smoothie.

Throw in Some Nut Butter

Nut butter in a jar

If you weren’t already adding nut butter to your smoothies, I hope this will convince you. I love adding nut butter to my smoothie to make it more rich, satisfying, and thicker.

Any nut butter will work, but I’m a sucker for good old-fashioned peanut butter. Check out this recipe for my all-time favorite Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie!

I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter per smoothie.

Add Avocado

Slices of avocado on a table

I love avocado in any form—on toast, tacos, stuffed with crabmeat—t’s all good! That being said, I was a little apprehensive to add it to my smoothie until I tried it. Now that I have, I’m hooked!

Avocado adds a rich creaminess and thickness that’s hard to create any other way. It doesn’t impart a lot of flavor, and in fact enhances the flavors that are already in the smoothie. Avocado also pairs wonderfully with cacao.

I recommend adding ¼ – ½ of an avocado per smoothie.

Use Ice

Ice cubes in a glass

Ice is a go-to smoothie thickness solution. If using ice, remember it can dilute the flavors in your smoothie, so proceed incrementally until you’re satisfied.

I recommend adding approximately ½ of a cup of ice per smoothie.

Punch it Up With Protein Powder

Smoothies on a table with protein powder

Protein is a great add-in regardless if you’re trying to thicken your smoothie or you just want to stay fuller for longer and pack in more essential vitamins and minerals. Any protein powder is sure to do the trick, so just pick one that best aligns with your diet.

Reduce Liquid for Yogurt

Yogurt in a small cup

This may seem obvious, but the less liquid you use, the thicker your smoothie will be. To guarantee your smoothie will blend, you can swap some of the liquid for yogurt, as this will help blend your smoothie while not providing extra liquid.

I prefer unflavored Greek yogurt, but flavored yogurt or a plant-based yogurt will work wonderfully as well.

I recommend swapping for equal portions of liquid for yogurt.

How to thicken a smoothie

How do you fix a watery smoothie?

If your smoothie is too watery, you can add fruit (frozen is best!), oats, protein powder, ice, or yogurt to your smoothie.

Does ice make smoothies thicker or thinner?

Smoothie in a mason jar

Ice can serve to make a smoothie thicker, but it is important to remember that ice will dilute the flavors in your smoothie. If your smoothie is going to be sitting out for a while before you drink it, that ice can melt and eventually make your smoothie thin and watery.

A good rule of thumb is to use ice sparingly and only if you’re going to enjoy your smoothie quickly.

Why is my smoothie like a slushy?

Pouring smoothie into a jar

Your smoothie may have a slushy-like consistency because you added too much ice. You can correct this by either adding more frozen fruit (which will give you a big smoothie), or discarding some of your smoothie and adding a little more frozen fruit and something to thicken it like yogurt or avocado.

Need a couple of awesome recipes to try these tricks on? Check out some of my favorites:

Olivia Abramson
Olivia Abramson

Olivia has been in love with all things food and libations for nearly a decade. When she’s not cooking up new recipes, she enjoys bikepacking, wine tasting, crocheting, and traveling in her camper van up and down the Pacific Northwest.

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