How to Build the Perfect, Balanced Smoothie

Laura Rege
·3 mins read

Linda Pugliese

The perfect smoothie bursts with fruity flavor, is thick enough to sip, ice cold, and easy to make. With a thoughtful selection of ingredients and a go-to formula, you can build perfectly balanced smoothies every time you blend—no recipe needed. From thinking about color to skipping ice, our tips cover what you need to know.

Related: Try This Turmeric Tonic—It's the Ultimate Pick-Me-Up

Start with Frozen Fruit Chunks

Fruit is the base of a smoothie. As you select the main fruit flavors, remember that a delicious smoothie doesn't have to be complicated; go with anywhere from one type of fruit to a few. Berries, pears, citrus, peaches, kiwi, figs, and bananas are just the start. By using frozen fruit, you're able to skip adding ice, which will water down the flavor. To ensure you always have frozen fruit handy for your smoothies, either buy it at the grocery store or or freeze your leftover fruit in chunks for the best textured smoothies. Best of all, this means you'll never throw away a bruised banana again.

Think About Adding a Vegetable

Unless you're crazy for green vegetables, using just a small handful is the best option when it comes to adding these good-for-you ingredients to smoothie. Greens like kale can add a very assertive flavor, but baby spinach and romaine lettuce easily disappear into the other flavors in the smoothie. (And if you really want a bright green smoothie, try our editors' favorite recipe.)

Pro Tip: Color gives a smoothie street appeal, know that greens can drastically change the look of your smoothie.

Add a Liquid

Liquid gets the smoothie moving, helping it achieve a sippable consistency. It is also adds another taste element. Skip water and reach for flavorful liquids such as milk, non-dairy milk, fresh juices, and coconut water. You could also give your smoothie a jolt by using iced tea or coffee. Start with a conservative amount of liquid to prevent watering down the consistency. Add a splash more if the smoothie is too thick.

Make It Creamy (Without Any Cream)

There are a number of ingredients that will add a creamy feel to your smoothie. Milk and non-dairy milk are obvious options, but bananas will also add a rich mouthfeel. A less expected ingredient to add for a creamy texture is chickpeas—an added bonus is that they also add protein. These ingredients all will balance out flavor, smooth the texture, and add richness to any combination of ingredients you pair them with. Other options to try include throwing in half an avocado or a spoonful of your favorite nut butter or protein powder.

Give It a Boost

Whether you're creating a new smoothie or making your go-to, try mixing things up by adding in bonus ingredients with health benefits. A sprinkle of ground cinnamon or other spices like cardamom, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper are surprisingly tasty. Add hemp seeds, sesame seeds, coconut flakes, oats, or flax seeds for texture. You can either blend them in or sprinkle them on top for garnish—after all, who says you can't make a smoothie pretty?