Learn how to make a smoothie in just 3 easy steps. The result is a creamy, healthy, vibrant blend of flavors you can enjoy on the go.

How to make a smoothie.
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Making your own smoothies at home can be done in just a few easy steps. And the benefits are unlimited.

Nourishing: Smoothies are an easy way to take in a bunch of nutrients at once so that you give your body the building blocks it needs.

Delicious: no matter what fruits you choose, you can easily make a thick, creamy smoothie.

Healthy: by using my special formula below for how to make a smoothie, your smoothies will not only be tasty, but healthy and well-balanced too.

Building Blocks of Smoothies

The tutorial below walks you through 3 simple steps that result in a delicious, nourishing smoothie.

With this knowledge in your back pocket, you’ll enjoy healthy smoothies of all kinds for a long time to come!

A variety of dairy products on a white background.
Photo credit: Canva.

Choose a Liquid For Your Smoothie

There are a few liquids to choose from when you’re looking to make a smoothie. All of the options below can work, much of the choice is simply preference, dietary choice and what you have on hand.

Milk: If you have no dairy sensitivities, regular cow’s milk is a great choice. It’s packed with protein so you don’t necessarily have to add that back in later.

Full-fat coconut milk: This is one of my favorite dairy-free options though make sure to use the coconut milk from the can.  If you’re using it as your only liquid, stir the cream into the water to get a more milk-like consistency.

Almond milk: If you’re buying a non-dairy almond milk in the carton, go for the unsweetened original flavor. It’s much better to add your own level of sweetness from natural sweeteners to the smoothie later on. If you make your own almond milk, this is a great use for it and we have plenty of ideas for how to use almond pulp.

Other milks: Options like cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk and soy milk can all be used interchangeably. Choose whichever you have or love but always try and opt for the unsweetened versions of all these non-dairy milks.

Kefir: As a middle ground in texture between milk and yogurt, kefir is a wonderful fermented option for a smoothie base. Its natural probiotics offer great gut-health benefits and it creates an indulgently creamy smoothie as a result.

Greek yogurt: Another protein-packed liquid option that creates a thick, smooth texture.

Fruit juice: Not feeling the milk base? Go for some natural fruit juice! Orange juice is one of my favorites, but any fruit juice will do. Keep in mind these are much sweeter than the milk bases so you’ll definitely want to be mindful of your fruit and sweetener add-ins later on.

Coconut water: If you’re making a smoothie after a workout, coconut water is a great choice. As a natural electrolyte, it’s extremely hydrating. I like to use it in combination with fruit juice.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tip

Get the Ratios Right: For 1 smoothie serving, you’re going to want about 1-1 1/2 cups of a liquid base. And don’t forget, you can combine multiple bases such as milk and yogurt to create your perfect texture.

Choose the Fruit and Vegetables to Add In

The choice between fruits and vegetables is as much about flavor as it is nourishment. If you’re using milk as your base, you’ll want to add fruits in so that the smoothie comes out delicious. 

If you’re using fruit juice as your base, you may not need as many fruits. Below are some fruit and vegetable options that blend well and can be used to create a healthy smoothie.

Frozen berries in plastic bags on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Canva.

Spinach: Loaded with vitamins K, A, iron, and with virtually no calories. Baby spinach blends the best into a smoothie and you can’t even taste it.

Kale: This green has a bit more prominent flavor than spinach and unless you have a high-end blender, chances are you’re going to taste the gritty texture from it. If you’re really looking to get into green smoothies, invest in a Vitamix so that texture isn’t an issue. Similar to spinach, kale is also packed with vitamins K, A and C.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tip

Always use at least some frozen fruit. This is preferred over adding ice to the blender as it creates a better texture and doesn’t water down the smoothie.

Berries: Any berry makes a great addition to your smoothie. Frozen wild blueberries are a personal favorite as they’re packed with even more antioxidants than a regular blueberry. Likewise, frozen berries are a great option for winter-time smoothies when nothing is in season, and as a bonus, they add a bit of “iciness” to your smoothie without having to water it down with actual ice.

Bananas:  Unless you’re adverse to them for some reason, bananas are a great smoothie staple. With a milk base, they’re the perfect natural sweetener. With a fruit base, they provide some staying power the other fruits don’t necessarily give you. They also help create an ultra-thick texture.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tip

Ratio Needed: As a rough estimate, for 1-1 1/2 cups of liquid, 4 cups of packed greens is usually a good amount. If you’ve used fruit juice as your base, you may not even want any additional fruit. If you’ve used a milk as your base, 1 cup of fruit is a good addition.

Smoothie Extras and Add-Ins

The extras are where you make the smoothie “yours” and get the chance to add in extra nutrients or flavors. From sweeteners to flavor enhancers to nutritional boosts, this is your chance to play around.

Protein powder: If you haven’t used a milk or yogurt base and want some protein in your smoothie, whey or pea protein powder are great options depending on your preference. I keep vanilla and chocolate Nuzest on hand as my plant-based option and Paleo Valley’s bone broth protein powder as an animal-based option, adding anywhere from 1 to 2 scoops to my smoothies. The amount should be adjusted based on your protein needs.

Nut butters: Another great way to get some protein (and healthy fat) is through nut butters. Peanut, almond, cashew and even seed-based butters like pumpkin seed butter all work wonderfully. Try to make sure that you use nut butters without any added sweeteners.

Chia seeds in wooden spoons on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Canva.

Chia seeds: These little guys are filled with omega-3s and a decent amount of protein per serving. A tablespoon is a great little boost to any smoothie. With a high-quality blender, you don’t even need to worry about them getting stuck in your teeth!

Ground flax seed: Another omega-3 packed option, flax seeds are also a good source of fiber. Make sure you choose the ground or milled kind because our bodies can’t absorb the nutrients from the whole seeds themselves.

Hemp seeds: I often use the combination of hemp, chia and flax seeds in all my smoothies. They offer similar benefits of healthy fats, protein and fiber and a tablespoon of each is a great nutritious boost.

Oats: Want some staying power to that smoothie? Adding oats makes your drink more of a meal and will thicken things up a bit. They make this cinnamon chestnut smoothie thick and creamy.

Medjool dates:  Dates are really nature’s candy. If you need some sweetness, these are your healthy go-to. One or two pitted dates will do the trick, just make sure to blend really well to fully incorporate them.

Maple syrup and honey: If you don’t have dates and want a sweetener option in addition to fruit, a small amount of maple syrup or honey can be used. Always start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

Extracts: Vanilla, almond or any other pure extract is a great way to get some flavor into a smoothie without calories or bulk. You can’t go wrong with 1/2 a teaspoon or so of one of your favorites. Almond extract really makes the flavor pop in this cherry vanilla almond smoothie – a healthy dupe to Ben & Jerry’s cherry Garcia ice cream flavor.

A variety of fruit and vegetable smoothies on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Canva.

How To Make A Smoothie

As a healthy snack or breakfast, smoothies come together in under 5 minutes which makes them an easy choice for busy days.

Add the ingredients: Place all the ingredients into a high-powered blender like the Vitamix. Try to add the liquids in first to make it easier on the machine.

Blend: Blend until all the ingredients are combined and the texture is smooth. Depending on the items used in your smoothie, you may need to stop and scrape down the sides or use the tamper to push them down as it blends.

Enjoy: Portion into a glass and top with anything you wish. Granola is one of my personal favorites.

Our Pick
Vitamix 5200 Blender, Professional-Grade, Container, Black, Self-Cleaning 64 oz
$499.95 $413.05

I'm partial to my Vitamix, I've had this blender for 10 years and it's still kicking. It gets almost daily use with my breakfast smoothies and there's pretty much nothing it can't blend. Seriously, it once pulverized a rogue stone in my coffee beans.

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04/10/2024 02:35 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make a Smoothie

What should you put in a smoothie?

A healthy smoothie should have a good balance of fats, protein and carbohydrates. You need to ensure that you have a liquid base along with any other fruits, vegetables and add-ins you want to use.

Do you put ice in smoothies?

Ice cubes are not necessary in smoothies but they can help make them thicker and more refreshing. If you’re not using frozen fruit, add some ice cubes so that the smoothie is chilled. With frozen fruit, ice cubes don’t need to be added.

What fruits are best for smoothies?

Any fruit can be used to make a healthy smoothie. Bananas will help sweeten the smoothie and create a thicker texture but fruits like mango, berries, apples, peaches and pears can all be used as well.

Is milk or water better for smoothies?

While water can be used in a pinch, I don’t recommend it as the only liquid in your smoothie. The result won’t be as flavorful.

25 Simple and Nutritious Smoothie Recipes

25 simple and healthy smoothie recipes.
A smoothie with blackberries and bananas in a glass.

Easy Blackberry Smoothie

This easy and creamy blackberry smoothie, bursting with bright berry flavor, is a refreshing treat for busy mornings. It combines the tart taste of blackberries with the sweetness of banana and maple syrup; all blended up with Greek yogurt for added protein.
View Recipe
Close up of 3 ingredient mango pineapple smoothie in a glass.
5 from 61 votes

3-Ingredient Mango Pineapple Smoothie

A creamy, sweet and tropical smoothie made with just 3 ingredients in 5 minutes. It's a refreshing treat for a hot afternoon but also delicious as a simple dessert or breakfast.
View Recipe
5-ingredient banana pumpkin smoothie in a glass with a red striped straw with cinnamon and pumpkin puree in the background.

5-Ingredient Pumpkin Banana Smoothie

A fall inspired creamy pumpkin banana smoothie made with just five simple ingredients. This healthy homemade drink will become your new fall favorite.
View Recipe
Healthy prune smoothie in a glass with chia seeds, prune garnish and striped yellow and white straw.

Prune Smoothie

This prune smoothie includes banana, chia seeds, baby spinach and sweet prunes for a super healthy, but tasty snack.
View Recipe
butternut squash smoothie.
5 from 46 votes

Butternut Squash Smoothie

This butternut squash smoothie is a creamy, decadent and cozy seasonal drink flavored with seasonal spices. Packed with protein and fiber and made dairy-free, it can be enjoyed as a filling breakfast or snack!
View Recipe
spirulina smoothie
4.97 from 52 votes

Easy Tropical Spirulina Smoothie

This easy spirulina smoothie is packed with plant fiber and nutrients and the perfect way to enjoy the blue-green algae in a delicious way.
View Recipe
Gut healing smoothie
4.67 from 12 votes

Gut Healing Smoothie

This creamy pumpkin papaya smoothie is packed with healthy-gut promoting ingredients and digestive aids. Pour into a glass or enjoy in a bowl with your favorite toppings for a healthy, nutrient-dense meal.
View Recipe
Key lime pie smoothie
5 from 1 vote

Key Lime Smoothie

This key lime smoothie made with light coconut milk tastes just like key lime pie and the tropics. It's the perfect drink for summer!
View Recipe
4.41 from 5 votes

Beet Smoothie

This simple beet smoothie recipe uses just a handful of fresh fruit and vegetables for a delicious and healthy drink perfect for breakfast or brunch.
View Recipe
This layered strawberry ginger peach smoothie is refreshing and fruit forward with a healthy dose of protein from ultra-filtered milk.
5 from 2 votes

Layered Strawberry Ginger Peach Smoothie

This layered strawberry ginger peach smoothie is refreshing and fruit forward with a healthy dose of protein from ultra-filtered milk.
View Recipe
This hydrating berry green smoothie is a great option for recovering post workout.
5 from 1 vote

Hydrating Berry Green Smoothie

This hydrating berry green smoothie is a delicious way to recover after your workout with the perfectly balanced amount of protein and carbohydrates from super hydrating ingredients.
View Recipe
This cherry coconut recovery smoothie bowl is packed with anti-inflammatory tart cherries and hydrating coconut. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy post workout!
5 from 1 vote

Tart Cherry Coconut Recovery Smoothie Bowl

This cherry coconut recovery smoothie bowl is packed with delicious, healthy tart cherries and hydrating coconut. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy post workout!
View Recipe
This simple guava pineapple smoothie is made with light coconut milk and a few frozen strawberries for a refreshing dairy-free summer drink.
5 from 1 vote

Guava Pineapple Smoothie

This simple guava pineapple smoothie is made with light coconut milk and a few frozen strawberries for a refreshing dairy-free summer drink.
View Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Wild Blueberry Beet Smoothie

Besides the jaw dropping color, this paleo wild blueberry beet smoothie packs a healthy dose of vitamin C and a nice boost antioxidants.
View Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Roasted Apricot Green Smoothie

This roasted apricot smoothie gets a healthy green boost with spinach and natural spinach extract to help keep you feeling full longer!
View Recipe
pear smoothie
4.73 from 102 votes

Pear Smoothie

This easy pear smoothie is flavored with banana and cinnamon. It's a healthy, high protein drink you can make in minutes with just a handful of ingredients.
View Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Avocado Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

This avocado pineapple smoothie bowl is packed full of superfoods for a healthy start to the day. The topping choices are endless!
View Recipe
5 from 1 vote

French Toast Smoothie

This French toast smoothie is a healthy, high protein packed drink that tastes just like the decadent buttery cinnamon breakfast you love.
View Recipe
4.67 from 6 votes

Detox Green Smoothie

This detox green smoothie is a great way to get lots of vegetables and nutrients in a tasty way after any big meal or holiday.
View Recipe
4.41 from 5 votes

Pineapple Kiwi Mint Smoothie

This pineapple kiwi mint smoothie is like a taste of the tropics with every sip.
View Recipe
5 from 9 votes

Persimmon Vanilla Bean Smoothie

A simple 5 ingredient persimmon vanilla bean smoothie.
View Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Orange Date Smoothie

This orange date smoothie is the perfect breakfast smoothie. Part creamy, part juicy, and a great way to start the day.
View Recipe
Coconut smoothie with lime
5 from 1 vote

Coconut Lime Smoothie

This coconut lime smoothie is a refreshing, icy drink perfect for summer. Add some rum for an easy summer cocktail or keep it virgin.
View Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Almond Butter and Jelly Smoothie

This almond butter and jelly smoothie is a high protein smoothie made with almond butter and jelly.
View Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

Cold Buster Smoothie

This strawberry and orange smoothie is packed with kale to help kick any winter cold away.
View Recipe
Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. Used almond milk as the base with spinach and frozen wild blueberries, and it turned out surprisingly refreshing! Couldn’t even taste the spinach, which was a win for me.

  2. Yeah, I found some new smoothie recipes and some tips so I can make a better smoothie. I never thought of adding dates to a smoothie so I started with the Orange Date Smoothie. Loved the taste and it was more like what I get at the smoothie shop, only better.

  3. Great description! I’m on the green smoothie train this month, that’s for sure. My goal is to have one every day for the entire month of January.

  4. Great introduction to smoothies, I am about to order a blender and food processor and cant wait to get started with the smoothie business ;) your post is definitely a good start!
    thanks for it :)
    take care

  5. Love this, Gina! Such a simple formula–my mind always goes to about a million things a smoothie needs (although fancy smoothies can be great too!) so I love this simple formula. Pinning!

  6. Wow thanks for the smoothie handbook :) Love it. Mine was definitely more of a guacamole color, but yummy nonetheless.

  7. Thanks for the tips. Just made a blueberry, mango smoothie using pineapple juice, Greek yogurt, spinach and ground flax. Did I get all the categories? ha

  8. Happy 2014! Thanks for this simple formula. I got a smoothie maker for Christmas and have been looking for ideas. I’m tired of buying them at Jamba. :) Saw this on G+ and appreciate the post.

  9. such a great post for something so simple…that I always manage to fail at making. My smoothies always seem to turn into very flavorful water. Not so yum. Thanks for this and Happy New Year Gina! God bless :)