Smoothies are the best all-around drink. Not only do they contain healthy ingredients (hello fruits and veggies!), but they’re both refreshing and filling. Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack to tide you over to dinner, or great in the morning to wake you up. Today I’m sharing all the smoothie basics and the perfect smoothie ratio to get the smoothest smoothie around!
This information was originally included in Single-Serve Summer Smoothies, written July 16, 2016. It has been refreshed and republished June 17, 2022.
Years ago, I only made smoothies for special occasions. When we had people spend the night, I would serve them some delicious fruit smoothies with their breakfast. I could never get my fruit combo correct, and I always had to add liquid to water down the smoothies (or you would need a spoon to eat them!). For a while though, I started making daily smoothies just for me.
After many failed attempts, I finally found the perfect solid-to-liquid ratio so that you can actually drink the smoothies. Today I’m sharing the “secret” combination along with some other smoothie basics!
First, let’s start with what can go in smoothies…
Smoothie Ingredient Ideas
In order to whip up some smoothies, you’ll need a few ingredients in your arsenal. We always have frozen fruit ready to go, and plenty of fresh fruit too. For the liquid component, I like to stick with plain 100% juice, but you can always switch it up and go with a dairy-based smoothie. And, there are even some “random” things that can go in smoothies too!
Fruits To Use for Smoothies
- Soft pears
- Stone fruit (peaches/plums/nectarines – pits removed!)
- Canned fruit
- Frozen fruit (all the ones mentioned above!)
Veggies to Use for Smoothies
- Cooked hard veggies (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, celery, squash)
Liquids to Use for Smoothies
- 100% fruit juice (apple, orange, tomato, etc)
- Milk (chocolate, plain, almond, soy, etc)
- Canned fruit juices
- Warm broths (think veggie or chicken) for a savoury smoothie
Other Smoothie Add-Ons
- Peanut butter (or other nut butters)
- Chia seeds (etc)
- Chocolate/cocoa powder
- Protein powder
I should mention that you can add almost anything to a smoothie. However, depending on your blender-type/strength, it may handle some fruits/veggies differently. Personally, I haven’t had a good experience adding hard fruits like apples (or frozen coconut). However, you can cook them ahead of time to soften them up. That’s especially true for most veggies!
You’ll notice that I didn’t include water or ice cubes in my list. You can certainly use them to thicken up (or liquify) your smoothies. However, I prefer to use something that will add flavour rather than water. But it’s another option!
No matter which fruits/veggies/add-ins you choose, remember to prep them as needed. This includes removing leaves, pits, and peels, and chop into bite-sized pieces for easier blending.
Smoothie Building Basics
Once you have some smoothie ingredients, it’s super easy to make a smoothie. Prep your fruits/veggies (ie: remove peels/pits) and dump everything in a blender with your liquid base. Pulse a couple of times, then keep it on for a few seconds (15-60) until you reach your desired consistency. Too liquidy or too chunky? Make sure to check the perfect-smoothie ratio below :)
Another smoothie-making tip is to chop the fruit/veggies in manageable chunks so that they blend easier. This is super important if you want to use harder ingredients. Nothing is worse than trying to blend one big chunk that won’t mix.
For the kids, I usually serve their smoothies in plastic cups with wide smoothie straws. For me, I’m fine to drink my smoothies without a straw – it’s up to you!
Cleaning Up After Smoothies
One thing I wanted to mention is how to clean your blender after making smoothies. My number 1 tip (and maybe the most important thing you should remember) is to RINSE your blender immediately after you are done. Trust me, smoothies that dry in the blender or in drinking cups and straws are so. much. harder. to. clean. Seriously, a quick rinse with water will save a lot of scrubbing in your future.
In regards to cleaning the blender, I know some people who think a quick rinse is all you need. While it may look clean, there are probably parts that are getting gunked up. So yes, although it’s a bit of a hassle, I recommend always cleaning your blender with soap and water (or putting it in the dishwasher if you can) in between uses.
The Perfect Smoothie Ratio
Remember when I said that I couldn’t get my smoothing combo right? I would literally keep adding ingredients until my blender was overfilled… And sometimes I even needed to dump half out and add more liquid just to get a good drink consistency!
But not anymore :)
Want to know the super simple ratio of fruit vs. liquids to make the perfect smoothies? When using frozen fruit, you want to go with an even fruit to liquid mixture. So if you add 1 cup of frozen fruit, you’ll need 1 cup of liquid. If you’re using fresh fruit, you’ll only need about 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount of liquid (depending on what type of fruit you go with). Sounds simple right!?
Check out my diagram above showing the perfect smoothie ratios. Remember, some fruits/veggies will have fewer juices, so they may lend themselves to thicker smoothies. It’s always easier to add a bit more liquid or fruit, rather than try to take something away!
Oh, and want to add some spices or nuts or other add-ins? Always start with a small amount first, then blend everything and do a taste test. Trust me, your “add-ins” will be a very small portion of your overall smoothie (ie: why I didn’t add them to the graphic ratios).
How many ingredients can you add to a smoothie!?
Smoothies are a blend of at least 2 things, and you can combine as many ingredients to make a smoothie. But if you’re wondering how many things to include based on serving size – this next tip is for you!
If you’re making a single-serve smoothie (ie: just for one person), use your drinking cup as your guide! So, if you want a big glass (like 500ml/2 cups), fill your cup with that amount of fruits/vegs, dump it in the blender, and then fill in the liquid (using the smoothie ratio guide).
Making a smoothie for 2 or more people? Measure out the same way. So two glasses full of frozen items, then two glasses full of liquid. OR One glass of frozen, one of fresh, and one and a half-ish glasses of liquid.
Essentially, your blender will chop down the fruit. So yes, a full smoothie serving is a full cup of fruit, plus a full cup of liquid. (Don’t follow the image and fill up a cup with half of each). I mean you could, you’ll just have less smoothie in the end :)
Now that you have the perfect smoothie ratio, you can enjoy these fresh and delicious beverages all the time! I used to make smoothies in the morning to accompany my breakfast, but now the kids love making them in the afternoon. Smoothies are a great way to fill up your belly in between meals and a good way to get your daily fruits or veggies in. Although I’m definitely team: “fruit smoothie”, I would totally be open to trying a savoury/warm smoothie too (although, is it just soup in a cup at that point, ha!?).
Do you regularly make smoothies, or only save them for a special occasion? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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- Single-Serve Summer Smoothies
- Easy Muffin Recipe (with Fruits and Veggies!)