So you want to make a smoothie, but you’re out of fresh fruit, and all you’ve got is frozen fruit sitting in your freezer. Can you blend frozen fruit? Is it even safe to put frozen fruit in a blender? Do you have to add extra ice to make a smoothie? This article will walk you through the best tips for how to make a smoothie with frozen fruit.
Cold Questions and Freezer Facts
Here we’ll answer some of the common questions people have about blending up frozen fruits.
Can You Blend Frozen Fruit?
You can indeed blend frozen fruit, though depending on the strength of your blender, it may be advisable to let your ingredients thaw out a bit first. A little bit softer and they won’t jam your machine, but they will still provide the cool temperature and slushy consistency we want in a good smoothie or shake.
Is It Safe to Put Frozen Fruit in a Blender?
Yep, though again, a little bit of thaw time goes a long way, and pro tip: add your liquid first and drop in frozen ingredients as you go. I don’t know if you’ve had the snafu of filling a blender full of frozen fruit, pouring liquid over the top of it, whether it was orange juice, milk, or almond milk, and then having the whole thing freeze together in a strange fruit sculpture installation in your blender, but… that’s what can happen. Letting the fruit thaw beforehand or adding frozen ingredients gradually as you blend can save you the frustration of trying to break up a fruity ice sculpture.
Do You Have to Add Ice Cubes to Make a Smoothie?
Ice is a great way to take fresh fruit and add hydration and a slushy quality to a fruit smoothie, but if your blender isn’t strong enough to chop ice, it might actually benefit you to use frozen fruit ingredients. Not only did you save those bananas you stashed away before they could go bad, but a frozen banana particularly lends an ice cream-like quality to a healthy smoothie, making it seem like more of a treat. Frozen fruit is softer on your blender blades than ice is, but still gives you all the same perks of including ice in your delicious smoothie.
Fresh Tips: How to Make a Smoothie with Frozen Fruit
Whether you’re making a breakfast smoothie to start your day, a post-workout cool-down refresher, or using a smoothie in lieu of a less healthy dessert like cake or ice cream, there are as many smoothie recipes as there are tastes in this world. Making smoothies can be a great way to get creative with your food so your food and health goals are a treat instead of a chore.
There are so many easy recipes that allow you to get your daily value of certain nutrients in one green smoothie, and there are also chocolatey and delicious smoothies that are still low fat or use non-fat ingredients. You can make a smoothie with protein-rich ingredients as a quick meal replacement, or blend up a healthy snack full of dietary fiber to curb hunger. We have a few fruit smoothie recipes you can follow below, but first let’s discuss some ingredients you can mix and match to find your own favorite smoothie.
Healthy Ingredients and Substitutions
When making a frozen fruit smoothie, you already know the basic recipe: take fruit, make it smoothie. Here are some of the healthy ingredients you can include, with suggestions for alternatives if they’re just not to your taste or dietary specifications. Mix and match your own recipes from here, or scroll to the bottom for our tried-and-tasty complete smoothie recipes.
We could probably debate whether the inclusion of milk turns a smoothie into a milkshake, but instead let’s discuss milk alternatives. Because while cow’s milk can provide calcium and protein and a rich texture, cow’s milk goes bad just as quickly as fresh fruit sometimes, so if you don’t have one, you may not have the other either. This is where soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk can be subbed in, not only because they’ll last longer on a shelf before being opened and might be more readily available, but also because you can avoid the issues that milk often brings (phlegm in the throat, and sometimes an upset stomach if you have a lactose sensitivity or lactose intolerance).
Another dairy product, Greek yogurt has significantly less lactose per gram than milk itself. If you can use Greek yogurt in your smoothies, not only do you reap the health benefits of Greek yogurt’s contents (protein, probiotics, calcium, etc.), but you can also get it flavored to the theme of your smoothie: strawberry, pineapple, or a nice safe vanilla yogurt pair well with dozens of other ingredients.
Of course if you have peanut allergies peanut butter is out of the running, but if not, a dollop makes for a creamy addition to almost any smoothie. Any nut butter and/or some cocoa powder or even a chocolate-flavored protein powder can transform a healthy fruit smoothie into a milkshake-like dessert.
From frozen strawberries to blueberries to raspberries and blackberries, the fruits we call berries not only bring the bright, beautiful coloring that makes smoothies look gorgeous, but they also contain antioxidants that may fight inflammation, lower your cholesterol, and help balance your blood sugar.
Banana smoothies are great not just for their health benefits for blood pressure and heart health, or just their fiber content, but because the consistency of a frozen, blended banana is nature’s own ice cream. Especially suited for giving kids a healthy dessert, frozen bananas might arguably be the best form of the banana around—forget mashed, forget sliced, forget dried! In a smoothie, frozen bananas provide a rich, creamy texture and their own natural sweetness.
Whether it’s orange juice, cranberry juice, or pineapple juice, if you’re making a fruit smoothie out of frozen ingredients, you might want to utilize fruit juice over any kind of milk, dairy or otherwise, for an outstanding blend.
The further you stay away from processed juices, the fewer added sugars you’ll have in your smoothie, but just like frozen fruits instead of fresh, sometimes that jug of juice can come in handy. Or maybe it’s something like apple juice, which will ferment and go bad eventually (don’t let it go too long or you’ll open your apple juice bottle and wonder when exactly it got carbonated—that’s a clear sign your juice has gone bad).
Still, just like with fresh fruit, freezing fruit juice in ice cube trays can make it last longer and are the perfect ingredient for a smoothie: drop in juice cubes instead of ice cubes and you’re good to go.
Now for some ingredients that might not first pop into your head when you think of a fruit smoothie, but can still be included all the same.
Blend up some coffee for that extra pick-me-up with your smoothie or to make your own at-home frappy-lappy-cappuccino like everyone else gets at Starbucks, but without all the added sugar. Not everyone likes the taste or bitterness of coffee, but you might enjoy the caffeine it provides or use it as a digestive aid first thing in the morning. So instead of drowning it in sugary creamer, why not freeze cold brew coffee into iced coffee cubes for a refreshing smoothie ingredient that keeps you cool on hot, muggy summer mornings?
With antioxidants, fiber, and protein, chia seeds are a wonderful boon to anyone on a low-carb diet, and they’re simply fun to include in various foods. Chia seed pudding is made by soaking chia seeds overnight in almond milk with fruit or natural sweeteners for flavoring. Chia seeds make a great smoothie ingredient for the same reason they make a fine pudding: they swell with moisture and turn to a gel-like consistency. This gives a little jiggle and bounce to your smoothie that might otherwise feel more like a chunky fruit purée without the smooth density of an ingredient like chia seeds.
Tasteless and versatile, MCT oil is a great ingredient to add to a smoothie you’re hoping will keep you full until your next meal. MCTs are medium-chain triglycerides isolated from coconut oil, and they give your body steady energy as they slowly digest. Just because you’re cutting calories doesn’t mean you want to starve yourself, right? A favorite of those who do keto dieting or intermittent fasting, MCT oil can be dashed into any smoothie recipe without a second thought, and gives you longer-lasting energy throughout the day.
It doesn’t matter how old you get, sometimes vegetables just aren’t as fun to eat as fruit. Well, with smoothies you can put your veggies under the fruit and not even notice them! Frozen spinach can be used to make a beautiful green smoothie, but you can add your vegetable of choice into whatever smoothie you like, and make sure that your diet, even when it’s in smoothie form, is well-balanced.
Smoothie Recipes for Frozen Fruits
Each of these recipes includes some of the ingredients we’ve discussed, and all of them can be made with frozen or fresh fruit, whichever you have on hand.
Dairy free with the tartness of cranberries and lemon juice, combined with the sweetness of apple juice and pears, this recipe also includes almonds and MCT oil.
The combination of peanut butter and chocolate, with a frozen banana, some almond milk, and the root vegetable jicama included for its prebiotic fiber, this is a peanut butter cup you can feel good about.
Frozen berries mixed with oats, coconut milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup, this smoothie has “heart-healthy breakfast smoothie” written all over it.
With frozen green grapes and pineapple, spinach, kale, and cucumber, this frozen fruit smoothie turned into a vegetable medley when you weren’t even looking!
With a frozen banana, cold brew coffee, almond milk, vanilla, and chocolate-covered almonds, you’ve got yourself a rich java jolt with this smoothie.
Dairy free, this smoothie combines coconut milk and yogurt with blueberries, bananas, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and bee pollen, all ingredients that come with health benefits and a beautiful mauve/lavender/lilac color presentation if you want to impress a guest (or yourself).
Freeze: It’s Smoothie Time
Frozen fruit isn’t just a fair compromise when fresh fruit can’t be had. Including frozen rather than fresh fruits actually brings new textures and uses to smoothies that otherwise wouldn’t work (nobody needs a hot coffee/warm fruit combo smoothie). Buy your produce from the grocery store or farmers market, and make sure it never goes bad on you by freezing what you can’t use immediately. That way even if the fruit in question has gone out of season, you can still enjoy the frozen fruits of your labor in delightful smoothie form.