How to Make a Smoothie: The Only Guide You Need

How to Make a SmoothieIf you want to learn how to make delicious and highly nutritious smoothies, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’ve never made a smoothie before and need step-by-step instructions, or you want to take your smoothie making skills to the next level, everything you need to know is outlined below.

I’ve made thousands of delicious, creamy smoothies over the years and have turned it into sort of an art form. The good news is anybody can learn how to make smoothies like I have. Once you get the basics down, you’ll be creating smoothies like a master in no time.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know to make the smoothie recipes on Healthy Smoothie HQ, recipes you find elsewhere, and better yet, new recipes you dream up on your own.

How to Make a Smoothie in 6 Steps

Learning how to make a smoothie is actually pretty easy if you follow the steps below.

Step 1: Pick a Smoothie Recipe to Make

Determine the smoothie recipe you would like to make based on your purpose. Are you on a diet, looking to lose weight, and in need of a meal replacement? Or are you trying to get more greens into your diet, protein after a workout, or simply looking to make a delicious dessert recipe or a tasty snack?

If you don’t have a recipe in mind, peruse this site for plenty of healthy options, search the internet, or ask a friend for a good smoothie recipe.

Step 2: Add Your Liquid

The first thing to add into your blender is the liquid, which is usually around 1 to 2 cups. Follow what your smoothie recipe calls for, but keep a few things in mind. The more liquid you add, the more watery or runnier your smoothie will be. Some people like it this way. If you prefer a thicker consistency, use slightly less liquid.

Here are the liquids I recommend for making healthy smoothies: water (filtered or real spring water), almond milk, coconut milk/water, raw milk, organic fruit juices, fresh squeezed or pressed juice, tea, and kefir (from milk or coconut water).

Step 3: Add Your Base

The “base” is what will provide a creamy smoothie texture. Think of it as the “body” of your smoothie. Many smoothie recipes call for a banana or two. Bananas are a terrific base and provide your smoothie with a nice creaminess, and sweet taste. Fruits such as mango, peach, pear and apple will also do the trick. Other good options include avocado, coconut meat, chia seed gel, nut butters (almond is my favorite), yogurt, frozen fruit and ice.

Water rich fruits like watermelon and pineapple won’t give you that creamy smoothie consistency. Adding ice is a quick and easy way to thicken a smoothie full of water laden fruits.

Step 4: Add Fruits and/or Vegetables

Now that you’ve got your liquid and base squared away, it’s time to add the fruits and/or vegetables the smoothie recipe you’re making calls for.

This is also a great time to experiment, get creative, and have fun exploring the various fruit and vegetable combinations your taste buds adore. Most fruit can be used either fresh or frozen, see which you prefer. I tend to like my berries frozen (and often use as a  substitute for ice), but most other fruits fresh.

If you’re making a green smoothie with the likes of spinach, kale, beet greens, dandelion greens, arugula, or lettuce, you may want to cut the greens into smaller pieces depending on the power of your blender. You also may want to add the greens into your blender last, after adding any optional add-ons.

Step 5: Optional Add-ons

This is where you can really take your smoothie to the next level of nutrition and tastiness, and have lots of fun doing so. Many of the add-ons below can be incorporated into a number of smoothie recipes. As your smoothie skills develop, you’ll intuitively know which add-ons to use in which recipes. The list below is not meant to overwhelm you, but rather give you an idea of what’s possible, and available.

Sweeteners

Most smoothie recipes include enough sweet fruit to bypass a sweetener to enhance the taste, but if not, here are some good ones I recommend: honey, stevia, maple syrup, and dates. Avoid the popular sweetener agave nectar, here’s why. Xylitol is also questionable. For more info on sweeteners, check out  my post on the best and worst sweeteners.

Salt

A dash of a high quality salt will increase the minerals and improve the taste of your smoothie. I prefer Celtic sea salt and pink Himalayan salt. There are a plethora of good salts to choose from, just make sure to avoid nutritionally bankrupt white table salt.

Spices

You can also adjust the taste, and healthiness, of your smoothie by using common spices. Cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, and cayenne are a few of my favorites.

Protein Powder

If you’re making an after workout smoothie or simply looking to get more protein into your diet, add in a high quality protein powder. I recommend Sun WarriorWarrior Whey, Dr. Mercola’s Miracle Whey, and a good hemp protein powder. The protein powders come in several delicious flavors further reducing your need to add a sweetener.

Superfoods

There are an abundance of superfoods available to boost the nutrition of your smoothie. Here are some of my favorites: cacao (raw chocolate), maca, flax seeds, goji berries, spirulina, coconut products (oil, shreds, flakes, meat), bee pollen, hemp seeds, acai (powder and juice), aloe vera, and colostrum.

There are also a number of highly nutritive green superfood powders designed for boosting the nutrition of your smoothies. My top picks are Ormus SuperGreensBoku Superfood, and Vitamineral Green.

Step 6: Blend It Up!

Now that you’ve added all your lovely ingredients into your blender, it’s show time. Depending on your blender, and smoothie ingredients, you may need to start out on a low setting (or pulse) before getting up to top blending speed. Some blenders even come with a handy smoothie button for extra easy smoothie making.

I like to blend my smoothies until the liquid is fully circulating within the blender for about 5 seconds. Total blend time is usually between 30 to 60 seconds depending on the ingredients. It may take you a few blends to get it down. Don’t worry, once you do it will become second nature, like riding a bike.

Enjoy and Share Your SmoothieNow for the most important smoothie making step of all: Enjoy and Share!

Smoothie Troubleshooting

Here are a few of the common smoothie making mishaps people often experience along with the remedy.

Is your smoothie too frothy? Try using a little less liquid, and make sure not to blend too long. Try withholding the liquid (maybe just half) until the other ingredients are thoroughly mixed or liquefied, then add the remaining liquid and only blend on the lowest speed until it’s incorporated.

The thickening or “base” ingredients mentioned above (banana, avocado, coconut meat, chia seed gel, nut butter, yogurt, frozen fruit and ice) will help. Milk can cause frothiness, maybe try organic apple juice or water instead. When blending greens like baby spinach, you won’t need as much liquid because they blend so well and contain a fair amount themselves.

Is your smoothie to runny? The quick fix for this is reducing the amount of liquid. More thickening smoothie ingredients will also alleviate this problem.

Is your smoothie not tasty or sweet enough? Simply add a little more of your preferred sweetener. I recommend honey, stevia, maple syrup, and dates.

Is your green smoothie too bitter? This happened to me the first time I used dandelion greens. Use less greens and/or more sweet fruit and sweetener.

Is your smoothie not blending very well? Filling your blender jar to high might result in less than ideal blending. If you have an older or low powered blender, you may need to blend your liquid, base, fresh fruit, and greens (chop into small pieces) first, then add in any frozen fruit or ice cubes and blend until nice and smooth.

You may also need to add more liquid to balance out the ingredients. Your blender may be the culprit. You may have an older, less powerful, blender that simply can’t get the job done.

Not sure which blender is best for you? See my post on The Best Blender For Making Smoothies Revealed.

Have a Tip or Story On Making Smoothies?

Is there a smoothie making tip or trick you employ that I failed to mention above?

Have a funny or embarrassing smoothie making story? I’ve got a one. One time I failed to put the lid on my blender bottle and sprayed a half blended smoothie all over my kitchen, even getting my ceiling nice and dirty. Oops! I certainly learned my lesson.

Please share your smoothie stories below in the comments. Happy Blending!

185 Responses to How to Make a Smoothie: The Only Guide You Need

  1. Shannon #

    This was a very good recipe…? Well whatever it is called, it was very easy to follow, and exactly what I really needed to make a smoothie. Since I don’t follow a recipe, and I just experiment, I needed something, to tell me how to put it in, the base of a smoothie basically. A guide, and this did exactly that. I could understand it really well.

    Props to you, the maker of this smoothie guide.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Thanks, Shannon. Happy blending!

  2. Magda #

    Thank you for the step by step instructions on making smoothies. looking forward to making it. Magda

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You’re welcome, Magda. Good luck with your smoothies!

  3. EDWIN ASARE #

    Hello Ryan,I am getting the best smoothie recipes from you.Thanks for that.
    I am looking forward to more recipes in all aspect of life ,whether weight loss,whatever.Please I need more especially ebooks.Send them via my email.
    Thanks!
    Regards!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You’re welcome, Edwin. Be sure to search my site as I have over 200 recipes and numerous articles on subjects like weight loss. Another eBook is in the works.

  4. Karen #

    Great information Ryan! I haven’t started yet making smoothies but I’m getting myself prepared with info and making up my grocery list. Thanks again.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You’re welcome, Karen. Good luck with your smoothies!

  5. Claudette #

    Ryan, I just came across your website and received your e-book yesterday. I have been drinking green smoothies twice a day for about a year and have lost close to 100 pounds. I am always looking for more information & recipes to help me in my journey to good health and still have about 60 pounds more to lose. I enjoyed a modified version of your peanut butter oatmeal smoothie this morning and look forward to trying out many more recipes. You have made so much information available to all who are searching. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of all things smoothie!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Lost close to 100 pounds, that’s fantastic, Claudette! Good for you! I hope you find many nutritious and delicious recipes and more good information on my site :)

  6. Siobhain Flynn #

    Hi Ryan

    Greetings from Cork Ireland, I really like the site its clear and very easy to use. I am new to smoothies and juicing and cant believe how well I feel since starting. Most mornings now I make myself either a juice or smoothie for breakfast and another to carry with me for elevenses. Usually by lunch time I don’t feel hungry and have a salad which keeps me going until evening. A local company here called punc have nice flasks http://www.puncbottles.com which are great to keep the smoothies cool and makes them easy to carry. Starting to explore fermented drinks now also and loving them also. best of luck Siobhain

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hello Siobhain from Ireland. Nice to hear you’ve hopped on board the healthy smoothie (and juice) train and are feeling good. Those flasks look sharp. One question/concern: are they difficult to clean with the narrow neck?

      • Siobhain #

        Hi Ryan, I find them great as it fits nicely into my bag and smoothies stays cool inside, you drink from the bottle so no cup, No never any issues with cleaning as large enough to allow in a brush. btw since I started I find my mental process is better and my mind is less foggy. Sobhain lol

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Very good, I’ll have to try one of those flasks. A less foggy, clearer mind is a good thing :)

  7. fernando portillo #

    hi ryan,
    ok i have this problem when i do my smoothies, everything its good, the flavour, the sweetness, the salt, the cocistence, but i have trouble calculating the portions, because i wanna do 16 ounces smoothies, but somethimes i miss calculate and i end with extra smoothie or less smoothie than what i need, so my question is the following: how do i calculate the portions of ice, fruit, etc. to make a 16 oz smoothie?
    thank you!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Good question, Fernando. The best way to control the size of your smoothies is by dialing in the amount of liquid you are using. Determine portions for the ingredients based on your health goals and preferences. Then add the right amount of liquid to get to 16 ounces. It may take a few tries, but once you get it down it should become second nature. Why is it that you want 16 ounce smoothies?

  8. Tana #

    Hello Ryan I love smoothies and I love your website. I have learned tons from your pages. When is the best time to drink a smoothie? I don’t like to eat a lot for dinner when I am at home. Going out to dinner I will eat a regular meal. I enjoy my smoothies also in the morning. So when is the best time, nutrionally to have a smoothie?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Thanks for the love, Tana :) Nutritionally, there’s really no best time. However, most people including myself enjoy smoothies for breakfast. You want to be sure to consume smoothies on an empty stomach to maximize digestion and absorption, which is easy if you consume in the morning.

  9. Chris #

    Hi Ryan just read through your website, and im bery interested in making smoothies, see the problem is iv never eaten any vegetable even as a baby i didnt eat them
    I am now 26 and need to start to incorperate vegetables into my diet, i like all fruits but i know im not getting the vitamins i need!
    I have tried vegetables and can honestly say are disgusting!
    So i thort id give this a try,
    The million dollar question is can you hide the taste of vegetables in smooties? And make them bareable enough so i am getting the vitamins i require.
    Thank you.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Yes, you can hide the taste of most veggies in smoothies. That’s one of the number one reasons I turned to smoothies several years ago. Start with bland veggies like baby spinach and then try other leafy greens such as kale and beet greens.

  10. mags #

    Hi! great article! I was just wondering if you add yogurt to the smoothie, would you put it in during step 3?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Yes, step 3 is the appropriate time to add yogurt, mags.

  11. Chris #

    I can’t wait to start these recipes. I have a very bad habit of falling off the wagon after a while. Any ideas? I need to lose weight so I can enjoy life. I am sure your suggestions will help. I love cacao,can I use that in a smoothie? I have a Nutra bullet and a Vitamix, which is the best? Is coconut oil better than grape seed or olive oil?
    Thanks

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Chris,

      I use to fall off the wagon too. Try to surround yourself with people (and food) that support a healthy you. Cacao is a great smoothie ingredient and blends well into almost all smoothies. NutriBullet and VitaMix are both great blenders, use whichever you prefer. In smoothies yet, use coconut oil.

      Regards,
      Ryan

  12. Thank you Ryan, I have deepest gratefulness for the effort you have put into your website.
    You have helped me immeasurably to learn how to put together all these super food ingredients..( which just seemed to overwhelm me before. ) into delicious, nutritious and healing smoothy meals. You are a much needed and earth angel. Thank you.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Thank you for the thoughtful and kind comment, Beverly :) It means a lot considering the time and effort I’ve put into this website. It’s great to hear you’re making delicious, nutritious, and healing smoothies!

  13. Sion #

    My family drinks Da Vinci Gourmet’s smoothies, but I’m told it’s not healthy. So I would like to start learning how to make healthy smoothies. I’m looking to make a strawberry flavor smoothie for myself.

    Recipe:
    1 cup strawberries
    1/2 cup of oats
    1 cup of kale
    1/2 spinach
    1 cup of ice

    I’m not sure if that would give me the strawberry flavor, but I think I read somewhere the flavor of fruit is stronger than vegetables.

    Reading online, people suggested ice instead of water. You have ice listed as a base. Can I use ice as both liquid and base?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Fruit flavor and sweetness does typically over power the taste of greens. I would suggest using only 1/2 cup kale as it can be pretty bitter. Using ice is fine, but you might want to add a little water to facilitate the blending. Tweak the recipes until you find your sweet spot!

  14. Jay #

    If the base is frozen bananas, would you add it last rather than early?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      I prefer to add right after the liquid, but it’s more personal preference than anything.

  15. Peppy #

    Hi Ryan! Thanks for the information. I found them very useful but my problem is how to get a particular taste after the whole blending. I mean a homogeneous most mixture. And most times they are not very smooth. Please what do I do?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      What did you use as your base, Peppy? Avocado is my favorite base and always leads to a thick, creamy consistency.

  16. Peppy #

    Please can I use the water from watermelon as a base?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Yes, water from watermelon can be used as the liquid. You want something with body like avocado or banana as the base.

  17. Peggy #

    Great Info!!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Thanks, Peggy!

  18. Christine #

    Hi there Ryan,

    Thank you for an informative site. And you have such a lively community too. I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments and exchanges…

    I’d like to start on the ‘smoothies’ path; got your e-book just now. Recipes are not daunting at all so I have no excuses not to start. Question: will a hand-blender work? I have a Fissler hand-blender which I’m thinking of using, if it were ok.

    Many thanks.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Yes, a hand blender will work just fine. Welcome aboard the healthy smoothie train, Christine :)

  19. Sabrina #

    I have a new powerful blender (not the expensive ones), and if I add chocolate chips to my blender (in a smoothie), everything is crushed (almonds, nuts, fresh and frozen fruits, leaves, ice cubes) except chocolate chips (not all, some are un crushed).
    I wonder why a few chocolate chips escape the blending, but everything else is crushed.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      I’ve never used chocolate chips because they typically aren’t pure chocolate. I recommend cacao nibs. I actually like some chunks in my smoothies as it forces me to slow down and chew, which improves digestion.

  20. Pearl #

    Hi Ryan, I send you my love all the way from NIGERIA (AFRICA), surprised? ..yipee! smile.. Well I was on a search for a healthy, nutritious and energising way to blend fruits and not make it boring for my family. So I hit the Internet and I stumbled upon yours, and I’m I’m sooo excited I clicked on your site. Thanks for taking out time to explain, although most of the fruits are rare here, but due to your wide details I was able to search out fruits that are in line with those you mentioned. Now I make smoothies like a pro hahaha. My husband is professional soccer player which is what drove me to seek a nutritious yet simple way of getting him re-energised after the day’s sweat! I’m super excited that I have a limitless options to play with every week! Oh… whenever friends and family come over, guess what? I shine with my varieties without breaking a bank Fir it. God bless you.
    Thanks
    Pearl

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Right back at ya with love, Pearl.

      Your comment brought a huge smile to my face :) Great to hear you’re finding my content and recipes useful. Also nice to hear you’re substituting local fruits for those I often use in my recipes that are local to me. I bet you are a smoothie making pro :)

      Regards,
      Ryan

  21. Sassy #

    Omg this was so useful thanks alot

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You’re welcome, Sassy!

  22. Cait Rock #

    I am completely new to making smoothies, but as an intelligent working mother of twin kindergarteners, I figured, I GOT THIS. Why is there a consistent undertone of pepper ruining the vanilla yogurt, chocolate whey protein, kiwi with skin, Kyo Green powder (grasses, kelp, FOS), and MegaFood daily energy powder (beets,green tea, Bacopa, B12). I have tried removing each of the supplements separately and remaking the drink, same result. I NEED to boost my energy, my immune system, my quality of life for the tiny little cells that are put thru hell every day inside a lunatic trial attorney with a beautiful busy family, did I mention twins????😮 I need serenity in a blender… MINUS THE ALCOHOL 😂 can this be achieved?

  23. Jed #

    My smoothie-making life changed when I bought a VitaMix blender. I hemmed and hawed over getting one for, I kid you not, more than 20 years. I finally bought myself one for my birthday just over a year ago and I use it every… single… day.

    Getting ahold of a VitaMix (or another really powerful machine) is not a requirement for smoothie-making, but it sure helped me. Now, for instance, instead of adding a commercially prepared nut milk as a base, I just add nuts and water … and presto! the same result for a heck of a lot less money. (I also use it for tons of other things I’d never imagined.)

    • Ryan Carmody #

      I can relate, Jed. An Oyster Beehive blender served me well for several years. My Blendtec (and now Vitamix) were game changers.

  24. Dima #

    Hi Ryan,
    Do you recommend a blender or a smoothie maker?
    Thanks

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