A Guide to Perfect Smoothie Bowls

smiling avocado

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[This is a guest post from Kaitlyn Ko, from Happiness Comes in Tastes, about how to make healthy, delicious smoothie bowls at home. Kaitlyn shares tips and techniques about how to make sure your homemade smoothie bowls are nutrient-packed, and have perfect flavor and consistency.]

Smoothie bowls are packed full of nutrients, low calorie, and taste like ice cream.

They can serve as either breakfast or dessert, and often include all 3 macronutrients.

It’s no wonder this health food trend hit the internet by storm, and even a year later, many of us are still enjoying this delectable treat. 

As a quick, easy, well-balanced meal, this is perfect for busy mornings! Whether you’re going to school or work, you will be nourished and ready for the day. 

When I found out about smoothie bowls, I fell in love! Since then, I’ve made a plethora of smoothie bowls, experimenting with new recipes and ways to improve taste and nutrition.

Over time, I’ve devised the best method for making smoothie bowls (with both high-quality and affordable blenders) and how to make them as delicious AND nutritious as possible! 

Secrets to Making A Thick and Creamy Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls with berries and seeds on top on a counter with ingredients surrounding them

Make no mistake, this is not just a smoothie poured into a bowl. Doing so is a travesty to the name of smoothie bowls! In case you aren’t familiar with smoothie bowls, allow me to expound.

Smoothie bowls consist of the same ingredients you would expect in a smoothie but have a much thicker texture.

In fact, with a true smoothie bowl, you should be able to hold a spoon upside down without the smoothie falling off, as demonstrated in the video linked below. 

In short, they are like the Dairy Queen Blizzards of the health world: thick, creamy, and mouth-wateringly delicious. You won’t feel like you are eating a “health food” at all. 

So how do you make the perfect smoothie bowl?

General Tips For Thick Smoothie Bowls

Side by side of smoothie bowl with and without toppings

1. Use sliced fruit and vegetables.

You can either buy frozen fruits and vegetables that are already cut into small pieces, or slice fresh fruit and vegetables into half-inch pieces before freezing them.

This will allow your smoothie to blend smoothly with less liquid.

2. Add your liquid in small increments.

The most common mistake in smoothie bowls is adding too much liquid.

On the other hand, if you don’t add enough, your blender will have a hard time blending up your ingredients.

Start with a small amount (about ½ a cup per serving) and add more, if needed. 

3. Don’t use ice.

Ice cubes turn into slush when blended, and we are looking for a creamy ice cream consistency.

If your smoothie is too sweet from all the fruit or you’re looking to cut down the calories, use frozen vegetables instead.

I’ll have a list below of the best vegetables to add to smoothies without affecting the flavour. 

The Best Blenders For Smoothie Bowls

A good blender can save you a lot of time and trouble when making smoothie bowls.

While you can certainly make them with a regular blender (I had to at first), having a high-quality blender will definitely help!

These are some of the best blenders, in my opinion:

1. Ninja BN701 Professional Plus Blender with Auto-iQ

This is the exact blender I own and love. 10/10 recommend, it is a great deal for its quality.

Click here to check it out for yourself.

2. Ninja Foodi Smoothie Bowl Maker and Nutrient Extractor

I’ve been eyeing this blender for a while and have seen great reviews online. It looks so convenient for making small, single-serve portions.

This could be especially helpful for a student or someone living alone (I’m hoping to get it for college!). 

Click here to check it out for yourself.

3. Vitamix

Arguably the most reputable blender brand on the market, but also the priciest.

Buying a Vitamix will guarantee you a high-quality blender and is a great investment if you foresee yourself using it often. 

Click here to check it out for yourself.

What To Do If You Don’t Have a High Quality Blender

Four images showing how to mix. two different thick smoothie bowl bases

Using a regular blender to make thick smoothie bowls takes slightly more effort on your part, but your patience will be rewarded. 

No matter what blender you are using, it is important to add the right amount of liquid.

But with weaker blenders, it is imperative that you add enough liquid for the fruits to blend smoothly. 

Next, you’ll employ a strategy I like to call the “shake and stab.” (Despite the comical name, it has proven to be successful on numerous occasions.)

How to “shake and stab”:

1. Every 5-10 seconds, pause the blender and shake it until the ingredients fall back to the bottom

2. Then, open it up and stab at the contents with a blender stick, large spoon or butter knife, simultaneously distributing the solids and liquid evenly throughout the blender.

3. Finally, screw the cap back on and blend again.

4. Repeat until you reach the desired consistency. 

For a video tutorial, watch this video by Ashley Wicka: 

How to make THICK SMOOTHIE BOWLS + 3 recipes

How To Add More Nutrients To Your Smoothie Bowl

In order to have a balanced meal, we need to add more than just fruit!

I love to add frozen vegetables (you won’t taste them, I swear!), protein sources, and healthy fat.

Below are some of my favorite ways to pack nutrients into my smoothie bowls.

Best Vegetables To Add To Smoothie Bowls

Blender pitcher with smoothie bowl ingredients

1. Frozen Zucchini

Frozen zucchini is by far my favourite vegetable to put in my smoothies!

They do not add any flavour at all, and if you peel them, they won’t add colour either.

They act as ice cubes but result in a creamier texture.

Best Tips:

  • Cut your zucchinis into half-inch cubes before freezing them, so they are easier to blend.
  • You should add ¼ to ⅓ cup of zucchini in one serving. 

2. Frozen Yellow Squash

Frozen yellow squash is similar to zucchini but has a yellow peel instead of green.

This is a good alternative if you don’t want the hassle of peeling your zucchini and don’t want to see your vegetables in your smoothie bowl. 

Best Tips: (The same recommendations for zucchini apply here)

  • Cut your yellow squash into half-inch cubes before freezing them,
  • and add ¼ to ⅓ cup per serving. 

3. Frozen Cauliflower or Cauliflower Rice

Frozen cauliflower/cauliflower rice is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to prepare frozen vegetables.

Most grocery stores sell frozen cauliflower or frozen cauliflower rice in their frozen sections.

Best Tips:

  • I would recommend cauliflower rice because they blend much more smoothly.
  • Keep your frozen cauliflower to ¼ cup per serving (about 3 pieces if you’re using whole cauliflower) since they add a slight flavour if you add too much. 

4. Fresh or Frozen Spinach

Fresh or frozen spinach is your best option if you want to add copious amounts of vegetables without affecting the flavour of your smoothie.

Because of its volume, you can fill up ⅓ or even half of your recipe with spinach without tasting it.

However, spinach does have a strong colour.

Best Tips:

  • You should only add spinach if you are making a green smoothie or another flavour that is already green, such as matcha or mint. 

5. Frozen Beets

Frozen beets add a beautiful red colour, especially in conjunction with berries.

This is for you if you’re looking for a vibrant smoothie bowl to start off your day!

Best Tips:

  • This is the strongest of these five vegetables, so unless you enjoy its flavour, you should keep it to about 2 tablespoons per serving.

Best Protein Sources For Smoothie Bowls

Bowl of greek yogurt with raspberries around it, and three berries on top of the yogurt

1. Yogurt or Plant-Based Yogurt Alternatives

Yogurt or plant-based yogurt alternatives add a lovely creamy texture to smoothies.

Greek yogurts especially are high in protein.

They also offer a host of probiotics and micronutrients that are beneficial for your well-being.  

Best Tips:

  • If you opt for dairy yogurt, the unsweetened yogurt made from whole milk is the best for your health.
  • They are usually made with minimal ingredients and exclude some of the superfluous additives you may find in flavoured or more processed yogurt.
  • However, this can differ from brand to brand so be sure to check the ingredients label!
  • You can add anywhere from ¼ to ½ cup of yogurt, depending on how much yogurt flavour you want in your smoothie bowl. 

2. Tofu

Tofu can also make your smoothie bowl creamier.

It is a wonderful plant-based protein source and doesn’t offer the acidic taste often found in yogurts. 

Best Tips:

  • Use about ¼ block of silken tofu in a smoothie bowl.
  • When combined with lemon juice, it can also create a cheesecake-like flavour. 

3. Protein Powder

Protein powder can add a variety of fun flavours to your smoothie bowls.

You can go for a simple protein powder such as vanilla or one that isn’t flavoured.

Many people also use creative flavours like mint chip or pumpkin spice, now that we’re approaching the fall season!

Best Tips:

  • If you are adding protein powder for the flavour, a ½ scoop should be enough,
  • but if you want more protein, a full scoop will serve you better.

Best Healthy Fats For Smoothie Bowls

Display of avocados - one whole, one half with the seed, several leaves, a spoon with avocado slices, and a small jar of avocado oil

1. Nut Butters

Nut butters are a wonderful source of healthy fats.

Just a modicum of it can add a lot of flavour and creaminess.

1-2 tablespoons should suffice!

Best Tips:

  • For stronger nut butter, peanut butter and almond butter are amazing.
  • As for subtler nut butter, cashew butter is a popular option. 

2. Avocado

Avocado adds creaminess to a smoothie bowl without affecting the taste too much.

Some grocery stores also sell frozen avocado if you want an even thicker consistency.

Best Tips:

  • Add about ¼ of an avocado to your smoothie, adjusting based on the size of the avocado.

3. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is also quite high in fat content.

You can either use coconut milk as the liquid of your smoothie or freeze them into cubes.

Some people use frozen coconut milk cubes as the base of a smoothie bowl rather than frozen fruit!

Best Tips:

  • The amount you add will depend on whether you are using coconut milk as milk or ice cubes.
  • It also varies based on how much coconut flavour you are looking for.

Best Smoothie Bowl Recipes

Last but not least, here are some of my favourite smoothie bowl recipes!

Most of them are vegan, dairy-free, and sugar-free, and you can always modify recipes based on your dietary restrictions or preferences.

Light tan smoothie bowl with banana slices, seeds and other toppings.

Mint Chocolate Swirl Smoothie Bowl – Happiness Comes in Tastes

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Bowl – Bakerita 

Pina Colada Smoothie Bowl – Twin Coast

Mango Spinach Smoothie – Pick Up Limes 

Almond Butter Banana Smoothie Bowl – Happiness Comes in Tastes 

Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl – Sunkissed Kitchen

Mocha Protein Smoothie Bowl – What Molly Made

There are so many more smoothie bowl combos you can try! Explore different recipes online, or make a new recipe on your own.

About the Author

Headshot of Kaitlyn Ko

Hi! I’m Kaitlyn, a rising junior in high school. I’m a lover of all things food and health, which is why I started my blog Happiness Comes in Tastes

As an aspiring dietician, I hope to promote healthy eating in girls and young women. I’d like to say I’m impervious to the widespread diet culture on social media, but unfortunately, body image has been a huge struggle for me. As I continue to strive for a healthy relationship with food, I hope to inspire other girls to do so as well. 

I share many nutritious and delicious recipes on my blog because healthy eating should be fun and easy! As a busy student, I value convenience and affordability, so all my recipes are enjoyable to make AND eat. Join me on my journey to a happier and healthier lifestyle today.

Cathy Dean

Hey y’all. My name is Cathy, a former junk-food loving carb-aholic turned nutrition and fitness enthusiast. Here at Avocadu, we believe that a nutrient-rich diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. Our motto is “Healthy from the Inside Out”! As a Certified Keto Coach, I specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating.

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2 replies on “A Guide to Perfect Smoothie Bowls”

I’m still trying to recover from your “shake and stab” 🤣😂🤣. I love your well-rounded and informative article on smoothie bowls. I was already a fan, but this further ignited my passion and inspired me to look into more creative possibilities. Your blog looks awesome, too.

Hey, y’all! I’m Cathy!

I’m SO excited you’re here! I’m super passionate about nutrition, and specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating. Here at Avocadu, we believe in quality over quantity and that diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. In short, we believe in being healthy from the inside out. Learn more

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