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12 Tips to Make a Smoothie Thicker We’ve Actually Tested

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One of the most common mistakes people make with their smoothies is making them too liquidy and runny.

If you want a creamier consistency but keep getting smoothies that are too watery you’ve probably been wondering how to make a smoothie thicker.

My wife and I have been making smoothies every day for almost two years and I’m going to show you 12 ways to make smoothies thicker! I’ll share the most common reasons your smoothie is too thin along with the best liquids to make thicker smoothies.

how to make a smoothie thicker

3 Reasons Why Your Smoothie is Too Thin

What makes smoothies thick is the right ratio of liquid to ingredients. There are a bunch of possible reasons why your smoothie is too “liquid-y” or thin. Thankfully they’re all pretty easy to fix.

The secret to getting the right smoothie consistency and texture is find the perfect balance of liquid and food/ingredients.

  1. Too much liquid – Most people start out using too much liquid. Try starting with much less than you think you need. You can always add more while blending if you need to.
  2. Wrong liquid choice – If your smoothie is too thin then it is likely because you are using a thin liquid base, such as water or fruit juice. Try using a thicker liquid base like milk or yogurt.
  3. Not enough other ingredients – If your blender container has room, you might just need to add more dry ingredients: more fruit and more veggies.

You should also bear in mind that some solid ingredients contain water that will be released into your smoothie when they are blended. For example, melons and cucumber have a high water content. If you are using watery ingredients then keep this in mind and reduce the amount of base liquid accordingly.

You Made a Smoothie that’s Too Runny? How to Make a Smoothie Thicker

If you just got finished making a smoothie that’s too thin, what can you do? How do you fix a smoothie that’s too runny?

At the end of the day smoothie thickness is just a ratio of liquid to solid ingredients.

If your smoothie is too runny, then your only option is to add some more ingredients to make your smoothie thicker.

  • Oats – Add 1/3rd cup of dry oats and blend away.
  • Frozen fruit – Add a 2 cups of frozen fruit, ideally something thicker like bananas.
  • Greek yogurt – A half cup of greek yogurt will add some creaminess and thicken a smoothie.

If you had all three of these, I can guarantee your smoothie will be thicker. The only tricky part is that it will make your smoothie much bigger. But hey, just pour one in a jar and save it for tomorrow.

12 Tips – How to Make a Smoothie Thicker

There are bunch of different ways to make a smoothie thicker. The easiest variables to adjust are the amount of liquid and the type of liquid. If you can get that nailed down, then you’ll have thicker smoothies every time.

Many of these tips are also in our guide on how to make a protein shake thicker!

1. Use a different liquid base

I recently put together a massive guide on the 13 best liquids for smoothies. Liquids such as water and fruit juice can make a great base for lots of different types of smoothies, but they won’t make a smoothie thicker.

If you’re currently using water or another thin liquid as the base of your smoothie, but you’d like to thicken it up, then consider switching to milk for smoothies instead.

You can use dairy milk to thicken your smoothie or, if you prefer, plant-based alternatives, such as soy milk, can achieve similar results.

Check out our list of almond milk smoothies for some recipe ideas!

2. Use less liquid

not enough liquid in a smoothie

The more liquid you add to your smoothie, the more watery it will be. So, whatever liquid base you are using, consider reducing the quantity and adding more dry ingredients to help make a smoothie thicker.

You can also consider leaving out the water or milk entirely and using yogurt instead. As yogurt is much thicker than water or even milk. Yogurt is one of our favorite ways to make a smoothie creamier.

The creamy texture also helps keep a smoothie from being separating.

3. Frozen Fruit

If you’re already adding fruit to your smoothie, but would like to give it a thicker consistency, then a handy trick is to freeze the fruit before you blend it.

Fruits that work particularly well from frozen include bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, currants, mangoes, papaya, melon, and pineapple. 

Just remember that you will need to drink the smoothie soon after blending, otherwise water released as the fruit starts to thaw will dilute your drink and gradually make the smoothie more watery.

Some blenders have a hard time with frozen fruit. We recently put together a list of NutriBullet weight loss smoothies. NutriBullets can handle some frozen fruit, but not a ton. We also have a list of Magic Bullet smoothie recipes – these can’t blend frozen fruit well.

4. Use a Powerful Blender

The key to making thick smoothies is to have a strong blender. The stronger your blender, the less liquid you’ll need to add. Less liquid = a thicker smoothie.

We’ve tested a bunch of different blenders. Our favorites are the Vitamix E310 and the Ninja SS101.

5. High Fiber Vegetables

riced cauliflower in a smoothie to make it thicker

Adding vegetables that are high in fiber is a great way to thicken up your smoothie. Using frozen vegetables can make your smoothie even thicker!

Some vegetables, such carrots or squash, can be cooked, allowed to cool and then frozen for later use in smoothies. 

Other vegetables are prone to freezer burn, which makes them mushy, so are better used fresh. These include cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, and leafy greens.

There’s a myth out there that blending fruit destroys fiber, but thankfully it doesn’t! High fiber is one of the best benefits of smoothies!

6. Protein Powder

Protein powder is one of the best ways to make a smoothie thicker! The powder helps soak up liquid and add a thicker consistency. It’s also the easiest way to add protein to smoothies.

Protein powder does have some taste to it, and it can sometimes be a bit chalky, so you may want to consider other ingredients that mask the flavor of the protein powder if it isn’t to your liking. You can always get an unflavored brand.

If you’re trying to make meal replacement smoothies this is a great option.

You can choose from a range of protein powder types, including popular dairy-based whey protein, other animal-sourced protein powders, and a wide range of plant-based protein powders. 

7. Nut Butter

smoothie with nut butter

Nut butters are another fantastic source of protein, and they also contribute healthy fats and various vitamins and minerals to any smoothie recipe. 

Why not try thickening up your smoothie with creamy nut and seed butters made from peanuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and more?

Add in 1-2 tablespoons and see how it tastes!

8. Thicker Dairy Products

Compared to water, milk and plant-based milk alternatives will add some thickness to your smoothie, but thicker dairy products will add even more.

As well as normal yogurt, you can use greek yogurt, kefir, and cottage cheese to make your smoothies thicker, creamier, and tastier. Yogurt will also keep your smoothies from being foamy!

If you don’t have any yogurt, check out our list of yogurt smoothie substitutes! Many of these are used in our list of dairy free smoothie recipes.

9. Avocado

avocado smoothie

Among all the vegetables that are popular for use in smoothies, few offer the amazing thickening capacity of avocados. Rich in healthy fats, avocados have a delicious creamy texture which can really give green smoothies a lift.

It’s worth noting that while great for thickening smoothies, avocados are particularly prone to oxidation. This is what turns them brown and mushy not long after they’ve been cut. 

Oxidation can compromise the flavor, color, and nutrients of your smoothie. So, if you’re not planning to drink it right away, add some lemon juice to a smoothie with avocado in it. This will allow you to keep oxidation at bay for a few hours until it’s time for your next smoothie break.

Avocado is one of the more popular ingredients in our list of high calorie smoothies for gaining weight!

10. Soaked Oats, Nuts, or Seeds

Did you know that many of the ingredients you’d usually use in your homemade oatmeal can also be dropped into a smoothie? 

Rolled oats and whole nuts or seeds can be transformed into ultimate smoothie-thickening ingredient with just a little forward planning.

To make a smoothie thicker with these kitchen cabinet staples, simply soak them in water or your smoothie-making liquid of choice overnight. By morning, they’ll be perfectly softened and ready to throw into your blender. This is a great way to add some calories and carbs into your smoothie.

11. Coconut

Coconut is a fantastic ingredient for thickening smoothies in more ways that one.

You can use coconut milk as a smoothie base, make your smoothie thicker with a tablespoon of coconut flour, or add some frozen coconut flesh into the mix. Coconut is also one of our favorite ways to make a smoothie sweeter!

Frozen coconut is a popular ingredient in our list of low sugar smoothies!

thick smoothie with coconut

12. Sweet Potato

If you like the idea of thickening your smoothie and making it taste sweeter, but without reaching for an unhealthy ingredient, sweet potato is a brilliant option. Sweet potato is probably our favorite ingredient for making smoother smoothies!

To use sweet potatoes in your smoothies, either cook the potatoes whole and scoop out the flesh, or peel and cube them first. The skin of a sweet potato is a bit too fibrous for blending into a smoothie, but the cooked flesh is gloriously creamy when blended. It’s also one of the best banana substitutes for smoothies!

Best Liquids to Make Thick Smoothies

My wife and I have made hundreds of smoothies. I’ve tested all kinds of different liquids to make thick smoothies.

The thicker the liquid, the thicker the smoothie will be. It’s tough to make smoothies with water that are thick. Other liquids like kombucha, juice, and coffee are mostly water based.

The key is to use one of these milks for your smoothies:

  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Whole milk

We usually use almond milk because it’s just as thick as oat milk, but 1/3rd of the calories.

Do Ice Cubes Make Thicker Smoothies?

We tested this recently and ice cubes do not make smoothies thicker. They’ll work very temporarily if you use ice instead of liquid, but it only takes minutes for the ice to melt. Once it does, it will turn to water and make the smoothies thinner.

Common Questions on Smoothie Thickness

Does yogurt thicken a smoothie?

Yes, yogurt is great for thickening a smoothie! If you’re struggling to make smoothies with the right consistency, cut your liquid in half and add in some greek yogurt. This will give it a smooth and creamy consistency.

How do you make a smoothie thicker without milk?

The best way to thicken a smoothie without milk is to use an alternative thick base such as soy milk, yogurt or cream cheese. Alternatively, you can use water or fruit juice as the base of your smoothie, but only use a small amount of liquid and add lots of other thickening ingredients like frozen fruit.

How do you fix a watery smoothie?

The best way to fix a watery smoothie is to drain away some of the liquid and add more dry ingredients. Keep adding frozen fruit and vegetables until the consistency is where you want it.

What liquid makes smoothies thick?

The best liquid for thick smoothies are different kinds of milk (dairy or non-dairy). Whole milk is the best choice but almond milk is the next thickest and has way fewer calories. You can also consider alternatives such as yogurt, cream cheese and kefir.

What can I add to my smoothie to thicken it?

Ingredients we recommend adding to smoothie to thicken it include:
1. Frozen fruit, such as banana and avocado
2. Fibrous vegetables, such as carrot or sweet potato
3. Nut butter
4. Protein powder
5. Thick dairy products, such as yogurt and cottage cheese
6. Oats, nuts and seeds
7. Healthy flours
8. Silken tofu
9. Quinoa

Photo of author

Richmond Howard

Richmond Howard started World of Blenders in 2022 to help people solve all their blender issues and buy the best blender for their kitchen! He's tested dozens of blenders and on his other site, Meal Prepify, he's helped over 3 million people learn how to meal prep.

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