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5 Ways to Make a Smoothie Thinner + 5 Ingredients to Avoid

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Nothing is worse than a smoothie that’s too thick to drink or full of clumps and chunks.

My wife and I are huge smoothie fans. We own an embarrassing amount of blenders and most of our freezer is dedicated to smoothie ingredients.

It takes practice to get the right smoothie consistency.

I’ll show you how to make a smoothie thinner and explain why some smoothies are thicker than others! There may be some ingredients you’re adding that are making your smoothies thicker than you want.

how to make a smoothie thinner. pouring a green smoothie into a jar.

5 Ways To Make A Smoothie Thinner

I’ve been making smoothies almost every day for a few years.

Here are the five easiest ways to make a smoothie thinner:

  • Using a thinner base liquid
  • Adding more base liquid
  • Adding ingredients that contain water
  • Avoiding ingredients that cause smoothies to thicken
  • Using fresh ingredients rather than frozen

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.

1. Use a Thinner Base Liquid

The most popular liquids for smoothies include water, milk and fruit juice, but there are lots of other options too.

The liquid you choose will largely depend on the type of smoothie you are making and how compatible each liquid is with the other ingredients.

However, if you are concerned about your smoothie being too thick then the consistency of the liquid is an important factor to consider too.

best liquids for smoothies

All of the following liquids can be used to make delicious smoothies, but the non-milk options have a thinner consistency that will result in a thinner smoothie:

  • Water 
  • Fruit juice
  • Coconut water 
  • Iced coffee
  • Kombucha 
  • Dairy milk 
  • Non-dairy milks like: Almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, rice milk, oat milk, soy milk
  • Iced herbal tea
  • Kefir

Check out our full list of dairy and non-dairy milks for smoothies for more options!

2. Add More Base Liquid

As well as dry ingredients, most smoothies contain a base liquid, such as water, fruit juice or milk. If your smoothie is too thick, you can make it thinner by adding more liquid. 

pouring water into smoothie

You could simply add water. However, making smoothies with water will dilute your smoothie without adding any more flavor. You may therefore prefer to use an alternative liquid that adds flavor to the drink, such as milk, fruit juice, tea or coconut water.

To make sure your smoothie has the right consistency, we recommend adding a small amount of base liquid initially, then gradually adding more as you blend your smoothie until you achieve your desired result.

If you use too much liquid, it can make your smoothie foamy or too thin.

3. Add Ingredients That Contain Water

Pouring in a base liquid isn’t the only way to add liquid to your smoothie and make it thinner. You can also introduce liquid indirectly, by adding ingredients that contain a lot of water. 

Many fruits and vegetables are as good natural source of water.

  • Watermelon, cucumber, and berries are juicy, so will make a smoothie thinner when they are blended into the mixture.
  • Strawberries are a good choice if you are looking to add water to your smoothie and introduce a sweet, fruity flavor at the same time.

However, you must remember that different fruits and vegetables have different water contents and not all of them will contribute to a thinner smoothie.

smoothie made with banana, strawberry, and avocado
This smoothie includes bananas and avocados so it is not thin due to the fruits’ low water content.

Bananas, carrots, and avocados contain a relatively small amount of water, so will have the opposite effect and make your smoothie thicker rather than thinner.

The downside here is that these ingredients can also make a smoothie separate more easily.

4. Avoid Thickening Ingredients

As well as avoiding fibrous fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and carrots, there are several other ingredients that will make a smoothie thicker too.

Thickening ingredients that are best avoided if you want a thin smoothie are yogurt, cream cheese, oats, nuts, nut butter, seeds, tofu and quinoa.

Our list of smoothie recipes without yogurt tend to be on the thinner side because yogurt is commonly used to make smoothies smoother and thicker!

smoothie with nut butter

Instead of these tough fibrous ingredients, look for soft watery ingredients to produce a smoothie that is thin and light.

5. Use Fresh Ingredients 

Frozen ingredients such as ice cubes, frozen fruit and frozen vegetables will all make a smoothie thicker – at least until they thaw.

If you want a thinner smoothie then it is better to add fresh ingredients rather than frozen. You can still store your fruit in the freezer of course, but you will want to defrost them before blending. Frozen fruit can make a smoothie creamier without making it too thick.

Are Smoothies Supposed to Be Thick?

A smoothie is supposed to have some body to it, but it shouldn’t be so thick that it becomes difficult to drink. 

If you have a hard time drinking your smoothie through a straw, it’s too thin.

The ideal smoothie consistency is noticeably thicker than a juice (unlike a water or juice, you will notice resistance when you stir a smoothie).

What matters most is your preference.

If you prefer a smoothie that is thicker than normal then that’s absolutely fine, as long as it’s not so thick that you can’t drink it!

thin green smoothies in fridge

Why is My Smoothie Too Thick? 5 Ingredients to Avoid

There are five key factors that can cause a smoothie to be too thick. 

These include making the smoothie with a small amount of liquid (adding little or no water or milk), using frozen ingredients like ice cubes or frozen fruit, adding fibrous foods such as nuts, oats and seeds, and using protein powder.

To help you make thinner smoothies, let’s consider why your smoothie may be too thick in the first place.

1. Too little liquid

A smoothie is a blend of liquid and solid ingredients. The liquid can either be added as an ingredient in its own right – milk, for example – or it can come from other ingredients, like the juice that is released from inside fruits.

A smoothie that includes a small amount of liquid will have a thicker consistency than a smoothie that contains lots of liquid.

not enough liquid in a smoothie
too little liquid for this smoothie

2. Using high fiber ingredients

Fiber is hard to break down, which means that foods that are high in fiber retain a thicker consistency even after being blended. You can therefore make a thicker smoothie by including more fibrous ingredients like our list of vegetables for smoothies!

Popular smoothie ingredients that are high in fiber include nuts, seeds, oats, and fruit and vegetables such as bananas, mangos and avocados.

3. Adding ice cubes 

There’s often some confusion about whether ice will make your smoothie thicker or thinner. The reason for this is that it technically does both, though not at the same time.

Ice is very hard so it doesn’t blend easily. Adding ice to your smoothie will leave pieces of ice in the drink and give it a thick consistency.

However, unless you keep your smoothie very cold, or drink it quickly, the ice will melt, adding liquid water to your smoothie and making it thinner.

The thickness of a smoothie containing ice is therefore changing all the time – gradually getting thinner – as the ice melts. And the more ice you add, the more extreme the difference will be.

4. Adding frozen fruit

Frozen fruit can make a smoothie thicker as it is a combination of the two factors above: it’s hard because it is frozen, so doesn’t break down fully unless blended very thoroughly, and most fruits are high in fiber.

5. Adding protein powder

Protein powder is a popular addition to smoothies, as it can help build muscle, aid muscle recovery, and it will make the smoothie more filling. However, protein powder absorbs moisture and will therefore make your smoothie less watery and give it a thicker texture.

Check out our list of high protein smoothies without protein powder if you want thinner smoothies that still have protein.

smoothie with protein powder

Common Questions About Making a Smoothie Thinner

Does ice make smoothies thinner?

Ice will not immediately make a smoothie thinner. In fact, blending ice into your smoothie will initially make the drink thicker, like a slushy. However, once the ice melts, there will be more liquid water in the drink, which will make it thinner.

How do you make a protein shake not thick?

Protein powder will thicken up a smoothie, which can make it a challenge to produce a thin protein shake. The best solution is to use a thin base liquid like water or fruit juice and ensure you add plenty of it. 

Are thick or thin smoothies better for weight loss?

If you’re drinking smoothies as part of a plan to lose weight then you may be wondering whether thick or thin smoothies are best for weight loss. The answer is that the number of calories is a far more important factor than the consistency of the smoothie, so regardless of whether your smoothie is thin or thick, you should aim to use ingredients with as few calories as possible.

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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