Should I use fresh or frozen fruit for smoothies? The answer is yes! Both work great and even better together. Here’s how to make smoothies with fresh or frozen fruit.
Fresh or Frozen Fruit for Smoothies:
Smoothies are my favorite way to pack in nutrients! They’re refreshing, quick, and full of disease-fighting antioxidants from fruit (and veggies!).
The truth is you can make a smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit, but I find the best smoothies contain both! Frozen fruit acts as a thickener and fresh fruit helps get things moving in your blender.
If you only have one or the other, keep reading! I will give you my best tips for making a crave-worthy smoothie no matter what you use.
Benefits of Frozen Fruit:
I always keep frozen fruit in my freezer. I like to keep a variety for green and fruit smoothies, including frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango, and pineapple.
Here’s the major benefits of using frozen fruit in smoothies:
- Less expensive – Generally speaking, frozen fruit is cheaper than fresh.
- Already prepared – No hulling or slicing needed! All you have to do is dump and blend.
- Won’t perish quickly – Frozen fruit lasts up to 8 months in the freezer. I’m lucky if my fresh berries last a week.
- Thickens the smoothie – Frozen fruit thickens a smoothie without the need for ice, which creates a smoother texture.
- Same nutritional value (or better!) – The nutrient level in fresh fruit is at it’s peak right after being harvested. Since fresh fruit is frozen quickly, it retains its nutrients!
I highly recommend grabbing a bag of frozen fruit if you plan to make smoothies! For best results, buy a combination.
Benefits of Fresh Fruit:
Fresh fruit is great for smoothies too! Here’s the major benefits I’ve found:
- Creamier texture – A fresh banana creates the best texture in a smoothie!
- Peak-season, freshly picked fruit – Some fruits you can’t find frozen. For example, I love to use fresh watermelon in my smoothies during the summer! They’re naturally sweet, refreshing, and perfect for smoothies.
- Acts as a liquid base – Most fruits are at least 80 percent water. With the exception of bananas and avocado, fresh fruit doubles as a liquid base. Grapes, watermelon, and cucumber are good examples. I use less liquid (or none at all) when I use them in smoothies.
- Cheap if in-season – When berries are in season, their price drops dramatically!
- Make good toppings – I love using fresh berries or sliced fruit on smoothie bowls.
How to Use Only Frozen Fruit:
If you only have frozen fruit, here’s what to do.
- Use enough liquid. Frozen fruit is harder on your blender so it’s important to add enough liquid to get it moving. You can get away with less when you add fresh fruit to the mix.
- Add a creamy element. If you don’t have fresh bananas, try adding a scoop of yogurt, cottage cheese, or peanut butter. These ingredients add overall creaminess.
- Mix and match. Try using a combination of fruit. Frozen mango is a good option, because it pairs well with anything and it creates a creamier texture.
Try this ratio to begin with:
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups of frozen fruit
- 3/4 cup of liquid (milk or juice)
Blend until smooth, then gradually add a little bit more liquid until you reach a pourable consistency.
For a sweeter smoothie, use flavored yogurt, a teaspoon of honey, or protein powder. Also if you use sweeter fruits, the smoothie will taste sweeter! For example, mango tastes sweeter than mixed berries.
If you do have fresh bananas, I highly recommend adding a banana to the mix!
How to Use Only Fresh Fruit:
If you only have fresh fruit, you have two options. You can make a smoothie with fresh fruit and ice or freeze the fruit overnight.
To freeze fresh fruit, cut it into chunks and place in an even layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the freezer until the fruit is frozen.
Transfer the frozen fruit to a large zip-top bag and label with the date. Freeze for up to 6 months.
To make a smoothie with fresh fruit:
- Use ice to thicken. If you blend up fresh fruit, you will end up with fruit puree! You need to thicken it with ice. It’s not my favorite option, but it works.
- Use less liquid base. Fresh fruit is mostly water. Add less liquid so you don’t need a ton of ice or the smoothie will taste icy.
- Use ripe, sweet fruits! Your smoothie will only taste as good as your star ingredient – the fruit. Make sure your fruit is ripe and naturally sweet.
Fresh and Frozen Fruit Combo
I highly recommend a combination of fresh and frozen fruit! This will give you the best results and overall flavor. Plus you can use fruits that don’t come frozen like grapes, watermelon, cucumber, pears, etc.
Here’s a good ratio to get you started:
- 1 banana, peeled
- 2 cups of frozen fruit (Mix and match!)
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup liquid (milk or juice)
Blend until smooth, then add more liquid until you reach a thick but pourable consistency.
You can add 1/2 cup of fresh fruit like grapes, cucumber, watermelon, or pear. Decrease the liquid to 1/2 cup to compensate for the juicy fruit.
Where Should I buy Frozen Fruit?
I buy my frozen fruit at Costco, Target, or anywhere that carries a good selection. The reason I like a variety of fruits is because some are sweeter and creamier than others.
I like to use naturally sweet fruits to sweeten my smoothies instead of added sugar like honey. Mangoes, bananas, cherries, red grapes, pineapple, and watermelon are all good sweeteners!
I always keep frozen strawberries, frozen mango, and frozen pineapple in my freezer!
Both fresh and frozen fruit are good for smoothies. I prefer to use a combination of the two. Frozen fruit thickens without the need for ice and fresh fruit helps get things moving in the blender. Fresh bananas add creaminess to any smoothie!
Frozen fruit tastes great in a smoothie because it thickens the smoothie and makes it super cold. It creates a creamier texture than ice does, especially when paired with bananas or yogurt.