What things thicken smoothies?

Smoothies are a delicious and nutritious blended drink made from fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other ingredients. While smoothies are naturally thick due to the fruit and veggies, sometimes you may want to thicken your smoothie even more. Thicker smoothies can be creamier, richer, and more filling. Luckily, there are lots of ways to thicken up your smoothie!

Fruits That Thicken Smoothies

Certain fruits contain pectin, a soluble fiber that acts as a natural thickener. Fruits high in pectin include:

Fruit Pectin Content
Apples High
Apricots High
Bananas Medium
Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) Medium to High
Cherries Medium
Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons) Medium to High
Grapes Low
Mangoes Medium to High
Peaches High
Pears High
Plums Medium to High

Bananas are one of the most popular smoothie thickeners. Very ripe bananas contain higher amounts of pectin and thicken smoothies more. Berries also add great flavor and natural thickening. Apples are an easy way to pack extra pectin power into your smoothie.

Vegetables That Thicken Smoothies

In addition to fruits, some vegetables are high in pectin and thicken up blended drinks. Try adding:

Vegetable Pectin Content
Beets High
Carrots High
Parsnips High
Sweet Potatoes Medium
Green Peas Medium

Beets add a nutritional boost and vivid color along with thickening power. Shredded carrots blend up smoothly for thickness and sweetness. Parsnips have the highest pectin content of common vegetables.

Natural Thickeners

You can add a variety of natural ingredients to thicken smoothies:

Thickener Notes
Chia seeds Just 1-2 teaspoons absorbs liquid and releases gel
Flaxseeds Grind before adding, absorbs liquid
Rolled oats Use 1-3 tablespoons, blend into a powder
Nut butters Peanut, almond, cashew – 2 tablespoons thickens well
Cottage cheese Protein-rich, use 1-4 ounces
Silken tofu Blends smoothly, use 3-6 ounces
Avocado Rich texture, use 1/4 to 1/2 avocado
Greek yogurt Tangy flavor and protein, use 2-4 ounces

Chia seeds and flaxseeds are excellent thickeners that blend into smoothies seamlessly. Oats add texture and nutrition. Nut butters, avocado, and Greek yogurt add creaminess. Overall, these natural thickeners pump up the nutrition in your smoothie too.

Other Smoothie Thickeners

Some other ingredients can help thicken up smoothies:

Thickener Notes
Ice cream or frozen yogurt 1-3 scoops adds thickness and richness
Instant pudding mix Use 1-2 tablespoons (dry), adds richness
Powdered milk 2-3 tablespoons adds creaminess
Whey protein powder 1-2 scoops thickens and boosts protein
Instant oatmeal 1-2 packets turns smoothie into a thicker meal
Cacao powder 1-2 tablespoons enhances chocolate flavors

Turn your smoothie into a milkshake by blending in ice cream or frozen yogurt. Powdered milk makes smoothies creamier. Whey protein is a nutritious way to add thickness. Oatmeal transforms it into a hearty breakfast.

Tips for Thick Smoothies

Follow these tips for thick, creamy smoothies every time:

  • Use very ripe, frozen fruit
  • Freeze bananas whole or sliced before blending
  • Add ice cubes made from fruit juice or coconut water
  • Use milk instead of water for the liquid base
  • Blending longer creates a smoother, thicker texture
  • Add thickeners gradually until desired consistency is reached
  • Use a powerful blender like a Vitamix

Frozen fruit creates thicker smoothies, as does chilling your blender jar before use. A high speed blender makes smoother, creamier drinks. Add thickeners slowly to avoid making smoothies too thick.

Thick Smoothie Recipes

Here are a few delicious thick smoothie recipes to try:

Berry Banana Protein Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Green Detox Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Carrot Cake Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Get creative with combinations of fruits, veggies, and thickeners to craft your own favorite thick smoothies!


Smoothies provide an easy way to pack a lot of nutrition into one drink. While smoothies naturally have some thickness from blended whole fruits and veggies, you can make them even thicker and creamier. Bananas, avocados, nut butters, seeds, oats, and yogurt all help to add body. Frozen fruit and longer blending produces smoother results. With the right combinations, you can enjoy thick, rich smoothies any time of day!

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