How can I thicken a smoothie without yogurt or banana?

Smoothies are a great way to pack nutrients into a delicious, portable meal or snack. However, some smoothie recipes can turn out runny without enough natural thickeners like yogurt or banana. If you want to skip the yogurt or don’t have any bananas on hand, there are still plenty of ways to get a thicker smoothie consistency.

Use Frozen Fruit

Frozen fruit is an easy substitute for fresh bananas when it comes to thickening smoothies. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries work particularly well. The ice crystals that form when freezing fruit help blend up into a nice thick texture. You can use 100% frozen fruit or do a mix of frozen and fresh produce. Some great frozen options include:

  • Mangos – creamy tropical flavor
  • Pineapple – sweetness and fiber
  • Cherries – rich and bold fruitiness
  • Peaches – velvety texture

Make sure your frozen fruit is unsweetened without any added sugars. You can freeze fresh ripe fruit yourself or buy packaged frozen fruits.

Add Frozen Vegetables

While frozen vegetables might not sound like an obvious smoothie ingredient, some work quite well. They provide thickness along with extra nutrition and fiber. Some frozen veggies that blend up smoothly include:

  • Spinach – mild flavor and thickening effect
  • Kale – earthy notes and body
  • Carrots – subtle sweetness and richness
  • Cauliflower – thick texture with nutty taste

You can also use frozen avocado chunks in smoothies for a boost of creaminess. Just stick to no more than 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado so it doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors.

Add Nut Butters

Nut butters like almond, peanut, cashew, and sunflower seed butter provide thickness along with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. Just a spoonful can help create a richer, creamier blended beverage. Some nut butter options to stir into your smoothie include:

  • Almond butter – nutty, subtly sweet
  • Peanut butter – robust, earthy flavor
  • Sunflower seed butter – mild, light taste
  • Cashew butter – delicate nuttiness

Look for unsweetened nut butters without hydrogenated oils. Measure out a spoonful before adding it to your smoothie blender.

Use Avocado

Creamy avocado is useful for adding thickness and richness to smoothies. It provides healthy fats and fiber as well. For the smoothest texture, peel and chop fresh avocado before blending it. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado per smoothie recipe. The mild flavor pairs well with both fruit and vegetable smoothies.

Add Chia Seeds

Tiny chia seeds can work thickening magic when blended up in smoothies. They absorb liquid and take on a gelled texture. Try adding 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds to your smoothie mix. Let them sit and absorb moisture for 5-10 minutes after blending before drinking. This helps them achieve maximum thickness. Chia seeds add fiber, protein, and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Blend in Oats

Rolled oats give smoothies a thicker, milkshake-like consistency and provide soluble fiber. Use regular oats rather than instant or steel-cut. You can add a couple tablespoons of dry oats directly to your smoothie blender. For extra richness, first soak the oats in your smoothie liquid for 10 minutes to soften them before mixing.

Include Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is made from condensed soy milk, giving it an ultra-smooth creamy texture. Blending some into your smoothie helps create thickness and body. It also adds protein. Silken tofu has a neutral flavor that won’t overwhelm the other ingredients. Use about 1/4 block in fruit or vegetable smoothie recipes.

Blend in Cottage Cheese

The thick, creamy curds of cottage cheese puree down smoothly in a blender. Just a few tablespoons can lend body to a thinner smoothie recipe. Cottage cheese also provides a protein boost. For the best consistency and flavor, use low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese.

Add Cooked Potatoes

Cooked, mashed potatoes give smoothies extra thickness and nutrition. Allow boiled potatoes to cool completely before adding to a blender for best results. The potato flavor fades into the background, leaving mainly a richer texture. White and sweet potatoes both work well. Potatoes add potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Use Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder dissolves easily in liquids and turns them into a thicker consistency. It’s an excellent natural thickening agent for smoothies. Mix just 1-2 teaspoons into your blended beverage. Arrowroot has a neutral taste and thickens without making the smoothie gloppy. It also aids digestion.

Blend in Ground Flaxseed

Like chia seeds, ground flaxseed soaks up liquid to create thickness. Add 1-2 tablespoons to your smoothie ingredients. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes after blending to achieve the full thickening effects. In addition to body, flaxseed provides fiber, omega-3 fats, and antioxidant lignans.

Use Hemp Seeds

Nutty, versatile hemp seeds lend smoothies protein and thickness. Their small size allows them to blend smoothly. Try adding 2-3 tablespoons of hemp seeds to your fruit or vegetable smoothie recipe. In addition to thickness, hemp seeds supply protein, magnesium, iron, and essential fatty acids.

Include Greek Yogurt

While you’re skipping the yogurt for thickness, a small amount of Greek yogurt can help boost the protein and nutrients in smoothies without strongly impacting texture. Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt works best. Add just 2-3 tablespoons blended into other smoothie ingredients for a protein punch.

Blend in Cacao Powder

For chocolate smoothie lovers, raw cacao powder naturally provides thickness along with amazing flavor. Cacao contains antioxidant compounds called flavanols that benefit heart health. Stir 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder into your fruit smoothie base until well combined.

Add Amaranth

The tiny gluten-free grain amaranth can help give smoothies more body when blended. It has a slightly nutty, earthy flavor that complements both sweet and savory ingredients. Use 2-3 tablespoons of uncooked amaranth grains and allow time to soak in the liquid for best thickness.

Include Chickpea Liquid

The starchy liquid left from cooking chickpeas, also called aquafaba, becomes light and frothy when shaken or whipped. Adding 2-3 tablespoons to a smoothie recipe before blending can help stabilize and thicken it. This chickpea liquid adds soluble fiber as well.

Blend with Ice

Standard ice cubes add thickness to smoothies once blended up. Allow some time for them to fully break down during mixing for the smoothest texture. You can also use crushed ice for faster incorporation into thick smoothie bases.

Add Gelatin Powder

Unflavored gelatin powder dissolves easily into liquids to form a thickened texture. Sprinkle in a teaspoon and let sit for 5 minutes after blending to allow it to fully dissolve. Gelatin provides protein in addition to acting as a stabilizer. It works with both fruit and vegetable smoothies.


With so many healthy options to choose from, you can easily create thicker, creamier smoothies without using yogurt or bananas. Ingredients like frozen fruit, avocado, nut butters, oats, and chia seeds all help achieve a richer blend. Let your favorite flavors guide you and get creative mixing and matching to make the perfect thickness.

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