How do I make my fruit smoothie sweeter?

Quick Answer: Add Bananas, Honey, Dates, Maple Syrup or Natural Sweeteners

Adding extra fruit, natural sweeteners or extracts is the best way to naturally sweeten up a fruit smoothie without adding refined sugar. Some healthy options include:

  • Bananas – Very sweet and add creaminess.
  • Medjool dates – Blend in pitted dates to add natural sweetness.
  • Honey – Sweeter than sugar so use sparingly. Raw honey is best.
  • Maple syrup – Has antioxidants and minerals compared to plain sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – Adds depth of flavor and sweetness. Use natural extract.
  • Cinnamon – Adds warmth and slight sweetness. Also is anti-inflammatory.
  • Cocoa powder – Look for raw cacao powder which is antioxidant-rich.
  • Stevia – Very concentrated natural sweetener, so use small amounts.

The key is sticking to natural ingredients to boost the flavor and nutrition in your smoothie. Avoid using plain white sugar or artificial sweeteners which don’t offer any benefits. Read on for more details on sweetening smoothies naturally.

What Are Good Natural Sweeteners for Smoothies?

Here is more on the best natural ingredients to sweeten up your homemade fruit smoothies:


Bananas are one of the easiest ways to add sweetness and creaminess to smoothies. They have natural sugars that blend smoothly into the drink. Bananas also add potassium and fiber. Simply add half or whole banana depending on how sweet you want the smoothie. Overripe bananas work especially well.

Medjool Dates

Dates are dried fruits that are very high in natural sugar content. Medjool dates are a soft, moist variety that blends easily into smoothies. Make sure to pit the dates first, then add 2-5 dates per smoothie depending on size. Soak dates in water first for even smoother blending.


Honey is an all-natural liquid sweetener that is sweeter than sugar. Use raw, unprocessed honey for the most benefits. Honey contains antioxidants, enzymes and minerals not found in regular sugar. Add 1-2 teaspoons honey and taste, adding more if desired. Too much can overpower other flavors.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup gives a lovely maple flavor in addition to sweetening a smoothie. Maple syrup contains minerals like zinc and manganese. Use real maple syrup, not artificial pancake syrup. Add 1-3 tablespoons maple syrup per smoothie to lightly sweeten and use more if a stronger maple taste is desired.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract adds a sweet, aromatic vanilla flavor to smoothies. In addition to flavor, the vanilla itself has anti-inflammatory properties. Use pure vanilla extract, not artificial flavoring. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste. Can combine with vanilla bean seeds for maximum flavor.


A dash of cinnamon adds a subtle sweetness and warming flavor to smoothies. Cinnamon is derived from tree bark and provides antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects. Start with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and add more to taste if desired. Works especially well paired with apples, bananas and chocolate.

Cocoa or Cacao Powder

For chocolate lovers, adding pure cocoa or cacao powder gives smoothies a chocolatey flavor and antioxidants. Cacao powder is made from raw, fermented cacao beans while cocoa is roasted. Cacao powder retains more nutrients and antioxidants. Start with 1 teaspoon and add more cocoa/cacao to taste.


Stevia extract comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. It is very concentrated so you need only tiny amounts. Stevia has no calories or carbohydrates. Use sparingly starting with just a few drops as it’s much sweeter than sugar. Too much can cause a bitter aftertaste.

Other Sweet Fruit

In addition to bananas and dates, you can add other fruits that are naturally sweet to smoothies. Good options include mangoes, pineapples, pears, apples, figs, papaya, grapes, sweet cherries, etc. Use ripe, sweet fruit and adjust the quantity based on desired level of sweetness.

How Much Sweetener to Use?

When adding sweeteners to smoothies, it’s best to start with small amounts and adjust to taste. You can always add more sweetener but it’s hard to reduce sweetness once added. Consider the following guidelines for common sweeteners:

Sweetener Starting Amount
Honey 1 teaspoon
Maple syrup 1 tablespoon
Dates 2-3 pitted dates
Banana 1/2 medium banana
Vanilla 1/4 teaspoon extract
Cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon
Cocoa powder 1 teaspoon
Stevia 2-3 drops extract

For other fruit, start with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fruit per smoothie. Adjust to your taste preferences and the ripeness of the fruit.

Over time you’ll get a feel for how much sweetener you prefer. Pay attention to the natural sweetness of the fruits and liquids as well. For example, pineapple smoothies will need less added sweetener than a green veggie smoothie.

Smoothie Sweetener Ideas

Here are some tasty fruit smoothie sweetener combinations to try:

  • Banana honey cinnamon – Banana, honey, cinnamon, vanilla yogurt or milk
  • Chocolate peanut butter banana – Banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter, milk
  • Piña colada – Pineapple, banana, coconut milk, vanilla
  • Pumpkin pie – Banana, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla
  • Chocolate cherry – Cherries, banana, cocoa powder, dairy or non-dairy milk
  • Apple pie – Apples, dates, cinnamon, milk or yogurt
  • Mocha – Banana, coffee, maple syrup, cocoa powder, milk
  • Carrot cake – Carrots, walnuts, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla

Feel free to mix and match your favorite flavors to create a naturally sweetened smoothie you’ll love!

Smoothie Sweetener Tips

Follow these tips when adding sweeteners to fruit smoothies:

  • Start with small amounts of sweeteners and adjust to taste.
  • Blend sweeteners like dates and honey with the liquid first before adding other ingredients.
  • Use very ripe or overripe fruits which have more natural sweetness.
  • Balance strong flavors like cocoa or cinnamon with enough sweetener.
  • Try different combinations like banana with cinnamon or dates with vanilla.
  • Sweeten just enough without overpowering the fruit flavors.
  • Cut back on any added sugar if using sweet fruits like mangoes or pineapples.

With the right combination of fruits and sweeteners, you can create healthy fruit smoothies at home with delicious natural sweetness. Avoid adding table sugar and instead opt for unprocessed ingredients with additional nutrients and health benefits.

What Not to Use to Sweeten Smoothies

When making fruit smoothies, it’s best to avoid these sweeteners:

  • White or brown sugar – Highly processed and provides empty calories/carbs without nutrition.
  • Artificial sweeteners – Saccharin, aspartame, sucralose offer no health benefits.
  • Agave nectar – High in fructose, lacks nutrients compared to alternatives.
  • Corn syrup – Highly processed with no nutritional value.
  • Molasses – Very strong flavor can overpower smoothies.
  • Turbinado sugar – Essentially refined sugar with a slightly less processed source.

Instead of these, choose natural sweeteners like dates, honey, fruit, maple syrup, etc. that offer health-promoting properties in addition to sweetness. Avoid artificial or highly processed sweeteners which don’t provide any benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do my smoothies taste bitter?

Bitterness in smoothies usually comes from overripe produce or certain veggies. Greens like kale, parsley or cilantro can cause bitterness. Citrus peels can also impart bitterness if blended. Not adding enough sweetener for bitter ingredients can also result in a bitter taste.

How much sugar does a banana add to a smoothie?

One medium banana contains about 14 grams of natural sugar. The riper the banana, the sweeter it will be. Banana’s sweetness comes from the glucose, sucrose and fructose found naturally in the fruit.

Are smoothies healthy with all that sugar?

Smoothies made with whole fruits and natural sweeteners still provide beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant compounds. They are a healthy choice when not loaded down with added sugars like syrups. Consume smoothies in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Is honey better than sugar in smoothies?

Yes, raw honey has a slightly lower glycemic index, vitamins and antioxidants. Honey is sweeter so you can use less. Table sugar has no nutrients. But honey still has calories from natural sugars, so use a moderate amount.

What can I use if I don’t have bananas?

Dates, applesauce, avocado and sweet potato work well for creamy sweetness instead of bananas.Or use extra ripe mangoes, pineapples, pears, figs, papaya, etc. for natural sweetness.

Are smoothies good for weight loss?

Yes, smoothies can help with weight loss due to their liquid form and high nutrition. But calories still matter, so avoid giant smoothies and excessive added sweeteners. Also eat solid food for fiber to help you feel full.


Making homemade fruit smoothies that are naturally sweet without refined sugar is easy when you use the right ingredients. Bananas, dates, honey, maple syrup and extracts like vanilla and cinnamon can add plenty of flavor and sweetness. Just blend up your favorite fruits with one or more healthy natural sweeteners for a tasty, nutrition-packed smoothie without any added sugar!

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