What does Panera use in their smoothies?

Panera Bread is a popular bakery-cafe chain that offers a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods. In addition to their extensive menu, Panera also has a selection of fresh fruit smoothies available in several delicious flavors.

Ingredients in Panera Smoothies

Panera smoothies are made with real fruit, juices, and other natural ingredients. Some of the main ingredients found in Panera smoothies include:

  • Fruit – Strawberries, blueberries, mangos, bananas, peaches, etc.
  • Fruit juices – Orange, apple, cranberry, pineapple, etc.
  • Yogurt
  • Sherbet
  • Nonfat milk
  • Ice
  • Honey
  • Protein powder (in some varieties)
  • Sweeteners – Sugar, agave nectar, honey

The specific fruits and other ingredients vary depending on the particular smoothie variety. But in general, real fruit and fruit juices make up the bulk of Panera’s smoothie recipes.

Most Popular Panera Smoothie Flavors

Some of Panera’s most popular smoothie flavors include:

  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie – Strawberries, bananas, orange juice, and yogurt.
  • Mango Smoothie – Mangos, oranges, pineapples, honey, and sherbet.
  • Superfruit Power Smoothie – Strawberries, blueberries, mangos, bananas, apple juice, and honey.
  • Peach Pear Berry Smoothie – Peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, apple juice, and honey.
  • Frozen Mocha Smoothie – Chocolate, coffee, nonfat milk, and ice.

Nutritional Information

Panera offers smoothies in three sizes – small (16 oz), medium (21 oz), and large (32 oz). The nutritional content varies by smoothie type and size. But in general, a medium size smoothie contains:

  • 200-350 calories
  • 2-5g fat
  • 50-90g carbohydrates
  • 20-50g sugar
  • 5-10g protein

The fruit smoothies tend to be lower in calories and fat compared to varieties with sherbet or milk. Customers can request nutritional information for specific smoothies from Panera staff.

Smoothie Customization

One great option offered at Panera is the ability to customize your smoothie. There are several ways to modify the standard smoothie recipes to your preferences:

  • Substitute the fruits – ex. strawberries instead of blueberries
  • Add an extra fruit or veggie – ex. more strawberries, spinach, kale
  • Substitute the base – ex. orange juice instead of apple juice
  • Modify the sweetener – ex. agave instead of honey
  • Add a boost – ex. chia seeds, flaxseed, protein powder
  • Make it dairy-free by substituting the yogurt with more juice or non-dairy milk

This level of customization allows customers to craft a smoothie to their own nutritional needs and taste preferences.

Quality and Freshness of Ingredients

Panera emphasizes fresh, quality ingredients in their food and smoothies. Some key points about their smoothie ingredients:

  • Fruits and juices are fresh, never frozen concentrates.
  • Fructose corn syrup is never used for sweetening.
  • Only no-artificial-sweetener yogurt is used.
  • Milk is low-fat or nonfat.
  • Ice is machine-crushed, not pre-bagged.

Panera also tries to source responsibly by buying local produce when possible and avoiding artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors. Their commitment to fresh, minimally processed ingredients makes for better-tasting, healthier smoothies.

Smoothie Prices

Panera smoothies range in price from $3.99-$5.79 depending on size:

Size Price
Small (16 oz) $3.99
Medium (21 oz) $4.69
Large (32 oz) $5.79

Smoothies can also be purchased as part of a meal combo, for example with a half sandwich, salad, or baked good. Combination prices vary.

Panera frequently offers coupons and promotions for discounted smoothies as well. Overall they provide a good value compared to other cafe chains.

Smoothie Storage and Shelf Life

Panera uses chilled blenders to freshly prepare each smoothie order. For food safety reasons, they do not batch blend or hold pre-made smoothie mixes.

If taking a smoothie to-go, Panera recommends consuming within 4 hours and keeping refrigerated until ready to drink. The fresh fruit juices have limited shelf life before spoiling or separating. Smoothies also lose their thickness and become runnier as time passes.

For maximum freshness and flavor, smoothies are best consumed soon after purchasing. The fruit will blend back in after a quick stir if separation occurs.

Allergy Information

Those with food allergies should exercise caution when ordering Panera smoothies.

All smoothies contain dairy ingredients like yogurt, milk, or sherbet. Many also contain wheat from thickeners in the sherbet. Panera cannot guarantee smoothies are safe for those with severe dairy, gluten, or other food allergies due to potential cross-contact.

Fruits like strawberries and bananas are common allergens also used in smoothies. Customers should inform staff of any food allergies when ordering so ingredients can be adjusted if needed.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Most of Panera’s smoothie recipes are vegetarian, containing fruits, juices, and yogurt. A couple exceptions are:

  • Frozen Mocha Smoothie – contains nonfat milk.
  • Berry Yogurt Smoothie – contains honey.

Currently, Panera does not offer any specifically vegan smoothie varieties. But custom vegan smoothies can be requested by substituting the yogurt with additional juice or non-dairy milk like soy, almond, or coconut milk (upcharges may apply).

Vegans should also confirm no honey is used for sweetening when custom ordering. With modifications, smoothie lovers who are vegan or lactose intolerant can still enjoy these chilled blended treats from Panera.

Comparison to Other Smoothie Chains

How do Panera smoothies compare to offerings from dedicated smoothie chains like Jamba Juice or Smoothie King?

In general, the specialized smoothie joints have greater smoothie variety and more exotic flavors. For example, smoothies with greens, chia seeds, wheatgrass, and herbs. They also frequently use spiralizers to incorporate whole fruits and vegetables.

However, Panera smoothies have the advantages of using fresh, restaurant-quality ingredients. The fruits and juices are often fresher, compared to pre-packaged concentrates used by some competitors. And Panera’s blender-focused process results in thick, appetizing smoothies.

Overall, Panera provides an elevated smoothie experience compared to many quick-service counterparts. While selection may be smaller, the quality is superior to most smoothie-only spots.

Smoothies for Kids

Panera smoothies make a great healthy treat for kids. Their standard smoothie recipes are not too acidic or sweet, making them ideal for young taste buds.

The thicker consistency and use of yogurt provides more nutrition versus juice-only smoothies. Favorite kid flavors are often Strawberry Banana, Peach Pear Berry, and Mango Pineapple.

One tip if ordering for children is to request a smaller size smoothie. Even a small 16 oz serving may be too much liquid for some kids. Parents can always order a larger size for themselves and share a taste with their child.

Health Benefits of Panera Smoothies

What are some of the potential health benefits of drinking Panera smoothies?

  • Fruit and vegetable servings – Smoothies provide an easy way to get more nutrition-packed produce in your diet.
  • Vitamins and minerals – Ingredients like oranges, spinach, and berries pack in vitamins C, A, and K, plus minerals like potassium and manganese.
  • Fiber – Blending whole fruits adds gut-healthy fiber not found in juices.
  • Hydration – Smoothies provide fluid needed for hydration, especially in summer heat.
  • Potential probiotics – Yogurt contains probiotics for digestive and immune health.
  • Protein and nutrients – Adding protein powder or chia/flax boosts the nutritional quality.

Of course, smoothies should be part of an overall balanced diet. But they can be a nutritious meal replacement or snack when prepared properly.

Smoothies for Weight Loss

Can Panera smoothies help with weight loss goals?

Smoothies can aid weight loss efforts in a few ways. First, they are often lower in calories than heavier fast food breakfast sandwiches and baked goods. Choosing a fruit smoothie over doughnuts or pastries saves calories.

Smoothies are also filling thanks to fiber from fruit, protein from yogurt, and thickness from ice. This satiety can prevent overeating at other meals.

Finally, starting your day with a smoothie packs in servings of fruit and dairy. These nutrients provide sustained energy compared to a simple sugar boost from juice or soda.

To maximize the weight loss benefits, avoid pre-blended varieties and choose lower calorie fruits and vegetables. Also minimize added sweeteners by allowing the natural fruit sugars to provide flavor.

Most Popular Times and Seasons for Smoothies

When are Panera smoothies most popular during the day and year?

Predictably, warm weather brings an uptick in smoothie orders. Hot summer months see the biggest smoothie sales as people seek cooling, fruity drinks. Mornings and lunch are common smoothie mealtimes to beat the heat.

But Panera reports steady smoothie sales year-round thanks to their hearty ingredients and variety. People enjoy hot smoothies like the Frozen Mocha in winter and cooler refreshing fruit blends in summer.

Early morning is a peak smoothie time at Panera. People often grab a quick smoothie breakfast or protein-packed meal replacement drink before work or school. Smoothies are perceived as more wholesome and nutritious than sugary coffee drinks.

Tips for the Best Smoothie Experience

Here are some tips to get the most enjoyment from your Panera smoothie experience:

  • Customize your smoothie with extra fruits, vegetables, or boosts to your personal tastes.
  • Ask for light or no added sweetener to allow the natural flavors to shine.
  • Substitute orange or apple juice for water for a lower calorie option.
  • Request yogurt be substituted for almond or coconut milk for dairy-free smoothies.
  • Try new combinations like peach with spinach or pineapple with kale.
  • Pair your smoothie with a pastry or sandwich for a balanced Panera meal.
  • Ask for a sample sip if you’re unsure of a flavor.
  • Subscribe to Panera’s email list for smoothie coupons and special offers.

Following these tips will ensure your Panera smoothie satisfies your tastebuds and nutritional needs.


Panera Bread offers delicious smoothies freshly blended with wholesome ingredients like fruits, juices, yogurt, and ice. Customer favorites include strawberry banana, mango pineapple, and other fruit based varieties. Smoothies can be customized to dietary needs, and provide fiber, vitamins, and hydration. While not as exotic as specialty juice bars, Panera smoothies focus on quality ingredients and balanced nutrition for a satisfying blended treat.

Leave a Comment