Two Surprisingly Simple Secrets to a Better Make-Ahead Smoothie

Ready-to-drink smoothies are at your fingertips—thanks to these two tips.

Coffee, Oat, and Maple Smoothie
Intense cold brew coffee is paired with sweet banana and maple syrup for a well-balanced breakfast smoothie that will keep you full until lunch. Oats lend body to the smoothie, while also adding nutritional value. Get the Recipe: Coffee, Oat, and Maple Smoothie. Photo: Greg DuPree

Google "making smoothies ahead of time," and you'll find plenty of tips and tricks. There's the pre-freeze method: Freeze a bunch of pre-portioned stuff in a bag, pull it out, add liquid, and pray your blender's blade can tackle it all. Then there's the post-freeze method: Blend first, then transfer your smoothie into a plastic bag or other freezer-safe container, and freeze. In that case, you have to transfer the concoction from the freezer to the fridge the night before to thaw—or you'll wake up to a breakfast popsicle. (Which, now that I think about it, I'm not entirely against.)

But there's a better, easier make-ahead smoothie method in town—and you can forget your smoothie packs altogether. And ditch the smoothie pops.

Secret # 1: Mason Jars

You probably already have some mason jars in your cabinet. Next time you whip up a big batch of smoothies), pack it up in mason jars and stick it in the fridge. Though mason jars get a lot of play these days as drinking glasses and vases, their main function is to keep food fresh by creating an airtight seal. In fact, any resealable container works—my favorites are only about 50 cents each! In one of these vessels, your smoothie will last—and stay fresh and delicious—for three days in the fridge. When you want to drink it, simply give the container a shake or a stir, and you're good to go. No chiseling ingredients apart to get them in the blender, and no burned-out motors or busted blades.

Secret # 2: Emulsifiers

For an even better make-ahead smoothie? Emulsifiers—anything that helps bind the ingredients together when blended—are the difference between easy grab-and-go smoothies and weirdly separated fruit juice. It's what makes a drink a smoothie and not a juice (because it's smooth and creamy—get it?).

So what works as an emulsifier? Some of my favorites include banana, an obvious and smart choice, and yogurt. Frozen peaches are often overlooked, but they too create luscious texture. Coconut milk will add tropical vibes and is an excellent non-dairy alternative to yogurt. If you use regular cow dairy, avoid combining it with anything too acidic (i.e., pineapple or orange juice), which could cause the mixture to curdle.

Want more genius smoothie ideas? Allow us to offer 21 of them.

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