Should You Make Smoothies With Water Or Milk? (With Recipes)

Smoothies can form part of a healthy diet, whether your aim is weight loss or eating your five-a-day. Recipes often suggest milk as a base liquid, but what if you’re allergic or intolerant to milk or choose a vegan diet? There are many alternatives out there, but water seems the easiest. Should you make smoothies with water or milk?

Water and milk are good liquid bases for smoothies. Water is convenient, low-calorie, hydrating, and cheap but it can make thin smoothies. Milk is nutritious and tasty but adds calories and lactose. Make a thick water-based smoothie with frozen fruit or ice and thickeners like avocado.

A hearty smoothie makes a perfect breakfast. For a start, it’s packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also satisfying, with a thick, luscious texture. If you replace milk with water in a smoothie recipe, will it still be so nutritious and satisfying?

Let’s look at how you can make fantastic smoothies with water.

Making Smoothies With Water Vs. Milk

The starting point of a smoothie is fruit and vegetables, but you will also need to decide on which liquid base your smoothie needs.

You can make healthy, delicious smoothies with milk, water, other liquids, and even no liquid. Whether you choose milk or water depends on your tastes, dietary needs, and lifestyle.

Let’s look at the benefits of water vs. milk in smoothies.

Benefits Of Using Water In Your Smoothie – Is It Healthier?

There are several benefits of using water as a base for a smoothie:

  • Water is convenient and accessible.
  • It won’t change the smoothie’s flavor, so your ingredients will shine.
  • Water has no lactose, so it’s ideal for people avoiding dairy.
  • Water-based smoothies don’t have the calories of dairy and plant milk or juice’s sugar, so they can help you lose weight.
  • Water hydrates your body, which is essential for digestion, regulating body temperature, boosting your immune system, and giving you energy.
  • You’ll save money on buying milk or pricy milk alternatives.
  • Water doesn’t affect how your body absorbs all the nutrients of fruit and vegetables.

There are some disadvantages to water-based smoothies:

  • Water contains no nutrients.
  • Your smoothie can end up thin without the thick, creamy consistency you love.
  • Your smoothie can taste a bit blander than using milk

Benefits Of Using Milk In Your Smoothie

Milk is one of the most popular smoothie bases. Here are the benefits of milk in your smoothie:

  • Milk is highly nutritious, providing your body with protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D, which are vital for bone, teeth, and hair development, and the immune system.
  • Because milk is so nutritious, it makes an excellent base for meal-replacement smoothies.
  • Milk-based smoothies are thicker and more luscious.

Milk does have its disadvantages as a smoothie base:

  • Milk is derived from animals, so it is not appropriate for vegans.
  • Milk-based smoothies contain more calories and fat than water-based smoothies, so they’re not ideal for weight loss.
  • The flavor of your fruit and vegetables will be less evident.
  • Milk doesn’t work well with citrus-based smoothies as they can curdle.

Related article: Is It Better To Use Milk Or Yogurt In Smoothies?

What Are Your Options Of Liquids To Put In Smoothies?

Experiment with different liquids in smoothies, as there are several options:

  • Dairy: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, buttermilk, yogurt
  • Plant-based milk: oat, soy, pea, rice
  • Nut milk: almond, cashew
  • Coconut milk or cream
  • Fruit juice: apple, orange
  • Coconut water
  • Kombucha
  • Iced tea
  • Iced coffee

How To Make A Thick Smoothie Without Milk

Smoothie fans who are used to drinking dairy-based smoothies may worry that their favorite beverage won’t be as thick and creamy without milk. However, there are ways to make thick smoothies that are dairy-free. Choose one of these alternative thickeners.

Use Plant-Based Milk

The simplest way to make thick smoothies without milk is to use a milk alternative, such as nut or soy milk. Oat milk has a very similar consistency to dairy, creating hearty smoothies.

Plant-based yogurt or cream cheese is also nutritious.

Blend Frozen Fruit

Blending frozen fruit gives you delightfully thick smoothies, even without milk.

Frozen watermelon, and mango, for example, produce a sorbet-like slush. In contrast, frozen banana makes smoothies as thick as ice cream. Add a little water to thin if necessary.

Add Textured Fruit And Vegetables

Add some fleshy fruit and vegetables to thicken the smoothie if you’re making a smoothie with water or juice base. Try papaya, apricots, avocado, and applesauce.

Cooked, puréed, and cooled vegetables add bulk and nutrition. Sneak extra vegetables into your children’s smoothies with sweet potato, cauliflower, butternut, pumpkin, white beans, or chickpeas.

Dollop Nut Butter

Add a quarter of a cup of nut butter for extra creaminess. Peanut, cashew, and almond butter are tasty, as is seed butter like tahini. Nutella makes an indulgent addition.

Add Grains And Seeds

Oatmeal is a perfect thickener for smoothies. You can also include pre-soaked chia seeds and wheat germ.

Fill Up With Crushed Ice

If you don’t have any frozen fruit to create texture, use a cup of crushed ice to create the thick texture that makes smoothies so delicious.

How To Make A Smoothie With Water

The biggest challenge to making a successful water-based smoothie is consistency. Adding too much water will leave you with a thin, flavorless, watery smoothie. Too little water creates a delicious product, but the texture will be more like a smoothie bowl or ice cream. Let’s look at how much water will make the perfect water-based smoothies.

My Water-based Smoothie Formula

To get the right amount of water in your smoothie, you can’t replace the milk or juice in a smoothie recipe with the same amount of water. Instead, you’ll need to follow a formula like this:

FormulaExample Of Smoothie Ingredients 1Example Of Smoothie Ingredients 2
Two to three cups of fruit and vegetablesOne cup of strawberries, One cup of baby spinach, One cup of sliced bananaOne cup of applesauce, One cup of puréed sweet potato
Half to one cup of thickener for textureOne-quarter cup of peanut butter, One-quarter cup of silken tofuOne banana
Half a cup of waterWaterWater
One cup of crushed ice (unnecessary if using frozen fruit)IceIce
Optional flavoringHalf a teaspoon of cinnamon, A teaspoon of honeyHalf a teaspoon of pumpkin spice, A tablespoon of maple syrup

My Water-based Smoothie Method

Most water-based smoothies use frozen fruit to create bulk and texture, so you need to blitz your ingredients in order so that you don’t damage your blender.

  • Step 1: Put your thickener into the blender.
  • Step 2: Add a quarter cup of water.
  • Step 3: Pop your greens on top.
  • Step 4: Blend on low speed until smooth.
  • Step 5: Add chopped fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Step 6: Blend until smooth.
  • Step 7: Add frozen fruit or ice and optional flavorings.
  • Step 8: Blend until smooth.
  • Step 9: Add one-quarter cup of water if the smoothie is too thick.

If you have a heavy-duty or high-speed blender, you can skip steps 3 and 6, as the blender can process all ingredients simultaneously. If you blend in one step, increase your blending time to a minute to get the desired consistency.

This method produces a smoothie with the texture of slushy ice cream. Add more water if your smoothie is still too thick, but remember that liquid will dilute the smoothie.

Some Smoothie Recipes That Use Water Instead Of Milk

You can use the smoothie formula to create delicious beverages using your preferred ingredients. Here are some fabulous smoothie ideas to get you going.

Each of these combinations needs half a cup of water. Add ice for a chilled smoothie, or use frozen fruit.

  • Two cups of strawberries, one mango, juice of one lime
  • One cup of pineapple, one cup of papaya, one banana, mint leaves
  • One cup of peaches, one cup of baby spinach, half a cup of avocado, juice of one lime
  • One cup of mango, one cup of carrots, half a banana, juice of half an orange
  • One cup of pumpkin purée, half a cup of cauliflower, one banana, one teaspoon of pumpkin spice, one knob of fresh ginger, one tablespoon of maple syrup
  • One cup of blueberries, one cup of mango, half a cup of kale, one banana, hemp seed


Using milk or water as a smoothie base depends on your flavor preferences, dietary needs, and lifestyle. Although milk is highly nutritious and makes luscious, thick smoothies, water is convenient, low-calorie, and lactose-free. Make hearty water-based smoothies using frozen fruit or ice, thickening ingredients, and water.

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