This perfect acai bowl recipe is delish AND more cost-effective than a $12 bowl at your local smoothie shop. Not to mention it's super easy to make.
There's nothing like starting the day off with a healthy acai bowl after a workout, adventure or morning surf. It's has enough power to energize you thru the rest of your day, but won't put you into a food coma.
This was inspired by this thick berry smoothie bowl. If you're looking for something to take on the go, check out this strawberry mango smoothie.
- frozen acai berries or packets - this little Brazilian fruit is full of health benefits - nutrient dense and packed with antioxidants and
- frozen bananas
- ripe avocado (the secret ingredient!)
- peanut butter
- coconut milk or plant milk of choice
Toppings (not pictured & optional)
- coconut flakes
- almond slivers
- peanut butter
See recipe card for quantities.
First, prepare frozen bananas. Peel ripe banana, break in half and freeze for at least 12 hours. While frozen bananas are good in the freezer for longer, they taste best in the first three months.
Place all smoothie ingredients into the blender. To prepare avocado, slice in half lengthwise (like a hotdog), then carefully remove the pit with your knife. Scoop the green part out of the skin with a spoon.
Fill blender with coconut milk until half of the other ingredients are covered. This is one key to getting an extra thick smoothie. If the blender stalls too much, you can always add more.
If the blender stalls (listen for a higher pitched whizzing noise), stop and stir, or use an "agitator" to mix around. An agitator is a stick for mixing in a blender. They typically come with higher quality blenders, like a Vitamix.
The trick to getting an extra creamy smoothie bowl is to start on low and gradually increase speed. Look for movement in the blender. When everything is moving well, increase the speed a little. Remember: slow and steady wins the race.
Pro tip: when blending larger frozen items like acai and bananas, keep the blender on low a little longer than usual to ensure the large chunks break up. Otherwise, the blender might trip your electrical breaker (guilty as charged...oops).
Once blended, pour smoothie into bowl, and top with whatever you like - berries, bananas, peanut butter...the works! For a perfect peanut butter drizzle, warm in microwave for 15-20 seconds.
Pro tip: slice fruit & toppings before blending smoothie so you can enjoy while it's cold!
Need some help? Make this acai bowl step by step with me!
Substitutions & Variations
This delicious acai bowl recipe is naturally vegan, dairy free and can be gluten free. The good news is that there are tons of other substitutions!
If you have issues with bananas, try frozen mango instead.
If you have a nut allergy, substitute peanut butter for almond butter or sunflower seed butter. Replace coconut milk with oat milk or another plant-based milk.
Use gluten-free granola if you're gluten-free!
If you can't find acai, check out this berry smoothie bowl instead.
There are tons of toppings for an acai bowl. Let me know in the comments what you like on your smoothie bowl! I love...
- Coconut flakes
The key piece of equipment for making perfectly thick smoothie bowls is a high speed blender. My top pick is the Vitamix blender - the best option is the Ascent A3300 series - check out more on that in my post on my top 10 pieces of kitchen equipment!
- I do not recommend a blender without variable speeds or some kind of manual control, otherwise it'll be difficult to achieve the creaminess I described.
- I highly recommend a blender with a larger blender cup (64-ounce container is standard) - especially if you're making smoothies for more than one person. Personally, I make enough for two smoothies, and store the extra in an insulated mug in the fridge for the next day.
If you have a one-speed blender like a Nutribullet or standard blender (think Hamilton Beach, Ninja or similar), add plenty of coconut milk and enjoy as a smoothie instead. These are all good blender options, but you may run into blender capacity issues.
- Personal blenders have limited blending cup sizes, which is fine if you're making smoothies for one, but annoying if you're blending for two...
- Hamilton Beach, Ninja etc. are good blender options on a budget, but aren't commercial grade. Fine if you're using once a week, but consider upgrading to a high-speed blender if you plan to use regularly.
Pro tip: a great blender like a Vitamix can replace a food processor, and make much more than smoothie bowls. Use it for nut butters, hot soup, and ice cream!
This acai bowl is best fresh, but if you must store it, pour into an insulated mug with a lid and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
I do not recommend freezing smoothies.
Frequently asked questions
Yes - acai bowls are packed with fruits, nutrients & antioxidants. Use unsweetened acai to cut down on added sugar and calories. Otherwise, enjoy what nature's candy has to offer!
Most acai bowls are vegan, though it is good to check for added dairy products like milk and yogurt in restaurants & smoothie shops. This acai bowl recipe uses coconut milk, and does not contain yogurt, so it is vegan.
Look for acai in the freezer section of your local grocery store, near the frozen fruit. It typically comes in a box with a few packets. Alternatively, look for powdered acai in the supplement section of your supermarket or health food store.
Yes, but you may need to add an extra cup of frozen berries, bananas, mango, or ice to make up for the lost liquid. Start with 1-2 Tbsp of powder.
Most acai bowls (including this one) have around 500 calories. This number fluctuates based on toppings. To keep it light, stick to berries. Otherwise, go all out and make it a meal with more fresh fruits, nuts, and granola.
If you can't find frozen or powdered acai, use frozen berries instead.
First, add less liquid. Cover ingredients with liquid halfway instead of three quarters in the blender. Next, add a creamy fruit like a ripe avocado or frozen mango. Finally, start blending on low, and slowly increase speed. Watch closely for movement in the blender - slow and steady wins the race.
To make an extra creamy acai bowl, you need a powerful blender with a powerful motor and variable speed settings. The best blender in my opinion is the Vitamix. It's stainless-steel blades are durable, and it's widely regarded as one of the best high-end blenders out there.
While standard blenders or personal blenders are more budget friendly, they tend to take longer to blend, and show wear and tear more easily.
Start blending on low, and increase speed gradually as the smoothie blends. Watch for movement in the blender - slow and steady is the name of the game to make the most delicious acai bowls.Print
Creamy acai bowl
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 0 mins
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Yield: 3 bowls 1x
- Category: Smoothies
- Method: Blending
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Whip up this delish acai bowl pre or post surf, hike, or morning workout to fuel up for the rest of the day!
- 3 packets frozen unsweetened acai
- 2 frozen bananas
- ½ ripe avocado
- 2-3 Tbsp peanut butter
- ¾-1 ½ cup coconut milk*
- Coconut flakes
- Almond slivers
- Peanut butter
1. First, freeze bananas if not already frozen. Peel ripe bananas, break in half, and freeze in a sealed container for at least 12 hours, and up to 2 months. Before blending smoothie, prepare toppings.
2. Place all ingredients into a blender. Start blending on low, and increase speed gradually as the ingredients blend together. If blender stalls, stop, stir, and begin again at lowest speed, or stir with agitator if your blender provides one.
3. Pour smoothie into bowl and add toppings. Enjoy!
*depends on size of blender - fill until half the other ingredients are covered
Need some help? Check out this video.
Keywords: acai bowl, vegan acai bowl, acai smoothie bowl, thick acai bowl, thick smoothie bowl, healthy acai bowl, how to make acai bowl
The Hangry Chickpea
This is one of the best smoothie bowls I've ever made. The secret is half a ripe avocado. You'll never make a smoothie without one ever again!