You should try this cranberry smoothie recipe whether you have an abundance of leftover cranberries from preparing a holiday cranberry sauce or you just appreciate their flavor.
Like my cranberry-orange muffins, it has the classic cranberry-orange flavor combination, with bananas for extra sweetness and your preferred milk for creaminess. Also, it’s the ideal beverage to sip in January as you recommit to a healthy lifestyle.
Cranberry smoothie ingredients
Milk: Choose whichever type of milk you prefer, whether it’s dairy or dairy-free! I personally love to use almond milk or cashew milk.
Cranberries: Both fresh and frozen cranberries work great in this recipe. Frozen cranberries will make for a thicker, more slushy smoothie.
Banana: While you can use a fresh banana, a frozen one will help thicken the smoothie. And if you need some guidance, here’s my post on how to freeze bananas.
Orange: I’m using a navel orange, but you could use any variety.
How to make a cranberry smoothie
Remove the cover from your powerful blender, add all the ingredients, and start blending! And I’ve got a few suggestions below to help if you find the smoothie to be too thin or tart.
Use yogurt in place of half the milk if you want the smoothie to be thicker. Add a spoonful or two of maple syrup or honey to the cranberry smoothie if you want it to be a little bit sweeter.
Optional Additions & Ideas
- Depending on the type of protein powder you choose, protein powder will add flavor to this smoothie and make it more full. I advise combining in 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder.
- Freshly grated ginger may give a dish an extra kick.
- Orange and cranberries seem good together, don't they? Add a little orange juice or zest that has just been freshly squeezed.
- Cacao nibs: Chocolate and cranberries go together like bread and butter. For a chocolate twist, add some cacao nibs or cacao powder.
- Pour the smoothie into a bowl, top with your preferred toppings, then eat with a spoon to make it a bowl.
Do you need to add a sweetener?
Although I've added maple syrup to the ingredients, it's not required. My advice is to use little to no sweetener the first time you prepare it. Then, add a little more if you'd like it to be sweeter. If you'd prefer, you can also use honey or agave nectar.
I occasionally enjoy this smoothie tart, and other times I want something a little sweeter. The maple addition is thus entirely optional! A few weeks back, I told Vander about it, and he was enthralled. It's hilarious to see it like smoothies.
Variations on this Cranberry smoothie
- I would suggest frozen blueberries or frozen mixed berries if you don't have any fresh or frozen cranberries.
- If you want to make this smoothie more of a meal replacement, you can also add yogurt, greek yogurt, dairy-free yogurt, or protein powder.
- Fresh oranges can also be substituted with orange juice. This smoothie has a creamy, milkshake-like texture thanks to the frozen bananas, but you can also use fresh bananas if that's all you have on hand.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
Whole cranberries also pack quite a nutritious punch! Besides being one of the best sources of antioxidants, they’re also loaded with:
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
- and fiber
Also, studies show that eating whole cranberries rather than concentrated cranberry pills is better for your heart. Get a few bags of fresh cranberries to keep in the freezer as they are so plentiful right now! By keeping them frozen, this smoothie doesn't require ice.
Use frozen cranberries instead of fresh ones for a thicker and creamier consistency.
Add a banana or avocado to the mix to make the smoothie more filling and nutritious.
Sweeten the smoothie with honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar instead of sugar to keep it healthy.
For added flavor, add a splash of vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon.
Use a high-speed blender to ensure all ingredients are fully blended and smooth.
Garnish with some fresh mint leaves, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a handful of chopped nuts for extra texture and flavor.
Can I use fresh cranberries instead of frozen ones in my cranberry smoothie?
Yes, you can use fresh cranberries instead of frozen ones. However, using frozen cranberries will give your smoothie a thicker and creamier consistency.
Can I use any type of milk in my cranberry smoothie?
Yes, you can use any type of milk you prefer, such as almond milk, coconut milk, or cow's milk.
- 1 cup milk (dairy or dairy-free)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 orange, peeled
- Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
- For a creamier texture, substitute half of the milk for yogurt.
- Cranberries are naturally a bit tart. If you’d like to sweeten it up, feel free to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey.