This Orange Julius recipe is a creamy drink with a sweet and perfect mixture of vanilla and orange flavors! Make this copycat recipe at home for a delicious orange smoothie for breakfast or an afternoon treat.
If you have fond memories of enjoying a frothy, sweet, and refreshing beverage at the mall, chances are you’ve experienced the delight of an Orange Julius. This classic drink has existed since the 1920s when it first appeared at an orange juice stand in Los Angeles. Over the years, it became a beloved staple in American food courts and a symbol of nostalgic refreshment.
I was a teenage mall rat who always traveled to the mall food court. Along with being popular in the United States, this refreshing treat was also a popular drink in Canada, where I’m from. This Orange Julius recipe is close to the original, with just a few basic ingredients and a blender. I love to make this copycat Orange Julius recipe with my Grandma’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake for a super sweet breakfast treat.
This easy Orange Julius recipe is a delicious treat reminiscent of a creamsicle and is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. I think it tastes pretty close to the real thing.
Why You’ll Love This Orange Julius Copycat Recipe
- It’s close to the original recipe you buy at the mall, but you don’t have to leave the house.
- Satisfying, creamy, thick, and smooth texture – just like the original classic Orange Julius recipe.
- It’s a great sweet treat for breakfast, afternoon snacks, or dessert, especially on a hot summer day.
- You only need a handful of pantry staple simple ingredients to make this delicious drink.
- This frothy orange drink comes together easily without too much effort.
- Making this Orange Julius copycat recipe at home is a great way to still indulge in this treat and saves you money making it yourself.
- Good source of Vitamin C.
The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.
- Unsweetened orange juice concentrate: This provides the tangy and refreshing citrus flavor essential to any good Orange Julius. Using frozen concentrate ensures a thick and rich texture in your drink.
- Milk: The backbone of the creamy, smoothie-like texture you love in an Orange Julius. Feel free to use your choice of milk, whether it’s whole, skim, or even non-dairy.
- Water: It helps thin the mixture and adds balance, ensuring your Orange Julius isn’t overly thick or rich.
- Powdered sugar: This adds just the right amount of sweetness to complement the tangy citrus of the orange juice concentrate. Powdered sugar dissolves more easily in the blend, making your drink smooth and lump-free.
- Vanilla extract: It brings a subtle yet important note of warmth and complexity that elevates the flavors of your Orange Julius. The vanilla essence melds the citrus and creamy flavors together harmoniously.
- Ice cubes: These are crucial for creating the characteristic frothy and chilly texture of a classic Orange Julius. Blending ice cubes into your mix ensures every sip’s perfect, refreshing temperature.
The ingredients may make you wonder a bit. Milk and orange juice together? I know, but trust me, it works well together. The milk is a great neutralizer from the acidic orange juice, and the combination makes for a special treat.
How to Make an Orange Julius
- Step One: Add the ingredients into a blender and blend for a few minutes.
- Step Two: Then add in your ice cubes one at a time and blend again.
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- Blender: This blender is great for making smoothies or mixing sauces. It’s big enough for a few batches of this fabulous treat, too!
- Ice cube trays: We don’t have an ice maker, and these trays are lifesavers! No shattered ice cubes here because of a helpful ice cube tray.
- Straws: You can’t drink this thick smoothie (easily) without a straw! I love these reusable straws because they’re fun to look at and help save the environment.
What To Serve with Homemade Orange Julius
- Double Orange Muffins
- Slow Cooker Cranberry Orange Chicken
- Red Velvet Waffles
- Homemade Orange Sherbet
- Orange Creamsicle Salad
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t have orange juice concentrate, try freezing fresh orange juice into cubes so it gives it a nice icy consistency to blend into your drink while still giving you the perfect orange flavor.
- Start using your blender at a low speed and work your way up in speed so it blends all your ingredients efficiently and appropriately.
- For a thicker drink and richer texture, omit the water and add more milk; see what you come out with, and if too thick, add the water back in.
- Chill the glass or mug in which you’re serving the drink before you make it. A chilled glass will help your Orange Julius last longer and keep the most optimal texture for as long as possible.
- Choose the right sweetener for your taste. Powdered sugar and granulated sugar are popular choices, but you can also try coconut sugar or other white sugar substitutes if desired.
- Don’t hesitate to experiment with different types and amounts of ice. More ice cubes will produce a thicker drink, while less ice will yield a thinner consistency. You can also try using crushed ice for a smoother blend.
- For an even creamier Orange Julius, consider adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the mix. This will give your drink an extra layer of velvety smoothness.
Variations and Substitutions
- You can use fresh orange juice if you want, and freshly squeezed OJ from fresh oranges would be amazing too.
- In a pinch, you can swap powdered sugar for granulated white sugar. You may need to alter the amount, which will slightly change the overall taste, but you will still end up with a delicious treat.
- If necessary, use other sweetener alternatives like honey, maple syrup, agave, or stevia. These will all change the taste but will still be yummy.
- Feel free to add other fruits and light veggies to make more of a healthy Orange Julius recipe than a traditional Orange Julius.
- You can change the consistency by varying what you add to your drink.
- Whole milk gives this a super creamy flavor, but you can use 1% or 2% milk if needed. It will just be slightly less creamy.
An Orange Julius is a delicious frothy orange drink that is best served and enjoyed when first made. I don’t recommend keeping it longer than a few hours as it could become watery and melt.
You can store your smoothie drink in the fridge, but remember that you should enjoy this as soon as it’s prepared for optimal freshness.
Can You Freeze?
You can certainly try to freeze this homemade Orange Julius Smoothie copycat recipe. The drink may start to separate a bit from the dairy. Also, know when you will thaw your refreshing treat, depending on your chosen ingredient options.
I don’t recommend freezing this great drink to keep the smoothie texture like you made it the first time.
History of Orange Julius
Back in 1926, you could find an orange juice stand opened by Julius Freed in Los Angeles, California. Initially, the sales were modest, only about $20 a day (adjusted to around 330 dollars in today’s market). However, the famous Orange Julius drink wasn’t created until 1929 when Bill Hamlin, Freed’s real estate broker, developed a new mixture to reduce the acidic taste of the orange juice. This innovation made the drink more appealing, especially for people with sensitive stomachs.
As you enjoy your Orange Julius now, you can appreciate how it was developed nearly a century ago in Southern California. The stand on South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles became the birthplace of this creamy, dreamy delight. It has since evolved into an iconic American drink many have come to love.
The traditional ingredients for this fresh orange smoothie are ice, orange juice, sweetener, milk, powdered egg whites, and vanilla.
This copycat recipe includes a few of those same ingredients but leaves out the powdered egg whites. I’ve never seen powdered egg whites sold in stores, have you? Powdered egg whites are the “secret ingredient” in the original recipe.
Although, some employees that make this drink say the secret ingredient is almost like a pudding mix. Interesting to hear which version of the story you get, depending on who you ask!
Nowadays, almost 100 years later, you can buy an Orange Julius at your local Dairy Queen or make your own at home with this easy Orange Julius recipe.
What Else Can You Add In
You certainly can if you want to change things up with this copycat recipe. It just won’t be the Orange Julius Copycat Recipe anymore.
Here are some ideas to add in: any other smoothie ingredients like chia seeds, protein powder, chopped nuts, oats, granola, collagen, etc.
Add other fruits for a fruit smoothie twist- try bananas, strawberries, kiwis, grapes, blueberries, etc.
Did the Original Orange Julius Have Eggs?
Yes, the original Orange Julius recipe indeed had raw eggs in it. The classic refreshment was a frothy blend of orange juice concentrate, milk, sweetener, vanilla, and crushed ice, with raw eggs added to give it its signature frothiness.
However, in the 1980s, the recipe was updated for food safety reasons. As a result, raw eggs were removed from the ingredient list to avoid any potential risks associated with consuming them. The current recipe maintains a delicious and creamy texture by using other ingredients that do not pose any health risks.
Even without raw eggs, you’ll enjoy a delightful, frothy, and tasty beverage that brings back memories of the original Orange Julius.
What Kinds of Glasses To Use?
When serving an Orange Julius, choosing the right glass for the occasion is essential. Since this refreshing beverage is typically enjoyed in a casual setting, you don’t need to use fancy or expensive glassware.
A tall, narrow glass, such as a highball or cooler glass, works well for showcasing the drink’s frothy texture and vibrant orange color. These glasses are designed to hold larger amounts of liquid with plenty of space for ice, so they’re perfect for keeping your Orange Julius cold and enjoyable.
Alternatively, you can use a larger tumbler glass for a more relaxed presentation. The tumbler’s wider opening allows you to comfortably add garnishes like sliced oranges, straws, or colorful umbrellas for added fun.
Consider using sturdy, reusable plastic glasses when enjoying an Orange Julius outdoors. This will ensure your drink stays cool, and you can avoid potential glass breakage while taking part in outdoor activities.
An Orange Julius is a delightful blend of frozen orange juice concentrate, milk, vanilla, sugar, and ice, creating a sweet and frothy beverage you’ll surely enjoy. This delightful drink is reminiscent of a creamsicle and can be considered a cross between a drink, a milkshake, and a smoothie. The Orange Julius is refreshing and satisfying, perfect for a hot summer day or a treat after a long day of shopping at the mall.
Swap some traditional ingredients for healthier alternatives to make a healthier Orange Julius. For example, you can replace the added sugars with natural sugar sources like whole oranges and bananas, giving you a smoothie with no added sugars.
Instead of whole milk, opt for low-fat milk or a plant-based milk alternative to reduce fat and calorie content while maintaining the creamy consistency. Another option is adding some plain Greek yogurt, which provides additional creaminess and thickness while adding protein and other essential nutrients to your Orange Julius.
If you’re using orange juice concentrate in your recipe, choose a 100% orange juice option with no added sugars or artificial ingredients. Keep your Orange Julius fresher by using fresh-squeezed orange juice instead of concentrate.
Absolutely! You can make an Orange Julius with other types of milk. The traditional recipe typically calls for whole milk, but feel free to experiment with different options based on your preferences or dietary needs.
If you want to reduce fat content, using lower-fat milk, such as 2% or skim milk, would work fine. This switch might lead to a slightly less creamy texture, but don’t worry; your Orange Julius will still be delicious and refreshing.
For those who prefer or require dairy-free alternatives, non-dairy milk can also make an Orange Julius. Some popular options include almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and oat milk. Be aware that each non-dairy milk will bring its unique flavor profile and texture, which could add a twist to the classic taste of an Orange Julius.
You sure can! This recipe only makes two servings of this fantastic treat. You can easily double or triple this recipe so more people can enjoy Orange Julius drinks. You may need to work in batches, depending on how large your blender is.
You can use a pitcher to store some in if your blender is getting too full too quickly. Also, you may want to store them in the fridge if you need to serve them all together, but remember, they’re best when served right away for the most optimal texture and to keep them bursting with delicious orange cream flavor.
Other Sweet Drink Recipes To Try
If you’re looking for some more delicious sweet drinks to try, you MUST try some of these:
- Strawberry Vanilla Smoothie: Thick, creamy and healthy. You may be surprised by the ingredients!
- Mocha Coconut Frappuccino: Tastes just like the one at Starbucks. Warning – you’ll want one every day!
- Pretty in Pink Punch: Tastes like summer with a refreshing blend of pink lemonade and strawberry daiquiri mix!
- Caramel Coffee Milkshake: Satisfy your sweet tooth + get your caffeine fix! This milkshake is so yummy.
- Pineapple Pomegranate Smoothie: Combine two perfect summer flavors with this pineapple and pomegranate fruit smoothies.
You’ll also like these Orange Creamsicle Cookies, Orange Creamsicle Pie and Shirley Temple. For more copycat recipes, try Big Mac Sauce, Copycat Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich, Copycat McDonald’s Sausage Egg McMuffins, Copycat Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich, copycat Texas Roadhouse rolls and copycat Texas Roadhouse cinnamon butter.
Do you have any amazing drink recipes? I’m always looking for more recipes to try! Follow me on Instagram @simplystacieblog, on TikTik @simplystacierecipes, on Facebook at Simply Stacie, and on Pinterest @SimplyStacie and let me know how you liked this and my other recipes!
Orange Julius Recipe
- ¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate unsweetened
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 ice cubes
- Add the ingredients into a blender and blend for a few minutes.
- Then add in your ice cubes one at a time and blend again.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.