Why Does My Smoothie Separate? The Science of Smoothies & Separation

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Everyone thinks that making a blended drink should be fairly easy and simple, but often times a few guidelines are necessary. If you are asking yourself, “Why does my smoothie separate?”, there are some easy ways to ensure that you make the best shake every time. 

We will go into the reasons why your smoothies may not be blended properly, and the best ways to improve their consistency. 

Smoothies are not always smooth sailing, and even though no cooking is involved, there still the possibility of smoothies that are lacking flavor, are too watery, or foamy.

why does my smoothie separate

If you find that the smoothies you make are too foamy, the primary reason may be the fruits or vegetables you are using. The skin of fruits and vegetables contain insoluble fiber which can cause smoothies to become foamy and alter their taste as well as consistency.

The best way to remedy this is to counteract these fibers with the addition of an ingredient that will prevent the separation of the juices and liquids in the smoothie. 

The science of smoothies and separation

One of the reasons why smoothies tend to separate after blending is because the fruits you choose may not be as dense as the juice, causing the particles to separate from the juice.

Emulsifiers are ingredients that can help ingredients mix that typically don’t, so adding them can aid in maintaining consistency.

Another reason for smoothies separating is when they are left out too long after coming out of the blender, with too much ice causing a drink that separates even further as it gets watered down. The longer you leave a smoothie out, there more time it has to oxidize, which leads to separating. 

Smoothies and suspension

Smoothies are technically blended drinks that manage to suspend foods of varying densities and, in laymen’s terms, this means that once you leave them out to sit, over time they will begin to separate, with the heavier particles settling to the bottom and the lighter ones rising to the top.

If you leave your smoothie out too long and it has begun to lose optimal consistency, simply place it back into the blender and refresh it by adding a few cubes of ice or a bit of liquid if needed.

Suggestions include adding more an emulsifier or more frozen fruit to prevent separation. Alternately, you can freeze yours smoothies overnight to maintain consistency. 

Common smoothie mistakes 

Below are some of the most common mistakes we make when preparing smoothies and what you can do to "fix" your smoothie should this happen to you.

Under-blending

One of the first rules of making a smoothie is to remember to take your time!

Smoothies are already made quickly enough, so there is no need to brush off precious seconds that can make all the difference in the world between a delicious drink or one that leaves a lot to be desired. Everything should be blended well so that it is free of lumps.

The optimal time to blend the perfect blender in most machines ie between 1 to 2 minutes. If you are using a top tier blender, then you may only need between 5 seconds to a minute. 

Not thick enough

Smoothies that are too thin and lack body are not ideal, so you will want to thicken them up to ensure that they are mixed properly and creamy.

why does my smoothie separate

One suggestion to improve the consistency is to add fruits like apricots, peaches, bananas, and mangos, which are thick and can increase your smoothie's density.

Another option is to add a couple of tablespoons of chia or flax seeds as they can also thicken your smoothies plus they will add some healthy omega fats.

Too powdery

Many people use smoothies to increase their daily nutritional intake, but the fact is that many of these powders are filled with tons of artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and other ingredients that you probably can't even pronounce. 

If you find that your smoothies are too powdery, opt to switch away from nutritional powders and substitute them with non-powder protein sources that will improve the consistency of your smoothies.

Too much ice

Sometimes it takes just the right amount of ice to get that perfect consistency for your smoothie, and if you use too much, it will be that much harder for all of the ingredients to properly blend together.

The best way to reach optimal consistency is to add ice as the last ingredient before you begin blending, as this gives you more control of the ratio of cubes to beverage.

Another solution is to freeze juice in an ice tray and then transfer that to the blender when the times comes to make your smoothie. 

Final thoughts

Making smoothies isn't rocket science, but it does take a bit of creativity and general guidelines to get that perfect blend and consistency.

Have fun figuring out your preferred smoothie and drink up! 

Olivia Watts

Set designer assistant Olivia was a meat-and-potatoes girl until one of her hipster co-workers on the latest superhero film handed her a lunch that came in a cup with a fat straw. With one life-changing sip of that fruit smoothie, Olivia tossed away her hammer, started up her own business, and now manages six smoothie franchises.