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Orange Julius is a creamy, frothy blend of orange juice concentrate, milk, vanilla and ice. Not quite a smoothie, not quite a milkshake, this icy drink is so easy to make at home!
In the summertime we most enjoy sipping on a cool, creamy, frothy beverage. We love to make smoothies, like our Pineapple Smoothie or Strawberry Banana Smoothie and in the fall you can bet we’re whipping up plenty of Apple Smoothies!
What is an Orange Julius?
Growing up as a mall rat in Southern California, Orange Julius was a way of life. This tasty treat was a must have during any visit to the local mall. Over the years they added other flavors and other sorts of food and drinks, but their signature orange drink made with orange juice concentrate, milk, water, sugar and ice was a mainstay.
In the 1920s, Julius Freed opened an orange juice stand in Los Angeles, and the first Orange Julius was born. What started as a modest juice stand now has thousands of locations around the country.
The original Orange Julius recipe contained egg whites, which are often replaced with powders like coffee creamer. Our homemade recipe forgoes that ingredient for simplicity and is still just as frothy and delicious. We think it tastes like an orange creamsicle!
How to Make Orange Julius at Home
Can’t get to the mall right now? You’re in luck because you can make your favorite drink at home! I’ve been making copycat Orange Julius drinks at home since I was about 11 years old and I discovered the recipe in one of my recipe books. As an adult, I’ve played around with the recipe a little bit until I had something we really love. It’s a treat that I get just as excited about as my kids do!
- Gather your ingredients: A small can of frozen orange juice concentrate, milk, water, sugar, vanilla and ice.
- Blend. Pour everything in your blender and blend until the ice is crushed and the drink is thick and frothy.
- Taste. Take a taste and add more sugar or vanilla and blend again if desired. The ingredients are simple and you can adjust until you love the flavor and texture.
Pour your drinks into glasses. If you’re feeling extra fancy, add a cute paper straw and an orange slice to the side of the glass.
Top Recipe Tips for the Best Orange Julius
How to double the recipe: This recipe makes 2 generous Orange Julius drinks, but you can easily double the recipe. by adding twice as much of the ingredients. It takes about 5 minutes to make the recipe, so they are super quick to make for a crowd.
Can you make Orange Julius with regular orange juice? If you can’t find orange juice concentrate or just don’t have it on hand, no problem. Simply omit the water and add 2 cups of regular orange juice. Note that this will change the texture and taste of the drink. to rectify, freeze the regular OJ in ice cube trays and use them in place of the ice called for in the recipe.
Can I use other flavors? Obviously we are partial to the orange flavor of this classic drink, but you can absolutely customize the flavors. Lemonade is great, or even grape juice or limeade. As long as you keep the ratios the same, any flavor of juice concentrate will work.
Prefer a thicker drink? You can add more ice, but be sure to balance that with additional frozen oj concentrate for a balanced flavor.
More Summer Drinks To Love
- Homemade Lemonade
- Fresh Strawberry Lemonade
- Skinny Berry Smoothie
- Homemade Hawaiian Punch
- Cherry Limeade Ice Cream Float
- Blueberry Watermelon Agua Fresca
- 6 ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup ice or more, as desired
- Blend ingredients together until ice is crushed and mixture is thick and frothy.
- Pour into glasses over ice and enjoy immediately.
- Garnishing with an orange slice and a pretty straw is totally optional but highly recommend if you're feeling fancy.