Make this easy copycat Orange Julius recipe at home for a tasty, refreshing treat that's creamy, frothy, and citrusy sweet!
Most people's experience with Orange Julius comes from stands at the mall, but the Orange Julius I grew up enjoying actually comes from a recipe in an old family cookbook with plastic comb binding.
You know the kind, right? The ones that are put together by women's groups at churches or collections from large family clans where everybody submits a few of their favorite recipes that get compiled into a book?
I LOVE those cookbooks and I have a number of them from family reunions and church groups, and the pages are warped and splattered with vanilla stains. The particular Orange Julius recipe I use was submitted jointly by my Grandma Johnson and Aunt Judy. The only change I've made here is to decrease the sugar a bit to let the bright, citrus flavor of the orange juice shine through.
(We love fun, refreshing drink recipes that the whole family can enjoy! Don't miss these other reader favorites: Fresh Squeezed Homemade Lemonade, Homemade Hawaiian Punch, and Easy Brazilian Lemonade.)
What is an Orange Julius?
An Orange Julius is a cool, creamy drink that was created in the 1920's in Los Angeles. Which makes perfect sense since that part of the country is well known for its oranges. (Orange County got its name for a good reason!)
The Orange Julius is made up of ice, orange juice, sweetener, milk, and vanilla. It’s like a creamy, frothy smoothie, except more dairy-based. Or like a fruity, slightly icier milkshake!
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Frozen orange juice concentrate
- Milk – Whole milk will give you a creamier Orange Julius, but a lower fat milk or even a non-dairy milk will work too!
- Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners’ sugar!
- Vanilla extract
- Ice cubes
Can you make Orange Julius with Fresh Orange Juice?
Yes, you can make an Orange Julius with fresh orange juice instead of concentrate. The texture is slightly different and the flavor will be less orange-y since the orange flavor won't be as concentrated, but it's still delicious. Just replace the 1 cup of water and 6 ounces of orange juice concentrate with 2 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice.
If you are planning ahead and can freeze the orange juice in an ice cube tray first, this will help the texture be closer to the original.
Another option that I haven't tried myself is to peel and use 4 whole oranges instead of the orange juice concentrate and water. If you try this approach, let me know what you think in the comments!
Did the Original Orange Julius Have Egg in It?
The original Orange Julius recipe did contain raw egg, but these days, powdered egg whites are used instead. Because most people don’t have powdered egg whites on hand, this recipe doesn't use them. Trust me, you won’t miss them at all!
How to Make Orange Julius at Home
Making this copycat Orange Julius couldn't be any easier. This is a great recipe for kids to make because they can do the whole thing all on their own!
- Combine the ingredients. Place the orange juice concentrate, milk, water, powdered, sugar, vanilla, and ice cubes in a blender.
- Blend. Turn on your blender and blend until the mixture smooth and frothy. Divide between four cups, garnish with orange slices, and serve with a straw.
Variations to Try
Want to switch things up a little bit? Try one of these variations!
- Orange Banana: Make the recipe as written, except add a frozen banana for a thicker, creamier shake with banana orange flavor.
- Strawberry Orange: Throw in a couple handfuls of fresh or frozen strawberries for a pretty shade of pink.
- Pineapple Orange: Fresh or frozen pineapple works best, not canned.
- Dairy-Free Coconut Orange: If you need a dairy-free version or just want a tropical twist, swap out the milk for the same amount of coconut milk.
How to Store
Orange Julius is best served right away!
If you do have any leftovers, you can pop them in the fridge for up to a day, but as the ice melts, they won’t be as frothy. You can blend the leftovers with a few ice cubes if you want to get that frothy, frozen texture back, but the flavor will be watered down a bit.
More Tasty Non-Alcoholic Drinks
- Horchata (a Mexican cinnamon rice drink that is wonderful!)
- The Best Shirley Temple Drink Recipe
- Non-Alcoholic Mint Julep
- Italian Cream Soda
- Strawberry Lemonade
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Orange Julius Recipe
- 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup ice cubes (about 8-10 ice cubes)
- Combine orange juice concentrate, milk, water, powdered, sugar, vanilla, and ice cubes in a blender.
- Blend until smooth and frothy, then divide between four cups and garnish with orange slices, if desired. Serve with a straw!
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