Here’s how to make an acai bowl at home: the purple smoothie and confetti of toppings taste refreshing and tangy sweet. It’s the ultimate healthy breakfast!
Do you love acai bowls? I don’t remember the exact first time I had one, but I was smitten at first bite. That creamy, frosty purple smoothie is inexplicably delicious. With a colorful confetti of toppings, it tastes different in every bite. Acai bowls have become quite popular here in the US, after they caught on from Brazil. They’re a perfect healthy breakfast or snack: and a total treat! One reader told us: “Made your acai bowl recipe and OH MY! I’ve never had one I’ve enjoyed as much as this. It was so perfectly balanced, and my husband loved it too!” Here’s how to make it.
What is an acai bowl?
If you’ve never had one, an acai bowl is a smoothie bowl made from acai berries. The bowl is loaded with toppings like fruit, granola, coconut and almond butter.
Where does acai come from? Acai berries grow on palm trees and are native to Brazil. Acai bowls are a popular dish in Brazil, and they’ve taken off in the US as a healthy breakfast or snack. Acai berries are known as a superfood, and are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Many restaurants and food trucks in the US serve acai bowls, but there’s no need to splurge every time you want one. They’re very easy to make at home!
How do I find acai?
If you’re an acai bowl fiend like we are, you’ll be glad to know this. Acai berries are native to Brazil, but they’re easy to find here in the states! Luckily due to the popularity of acai bowls, packs of frozen acai pulp are widely available online or at your local grocery. Check in the frozen fruit aisle. Sambazon is a well-known brand that sells acai and has sustainable harvesting practices.
How to make an acai bowl
How to make this homemade acai bowl recipe? It’s very simple, and results in the perfect sweet tart flavor! Alex and I played around with various combinations of frozen fruit before we found this one. Pineapple, banana and mango are all essential for adding the right natural sweetness to the acai berries, which are pretty tart on their own. Here are the basic steps:
- Place your bowl in the freezer. This keeps the smoothie from melting once it hits the bowl.
- Prep the toppings: To prevent melting even more, prep the toppings first. Some ideas: sliced strawberries, diced mango, blueberries, toasted coconut, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, and more.
- Blend: Blend frozen pineapple, banana and frozen mango until combined and chunky. Then add the acai pulp to the blender with lime juice and water, and blend until smooth.
- Serve: Pour the acai mixture into the frozen bowls. Top and serve!
Tips for the best acai bowl
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for making the very best homemade acai bowl:
- Break the pulp into pieces before blending. Packs of frozen acai pulp are becoming widely available in the US at mainstream grocery stores. When you use the acai pulp, thaw the package under warm water until it’s easy to break into pieces inside the package. Then remove from the plastic wrap. It will be easier to blend into a smoothie when it’s broken into chunks.
- Stop and scrape, then blend until it’s smooth. It’s easiest to use a high speed blender to blend the smoothie. But a standard blender works too, you just might need to stop and stir the blender a bit more. You can also add just a little water to get it to blend better, but not too much! It’s best when it is thick and doesn’t have too much water added.
That’s it! Go forth and enjoy your bowl. And let us know what you think in the comments below!
Looking for easy smoothie recipes?
- Perfect Strawberry Smoothie
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This homemade acai bowl recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, plant based, naturally sweet, and refined sugar free.Print
Love acai bowls but don’t want to leave your house? This homemade acai bowl recipe is incredibly delicious and easy to make.
For the toppings
- 1 handful coconut flakes
- 1/2 mango, diced (or 1/2 cup frozen diced, thawed)
- 4 sliced strawberries
- 1 small handful blueberries
- 1 small handful pepitas
- Bee pollen, optional
- Other toppings: Granola, almonds, pecans, walnuts, almond butter, peanut butter, chia seeds, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
For the acai bowl
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 large banana
- 1/2 mango (or 1/2 cup frozen diced)
- 7 ounces frozen unsweetened acai pulp (such as Sambazon)*
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Place your bowls in the freezer: this will help to keep the acai from melting while enjoying it.
- Prep the toppings (before making the bowl, again to minimize melting): In a small skillet, toast the coconut over low to medium low heat until golden brown, stirring often. Immediately remove to a bowl. Dice the mango and reserve half for the acai. Slice the strawberries.
- In a large high speed or regular blender, blend the pineapple, banana and mango until somewhat combined and chunky.
- Thaw the acai pulp under warm water until it can be broken into smaller chunks, then remove the packaging. Add the acai to the blender with the lime juice and 1/4 cup cold water. Blend until smooth, stopping and stirring as necessary. (If you need a bit more water you can add it; try not to add too much in order to keep the acai texture thick. A high speed blender will work well here; with a regular blender you’ll have to stop and stir more.)
- Pour the acai mixture into the frozen bowls. Top with the fruit, coconut, pepitas, and other toppings. Serve immediately.
*We’ve found this acai pulp in the frozen section at several of our local grocery stores.
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Frozen
- Cuisine: Tropical
Keywords: Acai Bowl, Homemade Acai Bowl, Acai Bowl Recipe, Vegan, Gluten Free, Vegan Breakfast Ideas, Healthy Breakfast, Healthy Snack
Looking for healthy breakfast ideas?
Outside of this homemade acai bowl recipe, we have dozens of vegan breakfast ideas and quick healthy breakfast recipes on our website. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Apple Cinnamon Pressure Cooker Steel Cut Oats
- Gluten Free Banana Muffins
- Healthy Banana Bread
- Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
- Chemex, Aeropress, & Cold Brew Coffee
- Cinnamon Pecan Homemade Breakfast Cereal
- Turmeric Vegan Blueberry Muffins
- Chai Tart Cherry Jam or Cranberry Jam
- DIY Instant Oatmeal
- Tofu Scramble Recipe with Black Beans
- Healthy Granola Recipe
- Honey Almond Granola
- Sweet Potato Hash Browns or Homemade Hash Browns
- Easy Breakfast Ideas
- Vegan Breakfast Ideas
- Related: Easy Vegan Recipes for Beginners
Last updated: January 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.