Orange Julius Recipe

This classic Orange Julius Recipe is made in just 5 minutes and is such a refreshing treat on a hot summer day!

A glass of orange julius with a straw on a wooden table with orange slices

When I was little, I thought my mom invented the original Orange Julius. I had no idea there was a chain of stores with the same name or multiple cookbooks featuring an Orange Julius recipe, trying to copy the taste and texture of the original. For all I knew, mom had come up with this dreamy orange concoction all on her own, and for that, she was a genius.

I remember sipping on Orange Julius as a special after school snack or weekend treat. Occasionally I would get a craving for it and beg mom to make me one. She usually obliged. 

Eventually, I started making them, and because they are so simple (5 ingredients and a quick whir of the blender), this was the first recipe I managed to master all by myself.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I first saw an Orange Julius store in person. At first, I thought that some ne’er-do-well had stolen Mom’s Orange Julius recipe and turned it into a popular franchise serving counterfeit creamy drinks. Treachery! 

a blender pouring homemade orange julius into a glass

Eventually, clearer thinking prevailed, and I realized Mom’s Orange Julius recipe was one of hundreds just like it out there in the world. (Though I still raise an eyebrow every time I see one of those corporate lie factories. You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing Orange Julius, I just know it!)

Anyways, despite the realization that mom doesn’t hold the patent to the first Orange Julius recipe, I still think she is a genius and that her homemade Orange Julius is the best around.

Orange Julius Ingredients

This Orange Julius recipe is just 5 simple ingredients:

  • Ice cubes
  • Orange juice concentrate
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla

homemade orange julius in a glass with a fresh orange slice

The Best Orange Julius Recipe

No Water in Orange Julius

You can find countless Orange Julius recipes that use water as an ingredient, but my advice is to skip the H2O and just use more milk. After all, you’ve already got ice cubes in there, and going exclusively with milk keeps your Orange Julius nice and creamy. 

Milk (as an Orange Julius ingredient) also just does a better job of suspending the flurry of little ice chunks and orange-y bits than water. More water makes for a thinner mix that will settle and separate the longer it sits in your glass (or in the pitcher). No thanks.

Two glasses of homemade orange julius on a wood table with orange slices

Just The Right Texture

This comes down to personal preference, but I like my Orange Julius to be the texture of a thick smoothie. Still sippable through a straw, but slushy enough that if you try to gulp too much at once, it will brain-freeze the living daylights out of your head.

When you think about it, the icy-cold texture of Orange Julius is like a built-in traffic cop that regulates how fast you drink it. If you’re feeling some relaxed summer vibes, then slowly sipping on some Orange Julius is like a wonderful stroll along the beach. Try to shotgun the stuff though, and it’s gonna make you feel like Princess Elsa is blasting her ice castle freeze ray inside your noggin.

overhead closeup view of a glass of orange julius with a blue paper straw

Use my Orange Julius Recipe below as a starting point, and adjust the amount of ice cubes depending on your preferred texture, and how big your ice cubes are. You can even add enough ice to make your homemade Orange Julius thick enough to eat with a spoon (think the texture of Italian ice) if you’re into that sort of thing.

Also, note that I use double the vanilla extract of other similar Orange Julius recipes (*and yes, that’s on purpose). I am a self-admitted vanilla addict, going as far as making my own vanilla syrup for vanilla iced coffee and putting it in everything from waffles to buttermilk biscuits to pear bundt cake. I’ve even gifted vanilla bean syrup to friends. I may not be as committed as these folks from Hawaiian Vanilla Co., but at least when it comes to eating vanilla, you can totally trust me.

How To Make Orange Julius

Making a homemade Orange Julius is super easy and quick.

  1. Blend up all of the ingredients in the blender until the mixture is smooth.
  2. That’s it. Pour yourself a glass and sit back and enjoy!

See? I told you it was easy! I’ll bet it took even longer to search the phrase “How to make Orange Julius,” than it actually takes to make a pitcher.

Two glasses of fresh homemade orange julius on a rustic summer table

The Orange Julius recipe below makes a creamy, frothy, refreshing drink that’s perfectly balanced, and difficult to resist. It’s like drinking a glass of orange creamsicle.

Serve this icy summer favorite to your family and friends with as much love as my mom used to, and they’ll be so impressed they might even think you invented the recipe. 

glass of homemade orange julius

Orange Julius Recipe

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This Creamy Orange Julius Recipe is a quick, refreshing beverage that's perfect for summer time!

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (half a can) frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine the first four ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  2. Add ice cubes (depending on the size of your ice cubes, you may want more or less. I suggest starting with 8-10). Blend again until ice cubes are crushed and the drink is smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.

Notes

Note: You can substitute a non-dairy milk in this recipe if you prefer. I prefer the taste of coconut milk, but almond or cashew would also work.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 70mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 6g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review, or head over to Instagram and share a photo! Tag your projects with #neighborfoodies!

This post was updated on July 5, 2019. I’ve kept the original story below for my own records, and because deleting it feels like ripping pages out of my own diary.

Full credit for this recipe goes to my amazing mom.

After all, she’s the one who sang Jesus Love Me, sat down on the floor to play Barbies with me, made clothes for my baby dolls and stitched together my first prom dress. She’s the one who made dinner each night and drove me to musical practice and made sure I looked presentable when I headed off to school (although some of those early 90s puffy sleeve dresses were questionable, Mom). She’s the one who read me stories at bedtime and kissed my scraped knees and showed me how to care–really care–for other people.

That’s the magic of moms, isn’t it? They are our super women, the daily heroes grinding out laundry and juggling a job and putting food on our dinner tables and still finding time to bring a smile to our face by playing a game of hide and go seek, or by serving up a special homemade treat. And through it all they manage to teach us some of life’s most important lessons.

I don’t care how old I get, my mom (the inventor of the original Orange Julius) will always be super woman. 

126 Comments

  1. Thanks for this recipe! I was in high school when my best friend told me he had the secret of Orange Julius. His recipe was very close to this one. The only difference was that it contained one whole raw egg. (The original commercial Orange Julius also had an egg, and you could request a second egg for a few cents more if you wanted even more velvety body. They cracked it in right in front of you.)

    Later the health department cracked down the egg — no pun intended — so they had to take it out, though in reality commercial eggs are about as close to sterile as you can get. (And if your eggs come fresh from a chicken, they’re even safer. Just remember to wash off the dirty shell before cracking.) Anyway, if you want, crack an egg into the blender as well.

    A few other upgrades I came up with back in the day: substitute some of the milk for half-and-half, or add a few spoons of yogurt. Both add body; the yogurt adds tartness. And a few drops of lime juice are good, too. Gives a more complex flavour.

    Thanks again; although my best friend and I made these several times a month, I haven’t had one in 50 years. Googled my way in so I could revisit my youth.

  2. I just tried this recipe and I didn’t care for it. I followed the instructions word for word and it didn’t taste that good, it especially doesn’t taste like orange Julius

    1. Funny you say that, I did this recipe today and it was too tart and orange forward. I had to reblend with more ice milk and sugar.

      1. Hi Val- Thanks for the comment. I’m wondering if it’s possible you used the whole large can (12 oz) of orange concentrate? That might’ve made the drink too strong. I’ve clarified the ingredients to specify six ounces, which is usually half a can in most grocery store sizes.

    2. Oddly enough, I thought this recipe was spectacular! Keep in mind that Orange Julius hasn’t been around in, yikes!, ages so please don’t let your memories of the original OJ cloud your tastebuds. 😉 My take is this: “It Tastes Good, and that’s Good Enough for me!” 🙂

      By the way, I froze some of it. It freezes just fine.

    3. Thanks for the information on the “Orange Julius” we used to make it with frozen concentrate. Recently I’ve (now a widowed bachelor) tried making the delicious drink for breakfast. The taste just isn’t quite right…maybe it’s the powdered egg whites-never thought of that one. Oh well, it’s a great tasting orange drink anyway.

    4. The recipe on my computer screen makes no mention of egg. So if you followed the recipe verbatim, that might be why it wasn’t so great. Egg is a very tasty part of the drink.

  3. Reminds me of going to the mall with my parents. As long as we were “good” we would get OJ at the end of the day. Obviously we were always good.

  4. Living in Orlando Florida in the 70’s we had an Orange Julius stand at the mall, and a Chick-fil-A right there too. I would always get one of each. They were so delicious I couldn’t resist. We also made Orange Julius at home, and the one ingredient that was indispensable was Cream of Coconut. The liquor stores all carry it. That is the secret ingredient that everyone fails to include. It’s not vanilla.
    Oj, Cream of Coconut, and ice. That’s it. Fire up that blender! Also makes great cocktails with rum in particular.

    1. John, do I understand correctly that your Orange Julius recipe uses Cream of Coconut INSTEAD OF Milk and that you omit the use of vanilla ? Please clarify, thanks !
      Joe

  5. Wow! Hope this doesn’t sound too weird, but you two are normal looking people! Not set up to look like flawless models!
    Thank you for the recipe. My husband was reminiscing about these the other day. Somehow I completely missed out on the rage, so will be trying them for the first time!

  6. I did make this. I took out the concentrate and replaced with Pure Orange Juice. I also used egg white(powdered), like the original Orange Julius Co. Recipe calls for. We made these in middle school food class and even had an Orange Julius Rep there to show us all how to make em. A supurbly delicious throwback to the 90s.

    1. I’ve made this several times and my husband loves it. However the vanilla extract has always been too strong to me, so I’ve decreased it each time. It wasn’t until today that I removed the vanilla extract and I finally LOVE this recipe. I guess I’m not a fan of vanilla extract 😅

      1. That’s good to know! Glad you found a recipe you really adore! Thanks for coming back to let us know.

  7. Took me longer to scroll through the fluff to find the ingredients than it did to search it. I won’t say no one, but most people don’t care about your history. Just post the ingredients if people are still interested they’ll stay if not they can get the needed information and go.

    1. You have the option of clicking on the ‘jump to recipe’ link at the top of the post if you aren’t interested in reading further. It’s not compulsory. There really isn’t any reason to be unkind to people – on their own website.

  8. My mother blended orange juice and buttermilk. I was amazed. OJ is sweet, buttermilk is the creaminess and both are cold, they froth when mixed together.

  9. This is the favorite of all my beverage recipes. Perfect refreshment for a blazing hot summer day in Texas. So glad you shared it with us. I am always tickled to read your comments! “Try to shotgun the stuff though, and it’s gonna make you feel like Princess Elsa is blasting her ice castle freeze ray inside your noggin.” That one made me laugh so hard!

  10. I remember the little walk-up shop in NYC near the corner of 3rd Ave and St. Mark’s Place in the mid-1960s where I had quite a few of these. Back then we watched the man break an egg into the blender and squeeze fresh oranges into it. There was a white powder as well, perhaps the vanilla. If memory serves, NYC ordered the chain to stop using fresh eggs, and the flavor went downhill from there along with the business. I make my own now with eggs, OJ and vanilla yogurt as a base, adding a banana and/or spinach for health and variety. Sometimes fresh strawberries as well.

  11. Love Orange Juliuses!!! The only thing I’d change is using POWDERED SUGAR vs just granulated sugar (which I really only assume from how the recipe is written). I’m not sure why but there’s definitely a taste difference there. Made these back in grade school home ec and I can just never remember the ratios of ingredients. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. The Place by me that was making them stopped making them and I have to tell you I’m extremely upset and have been craving an orange Julias for a month! I don’t know why I haven’t googled a recipe before now but thank you so much I’m going to make it when we get home from grocery shopping

  13. Was doing a small mind trip down memory lane, about Orange Julius roadside stands when I was young and, just happened upon this site when searching.
    Love your story (and site) and will look no further to make something from my past. I’m 82 years old now and have many wonderful memories of old fashioned road side eateries. :O)

  14. I just made some using your recipe. Fresh oranges that I peeled a few days ago and placed in the refrigerator. It came out great!!! Will make some more this week as a treat.

  15. There are several Orange Julius recipes on the internet, but I chose yours, because I love the story you shared with it!! LOL it was a good read.

  16. If you blend it long enough, this definitely creates plenty of froth. Very yummy. I did use bottled orange juice, and found it less sweet, but some fresh squeezed oranges juice would probably be just the ticket for those not wanting to use concentrate, but wanting it plenty sweet. 😉

  17. I’ve had as many Julius as anyone and every time the concoction was made it was made with a powered substance. I happened to ask the proprietor what the mysterious substance was. He said it was powered egg whites. BTW…the oranges were all fresh squeezed.

  18. You are absolutely right this is the one to join us I tasted when I was 12 or 13 at Crossroads mall and I’m now fixing to be 58 so that tells you how long it’s been since I’ve had a real one thank you so much for your mom’s recipe and thank her too .Aren’t mom’s GREAT!!!!!!

  19. I just made this and added a handful of frozen pineapple chi CJ’s and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and it is delicious, thank you for the recipe.❤️❤️❤️❤️

  20. Ohhhhh this MUST be the original. It tastes so much better than the Corporate version! I’m sure that is why there aren’t many or even any Orange Julius stands left! Thanks for sharing!

  21. I just made these and subbed in half a cup of milk for half a cup of strawberries and cream Baileys. Amazing

  22. I used Vanilla Extract and it was still delicious. 😁 Remember those hot summer days. The perfect summer drink.

  23. My father used to make his version when I was much younger. He used regular orange juice, some vanilla egg whites and some ice in the blender. Probably a little sugar too. He would blend it and always said it was the egg whites that made them frothy. Now that pasteurized egg whites are available, I make them this way. Some friends add vodka too. My father would never have added vodka as it was for the family.

  24. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love Orange Julius. It also brings back a lot of great memories, which is always a good thing. Do you happen to have a recipe for the strawberry julius. I also remember that if you ask them, Orange Julius would put an egg in the mix. I don’t know what difference it actually made in the drink, I just thought that I was getting something special. Oh, the memories. Thank you so much.

    1. You know what? I’ve actually never had a Strawberry Julius! That sounds delicious though. I might have to see if I can find a recipe. I know some recipes might have used egg whites for extra foaminess, but I think this creamy, foamy version is just perfect. I hope you love it too!

  25. Courtney, thank you for your kind words…I feel very undeserving but I do appreciate them.
    I have great memories of those Orange Julius moments too.
    You are becoming a super woman. You will make a great mom. Love you, Mom.

  26. I. Have never. Known. Omgosh I don’t know why I never bothered looking up a recipe for Orange Julius, but my mom introduced me to it when I was young and I absolutely fell in love. This is such a perfect Mother’s Day post; you are one lucky pair! Thank you for sharing this <3

  27. Where did you grow up, woman?! You didn’t see your first Orange Julius until you were an adult?! I like to think that your mom would drive you on certain routes to avoid all the OJs just so that you could continue believing she invented it 😉 What a lovely story. Even though she didn’t invent Orange Julius, her version is a thousand times better than the stuff they sell. I haven’t had one in over a decade because of all the artificial sweeteners they put in. I love this wonderful tribute to your amazing mom, Courtney.

  28. That’s a funny story, Courtney. I would have loved to have seen your face when you saw the first Orange Julius shop. 🙂 Your version sure looks refreshing!

  29. Ok, I LOVE that you thought your mom invented Orange Julius! That is totally something I would have thought when I was little. It’s funny how there are certain things that just never taste quite the same when I make them. My mom makes the best egg sandwich and I just can never get it quite right 😉

  30. I have such fond memories of Orange Julius! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be making them soon! Pinned 😉
    Renee – Kudos Kitchen

  31. I used to make these all the time when I was a kid! I’m so glad you reminded me of them, I can’t wait to make one as an adult!

  32. I’ve heard about these for years and have never had one. It looks so refreshing and easy to make. Pinning!

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  34. okay you convinced me. I actually never tried one because I didn’t think orange and milk worked well together. But hey what about all those orange creamsicles I had every summer as a kid. I am going to give this one a try. Your photos are beckoning me to try it.

  35. This looks so good! What a great idea for a Mother’s Day Brunch. Your mom sounds amazing… I hope one day my kids will say the same about me.

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