Acai bowls are similar to smoothies but they are thicker and served in a bowl. You can top them with all sorts of delicious toppings like fresh fruit, granola, and nuts. It’s one of our favorite ways to get a healthy start to the day.
Sometimes Mr. K. and I fall into unhealthy eating spirals and need to reset on our diets. He’s not really into detox programs like juice cleanses, but he loves acai bowls and pitaya bowls so that’s our go-to when we feel like we need to eat a little healthier.
Acai bowls have been all the rage for the past two years and seem to be offered at every juice, coffee, or health conscious cafe in San Diego, with prices ranging between $6-8. But it’s actually really easy to make your own acai bowls at home and they are much cheaper than the ones I see at cafes. Plus, you can customize them with your favorite toppings.
What is Acai?
Acai berries are grown in Brazil and are considered a super-fruit because of their high nutrient content, plus they are packed with antioxidants.
Acai has a reddish-purple color, which I love because it makes the acai bowls so pretty. Acai berries are sweet and taste like a blend of blackberries, blueberries and mulberries. You can enjoy it all on its own or you can blend it with other fruits to create different flavors for your acai bowl.
Where to Buy Acai
I buy frozen acai puree at Whole Foods. There are two brands I like to buy: Amazon Planet or Sambazon. I also recently started buying the Sambazon brand from Costco.
I recommend buying unsweetened pure packets. One package usually comes with four packets of puree and costs between $5 to $7. I usually use two packets at a time blended with other fruit to make two fairly decent sized acai bowls.
How to Make Acai Bowl
An acai bowl is very similar to a smoothie except it’s thicker and served with different kinds of toppings. The recipe I’m sharing is made with coconut milk, bananas, and other frozen fruit, but feel free to switch things up to suit your tastes.
Acai Bowl Ingredients
I like to use two packets of frozen acai puree, which is enough to make two generous acai bowls.
It’s a good idea to run the acai packets under warm water for a few seconds before opening them. This makes it easier to break the frozen puree into pieces before you process it in the blender.
I like to use one half of a medium-sized banana for two bowls, but if you prefer a thicker and sweeter acai bowl, I recommend using a whole banana.
I love coconut milk, but you can also substitute soy milk, almond milk or regular milk.
I like to add a half of a cup of frozen fruit and I often switch up the fruit depending on my mood. For this version I added frozen blueberries, but I also love to use frozen mangos. Frozen strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries would be delicious, too.
All you do is place the ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree them. Pour the puree into bowls and then you’re ready to add some toppings.
Unlike smoothies, acai bowls often have toppings and there are so many ways to customize your acai bowl with different flavors and textures. Here are some of our favorite toppings:
- Fresh fruit like strawberries, grapes, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Or try sliced bananas, kiwi, or even avocado.
- Shredded coconut
- Sliced almonds or other nuts
- 2 packets of unsweetened frozen acai puree
- 1/2 medium banana see note
- 2 tbsp coconut milk see note
- 1/2 cup frozen fruit see note
- fresh fruit of your choice
- shredded coconut
- sliced almonds
In a high powered blender, blend acai, banana, milk and frozen fruit (if using). Make sure to run frozen acai packets under warm water for about 5-10 seconds and break into smaller pieces before adding to the blender. Blend until consistency is slightly thicker than a smoothie.
Pour into bowls and top with granola, fresh fruit, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, or whatever else you desire.
I prefer to use 1/2 of a medium-sized banana, but a whole one will make your base thicker and sweeter.
I like coconut milk, but another liquid of your choice such as soy milk, almond milk, or regular milk will work well, too.
You can add other frozen fruit to change the base flavor of the smoothie and make it sweeter, but this is optional. I like to add blueberries or mangos.
The nutrition estimate does not include the additional 1/2 cup of frozen fruit or the toppings. I used the Sambazon brand of acai. If you use a different brand the nutrition estimates may vary.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have. All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.
Amount Per Serving (1 bowl)
Calories 182 Calories from Fat 67
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3.9g24%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2g
Vitamin A 400IU8%
Vitamin C 7.4mg9%
Net Carbs 25g50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.