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May 31, 2019
The Avocado Was Made to Smoothie

Running out of ways to use up your big bag of ripe avocados? Consider blending them.

At first glance, an avocado shake could be mistaken for any old fibrous, kale- and celery-laden green smoothie. No shade to the health-minded green juices out there, but avocado shakes are in another category—a category that blurs the line between cool, refreshing smoothie and rich, creamy dessert.

Throughout Southeast Asia, avocado flexes its sweeter side, eschewing the Western association with cilantro-perfumed guacamole and instead starring as a dependable add-on choice for BEC breakfast sandwiches. Alongside scoops of ube and mango, avocado is a beloved ice cream flavor throughout the Philippines. And for Vietnamese cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, her take on avocado toast calls for a drizzle of caramel-flavored condensed milk on top.

Following the general framework of blended avocado, ice, and sweetened dairy, you’ll see different versions of the avocado shake in each country. Whether you call it a smoothie or a milkshake, all variations share the same DNA. Known as sinh tố bơ in Vietnam and abukado con leche in the Philippines, these shakes involve some kind of sweet canned milk (whether it’s evaporated or condensed) that’s blended with the avocado and sometimes further sweetened with granulated sugar. Order an es alpukat in Indonesia, and your avocado shake will be served with a shot of espresso and streaks of chocolate syrup drizzled on the sides of the glass.

In its simplest, four-ingredient form, components are sparse, but each serves an important function. A whole, ripened avocado is the obvious anchor here for flavor, color, and creaminess, but it leans on ice to dilute and chill, whole milk to thin it out, and condensed milk for body and sweetness. It doesn’t need other fruits or syrups to bolster it—you want to enjoy avocado’s pure, refreshing flavor as much as possible.

When you blended up at home, an avocado shake makes use of what you already have. You can polish off that half-finished can of condensed milk, or use up some spare avocados sitting on your counter before they over-ripen. And if you’re missing any components, they’re probably sold at a nearby corner store.

While there are loose guidelines and ratios to follow, you can and should make your own version. The only real rule to follow would be to start with less milk and continue to add until it reaches your desired consistency. If your diet is dairy-free, sub in oat or almond milk and add a drizzle of honey or some sugar in place of condensed milk. And if you’re going for a super-rich and even thicker consistency, a scoop of vanilla ice cream couldn’t hurt. When it’s finished, drink it from a straw or spoon it straight out of a single-serve blender cup.

RECIPE: Avocado Shake

Tatiana Bautista

Tatiana Bautista is an assistant editor at TASTE.