Orange Julius

$1.87 recipe / $0.94 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 7 votes
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I know it’s still spring, but the days are getting warmer, the sun is starting to shine, and I am ready for summer and all of its cold, fruity drinks. And let me tell you, this Orange Julius is going to be the drink of the summer for me. It only takes a few minutes to whip up this super easy Orange Julius recipe and is the perfect cold and creamy treat to make me feel like I’m vacationing somewhere in the tropics (a girl’s gotta dream). Not to mention, there are so many ways you can vary this Orange Julius recipe to make it more dessert-like, more healthy like a breakfast smoothie, or even turn it into an afternoon cocktail, so I’m truly going to be sipping this one all. summer. long. Don’t miss my variation suggestions below!

overhead view of two glasses full of orange juilius with straws and orange slices.

What is An Orange Julius?

Orange Julius is a refreshing and creamy orange drink made with orange juice, milk, sugar, vanilla, and egg whites which create a super frothy texture. The drink was invented by Julius Freed at his Los Angeles juice stand in 1926 and has been a summertime favorite ever since. The drink grew in popularity over the years and was even deemed the official drink of the 1964 World’s Fair Exposition. In the decades since it has become a staple in shopping malls and on Dairy Queen’s menu. Today’s it’s usually made without egg white, but it’s still just as dreamy and creamy as ever. And the best part? You don’t have to shell out $6 per Julius at an ice cream stand because these deliciously creamy citrus drinks are so easy to make at home!

Ingredients for Orange Julius

You’ll only need four simple ingredients to make a homemade Orange Julius (plus ice). Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate: This is the secret ingredient for making a super citrusy Orange Julius without it getting too watery. The orange juice concentrate adds a ton of sweet-tart orange flavor while allowing the smoothie to stay thick and frothy.
  • Milk: Whole milk is added to balance the acidity in the orange juice and give the Orange Julius its characteristic creamy flavor. While you can use a lower fat milk, it will affect the creaminess of the drink. Whole milk is recommended.
  • Sugar: A little bit of sugar helps balance the acidity and bitterness in the orange juice concentrate so the Julius has a deliciously sweet and smooth finish.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla adds to the creamy flavor profile and gives the drink an orange creamsicle-like flavor.
  • Ice: Ice makes the Orange Julius super cold and helps create a deliciously thick and frothy texture. You can increase or decrease the ice to make the smoothie your desired texture.

Can You Make Orange Julius with Orange Juice?

The recipe below uses frozen orange juice concentrate to deliver a really strong orange flavor while keeping the smoothie thick and rich. You can substitute about 2 cups of fresh orange juice in place of the orange juice concentrate, but it will make the Julius much less thick and the flavor will not be as bold. For the richest, boldest flavor, definitely buy orange juice concentrate. The remainder of the can can be easily stored in your freezer for your next Orange Julius, so it’s worth purchasing!

Orange Julius Variations

I love a simple classic Orange Julius, but there are so many fun ways you can change the recipe to make it your own. Here are some other ingredients you can add to an Orange Julius for variety:

  • Fruity Flavors: Try adding banana, mango, or pineapple for a tropical twist, or strawberries for a summery flavor.
  • Vegan Orange Julius: Make it vegan by replacing the whole milk with canned light coconut milk (not the kind in a carton that is intended as a milk substitute).
  • Protein Julius: Turn it into a protein smoothie by adding vanilla Greek yogurt or your favorite vanilla protein powder.
  • Green Julius: Add a handful or two of baby spinach to make a creamy, citrusy, green smoothie.
  • Boozy Orange Julius: Add vodka or rum to make a fun “adult” Orange Julius.
Side view of two glasses full of Orange Julius with striped straws and orange slices.
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Orange Julius

5 from 7 votes
This perfect Orange Julius recipe is refreshing, easy to-make, and packed with creamy citrus flavor for a quick summer treat or healthy snack.
Overhead view of two glasses of orange julius with straws and orange slices.
Servings 2 (12oz. each)
Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate ($1.16)
  • 1 cup whole milk ($0.20)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract ($0.45)
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar ($0.06)
  • 1 cup ice ($0.00)


  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.
  • If your Orange Julius is not thick enough, add more ice. If the Julius is too thick, add a little water or milk and blend again until you reach the desired consistency. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Serving: 12ozCalories: 253kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSodium: 58mgFiber: 1g
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How to Make An Orange Julius – Step by Step Photos

Ingredients being added to a blender.

Add ½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 cup whole milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, and 1 cup ice to a blender.

Blended Orange Julius in a blender from above.

Blend everything together until it is smooth and frothy. Adjust the consistency of your Orange Julius by adding more ice to make it thicker or adding a little water or milk to thin it out.

Orange Julius being poured from the blender into a glass.

Pour the homemade Orange Julius into a large glass and enjoy immediately!

Side view of an Orange Julius in a glass with a striped straw and orange slices.
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  1. Has anyone tried this with oat, almond or soy? They sound delicious, but can’t do dairy.

    1. Yes, I make it all the time with almond milk (almond breeze unsweetened original), it is delicious. I honestly can’t taste the difference. My kids drink it as well and are none the wiser!

    1. You can try it, but we didn’t test it with ice cream so I’m not sure how close the flavor would be. I’m sure it would taste great, but it would be more of an orange milkshake than an orange julius.

    2. Thank You Beth for the recipes and Rian, that is a fantastic idea with french vanilla ice cream. I have to try it. Thank You. This might be a double post. My oops!

  2. This was outstanding!! Followed the recipe almost to the letter, but added an egg white and reduced the amount of added sugar. SO yummy (and nostalgic). Thanks, Beth!

  3. I didn’t have whole milk so I used half cup cream, half cup water and I threw in an egg white. It was frothy, cool, and creamy. I think it could be even more orangey, but it was still deliciously refreshing after a walk on one of our hottest days of the year so far. I think the egg white has a nice textural and flavor component. Overall this reminds me of an orange dream bar, my favorite ice cream novelty as a kid.

  4. this is definitely the original recipe as I remember it when I was a kid and it is delicious took forever to find this because all the other recipes kept wanting me to put almond milk or skim milk. Disgusting and not even use sugar. I was like nope that taste horrible. This recipe is the best.

  5. I used to have this all the time as a child. My mom would make it with a whole raw egg – it sounds gross but wow was it good!

  6. Amazing! The whole family loved it. Next time we’ll try it with pineapple orange concentrate.

  7. Hello, I haven’t tried this yet but it looks delicious.

    Can you tell me what the sugar content is? That seems to be missing from the listing of ingredients under nutrition. Thanks so much Anna

    1. I ran it through an outside calorie calculator and it says about 33g sugar. Ours doesn’t include sugar content.

  8. Hi, I’d really like to try this but where I live I can’t find any kind of orange juice concentrate. I was wondering if I could use pure orange juice (frozen) and sweetened evaporated milk? Of course quantities should be adjusted… What do you think?

    1. You can substitute about 2 cups of fresh orange juice in place of the orange juice concentrate, but it will make the Julius much less thick and the flavor will not be as bold and orangey. No need to add the sweetened evaporated milk as it should be sweet enough and you don’t want to make it any more liquidy. You could also maybe try adding some orange zest to give it an extra punch of orange!

    2. I miss Orange Julius so much, a childhood fave, and have made many copycat Orange Julius recipes over the years. This version is hands down the easiest and most delicious! I only had 2% milk on hand so added a couple of tablespoons of heavy whipping cream in place of an equal amount of milk and that really takes it over the top, highly recommended the added richness and foamy texture that the cream adds. Love!!

  9. Have you tried it with the egg white? I love egg white cocktails, so I am curious about that addition!

    1. You can definitely give it a try and let us know! We thought the ice made it frothy enough but I’m sure it would be great the OG way!

      1. Easy and fabulous! Made it for my daughter and her friend and they whisked it away to come back 2 minutes later to THANK ME for making it. I’d say that alone is gonna make it a regular go to treat here. Thank you for the recipe!

  10. I love an orange julius, and I’m so looking forward to making this! I’m going to try this with protein powder for a post workout treat; thanks for suggesting!