A healthy homemade version of an Orange Julius that tastes even better than the original.
copycat Orange Julius
Ohmygoodness. This (healthy!) copycat Orange Julius recipe is so crazy delicious, I was brought right back to childhood.
That is, right back to the New Jersey of the ’70s and ’80s, hanging out at the mall arcade with my quarters for Pac-Man, leg warmers, and jelly bracelets, and swinging by Orange Julius for an orange-vanilla dream-in-a-plastic-cup.
history of Orange Julius
Orange Julius was founded by Julius Freed as an orange juice stand in California in 1926. Sales were slow until Freed’s real estate broker suggested a new mixture in 1929 that made the acidic orange juice easier on his stomach.
The new, frothy, creamy drink combined ice, non-dairy milk powder, egg whites, and vanilla. Sales went from $20 a day to $100 a day. Customers would ask for “an orange, Julius,” and so explains the name.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Orange Julius took off as a beverage and stands expanded to state and county fairs. More freestanding Orange Julius outlets continued into the ’70s and ’80s, invading shopping malls. In 1987, the Orange Julius chain was bought by Dairy Queen.
what is an Orange Julius?
Orange Julius tastes like a sweet combination of orange, milk, and vanilla, similar to a Creamsicle. It’s not quite as thick as a milkshake, but it’s smooth and creamy.
Powdered egg whites make the traditional drink frothy, and the original used non-dairy milk powder. Here, I skip the egg whites and just use a really good blender.
how to make a healthy Orange Julius
To make this recipe, instead of egg whites, sugar, and milk with the orange juice concentrate, I combined milk, plain Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract to create just the right consistency.
You may use vanilla Greek yogurt instead off the plain yogurt and vanilla extract, but I prefer the purer vanilla flavor the extract offers.
The intensity of the frozen orange juice concentrate with vanilla is perfect for my tastes, and I did NOT use any sweetener in my drink. But if you like a sweeter drink, you may add a tablespoon of sweetener of your choice. Then the recipe becomes “healthier” instead of “healthy.”
you will need:
- 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 cup milk (2 percent used here, may also use soy or nut milk)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (nonfat used here)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, honey, or sweetener of choice (optional, I did not use sweetener)
Blend all of the ingredients very well to make two Orange Julius drinks. Instead of a traditional blender, I recommend a blender designed for smoothies, such as the Ninja Blender.
Milkshake straws complete the look.
printable Orange Julius recipe
more retro recipes
If you’re looking for more flashback recipes:
- I collected 25 totally tubular ’80s party foods here.
- I love the ’80s cookies
- How about some Pac-Man cookies, Frogger cookies, or Space Invaders cookies?
- Jordache jeans cookies.