What's The Difference Between A Smoothie And Orange Julius?

With about 1,000 locations in the United States, Orange Julius is one of many chains where someone can enjoy a frozen, fruity drink. The chain is known for its orange-flavored beverage known as the Orange Julius Original, but if you've only seen photos at mall food courts or Dairy Queens and haven't actually tasted one for yourself, you might assume it's a type of fruit smoothie. Spoiler alert: It's not. The difference between a smoothie and an Orange Julius Original lies in its ingredients and consistency.

A standard smoothie typically includes a liquid base like milk, yogurt, or ice cream, combined with fresh fruit or veggies — or both — all puréed in a blender to achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Texturally, an Orange Julius Original is light and airy, with a distinctive frothiness and flavor like a classic orange creamsicle. The recipe for an Orange Julius Original features orange juice and a frozen "secret ingredient" that gets combined with ice, milk, egg whites, and vanilla flavoring. 

Orange Julius Originals also contain a lot of sugar: A small Orange Julius Original contains 48 grams while a large size contains 95 grams. For those who crave the potential health benefits of a fruit smoothie, an Orange Julius Original might not be the best choice due to its high sugar content. That being said, Orange Julius has a menu that goes beyond this unique drink to provide customers with more traditional options. 

Orange Julius' menu also includes fruit smoothies

Although an Orange Julius Original does differ from a smoothie, the chain also offers premium fruit beverages that are more in line with what customers might want from a healthier drink option. Because, well, they are smoothies. Orange Julius' premium fruit smoothies are made with real fruit, low-fat yogurt, and ice. Some also contain a "nutrition boost" in the form of protein, antioxidants, energy, vitamin C, or fresh banana. 

These premium fruit smoothies were added to the beverage lineup in 2012 in thousands of Orange Julius stores, specifically the ones located in Dairy Queen restaurants in the United States and Canada. Dairy Queen has owned Orange Julius since 1987 and, while the fast food chain is primarily known for its ice cream and other frozen treats, we think kudos are deserved for making this change. 

So, while the Orange Julius Original contains more sugar and no fresh fruit when compared to a regular fruit smoothie, Orange Julius also sells premium fruit smoothies with a customization option that can be compared to what you'll find at places like Smoothie King or Jamba.