Learn how to make acai bowl thick like nice cream. With easy directions for using acai powder or acai fruit puree, it will become a favorite homemade smoothie bowl especially for your kids!
An acai bowl is a smoothie bowl made with pureed acai berries and other frozen fruit, mainly bananas. It has become very famous and for good reason, because it's delicious and a perfect treat not only for kids but for everyone who likes to eat healthy.
Nice cream, according to thekitchn.com is a banana-based ice cream but the term can also include any fruit-based, vegan, dairy-free treat that is also free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and refined sugar.
Having those two in mind, I ended up with this acai bowl nice cream recipe which combines the best of both worlds. The texture is thick like soft serve ice cream and the ingredients are those that usually go into an acai smoothie bowl. Depending on what you have on hand, you can make it either with acai powder or with frozen acai puree. My only suggestion is to use very ripe bananas for sweetness and the best creamy texture.
Of course this recipe is perfect on a hot summer day or any other day you desire a healthy frozen snack, but if now that you're reading these lines is very cold where you are, you may prefer to make this red berry smoothie or this super-foods detox smoothie and maybe add a tablespoon of acai powder for additional health benefits.
What is acai bowl made of?
The acai bowl is made of acai berries and frozen fruit that get blended together to form a smooth mixture you can eat from a bowl with a spoon. In other words it's another smoothie bowl with fruit! It is originated from Brazil and the basic ingredients are:
- Bananas (they should be very ripe)
- Acai fruit (frozen pulp or freeze-dried powder)
- Berries such as blueberries, blackberries or strawberries (optionally)
Traditionally, it is served with more fresh fruit and granola but you can let your imagination free and top it with whatever you prefer.
In case you find it useful, I stumbled upon this list with all types of berries.
What is the acai fruit?
It is the fruit of the acai palm which is native to Brazil. The berries are about 1-inch (2.5-cm) in diameter and have a dark purple skin and yellow flesh. They also contain pits, something that actually classifies them as drupes but they're usually called berries. To make them edible, they are soaked to soften the tough outer skin and then mashed to form a paste.
According to healthline.com acai berries have many health benefits. They're very high in antioxidants (which fight free radicals) and fiber, they can boost brain function and it's also believed that they may have anti-cancer effects.
How do you make an acai bowl from scratch?
I truly believe that making your food from scratch helps you to better understand what you put inside your body and guides you to adopt more healthier eating habits. With that being said, making an acai bowl at home is very easy. Here are the basic steps:
- Freeze all the fruit you'll need. You can do this several days ahead (even weeks). I always have frozen bananas and other fruit in my freezer (mostly mixed red berries) for when I need them for smoothies and other recipes.
- Chop the fruit and transfer it to a food processor. Chopping the fruit helps to speed the process.
- Process until smooth. Because everything is solid frozen, you will have to stop and scrape the bowl of the food processor several times. Be patient!
- Transfer to bowls and serve. You can serve it plain but you can also top with fresh fruit, granola, nuts, seeds or whatever else you prefer.
How do you thicken an acai bowl?
If you want your acai bowl to be thick and smooth like nice cream, make sure to follow these suggestions:
- Keep all the fruit you're going to use in the freezer
- Don't use too much liquid (1-2 tablespoons of juice or water should be enough)
- Use a food processor instead of a blender
- Preferably use acai powder (this will let you add more bananas which make it more creamy)
Forms of acai fruit available in the market
Fresh acai berries have a short shelf life that's why they are exported and widely available in four forms:
- Frozen acai puree/pulp. It is usually sold in individual packs of 100 gr / 3.5 oz each. Try to find a brand with pure acai puree without added sugar and preservatives. From what I've read, the puree is of better quality if it's labeled as “acai grosso” which means it's very high in fruit content and has less water.
- Acai powder. This is freeze-dried and gently milled acai berries. It's like concentrated fruit and it's very convenient because it can be stored at room temperature (something that also makes shipping easier).
- Acai juice. It is the juice of the acai fruit.
- Acai extract capsules. This is a food supplement containing Acai and in most cases it comes from freeze-dried fruit.
For your acai bowl nice cream you can use either frozen acai puree or acai powder, but you cannot use the juice or the capsules because the result will be different.
How to substitute acai powder for acai puree
If you live in a place where frozen acai puree is hard to find, then you can substitute 2 packages of acai puree with 1 large banana + 0.5 cup berries + 2 tablespoons acai powder.
Why I prefer my smoothie bowl with acai powder
Because the smoothie bowl made with acai powder has more banana, it's creamier, smoother and sweeter. Especially when the bananas are very ripe! It's like eating a delicious soft serve ice cream, but extremely healthy. I really can't think of anything better to treat your kids. And the best part is that they're going to love it!
What does acai taste like?
The taste of acai is described as slightly tart with earthy notes. Most people say it reminds them something between blackberries and unsweetened chocolate. The earthy after-taste is probably what gives the fruit this chocolate flavor. The chocolate flavor may be due to the polyphenols (antioxidants), which are present in both Acai berries and cocoa beans.
How to substitute acai fruit
If you're wondering how to make an acai bowl without acai, then you probably want to make a smoothie bowl. Your best bet is to use blackberries, raspberries and 1-2 teaspoons of cocoa powder. For a similar antioxidant profile you can substitute acerola or blueberries with some raw cacao.
How to serve an acai smoothie bowl
Traditionally it's served with fresh fruit and granola (this is my homemade granola bars recipe which can easily be made into granola). However, you can totally eat it plain, with nothing else on top, or you can top it with several other stuff like:
- Desiccated coconut
- Bee pollen (not for vegans)
- Chopped nuts (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts etc)
- Spices like cinnamon and cardamom pair nicely
- Chia seeds for omega-3 fat
- fresh mint leaves
- Grated dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Acai bowl nice cream
Acai bowl with frozen acai puree:
- 11/2 frozen bananas (9.2 oz /260 grams), chopped
- ½ cup frozen berries (2.6 oz / 75 grams)
- 2 packets frozen acai puree (7 oz / 200 grams)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey for vegetarians)
- 1-2 tablespoons juice or water
Acai bowl with acai powder:
- 2 large frozen bananas (12.4 oz / 350 grams), chopped
- 1 cup berries (4.2 oz / 150 grams)
- 2 tablespoons acai powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
- 1-2 tablespoons juice or water
- Fresh fruit, granola, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut, bee pollen
- Transfer all the ingredients for the acai bowl (except the juice/water) to a food processor and process until smooth. You will have to stop and scrape the bowl several times before everything starts to blend together smoothly. Add 1-2 tablespoons of juice or water if you want to speed the process.
- Divide to 2 bowls and top with fresh fruit, granola, nuts, coconut or whatever you like. Serve immediately.
- Place all the fruit in the freezer at least 4-5 hours before making the acai bowl.
- The berries can be blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries or a mix.
- The bananas should be very ripe. I let my bananas stay on the counter until they develop black spots on their skins. I then peel them and freeze them for later use in smoothies and other recipes.
- I haven't made this recipe in a blender. If you want to try it, I estimate you'll need a heavy duty blender with a tamper and more juice to help everything blend. Keep in mind that adding more juice will make the acai bowl less thick.
- Video for how to make granola
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It needed some time in the food processor but it was so good! Thanks for this healthy recipe
Thank you very much! Happy you liked it 🙂
This is an amazing acai cream and it looks so yummy & too delicious also....i will trying to making it from your tips...Thanks for sharing...!
thank you very much 🙂
I really enjoyed your recipe and loved images as well and it looks soo yummy & sound too delicious with full of flavor Makos…i will trying to make it from your tips..Thanks for sharing…..!
Thank you very much!
I am always reads your post and this is one of my favorite and it looks truly delicious with more easy to make as well…can’t wait to try it…Thanks for sharing……!
I used the frozen acai, and it turned out great! It’s hard as a rock, so letting it sit on the counter for half an hour beforehand really helps. I have a high powered blender with a plunger and that works great. The plunger makes a huge difference! Previously, I completely forgot that I had the plunger, so ended up needing to use more liquid in order to get it to blend. The plunger is necessary in order to keep the liquid amount to a minimum. Using less liquid definitely makes a huge difference!
Exactly! The blunger makes a huge difference when the mixture is really thick. Thanks for the feedback!!!