If you’ve been following my site, you know my son has allergic reactions from palm oil. This means I make most all foods from scratch at home. I can’t imagine ordering him an already-prepared acai bowl because of all the ingredients it would have. I would be terrified to give it to him.
The acai berry is from a palm tree grown in Central America and South America. It is from a different type of palm tree than the one that makes him sick but I’m not willing to take the chance.
I love the idea of making acai bowls though. I make smoothies for myself and my kids weekly. An acai bowl is basically a thick smoothie in a bowl instead of a glass. You serve it with toppings such as granola, fruit, and nuts.
So to change up our smoothie routine and to take what is the very popular acai bowl, I modify it to use more of the other berries instead. Use this recipe to make acai bowls with or without acai berries.
To make an acai bowl, you need to buy bags of frozen acai puree. This superfruit is usually sold in larger grocery stores, in the freezer. Also, stores such as Costco, Target, etc. sell frozen acai berries as well. The frozen bag of will contain acai packets in a quantity that is right for bowls or smoothies.
Instead, I use what berries are on sale that I can easily find at the grocery store. I make my bowls with blackberries, blueberries, or a combination of whatever berries I have. Depending on the season and the price, I will buy them fresh to freeze or frozen. (More on this below.) Buying frozen organic berries is often cheaper than fresh organic.
An acai bowl is a hodgepodge of lots of things so substituting acai with other berries is totally fine. It is also easier for me and also — most importantly — I know it will be safe for my son.
Table of Contents
An acai bowl is a thick puree of acai berries topped with loads of fresh fruit and other delicious toppings. They are like really thick smoothies. You may see many trendy places serving them. Acai fruits taste a bit like blackberries with a touch of unsweetened cocoa.
Learning how to make an acai bowl is easy and much more cost-effective than going to a specialty store to get one. I make an acai bowl copycat recipe with other berries.
Whichever berries you use, these little bowls are powerhouses of nutrients like antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. You can customize them based on what you have at home. Top an acai bowl with some granola for a filling breakfast or have it with chunky fresh fruit for a cool, healthy lunch or snack. Toss in some chocolate chips and nuts for a delicious dessert. No matter what you add to it, you really can’t go wrong.
Kids, teens, and adults will love them when you add toppings and mix-ins they enjoy.
Prep-to-eat time takes just 10 minutes. This is a great way to start your day or enjoy for lunch or as a healthy snack. It is also fairly easy to pack to take with for a filling meal on the go.
Follow these step-by-step directions to make an acai bowl or a copycat bowl. Once you have these ingredients, you can make them often.
What You Need to Make Acai Bowl Recipe
- 1 frozen banana, sliced
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
- ¾ cup milk, almond milk, or juice (apple, grape, or blend)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 packets of frozen acai puree – Can substitute 1 ½ cups frozen berry blend or blackberries, blueberries or strawberries
- Toppings of your choice: granola, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, berries, nuts, dried fruit, sliced banana, oats, coconut flakes, shaved dark chocolate, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, cherries
Makes 2 servings
How to Make Acai Bowl
- In a food processor or high performance blender, combine the milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
- Add the frozen fruit a little at a time, along with the acai if using (break it up into pieces).
- Blend on a low setting until the mixture is smooth. It should be thick but you can add more liquid such as milk or juice if it’s too thick.
- Divide the fruit mixture into two bowls. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy immediately.
You really need to have a powerful blender or food processor to make an acai bowl. The frozen fruit is tough to mix. Adding the liquid first will help but so will breaking the frozen fruit into pieces when possible. As stated in the instructions, you may need to add more liquid. But it’s important that it still remains thick.
You can make acai bowls year round because the recipe requires frozen and not fresh fruit. Frozen fruit is often less expensive per pound than fresh. This depends on the grocery store sales and the season of course, but overall, it is less expensive. Buying frozen berries is also a way to better afford organic fruit. Frozen organic berries are often the same price as buying fresh non-organic berries.
This is a very forgiving recipe, so make it your own based on what your tastes are and what you already have.
Vegan Acai Bowl
To make a vegan acai bowl, simply omit the dairy yogurt and substitute with a plant-based yogurt or additional juice or plant-based milk or nut milk. If you add too much liquid, you can add in another quarter of banana, fresh or frozen. Read labels on whatever toppings you add. Some granola has honey in it. Avoid using milk chocolate chips or milk chocolate shavings.
What is an acai bowl?
This is like eating a thick smoothie with a spoon in a bowl instead of drinking from a glass. It is made with frozen acai berries as well as other frozen berries.
Are acai bowls healthy?
When you make them at home, you can control the amount of sugar. When you buy them from a restaurant, they will contain healthy ingredients but a lot will depend on the toppings. Making your own also allows you to control the ingredients so you don’t go overboard with the sugar and carbs.
Why is acai bowl so expensive?
Acai berries are expensive. You can buy frozen bags on sale to make them at home. These bowls are typically served at higher-end breakfast and brunch restaurants as well as from small shops serving made-to-order bowls and smoothies. They are a bit trendy. They cater to a person who is looking for real ingredients that are not processed.
Acai Bowl Recipe with Different Berries
Flavorful and filled with healthy ingredients, you’ll want to make acai bowls often. Whether you use the mashed fruit from the acai palm or make it with other berries, it will taste amazing.
Set up toppings on the counter — granola, mini chocolate chips, slices of kiwi, fresh raspberries, blueberries &/or blackberries, sliced strawberries, granola, different kinds of seeds and chopped nuts, shredded coconut, dried fruit, and let your family customize their bowl to whatever they like. It makes for a filling breakfast. It is a simple and easy brunch food as well. Add some additional chocolate toppings, such as chocolate covered almonds, and serve for dessert.
It is easy to make acai bowls at home using frozen acai berries or only other berries. You won’t sacrifice any taste. The fun of eating the bowl is all the add ins.
While an acai bowl is made with acai berries, in my house, we have the spirit of the bowl but use blackberries and blueberries instead. It is easy to find these berries frozen at our grocery store and they are affordable. I make a copycat version so everyone in my family can safely enjoy these fun and nutritious bowls. Yum!
I sort of do the same with oatmeal when I add in cinnamon, chocolate chips, walnuts and sliced banana. Toppings make the difference! Sometimes I’ll add diced apple and bits of dried apricot.
Do you love making foods with berries? There is so much you can do with them. Check out this blackberry cobbler recipe. I also make homemade strawberry jelly and strawberry compote. Both would be delicious on top of this acai bowl substitute.
If you make this acai bowl recipe, please let me know in the Comments. What toppings do you enjoy best? If you are making this for your family, do you pre-make it for them or does everyone add their own toppings?
Featured image credit: Rana Jabbarli, Life of Pix
- 1 frozen banana sliced
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
- ¾ cup milk almond milk, or juice (apple, grape, or blend)
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 packets of frozen acai puree
- Toppings of your choice: granola seeds, berries, nuts, sliced banana, coconut flakes, shaved dark chocolate, cherries
- Make sure that your fruit is frozen completely when you are ready to use it. In a food processor or blender, combine the milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
- Add the frozen fruit a little at a time, along with the acai (break it up into pieces), and blend on a low setting until the mixture is smooth. Add more liquid such as milk or juice as needed.
- Divide the acai and fruit mixture into two bowls. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy immediately.