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Homemade Orange Julius

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Bring on the nostalgia with this homemade orange julius recipe! This thick and creamy drink is a cross between a milkshake and a smoothie and tastes like an orange creamsicle. No need to head to the mall to grab one of these – they’re easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients.

Hand holding up a glass of orange julius, garnished with a blue and white striped straw and an orange slice.

I love the way food can bring a flood of memories coming back.

One bite of pumpkin roll or Nana’s easy cheesecake and I’m back in second grade, helping my nana in her kitchen. 

With a sip of strawberry lemonade or a bite of air-fryer pop tarts, I’m a kid on summer break again, just enjoying the summer sunshine.

Copycat Hostess cupcakes make me think of road trips and getting snacks at the gas station.

And one sip of this homemade orange julius recipe and I’m a teenager hanging out at the mall yet again.

Glass of orange julius garnished with an orange slice on a marble countertop.

What is an Orange Julius?

If you’re a child of the ‘80s or ‘90s, you probably have some pretty strong memories of hanging out at the mall as a teenager. It was THE place to be!

And if you’re like me, no trip to the mall was complete without a stop at the Orange Julius stand.

An orange julius was a thick and creamy orange-based drink. It was sort of a cross between a milkshake and a smoothie and it tasted like an orange creamsicle. I loved them!

Orange Julius was eventually bought out by Dairy Queen and all of the stores were rebranded into Dairy Queens. You can still get an orange julius at DQ, but I’m here to tell you – it’s not the same.

Two glasses of homemade orange julius, both garnished with orange slices, on a marble board.

What was the original recipe’s secret ingredient?

The original orange julius had a “secret ingredient” in it. After scrolling through some Reddit threads, it seems like some folks who worked there claim the secret ingredient was similar to malt powder, some say it was like powdered coffee creamer, and others say it was like instant vanilla pudding mix.

There does seem to be some consensus that the original recipe had powdered egg whites in it. (At one point, it just had a raw egg in it, apparently!)

Look, if you want to add meringue powder or an egg to your homemade orange julius, you’re welcome to. But that’s a big no thanks from me.

This homemade orange julius recipe has a pretty simple list of ingredients and it tastes pretty darn spot on to me. Plus, it’s egg free, making it safe for anyone with an egg allergy to enjoy.

Two glasses of homemade orange julius on a countertop next to blue and white straws.

How to Make a Homemade Orange Julius

I had no idea until recently just how easy it would be to bring back that teenage nostalgia of those days at the mall sipping on an orange julius. Now that I do know, it’s so much fun to share that memory with my kids!

Ingredients you’ll need

To make 2 servings of homemade orange julius, you will need:

  • 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate, slightly thawed 
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice cubes
Ingredients for homemade orange julius arranged on a marble countertop.

In some stores you may be able to find a 6-ounce can of frozen orange juice concentrate, but 12-ounce cans are more common. You can either save the other half of the can to make another batch of this recipe later, turn the other half into orange juice to drink with breakfast, or make a double batch of this recipe.

Thaw the orange juice concentrate just enough that you can scoop it out of the can. You still want it to be pretty cold for the creamiest orange julius.

I recommend using whole milk in this recipe for the creamiest drink. You can use 2% or non-dairy milk; the result just won’t be as rich and creamy.

Ingredients for homemade orange julius in a blender.

Making this recipe

Ready to hear how easy this recipe is to make?

Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Give the orange julius a taste and, if you’d like, add additional powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired sweetness.

Pour into glasses and serve immediately!

Blended orange julius in a blender.

Recipe Variations

I love the flavor of orange creamsicles (it’s one of the reasons I love my orange fruit dip and orange fluff), so I adore the flavor of the original orange julius.

But there are some fun ways you can change up the original for some delicious flavor variations!

  • Swap out some or all of the ice cubes for frozen strawberries or frozen peaches.
  • Swap out about half of the ice cubes for a frozen banana. 
  • Swap some or all of the milk for pineapple juice. Keep in mind that substituting all of the milk will make for a less creamy drink, though.
  • Use coconut milk instead of whole milk for a tropical twist.
Close up of a glass of orange julius with a blue and white striped straw in it.

FAQs

Can I make this dairy free?

You can definitely use your favorite non-dairy milk in place of the whole milk in this homemade orange julius recipe. Just keep in mind that the final drink may not be as rich and creamy.

The one exception to that is if you use coconut milk, which is typically a thicker/creamier non-dairy milk. Using coconut milk would definitely change the flavor and give the drink a more tropical twist though!

Do I need a special blender to make this?

A high-speed blender will give you the best results because it will break down the ice best for the smoothest texture. But any blender will work! Just keep in mind that the drink might not be as smooth and creamy.

Will orange julius store well in the refrigerator?

I do recommend drinking this homemade orange julius immediately. If you try to store it in the refrigerator for later, the ice will melt and it will separate and not come back together as thick and creamy as you want it.

But if you do have leftovers, try pouring it into a popsicle mold and freezing it! You’ll end up with some super delicious popsicles to enjoy later.

Hand holding up a glass of homemade orange julius.

Homemade Orange Julius

Bring on the nostalgia with this homemade orange julius! This thick and creamy drink is a cross between a milkshake and a smoothie and tastes like an orange creamsicle. No need to head to the mall to grab one of these – they’re easy to make at home with just a handful of ingredients.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate slightly thawed (½ of a 12-ounce can)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and, if desired, add additional powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe can easily be doubled to use an entire 12-ounce can of orange juice concentrate.
Thaw the orange juice concentrate only enough so that it can be scooped out of the can; you want it to still be mostly frozen for a thick, creamy consistency.
2% milk or a non-dairy milk can be substituted for the whole milk; just keep in mind that the final orange julius will not be as creamy.

Nutrition

Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 723mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 123mg | Calcium: 186mg | Iron: 0.3mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
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Recipe Rating




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Pam

Thursday 1st of February 2024

This recipe was good. My sister worked at Orange Julius in the early 1970's and my friend's boss owned a franchise at a big mall in Delaware. Talk about nostalgia.

Jamie

Thursday 8th of February 2024

Glad you enjoyed, Pam! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your feedback. Happy baking! Jamie

Bronx girl

Thursday 1st of February 2024

Haven’t tried this recipe but the one that you remember in the Malls is far from the original. As young teens , in the late 60’s they were near the Nathan’s hot dogs and commercial potato knishes in the Bronx , in a busy retail area.

Jamie

Thursday 8th of February 2024

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment! Happy baking – Jamie

Peggy

Thursday 1st of February 2024

I first saw this recipe back in the 60's or 70's, printed in the Levittown Times (now called the Bucks County Courier Times). The name of the lady who wrote the Food column escapes me, but I looked forward to reading it every week. I think I still have the copy somewhere.

Jamie

Thursday 8th of February 2024

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Peggy! Happy baking – Jamie

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