This sweet and creamy Licuado de Plátano or Banana Smoothie is a summertime favourite in Mexico. The ingredients for licuado are simple: fruit, milk, sugar. That’s it. Perfect for breakfast or a healthy mid-day snack, or perhaps treat yourself after you make some delicious Frijoles.
Why This Recipe Works
Here’s why you will love this Mexican banana smoothie as much as I do:
- Minimal: The recipe for banana licuado only has three ingredients. And the only step is to put everything into a blender and blend! If you live in a hot country, you know that simple meals are everything during the sweltering summer months.
- Satisfying: Bananas have a naturally creamy texture, and they are amazing for thickening up a smoothie. When blended with milk, it results in a thick and creamy drink that is quite filling.
- Healthy: Licuados are popular in Mexico partly because of their great flavour, but also partly because they’re a cheap and accessible source of nutrients. The milk adds protein and the banana adds potassium, vitamin C, and fibre.
- Customizable: Even though the base for this recipe has just three ingredients, you can customize it to your heart’s content by adding cinnamon, piloncillo, ice, or even other fruits to switch up the flavour.
If you like Mexican banana licuado, you might also like this Homemade Taro Boba recipe, or read about 3 ways to make a Peach Smoothie.
Licuado vs Smoothie vs Batido
Licuado is basically the Spanish word for smoothie. It means “blended,” so really any drink that is made in a blender can be considered a licuado. Typically, a licuado has just three ingredients: fruit, sugar, and milk. Sometimes ice is added, too.
You might also hear of the word batido. This is yet another Spanish word for smoothie, but it is more commonly used outside of Mexico in other Latin American countries. The distinction between batido and licuado gets blurry: in some places, a batido is thicker and made with milk while licuado is just blended fruit, no milk.
However, when Mexicans refer to a licuado they usually mean a smoothie with both fruit and milk.
What You’ll Need
A few important notes on the ingredients used in this Mexican smoothie recipe:
Bananas (Plátanos): I use two bananas (or one very large banana). The amount of banana determines how thick or thin your licuado is. After blending, you can always add more banana to make the smoothie thicker, or cut it with more milk to make it thinner.
Tip: Make sure to use a banana that is ripe and yellow, but not brown. Even slightly overripe bananas give the licuado a not-so-fresh taste. (If you’re not sure what to do with your brown bananas, might I suggest baking them into Rye Banana Bread?)
Sugar (Azúcar): White sugar is the most common choice. However, you can also sweeten this smoothie with agave syrup, maple syrup, or even crumbled piloncillo (aka panela, a type of unrefined cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine).
Milk (Leche): I love to use Homemade Soy Milk, but you can use whatever milk you have on hand.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- To get a thicker smoothie with more of a milkshake consistency, add 1-2 cups of ice.
- Sub out one of the bananas with mango or strawberries, for a mango-banana licuado or strawberry-banana licuado.
- Double the sugar if you like a sweeter drink.
- Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
If you made this recipe with your own twist, please let me know with a comment below, I’d love to hear about it.
Step 1: Add peeled bananas, sugar, milk, and ice (optional) to a blender, in that order.
Step 2: Blend for at least 45 seconds on high speed to ensure the licuado is super smooth.
Make Ahead & Storage Tips
I recommend consuming the banana licuado right after blending. Over time, the banana and milk will slowly separate and the banana begins to taste a lil funky. For this reason, I would not recommend making it ahead of time.
Bananas are one of the most delicious fruits to blend into smoothies because they have a naturally creamy texture. Banana also has one of the highest sugar contents of any fruit, so it results in a much sweeter beverage without having to add too much additional sugar.
A blended banana has the same amount of calories as eating it whole. It’s a common misconception that blending fruit changes its sugar content or makes it lose nutrients like fibre. In fact, the nutritional profile of the banana is not impacted by blending. However, some studies have shown that drinking calories leads to less satiety than eating the same amount of solid food, so you might end up ingesting more calories that way.
Bananas are known for their potassium and fibre content, and the milk adds protein and calcium. Just be mindful of added sweeteners like sugar, honey, or syrup, as they can increase the calorie content and affect blood sugar levels. As long as you sweeten in moderation, a banana smoothie can be quite healthy.
Check out this Guacamole recipe if you’re craving more Mexican food.
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Banana Licuado (Mexican Smoothie)
- 2 bananas, peeled see Note 1
- 3 cups milk of your choice see Note 2
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Add peeled bananas, sugar, milk, and ice (optional) to a blender, in that order.
- Blend for at least 45 seconds on high speed to ensure the licuado is super smooth. Serve cold.
- The amount of banana determines how thick or thin your licuado is. After blending, you can always add more banana to make the smoothie thicker, or cut it with more milk to make it thinner. Make sure to use a banana that is ripe and yellow, but not brown. Even slightly overripe bananas will give the smoothie a not-so-fresh taste.
- I love to use Homemade Soy Milk to mix my licuado, but you can use whatever milk you have on hand.