Remember Orange Julius at the mall? You can make their iconic beverage at home! This Homemade Orange Julius is cool, creamy, and refreshing—and perfect for a warm day.
Sweet and tart. Cool and creamy. This Homemade Orange Julius is summer beverage perfection.
The recipe hails from an early 1980s cookbook called “Taste of South Carolina”. The inspiration, of course, is the Orange Julius restaurant, found at many a mall food court starting in the 1950s.
Orange Julius is owned by Dairy Queen now, and they are harder to find than they once were.
The good news is, you can make your own copycat Orange Julius at home. A can of orange juice concentrate is the secret ingredient. (I love how easy cans of concentrate make it to create fun drinks—don’t miss my 2-Ingredient Raspberry Lemonade!)
For this Homemade Orange Julius, you’ll just put everything into a blender, and let it create the beloved creamy orange beverage that kids and adults alike will love.
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Orange Julius origin
The Orange Julius is a creamy orange specialty beverage, originally made with orange juice, ice, sugar syrup, and a powder that remains an Orange Julius company secret.
The origin of the drink dates back to 1926, when Julius Freed opened an orange juice stand in Los Angeles. Three years later, his real estate broker, Willard Hamlin, developed the Orange Julius. Hamlin later bought out Freed before selling the company. The current owner of Orange Julius is Dairy Queen.
You can read more nostalgic quotes and history in an online article titled Looking Back: A Devilish Good Drink; Remembering Orange Julius.
And that “company secret”? If you want my guess, I think it’s milk powder with vanilla flavoring added.
How to make the BEST homemade orange julius
- Use whole milk. It creates the creamiest texture!
- Don’t skip the vanilla! It’s essential to the final flavor tasting like the original.
- Drink it right away after blending for the best texture.
- This version does NOT have egg whites, making it safe to drink for kids and adults of all ages.
- You’ll need a can of orange juice concentrate (found in the freezer section) for this recipe. Let it sit for 15 minutes on the counter so it’s easy to get out of the can.
- Milk makes it creamy—I used whole milk for an extra creamy result, but feel free to use whatever milk you have on hand.
- Granulated sugar makes it sweet, of course!
- Vanilla extract perfectly complements the orange flavor. Don’t skip it!
- Ice makes it smoothie-like.
How to make a homemade orange julius
Take the orange juice concentrate out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you plan to make it. That’ll help it slide right out of the can.
You can also run some warm water over it before opening to achieve the same effect.
Place the frozen orange juice concentrate, milk, sugar, vanilla, and ice into a blender.
Blend the mixture on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. The mixture should be creamy and a little frothy.
Pour the homemade Orange Julius into glasses and serve!
Can I make an orange julius ahead of time?
A homemade Orange Julius recipe is best served straight from the blender.
However, I’ve let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours, and I can attest that it’s still delicious after sitting (it’s still smooth and creamy, but the texture changes slightly since the ice melts).
- Want a less sweet drink? You can cut the sugar in half.
- Instead of orange juice concentrate, try this with lemonade concentrate or limeade concentrate. Grape juice concentrate would be good, too!
- Substitute powdered sugar for the granulated sugar.
- Want to make a dairy-free Orange Julius? Instead of cow’s milk, substitute your favorite dairy-free milk alternative such as oat milk, almond milk, or soy milk.
Your turn! How do you remember an Orange Julius? Leave a comment below to share any memories you have of this refreshing treat!
More refreshing beverages
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Homemade Orange Julius
- 1 (12 oz) can orange juice concentrate
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.