Homemade Orange Julius

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.

homemade orange julius in two decorative glasses, with a pitcher of more orange julius drink behind them.

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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top down view of an orange julius in a glass, garnished with fresh mint.

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The Orange Julius is a creamy orange specialty beverage, originally made with orange juice, ice, sugar syrup, and a powder that remains an Orange Julius company secret.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.

Ingredients

orange juice concentrate, sugar, milk, vanilla, and ice on a white table.
  • 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.

orange juice concentrate and milk in a blender.

Blend the mixture on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. The mixture should be creamy and a little frothy.

creamy orange beverage with frothy bubbles in a blender.

Pour the homemade Orange Julius into glasses and serve!

an orange julius being poured from a blender into a decorative glass.

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).

Variations

  • 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.
orange julius in two decorative glasses and also in a glass pitcher, next to a blue tea towel.

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

  • 2-Ingredient Raspberry Lemonade
  • Homemade Ginger Ale
  • Hibiscus Iced Tea (Agua de Jamaica)
  • Peach Apricot Bellini

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!

📖 Recipe

homemade orange julius in a decorative glass, garnished with fresh mint.

Homemade Orange Julius

Published by Kate
This cool and creamy beverage is a copycat version of the beloved Orange Julius.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Beverages
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 251 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (12 oz) can orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.

Notes

Drink the Orange Julius right after blending for the best texture. You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Give it a stir before drinking—the texture will change slightly but it’ll still taste great! 
You can substitute dairy-free milk for the cow’s milk, if you’d like.
Want a less-sweet drink? You can cut the sugar in half. 

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 520mgFiber: 1gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 399IUVitamin C: 77mgCalcium: 172mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword orange julius
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I remember my daddy taking me shopping with him in downtown Los Angeles back in the 1950’s and we would always stop and get an Orange Julius. I loved that drink and I loved spending time with dad.

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