A licuado de plátano is a classic Mexican-style smoothie made with bananas, milk, cinnamon, and a sweetener. It’s healthy, creamy, and filling, making it an excellent choice for a quick and easy breakfast!
Breakfast is an important meal, but it’s not always easy to make it a priority. Mornings can be the most hectic time of day, and we’re often rushing out the door to get to work on time! Licuados, or Mexican-style smoothies like this one, are perfect for those crazy fast-paced mornings.
I vividly remember my mother making me licuados every week before school. They were my favorite breakfast because they were satisfying, slightly sweet, and great for on-the-go.
This recipe uses bananas as the fruit, but there are all kinds of flavors and ingredients you can experiment with. Strawberry, mango, guava, blueberry, and the list goes on.
What Are Licuados?
A licuado is a Mexican blended drink, kind of like a smoothie. It typically consists of fruits, milk, and sometimes a touch of sugar or honey for sweetness. Imagine the creaminess of ripe bananas, the freshness of strawberries, or even the richness of chocolate, all blended up with milk into a luscious, drinkable treat. They’re a fantastic way to enjoy the vibrant flavors of Mexican fruits, and they’re perfect for sipping on a warm, sunny day.
What’s the Difference Between Licuados and Smoothies?
Licuados are a blended drink made from milk and fresh fruit, have a thin consistency that can easily be sucked through a straw, and are a popular street food and breakfast option in Mexico.
Smoothies can be made with milk and fruit, but they often contain many other ingredients like vegetables, protein powders, nuts, and seeds. Smoothies are also a lot thicker in consistency than licuados.
- Bananas: The fruit component of this licuado adds a delicious flavor and texture. The riper the banana, the sweeter the licuado.
- Milk: I used whole milk in this recipe to make it more filling, but you could use nonfat or even your favorite dairy-free milk or milk alternative.
- Sweetener: I used agave nectar as the sweetener, but it’s completely optional. Feel free to leave it out if the licuado is already sweet enough for your tastes. You could also use granulated sugar.
- Cinnamon: A sprinkle of ground cinnamon adds a great flavor, as well as adds some health benefits.
- Vanilla extract: A little vanilla extract balances out all the flavors.
How to Make a Licuado de Plátano
Start by adding the milk, bananas, agave, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon to a blender. I like halving the bananas when I place them in the blender to help them break down.
Blend all of the ingredients for a few minutes, until it’s completely smooth.
Pour into a glass, top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and serve immediately.
Licuados can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of diet restrictions as you can substitute a lot of the ingredients and still achieve the same delicious taste:
- For a creamier texture, add ½ cup of vanilla or plain Greek yogurt.
- Use honey or sugar instead of agave, or leave out the sweetener entirely.
- Use any dairy-free milk, like oat, cashew, or almond milk.
- For added protein, you can add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.
- Mexican licuados in general have a thinner consistency than an American smoothie. You can always add ice or use frozen bananas to help get a thicker consistency.
- The level of sweetness of your licuado can depend on the ripeness of your bananas. The riper your bananas, the sweeter and stronger the banana flavor will be. You can adjust the agave syrup according to your preference or omit it completely if you don’t want to add extra sweetness.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.