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The Best Copycat Orange Julius Recipe Includes This Frozen Ingredient

orange drinks in bottles
orange drinks in bottles - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

The Orange Julius, a once-ubiquitous drink, seems to be less easy to come by these days. Dairy Queen now offers it "at select locations only," while the fortunes of the mall kiosks where it can still be found live and die along with the malls themselves. (Spoiler: They're not doing so great.) If you have fond memories of the original Orange Julius drinks from days gone by, though, that's probably what's got you looking for a copycat Orange Julius recipe.

Most copycat Orange Juliuses (Julii?) are made with nothing more than orange juice concentrate, milk, ice cubes, and sugar, with maybe a little extra something like vanilla extract or coffee creamer. Mashed developer Susan Olayinka, while she describes OJ, milk, and sugar as "a genius combo," has such a sweet tooth that she ups the ante in her copycat drink with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Her version may not be an exact dupe for the Orange Julius you remember from your childhood, as this beverage seemed to walk the line between smoothie and shake. (Shoothie? Smake?). Olayinka's copycat definitely leans toward the latter end of the spectrum, however, as it comes off like a liquid Dreamsicle. The developer acknowledges this, but notes that the drink "will do well for a dessert," especially if topped with whipped cream.

Read more: 12 Popular Ice Cream Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

You Can Make The Drink Dairy-Free Or Vary The Flavor

ice cream and orange juice
ice cream and orange juice - Susan Olayinka/Mashed

While orange juice and milk might seem like strange bedfellows, or blenderfellows, as the case may be, the inclusion of the dairy in this drink is due to the fact that the original Julius (last name Freed) found that the juice alone bothered his stomach. Luckily for the drink's creator, he was lactose-tolerant, so cow's milk helped to make the juice more digestible. If this isn't the case with you, Olayinka advises making her drink with plant-based milk and ice cream. She also tells us that "you can definitely substitute ... a yogurt for the ice cream" if this ingredient is easier on your digestion or you simply prefer a less sugary libation.

Another way you might want to change up the drink is by using a different kind of juice or tossing some fruit into the blender. Orange Julius itself offers variants flavored with banana, coconut, mango, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, and various combinations thereof. Any of these would be a delicious, nutritious addition to the beverage and would also help cut down on some of the sugar from the ice cream.

Read the original article on Mashed.