The Best Blenders for Frozen Drinks Will Make Your Kitchen Feel Like the Tropics
Break out the cocktail umbrellas.
For those times when we want to pretend we’re on a warm beach, sipping a frozen daiquiri, we need to employ a blender for frozen drinks. Something high-powered that effortlessly crushes ice, is easy to use, and easy to clean will do very nicely. The good news is there’s quite a few on the market right now that fit this description. The bad news is that finding the best one for you can be overwhelming.
But there’s more good news—we spoke to experts to get their recommendations, and we tested an array of blenders, so you don’t have to. Read on to see our top picks for best blenders for frozen drinks.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: KitchenAid K400 Variable Speed Blender
- Best Value: Ninja TWISTi High-Speed Blender Duo
- Best Splurge: Vitamix Professional Series 300 Blender
- Best Smart Blender: NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender Combo
- Best Multi-use: Hamilton Beach Professional 1800 Watt Peak Power Blender With Programs
- Best Compact: Beast Blender + Hydration System
Best Overall: KitchenAid K400 Variable Speed Blender
Watts: 1200 | Capacity: 56 fluid ounces | Dishwasher Safe: yes, on the top shelf
- Great for a variety of frozen drinks
- Three pre-programmed settings—all for drinks
- Relatively quiet
- Has a tendency to leak
- Over $350
Why we chose it: Recommended by one of our experts, this KitchenAid blender can help you make all sorts of frozen drinks without much effort on your part.
“I use the KitchenAid K400 at home for all my blended drink needs,” says Natalie Migliarini, author of Beautiful Booze and social media maven. “One thing that I really like about this blender is that one of the dials on the face is actually a blended cocktail, and it blends to the perfect consistency for what I like. It also has an ice crush option, which is great for when I'm making a bramble or other cocktail that's served over crushed ice. I can just put the ice in the blender, and it will make it perfectly crushed for me to put in my glass and pour my cocktail over the top.”
With its three pre-programmed settings for drinks—ice crush, icy drinks, and smoothie—this blender was made for producing all manner of cold drinks. And to sweeten the pot, it’s not nearly as noisy as some of the other blenders on the market, or even on this list.
That being said, this is a pricey blender, coming in at just over $350. And some buyers have noted that their blenders leaked out of the bottom.
Best Value: Ninja TWISTi High-Speed Blender Duo
Watts: 1600 | Capacity: 34 fluid ounces | Dishwasher Safe: yes
- Timer and program settings make it easy to use
- Pulverized ice perfectly
- Under $140
- Exceptionally loud
- Biggest blender cup can only hold 4.2 cups
Why we chose it: This Ninja blender comes with five program buttons and three different sizes of blender cups, all for less than $140.
For less than $200, you can have a blender that makes perfectly sippable slushies. Outfitted with five program buttons broken into two categories—drinkable: extract, smoothie, and frozen; and spoonable: spread and bowl—this blender can make a whole range of food and drinks with ease. But we’re here to talk about the best blenders for frozen drinks, and we’re happy to report that this makes those very, very well. The frozen setting expertly pulverizes ice while combining all the ingredients together to create a perfect slush. And though it does a great job, it is incredibly loud, so it might not be perfect for those with grumpy neighbors…or grumpy family members.
The blender also comes with three different cup sizes, so you can make a single-serve frozen margarita or enough for your friends. However, the largest cup (the pitcher) only makes 4.2 cups worth of drinks, so if you are entertaining lots of people, you’d have to make multiple batches.
Best Splurge: Vitamix Professional Series 300 Blender
Watts: 1000 | Capacity: 64 fluid ounces | Dishwasher Safe: not expressly stated
- Easy to clean
- Large pitcher
- Almost $450
Why we chose it: Recommended by one of our experts, this Vitamix is expensive, but totally worth it for making lush frozen drinks.
Revered by many as one of the best blenders on the market, this Vitamix is powerful, producing smooth frozen drinks. That’s why Micah Wilder, beverage director at MercyMe, loves it. “The [1,000] watts and speed dial give powerful precision resulting in luxurious frozen cocktails,” he says.
And despite the fact that it appears this Vitamix should not be put in the dishwasher, many buyers say it’s very easy to clean by just adding some soap and hot water to the pitcher, putting the lid on and blending for a few seconds, then rinsing.
While this blender is well-loved, it is an investment due to its price. But as far as we can tell, it’s worth the cost if you’re looking to splurge on a great, durable blender.
Best Smart Blender: NutriBullet Smart Touch Blender Combo
Best Smart Blender
Watts: 1500 | Capacity: 64 fluid ounces | Dishwasher Safe: yes
- Produces frozen drinks fast
- Comes with three blender cups
- Has four program buttons
- Under $200
- Super loud
- Frozen drinks setting is not the best for pulverizing ice
Why we chose it: With a sleek interface and four program settings, this NutriBullet blender can whip up an icy drink in under a minute.
At just under $190, this blender will be a hit the next time you make frozen drinks for your friends. It has four program settings—purées, soups, frozen drinks, and smoothies—along with options for pulsing, low, medium, and high. Though, it’s worth noting that this blender is so loud it actually caused our tester to jump when first turning it on.
When testing this blender, we made piña coladas using the frozen drinks setting. Though it made the drinks in under 30 seconds, there were still some small chunks of ice that needed to be blended further. So while this blender is fast, it might be worth adding in a few extra pulses on something like this.
Watts: 1800 | Capacity: 64 fluid ounces | Dishwasher Safe: yes
- Has four program settings and variable speed dial
- Straightforward to use
- Dishwasher safe and has a clean setting
- Doesn’t have a locking base
Why we chose it: With its pre-programmed settings, a pulse button, and a variable speed dial, this Hamilton Beach Professional blender can make all sorts of different food and drinks, including slushies.
Housing a blade that can reach up to 140 mph, this blender is all business. With pre-programmed settings for purée, crush, smoothie, and clean and a speed dial ranging from one through 10, you have total control over the texture of your concoction. Using the crush setting, it made a smooth, sippable piña colada super quick. And since it has only two buttons and a dial, the blender is very simple to use.
Plus, this blender is both dishwasher safe and has a cleaning setting that allows you to get any stuck on stuff off with ease.
The only thing we weren’t jazzed about with this blender is that, unlike many blenders we tested, this one doesn’t have a locking function on the base. Meaning, you basically set the pitcher on top of the base and turn it on. Though it performed well, it is slightly worrisome from a safety perspective to not have the pitcher lock into place.
Best Compact: Beast Blender + Hydration System
Watts: 1000 | Capacity: 750 milliliters in the large blender cup, and 350 milliliters in the small blender cup | Dishwasher Safe: everything except for the base of the blender and the blade is dishwasher safe
- Under $200
- You get lots of components
- It’s not crazy loud
- Looks beautiful
- No program options
At 1,000 watts, this blender is a drink-making workhorse. When we tested it, it produced a frothy, creamy, well-blended piña colada.
One of the best aspects of this blender is its noise level. It makes noise, sure, but it’s not unreasonably loud, making it a great choice for apartments, dorms, or anyone who just doesn’t like noisy machines.
Plus, you get good bang-for-your-buck with this blender system. For $185, you get the blender base, the blade attachment, two different sizes of blender cups, a drinking lid and carry cap that can be attached to them, and a glass water bottle with a removable infusion chamber. Not to mention, it is one of the prettiest, sleekest blenders around.
The thing is, though, this blender doesn’t have program buttons. It only has one button that can be used for pulsing or steady blending. That’s really it. You can still make a fair amount in this blender, but it doesn’t offer the same options that other blenders with built-in programs do.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Blender for Frozen Drinks
When making frozen drinks, you want a powerful blender that’s at least over 1,000 watts, Wilder says. “The higher wattage ensures that the ice is crushed effectively,” he says.
“If your blender doesn't have sufficient power you're just not going to get the consistency you need,” says Migliarini.
Migliarini and Bad Birdy, CEO of Kuduowl, global cocktail creative, and restaurant consultant, both recommend looking for a blender with a ribbed jar. This will help you achieve a nice, consistent texture in your frozen drinks. “A vortex-creating ribbed jar design helps ensure a seamless blend,” says Bad Birdy.
To make sure your frozen drink gets properly blended, you’re going to want a blender that has an asymmetric blade. “For iced drinks, look for a blender that focuses on various textures and speeds by the use of an asymmetric blade,” Bad Birdy advises. “This ensures that it can pull ingredients to create an ideal blend.”
Can you put frozen fruit in a blender?
Yes! If you have a high-powered blender that does well with blending ice, it should blend up frozen fruit no problem. However, if you have a lower-powered blender, you might end up with a drink that isn’t as smooth if you put in fully frozen fruit. So, you’ll want to let the fruit thaw ever so slightly on the counter or pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it a little softer and easier to blend.
Can you use a regular blender for frozen drinks?
According to our experts, yes, but not every blender produces great frozen drinks. And if you’re using a blender that isn’t very powerful, you might want to change your approach. “If you are working with a lower grade or wattage blender,” Wilder says, “I would recommend starting it out at a slower speed and adding ice into the mix in smaller portions, instead of all at once.”
How do you make frozen drinks in a blender?
There are lots of ways! We used this recipe for testing the blenders, but Wilder also gave us the recipe for his Kick-Ass Colada, which he serves at Mercy Me. Here is the recipe, if you’re looking for a new take on a piña colada, featuring caramelized pineapple.
Created by Micah Wilder, available at Mercy Me
1 oz Ron Zacapa 23
.75 oz Licor 43
2 tsp salted butter
1 ripe Pineapple
Skin, core, and cut a ripe pineapple into wedges. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pineapple slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Stir together rum, Licor 43, brown sugar, and butter in a saucepan on low heat. Brush rum mixture onto pineapples, then roast for 30 min or until pineapple is caramelized. Set the pineapples on a wire rack to cool, then freeze in a quart container.
3 cups ice
1 cup frozen caramelized pineapple chunks
3 oz coconut cream
2 oz coconut milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1 oz simple syrup 1:1
1 oz lime juice
3 oz white rum
Pineapple slice for garnish
Lime wheel for garnish
Combine everything except the garnish in Vitamix. Produces 2 servings.
The best blenders for frozen drinks are high-powered with an asymmetric blade and ribbed jar and, in our experience, have programs that are specifically set for making frozen drinks. These blenders will give you the smoothest texture with the best blend.
We talked with experts and got their insights and recommendations for blenders for frozen drinks. Then, we did research independently and chose four blenders to test for ourselves. We tested these blenders using a variation of this piña colada recipe, taking note of how well the blenders crushed ice, how easy they were to use, how well the blenders combined all ingredients, what program buttons they offer, and how easy they were to clean.