Homemade Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

Oh friends, I have waited so long to share these açai bowls with you! Sadly a series of unfortunate events sabotaged my plans.

But first, allow me to start at the beginning. I first became obsessed with açai bowls during my trip to Maui this past February. And when I say obsessed, I mean eating-an-açai-bowl-every-day obsessed. Feeling-sad-when-the-açai-bowl-was-gone obsessed. Plotting-the-next-opportunity-to-eat-an-açai-bowl obsessed. You get the idea. My friend K and I searched the island for the best açai bowl available and when searching for the best, one must be committed, you know? Açai bowls run aplenty in Maui. I didn’t taste one that I didn’t enjoy, but if you ever find yourself in Maui and in search of a truly satisfying, delicious, and totally good-for-you breakfast, snack, or even dinner, please make your way to one of the Wow Wow Lemonade locations. They offer several different varieties of açai or pitaya (dragon fruit) bowls, all of which are amazing. Apparently their lemonade is bomb as well, but I was too busy eating açai bowls to drink any lemonade.

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

What is an açai bowl you ask? Well, an açai bowl is essentially a refreshing, naturally sweet and energizing smoothie bowl topped with fruit and granola and other delicious things. I like to think of it as the healthy cousin to the ice cream sundae. The base is generally comprised of a combination of açai purée and other frozen fruit. Then comes the granola, fresh fruit, and other toppings – and the possibilities here really are endless. Açai – pronounced “ah-sigh-ee” – berries are harvested from açai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Açai berries are considered a superfood, and are full of antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. They help to promote cardiovascular, digestive, and immune health. Boom! In North America, you can typically find açai berries in the form of puréed smoothie packs in the frozen section of organic grocery stores and health food stores. My favourite frozen açai smoothie packs, and the ones most available to me, are made by Sambazon, and they seem to be widely available throughout Canada and the US. Here in Edmonton, they can be found at places like Planet Organic and Earth’s General Store. In the US, you can find them at Whole Foods. Açai juice and freeze-dried açai powder are other options, although I have not tried them myself. Açai bowls are not a cheap treat – most of the bowls we enjoyed in Maui were around the $12 mark – but you can make them at home for a fraction of the cost.

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

When we returned from Maui, K and I set out to perfect our recipe for homemade açai bowls. We have yet to find a spot in Edmonton that sells these bowls of goodness (if you know otherwise, pleeeeeeease let me know asap) so there was definitely some urgency to figuring out how to make them at home. The cravings were intense! After several trials, we figured out our perfect combination. One evening in March, we crafted our perfect bowl and I snapped some photos of the process. A few weeks later, my house was broken into and my laptop and camera (and all of my photos), among other things, were taken. PS. This is an ideal time to recommend routinely backing up your photos on an external hard drive, or via something like iCloud. Idiot me had not done a thorough back-up of my files for longer than I wish to admit, and many of my photos were lost to those punk criminals. It took me several months to replace my laptop and camera, and by that time, my previously mentioned blogging rut had set in.

But alas, K and I had another açai bowl night last week and now I can finally share this recipe with you. Hooray!

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

The possibilities for personalizing your açai bowl are limitless. You can change up the frozen fruit in the smoothie base, the fresh fruit you use, as well as the toppings. Next time I might try adding some greens to the smoothie base, like kale or spinach. A high speed blender works best for creating a nice thick smoothie base (aim for a sorbet consistency), but if you don’t have a blender, I’m sure that a food processor would give you similar results. I added maca powder for an extra superfood boost, but it certainly is not essential to this recipe. Maca is also expensive and can be difficult to find, so don’t sweat it if you can’t get your hands on it. For the granola, use your favourite stuff – whether it be store-bought or homemade. Looking for an excellent granola recipe? Might I suggest coconut oil granola, cherry hazelnut granola, or an old favourite, appropriately called favourite granola?

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe   Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe    DSC_0470

Alright, enough talk. Let’s make some açai bowls!

Homemade Açai Bowls

Makes 1 small bowl. Double the ingredients for a large bowl or for 2 servings. Exercise your creativity here, and have fun with different fruit and topping combinations!

1-100g pure unsweetened açai berry superfruit pack
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp. maca powder (optional)

1/2 cup granola, divided
Sliced strawberries, bananas, and blueberries
1 tsp. shredded coconut
1 tsp. hemp hearts
1 tsp. cacao nibs
A drizzle of honey

While you are assembling your smoothie base, place the serving bowl in the freezer. This will help to keep your smoothie thick and cold, and will prevent it from melting too quickly. In a high-speed blender, combine the açai purée, frozen banana, frozen berries, almond milk, and maca powder. Blend until smooth.

Remove your bowl from the freezer. Sprinkle some of the granola on the bottom of the bowl. Spread your smoothie base into an even layer in the bowl. Top with the remainder of the granola, fresh fruit, and your desired toppings. Enjoy immediately!

Acai Bowls | Once Upon a Recipe


  1. Oh my, I’m an idiot! I kept trying to figure out how in the world bowls were made out of acai berries! Do they grow on trees? Ha! I guess I’m old and “bowl” has become a new term completely! Love it!!!

  2. I’m so sorry some assholes broke into your house and stole your laptop and camera. But i’m glad your up and running again because I have missed your recipes like these acai bowls. I had them all the time in Los Angeles but since moving back to Seattle, I can’t find them anywhere. I’m sure the homemade version is a thousand times better though. Can’t wait to make them!

  3. I’ve heard of acai bowls but your post made me realize I never really knew what it was! Thank you! And these look obsession-worthy!

  4. Those look amazing! I need to plan a trip to Maui to try them 🙂 BTW, sorry about the break in, that sucks!

  5. Oh wow, this looks delicious! I went to Hawaii last year, and I was also a eat-acai-bowls-everyday kind of girl there too 😉 I was also looking for somewhere that sells them in Canada too, but no no avail. For some reason, I have never tried making it myself..

  6. I looooove Acai bowls and I always get them when I’m home in San Diego. Seattle has no good acai bowl places 🙁 and I don’t know why I’ve never considered making them myself. I am making these ASAP! I miss my acai!

  7. Oh wow! How beautiful – and there must be a whole week’s worth of goodness there in that bowl! I’ve actually ever tried acai berries, but now you’ve definitely got me intrigued.

  8. These look great! I love a rainbow for a meal, anytime! Also, having your home broken into is the worst (it feels like such a violation) and having your thing stolen is terrible–this happened to me once and losing a laptop is seriously the pits. So glad you’re back, though!

    • It is seriously awful but I’m so thankful that my pup wasn’t hurt, and that I had insurance to replace the things that were taken (minus the sentimental stuff, of course). Thanks for your kind words, Cindy! xo

  9. I suspect I would adore acai bowls if only the acai wasn’t so expensive! Sigh. One of these days I’m going to become addicted to it, I swear.

  10. This bowl looks amazing! I can see why you are obsessed with these, I think I may be now too!

  11. So sorry that happened! This looks like the perfect healthy breakfast or snack though! I have been very into making these lately and love seeing how other people make them!

  12. Ricky’s All Day Grill (yes, Ricky’s) had acai bowls over the summer but just discontinued them. I was very surprised to see it on the menu. I haven’t found any other place in Edmonton yet … but I’ve got my eyes open!

    • What?! That is the last place I would have ever looked for an acai bowl. I just heard that Glow Juicery has released a new menu including acai bowls. Will have to check it out!

      • Chelsea says:

        Cafe Mosaics in yeg also has acai bowls (or similarly named smoothie bowls!). I’ve never had them, but they look pretty on their instagram!

        • I recently went to Cafe Mosaics and had their avocado smoothie bowl. Quite different from an acai bowl but still completely delicious!

  13. These are just gorgeous – you take such beautiful photos friend

  14. Oh wow, this looks amazing! And I can eat it, too! ; ) You are very talented with food : )

  15. Where do you buy the acai purée in Edmonton, Amanda. Thanks!

  16. Yay! Thanks for the recipe! By the way, Planet Fresh in Sherwood Park sells acai bowls. Out of Edmonton, but closer than Hawaii 😉

  17. Interesting! I, too, became obsessed with Acai bowls during a visit to Maui. I had them every day, at a place called the Farmacy, which was amazing…They even had Kombucha on tap! Glow Juicery in Sherwood Park make lovely Acai bowls. You can have them in their adorable shop or get them to go. Also, they are not as expensive as they were in Maui! Glow Juicery for the win!

    • I also would have recommended fresh healthy café, my entire family absolutely adored that place! Unfortunately the Sherwood Park location has closed down and I’m not sure where they moved to!

    • Maui has THE best acai bowls. I can’t wait to go back! I haven’t tried the acai bowls at Glow, but I should!

  18. I am completely obsessed as well and can’t afford to buy one every day in my hometown. I believe the place where I get it just blend the berry Acai pack alone. Do you think I might be wrong?

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