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This creamy, dreamy coffee peanut butter banana smoothie gets is name from the long-defunct Frozen Monkey Cafe in Hoboken, NJ. The basic recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and unimpeachably nutritious — but you can make it as indulgent as you like. Here’s how.

Coffee peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with a blue and white striped straw
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Why we love this recipe

I’ve had this coffee peanut butter banana smoothie on rotation in my kitchen since 2010, just after its namesake cafe in Hoboken, NJ closed without warning. That place, which I loved and despised in equal measure, was the only outpost of Tasti D-lite on my side of the Hudson River. They made their version of this shake with that absurd(ly delicious) relic of diet culture as its base.

That the Frozen Monkey still exists, but on my own terms, feels like a creamy, caffeinated parable for the kinds of growing up you do between your mid-20s and mid-40s. But even if you won’t indulge me in that comparison, I hope you’ll indulge in this excellent smoothie. It’s:

  • Satisfying and energy-boosting
  • Nicely balanced in flavor and texture
  • As caffeinated or decaf as you like
  • Naturally vegan, gluten-free, and full of micronutrients
  • Or turn it into a full-on milkshake with coffee or vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache

I first published a version of this recipe here in 2013. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made some tweaks to the recipe.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Frozen bananas give this smoothie its dreamy consistency. Whenever you have bananas that get too ripe, peel them and pop them into a zip-top freezer bag. They keep well in the freezer for at least a year and slice easily even when frozen.
  • You can use any type of milk that you like to make this smoothie. Here I’ve used my homemade cashew milk to keep it creamy, healthful, and vegan. But you can use anything from skim milk to a combination of whole milk and coffee or vanilla ice cream in this recipe.
  • For a stronger caffeine kick, use espresso shots. For a lower-key vibe, use brewed coffee, or even decaf or instant coffee.
  • Peanut butter contributes both flavor and creaminess to this smoothie. But if you prefer the flavor and protein boost without the bulk of the fat and calories, it’s okay to use a peanut butter powder like PB2 in this recipe.
  • Cacao nibs are crushed pieces of cacao beans. They contribute a chocolate flavor (though no sweetness) and some micronutrient goodness to this smoothie. You can leave them out or swap in either raw cacao powder or regular cocoa powder if you prefer. Or go wild and make a full-fledged milkshake version with chocolate ganache.
  • Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable long consumed for its micronutrient profile and purported verility-boosting power. These days it’s sold in powdered form in the U.S. as a superfood. It has a nice caramel-like flavor that I’ve come to crave a bit over the years. You can omit it if you prefer.

Bonus ingredient: Medjool dates

Both coffee and cacao nibs are quite bitter, so whether this smoothie is sweet enough for you will depend on both your personal preference and how ripe/overripe your bananas were before freezing.

Pitted Medjool dates are a great whole-food source of sweetness for smoothies. You can toss them into a high-speed blender whole, or chop them and blend with the milk and coffee before adding the rest of the ingredients to a regular blender. I don’t typically add them these days, but you can if you like.

Smoothie resources

A note on nutrition

I’ve noticed over the years that people searching for smoothie recipes tend to have strong feelings about nutrition, and sometimes to assume that their personal preferences are more universal than they are.

The smoothies on Umami Girl are delicious, generally pretty good for ya, and always presented with nutritional data. They’re also very flexible — so if your nutritional needs are different, feel free to tweak the recipes. Some easy changes include:

  • Swapping in different liquids
  • Adding your favorite protein powder
  • Removing higher-sugar ingredients like dates or jam

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a great coffee peanut butter banana smoothie. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Add the bananas to the blender. If using a Vitamix or other high-speed blender, you don’t even need to slice them.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Position the lid and blend on high speed until perfectly smooth and creamy. You can adjust the amount of liquid to suit your preference.
  4. Pour into a glass and serve right away.

Expert tips and FAQs

Do I need a fancy blender to make this coffee peanut butter banana smoothie?

A high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec makes so many kitchen tasks easier and better, but you absolutely don’t need one to make a basic smoothie like this one. If you’re using a regular blender, just be sure to slice the bananas before blending and, if including the dates, follow the special instructions in the recipe card.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Smoothies are at their best shortly after blending. But if you need to make the Frozen Monkey in advance, you’ve got a couple of options. Store it in a regular cup in the freezer for up to an hour or in an insulated, lidded cup in the fridge overnight.

More favorite smoothie recipes

Coffee peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with a blue and white striped straw

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Coffee peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with a blue and white striped straw
5 from 2 votes

Coffee Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This creamy, dreamy coffee peanut butter banana smoothie gets is name from the long-defunct Frozen Monkey Cafe in Hoboken, NJ. The basic recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and unimpeachably nutritious — but you can make it as indulgent as you like. See the notes section below for more information on ingredient selection.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
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Ingredients 

  • 2 large frozen bananas, 250 to 300 grams, sliced
  • ½ cup (120 ml) milk of choice
  • 2 shots espresso or 1/4 cup, (60 ml) brewed coffee, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) maca powder
  • 1 to 2 pitted Medjool dates, optional (see note)

Instructions 

  • Place all ingredients into the jar of a blender. (If using a regular blender and including dates, see note 6 below.)
  • Blend on high speed until perfectly smooth.
  • Pour into a glass and serve right away.

Notes

  1. You can use any type of milk that you like to make this smoothie. Here I've used my homemade cashew milk to keep it creamy, healthful, and vegan. But you can use anything from skim milk to a combination of whole milk and vanilla ice cream in this recipe.
  2. For a stronger caffeine kick, use espresso shots. For a lower-key vibe, use brewed coffee, or even decaf or instant coffee.
  3. Peanut butter contributes both flavor and creaminess to this smoothie. But if you prefer the flavor and protein boost without the bulk of the fat and calories, it's okay to use a peanut butter powder like PB2 in this recipe.
  4. Cacao nibs are crushed pieces of cacao beans. They contribute a chocolate flavor (though no sweetness) and some micronutrient goodness to this smoothie. You can leave them out or swap in either raw cacao powder or regular cocoa powder if you prefer. Or go wild and make a full-fledged milkshake version with chocolate ganache.
  5. Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable long consumed for its micronutrient profile and purported verility-boosting power. These days it's sold in powdered form in the U.S. as a superfood. It has a nice caramel-like flavor that I've come to crave a bit over the years. You can omit it if you prefer.
  6. Both coffee and cacao nibs are quite bitter, so whether this smoothie is sweet enough for you will depend on both your personal preference and how ripe/overripe your bananas were before freezing. Pitted Medjool dates are a great whole-food source of sweetness for smoothies. You can toss them into a high-speed blender whole, or chop them and blend with the milk and coffee before adding the rest of the ingredients to a regular blender.
  7. Smoothies are at their best shortly after blending. But if you need to make the Frozen Monkey in advance, you've got a couple of options. Store it in a regular cup in the freezer for up to an hour or in an insulated, lidded cup in the fridge overnight.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 540kcal, Carbohydrates: 89.3g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 19.4g, Saturated Fat: 3.9g, Sodium: 282mg, Fiber: 10.8g, Sugar: 53.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Smoothies
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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4 Comments

    1. Hi Melissa, I added the sugars to the nutritional data. If you need them to be lower, you can always omit the dates.