It is safe to say I spent a large portion of my summer experimenting and perfecting my favorite combination of ingredients to make my preferred açai bowls. Anyone who knows me can attest that I did not stop talking about them. In my defense, I was pretty proud of myself for creating something so freaking wonderful. For those of you that have not tasted this magical combination, they somehow manage to taste even better than they look.

The basic makeup consists of granola, or some sort of crunch, on the bottom, a thick smoothie-like mix in the middle, topped with chopped fruit and whatever else your heart desires. Here are some tips on how to personalize it to your liking (loving):

1. Buy your frozen açai

milk, coffee
Julia Slisz

Most chain grocery stores now carry the frozen “Sambazon” packs, usually found in the frozen organic section.

2. Nut Butter

almond butter, Trader Joe's, Nut butter
Julia Gilman

I wouldn’t even consider myself a peanut butter lover, but adding it to your bowl increases its propensity to be an addiction immensely. Almond butter also works, but tbh PB will always be superior.

3. Keep it frozen

sweet, berry, blueberry
Jocelyn Hsu

The consistency in these is key. The more frozen ingredients you have, which conveniently means cheaper, the thicker and more refreshing outcome you get.

4. No dairy

soda, ice
Gabby Phi

Every recipe or order I’ve come across does not have dairy, and definitely not yogurt – common mistake, though. Almond milk, coconut milk, and coconut water are more than welcome.

5. High quality blender

strawberry, ice, cream, sweet, sorbet, berry, dairy product, milk, yogurt, banana, smoothie, pouring, cup, glass
Caroline Ingalls

Obviously this isn’t a quick fix, but my Vitamix has my heart, and makes it a whole lot easier to quickly blend up all the frozen ingredients.

6. Granola matters

cereal, corn, wheat, buckwheat
Kristine Mahan

I assume everyone out there has their own preference, so I’m not going to fight anyone on this. I always try to limit myself on the amount I use, because it’s sweet enough as it is, but… its granola.

7. Have a theme

strawberry, yogurt, blueberry, oatmeal, muesli, granola, berry
Julia Slisz

Whether your going for a tropical feel or more of a post-workout protein blast, plan beforehand what ingredients you want to use. For tropical, get some frozen pineapple, mango and maybe some kiwis to top. For protein, throw in some protein powder, nut butter and maybe a little extra banana. Here are some other recommendations for ingredients you may not have considered.

8. Back to basics - apples and banana

apple, pasture, juice, vegetable, jujube, sweet
Davi Lennon

Speaking of bananas, apples and bananas are a vital part to every açai bowl, in my opinion. When I first started my homemade adventure, I realized all the bowls I had eaten at juice bars contained apple juice, which is not something I have laying around my house. Therefore, I turned to throwing in a few apple slices, that I think add the perfect sweetness, to counteract the açai. The bananas add sweetness as well, and are important for texture.

9. Toppings

ice, chocolate, crepe, ice cream, banana
Ava Karim

What makes the açai bowl the trademark trend it is, is what goes on top. I usually try to stick with my theme and chop up some fruit to use as toppings. Berries and other small fruits you wouldn’t chop are also perfect for this. Getting away from fruit, I usually use a mix of chia seeds, flax seeds, unsweetened coconut, a drizzle of honey, and whatever else is in my cabinet on that given day.

10. Artistic display

cereal, muesli, granola, corn, sweet, milk, nut, wheat
Nikki D'Ambrosio

If you’re planning on throwing a pic on the gram, take your time with the toppings and make it cute. If you’re starving and don’t have time for this, I really can’t blame you.

Now, grab all the ingredients and break out your blender to get started. Remember to cherish every bite because even though it is impressively filling, you will still find the bottom of your bowl and be greatly disappointed. And if you’re like me, you’ll start planning what you’re going to change up for your next açai bowl, probably tomorrow.