The Top 30+ Best Margaritas Recipes
National Margarita Day is February 22nd, and I couldn’t help but get in the *spirit* by assembling a list of my all-time favorite margaritas recipes. Whether you like your margaritas on the rocks or frozen, classic, skinny, or fruity, I’ve got you covered with over 30 amazingly delicious ideas.
Hosting a happy hour at home is one of my favorite ways to pass an evening. What is better than hanging out with your best buds in a comfy spot where you’re in charge of the music and snacks? Nothing, that’s what. So get your guest list ready – this roundup of over 35 margarita recipes will keep you inspired the whole year round!
Table of Contents
- Why I Love Homemade Margaritas
- Basic Ingredients
- Bar Equipment
- How to Make Shaken Margaritas
- How to Make Frozen Margaritas
- Expert Tips & Tricks for Happy Hour
- Classic Margarita Recipes 3 Ways – Frozen, On the Rocks, and Skinny
- 24 Shaken Fruit-Flavored Margaritas Recipes
- Margaritas with Non-Traditional Spirits
- The 7 Best Frozen Fruit-Flavored Margarita Recipes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Roundup Posts
Why I Love Homemade Margaritas
A real, honest-to-goodness margarita is a thing of beauty. Made with just a handful of ingredients, a true margarita should be bright, refreshing, and a perfect mix of sweet and tart. Starting with fresh ingredients and making your cocktails from scratch is the best and easiest way to ensure a delightfully slurpable beverage.
I can’t even begin to describe the disappointment and frustration I feel when I’m served a margarita made from a store-bought mix; there’s just no comparison to fresh! Store-bought mixes are usually laden with tons of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, plus an alarming amount of added sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
In my homemade margaritas recipes, you won’t find ANY artificial ingredients – just high-quality spirits, fresh fruit, and fruit juice are all you need. Best of all, crafting a beautiful margarita doesn’t take much time if you have the ingredients on hand. Each of these recipes can be made in a matter of minutes.
Making delicious margaritas at home is much simpler than you might think. Most of the recipes here will require the following ingredients:
- Tequila – This Mexican spirit is the heart and soul of most margarita recipes. Depending on your flavor preferences and the recipe at hand, you will need to choose between three primary types of tequila: blanco (unaged), reposado (oak-barrel aged for 2-12 months), or añejo (oak-barrel aged for 1-3 years). No matter which type of tequila you reach for, be sure that it is made with 100% agave for the best flavor (and a lower incidence of hangovers).
- Tequila blanco is the lightest, most citrus and agave-forward of the bunch;
- Reposado becomes more mellow with notes of oak and vanilla; and
- Añejo deepens the flavors associated with reposado, boasting strong notes of toffee and vanilla.
- Orange Liqueur – Since this will be used as the primary sweetening agent of your margaritas, I suggest reaching for the good stuff. Brands like Cointreau or Grand Marnier are excellent, and a bottle will last you a good, long time.
- Lime Juice – My unofficial motto should be “fresh is best!” The same applies to citrus juice. To get the most juice from your fruit, give em a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before cutting into them.
- Agave Nectar – Instead of using high fructose corn syrup, natural agave nectar is a perfect pair for agave-based tequila. It is also relatively low on the glycemic index, making it a much healthier option. You can also opt to use other liquid sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or any number of simple syrups.
- Salt – In my opinion, a margarita just isn’t a margarita without a salted rim! I suggest reaching for wide flakes of kosher salt here as they are less salty than table salt. You can also feel free to jazz up your rims by flavoring your salt with items like chamoy, chili flakes, sugar, Tajin, or citrus zest.
- Ice – Make sure you use ice made from filtered water for the best, cleanest flavors.
Depending on which margarita recipe you choose, you may need to grab a few more ingredients. These include:
- Frozen Fruit – You can either chop your own and freeze it, or raid your grocery store frozen aisle.
- Alternative Spirits – A few recipes in this mix use tequila’s cousin, mezcal, which is smoky and delicious, like a Mexican version of scotch. You’ll also see appearances of other liqueurs (not just orange) and even beer!
- Other Fruit Juices – Lime juice is traditional, but I have over 30 recipes for fruit-flavored margaritas here. For the best results, opt for high-quality juice brands, or better yet, make your own!
- Infused Simple Syrups – Making flavored simple syrups is one of the fastest and easiest ways to up your bartending game. Simply mix together equal parts sugar and hot water until dissolved, then steep with fresh herbs, fruit peels, or even tea bags.
Setting up a home bar doesn’t take much. Here are my essential tools for making every kind of margarita you can imagine:
- Cocktail Shaker – Interestingly enough, shaking cocktails doesn’t just make them cold, it also gives them texture! By shaking with ice, small shards break off and help to aerate the margarita – sort of how sugar crystals aerate butter in the creaming stage. I love this hand-painted number, or this classic shaker.
- Cocktail Strainer – While you want the smallest shards of ice to stay in your cocktail, the rest of the shaking ice should be discarded. Using a special cocktail strainer ensures an easy pour, every time.
- Muddler – Smooshing berries or citrus is much simpler with the help of a muddler!
- Cocktail Spoon – If you’re making pitchers of margaritas, be sure to keep a cocktail spoon on the bar. They’re extra long, meaning they can reach all the way to the bottom of the pitcher, and their swiveled stem helps to mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- Lime Squeezer and/or Citrus Juicer – Using fresh citrus juice will immediately set your homemade margaritas apart. Make sure you get the most juice possible by using these handy tools.
- Bar Tool Set – If you don’t want to buy everything individually, I love this set – it has every bar-specific tool you need!
- Silicone Ice Cube Trays – If you don’t have an ice maker, these trays are a real life-saver!
- High Powered Blender – Frozen margaritas are much easier to make with a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Other, less powerful blenders will do, but you won’t get quite the same smooth consistency.
- Margarita Glasses – Granted, margaritas can be sipped on from any number of vessels, from mason jars to wine glasses. That said, there’s something that feels extra special about using the proper cocktail glass for your happy hour at home. Here are a few of my favorite options: margarita glasses, hammered glasses, and mason jar mugs.
Check out my Amazon shop for more glassware, barware, and kitchen tools favorites.
How to Make Shaken Margaritas
Making shaken margs is a snap – simply rim your glass, measure ingredients into your cocktail shaker, add ice and shake like the dickens for about a minute, then strain into the glasses of your choice. Salud!
How to Make Frozen Margaritas
Frozen margaritas are also a snap to make. Aside from potentially peeling some fruit and rimming your glasses with salt or sugar, there’s no real work involved! Just dump everything into a high-powered blender at let the magic happen. Pretty soon you’ll feel like you’re on the beach digging your toes in the sand.
Expert Tips & Tricks for Happy Hour
Most margaritas recipes are pretty darn simple to follow. That said, I have a few tips & tricks to ensure your happy hour at home goes swimmingly:
- Always rim your glasses. Like I said earlier, my margaritas don’t feel complete without a salt rim. But even if you have folks among you who aren’t into pure salt rims, there are so many other options! Try a 50/50 split of sugar and salt, add citrus zest to salt or sugar, use a seasoning blend like Tajin, or even try a special cocktail salt blend.
- Don’t forget about garnishes. After decades of hosting, this one simple trick is the easiest way to make your happy hour feel more legit. Whether you opt for decorated drink toothpicks, sliced fruit, or a sprig of fresh herbs, garnishes will instantly elevate your margaritas to pro status.
- Liquor loves company. What makes a happy hour happy? Friends, of course! Be sure to plan ahead and buy enough booze for the number of guests you plan to entertain.
- Make sure you offer snacks! Nothing gets me quite so peckish as a margarita or two. Some of my favorite pairings include a big bowl of tortilla chips with guacamole, salsa, and queso. You can also get cheeky and serve a Margherita Mexican Pizza (Tlayuda) at your margarita party, because who doesn’t love puns?
- Don’t forget about your DDs and other sober friends. If you’re hosting a happy hour, make sure you have options for people who aren’t drinking alcohol. My favorite easy accommodation is offering any number of aguas frescas, which are equally delicious straight or spiked.
Classic Margarita Recipes 3 Ways – Frozen, On the Rocks, and Skinny
It’s hard to mess with the classic margarita, made with just a few ingredients. Here are three iterations of the quintessential Mexican cocktail:
Classic Frozen Margarita Recipe
Margarita on the Rocks
24 Shaken Fruit-Flavored Margaritas Recipes
Nothing transports me to vacation brain faster than a fresh, fruit-flavored margarita. Branch out from traditional lime and try one of these bright and refreshing margarita recipes! They’re delicious all year round – from lemon-lavender in the spring, sparkling apple cider in the fall, and cranberry in the winter, there’s something here for any celebration.
Spicy Green Tea & Lemonade Margarita
Cantaloupe Melon Margarita
Spicy Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita
Lavender Lemon Margarita
Marigold Blood Orange Margarita
Sparkling Apple Cider Margarita (Manzana Paloma)
Charred Citrus and Jalapeño Margarita
Cherry Limeade Margaritas
Prickly Pear or Xoconostle Margarita
Cucumber-Mint Grapefruit Margarita
Winter Pomelo Ginger Margarita
Ugli Fruit Margaritas
Spicy Citrus Margarita
Margaritas with Non-Traditional Spirits
While there are plenty of tequilas to choose from and even more margarita recipes to use them in, these special cocktails walk the path less traveled. Whether you reach for smoky mezcal instead of tequila, almond liqueur instead of orange, or even beer instead of booze, these tasty recipes are sure to deliver the perfect amount of happy hour buzz.
Blood Orange Mezcal Margarita
Jalapeño Watermelon Margarita (Spicy Mezcal Margarita)
Mango Lime Beer Margaritas
The 7 Best Frozen Fruit-Flavored Margarita Recipes
These delightfully adult slushies are basically the equivalent of a Jimmy Buffet song in a glass. Welcome to Margaritaville, mis amigos!
Frozen Sunrise Margaritas
Fresh Fruit Paletas & Tropical Margarita Bar
Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) Margarita
Frozen Watermelon Margarita
Prickly Pear Frozen Margarita
Frequently Asked Questions
The easiest way to cut back on calories in your margarita is by a.) opting to make homemade margs without bottled margarita mix, and b.) using just three simple ingredients: tequila, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice. Hold the extra sugar by omitting the agave nectar.
The typical ratio for making a classic margarita is 2 parts tequila, 1 part orange liqueur, 1 part lime juice, and a splash of agave if needed. Most of my recipes therefore have about 3 oz of alcohol, 2/3 of which is higher proof tequila and 1/3 of which is lower proof liqueur.
Tequila comes in three primary forms, blanco, reposado, and añejo. All three options can be used in margaritas, though I tend to reach for blanco and reposado more often. I suggest reaching for a brand that is 100% agave and within your price range. My favorites are Exotico, Cazadores, and El Mayor, which are all moderately priced brands.
Trick answer – NONE! Don’t waste your hard-earned money on containers of HFCS-laden, fake flavored syrups. They are AWFUL! Since when do artificial colors and sweeteners add anything to your cocktail drinking experience? Do yourself a favor and make a REAL margarita using one of these deliciously simple recipes.
More Roundup Posts
Did you make one of my Top 35+ Best Margaritas Recipes? Let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also let me know if you have any margarita flavor requests – I’ll be happy to oblige. 🙂