All you need are 3 ingredients to make the best margarita recipe! See instructions below for how to make a single serving or a big pitcher of margaritas for a crowd.
It’s no secret that margaritas are my all-time favorite cocktail.
I love margaritas on the rocks, I love them frozen. I love margaritas made with tequila, I love them with mezcal and sotol. I love margaritas rimed with straight lime juice, I love them muddled with fruit or fresh mint or a nice kick of some jalapeño. I love them on Cinco de Mayo, Dos de Mayo (my bday!), National Margarita Day, and any other day that calls for a celebratory round of happy hour margs.
I love me a good margarita. ♡
That said, of all the variations out there that I’ve tried, my favorite will forever and always be this classic margarita recipe right here. It’s made with just three easy ingredients. It’s nice and strong (look out!). It’s easy to mix as an individual serving, or scale up to make a big pitcher for a group (see tips below). And it’s legendary amongst our friends, who always request margs when they come over to our place because these are simply so dang good.
So if you’re craving a stellar iced cocktail to cool off during these hot summer days, here’s the best margarita recipe that I always use!
The BEST Margarita Recipe | 1-Minute Video
To make a classic margarita mix, all you really need are three basic margarita ingredients:
Tequila: silver or reposado is the best tequila for margaritas, but any kind of tequila (or mezcal or sotol) will work
Freshly-squeezed lime juice: the key words here are freshly squeezed, which I highly recommend doing with this citrus juicer (which makes juicing a breeze, especially when you’re making pitcher margaritas for a crowd)
Orange liqueur: Cointreau is my go-to, but Grand Marnier is also delicious, or you can use a good-quality Triple Sec
Additional ingredients could include:
Agave: if you would like a sweeter margarita, feel free to mix in some agave syrup to taste
Kosher salt: if you would like to salt the rims of your glasses (I also like to mix some Tajin into my salt)
Additional lime slices/wedges: for garnish
How To Make A Margarita:
So simple! To make a single-serving homemade margarita…
Prep your glasses: If you would like to salt the rim of your glass, run a juicy lime wedge around the rim, then dip it in coarse Kosher salt, and set aside.
Combine your ingredients in a cocktail shaker: Combine your tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Or if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can shake things up in a mason jar or just stir everything together in a measuring cup.
Shake it, shake it, baby: Then give the mixture a good shake (or a good stir!) until it is combined and chilled.
Taste and add sweetener, if desired: Give the marg a taste, and if you think it needs extra sweetener, add in a teaspoon or two of agave (or simple syrup) at a time, until it reaches your desired level of sweetness.
Strain and serve on the rocks. Garnished with a slice of lime, if you would like. I also recommend using large ice cubes if you have them so that the ice doesn’t dilute the drink too quickly. But really, any ice will do. ;)
How To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas:
To make pitcher margaritas, simply…
Prep your glasses: If you would like to salt the rim of your glasses, run a juicy lime wedge around the rims, then dip them in coarse Kosher salt, and set aside.
Stir your ingredients together in a large pitcher: Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur and ice in a large pitcher, and stir to combine.
Taste and add sweetener, if desired: Give the drink a taste, and if you think it needs extra sweetener, add in a tablespoon or two of agave (or simple syrup) at a time, until the drink reaches your desired level of sweetness.
Serve on the rocks. Garnished with a slice of lime, if you would like.
There are of course countless types of fruit and other ingredients that you can blend into your margaritas. But some some of my favorite small tweaks to make to this classic margarita recipe include:
Add fresh herbs: Many of you have made and loved my fresh mint margaritas, in which I recommend muddling a few sprigs of fresh mint into classic margaritas. But feel free to also experiment with muddling in fresh basil, lavender, or cilantro for a different herby twist.
Add jalapeño or serrano chiles: If you love a good spicy margarita, muddle in a few slices of fresh jalapeño or serrano peppers for a spicy kick. I recommend just starting with one or two slices — a little goes a long way with a single serving!
Use mezcal or sotol: I almost always prefer mezcal margaritas to tequila nowadays for that smoky depth of flavor. But we’ve also done some experimenting with sotol (similar to mezcal) which is delicious as well! Also, if you would just like a hint of smokiness, feel free to try a 50/50 mezcal/tequila blend too.
Use lemon instead of lime: If you happen to live in a place where limes are super-expensive (hello to our relatives in New Zealand!) or if you just want to try a different twist for your margaritas, try making them with lemon juice instead of lime. Or a 50/50 lemon/lime blend. It’s delicious!
Make it “skinny”: If you would like to shave off some calories (and alcoholic content), try substituting freshly-squeezed orange juice in place of the orange liqueur to make a skinny margarita. It’s really refreshing and the margarita still tastes great.
What To Serve With This Margarita Recipe:
I mean, if you ask me, just about anything can go with a good margarita cocktail. 😉 But if you are looking for some delicious Mexican dishes to accompany your drinks, I highly recommend:
This seriously is the BEST margarita recipe, made with just 3 easy ingredients. See details below for how to make a single serving or a big pitcher for a party.
For A Single Margarita:
1 1/2 ounces silver tequila
1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste
optional: lime wedge and salt for rimming the glass
For A Pitcher Of Margaritas (16 Servings):
3 cups silver tequila
2 cups orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)
1 1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lime juice
optional sweetener: agave nectar or simple syrup, to taste
optional: lime wedges and salt for rimming the glasses
If you would like salt-rimmed glasses, begin by running a lime slice (the juicy part) around the top rim of a glass. Fill a shallow bowl with salt, and dip the rim in the salt until it is covered with your desired amount of salt. Set aside.
Add tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice to a cocktail shaker, and shake or stir until combined. Taste, and if you would like the margarita to be sweeter, stir in a half teaspoon of agave or simple syrup at a time until the mix reaches your desired level of sweetness.
Fill glass with ice. Pour in the margarita mixture over the rocks. Serve immediately, garnished with an extra lime wedge if desired.
To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas (16 servings): Stir tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice together in a large pitcher until combined. Add your desired amount of sweetener if desired (I would begin with 2-3 tablespoons agave) until the margaritas reach your desired level of sweetness. Serve on the rocks, garnished with an extra lime wedge if desired.
A Note On Serving Sizes: The serving size of one cocktail is 3.5 ounces (a little less than 1/2 cup), which is more akin to a traditional cocktail versus the large mugs of margaritas that many restaurants serve.