The BEST Margarita Recipe!

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.

Classic Margarita Recipe

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.

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

Margarita Ingredients:

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

How To Make A Margarita:

So simple!  To make a single-serving homemade margarita…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Shake it, shake it, baby: Then give the mixture a good shake (or a good stir!) until it is combined and chilled.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Margaritas

How To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas:

To make pitcher margaritas, simply…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve on the rocks. Garnished with a slice of lime, if you would like.

Pitcher Margaritas

Possible Variations:

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.

Margarita Recipe

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:

Cheers, friends!

Classic Margarita Recipe

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Classic Margarita Recipe
5 from 7 reviews

The BEST Margarita Recipe!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x

Description

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.


Scale

Ingredients

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
  • ice
  • 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
  • ice
  • optional: lime wedges and salt for rimming the glasses

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Fill glass with ice.  Pour in the margarita mixture over the rocks.  Serve immediately, garnished with an extra lime wedge if desired.

Notes

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.

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The Best Margarita Recipe

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63 comments on “The BEST Margarita Recipe!”

  1. Margs for brunch!? I can SO get on board with that shenanigans! This looks like the perfect recipe for a classic. But, I might need to taste test it tonight before the big day tomorrow. You know, to make sure ;) Pinned!

  2. You’re making me want to head straight to the basement to get my Mexican Party hat out. (I’m sure you have one of those) I’m ready to P-R-T for Cinco de Mayo! 

  3. I always find that brunch is an excuse to eat everything on the menu…because you gotta try everything, right? Hence, I love brunch, and a Mexican brunch is all the more delicious!  Love this dependable marg recipe:).  Perfect to wash down the tacos!

  4. While the classic is fantastic (I grew up in Texas, so know margaritas), when fresh strawberries are available right out of the field, a strawberry margarita will make that berry picking and jam making a whole lot better.  

  5. I was just thinking that I should have shared a classic margarita for Cinco de Mayo! (I have an apple cider marg on my site that I adore, but tomorrow’s holiday just calls for a classic.) This version looks incredible!

  6. So excited to see this recipe!  Can’t wait to make it for Cinco de Mayo! Have you posted the recipe for your pineapple margarita?Thanks! 

  7. LOVE Port Fonda, I’v hear their brunch is amazing, yet I’ve never been either! What gives?! And I agree, I cannot stand a super sugary margarita with faux lime juice, not happening. These guys look (and sound) PERFECT.

  8. Margs always make meals (especially brunch) better. My favorite local spot is a 1920’s Bakersfield, Cali honkey-tony style bar/restaurant with plenty of tex-Mex food, and their brunch is killer. 

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

  9. I must know this restaurant. I’m not a huge bruncher either, but I’m a big Mexican food eater and margarita drinker. As a Texas transplant to the KC area, I’m always looking for yummy Mexican!

  10. Margaritas for brunch??? SIGN ME UP! :) 

  11. I have to say, I have always been a huge brunch person! But these would definitely be an enticing addition to any brunch menu!

  12. These look delicious – and that Mexican brunch sounds amazing! I live in Copenhagen (DK) and here, brunch is usually the same old (yogurt, muesli, fruit, eggs, bacon, maybe a pancake or two…) so the thought of Mexican brunch just got me all giddy! Oh, and I totally agree, Cointreau > Triple Sec!

  13. Okay I’m making this asap!!

  14. this is exactly how I like my margs! So fresh! I like to add a squeeze of a fresh orange slice too, and add it as garnish, love me some margaritas!

  15. I agree – they MUST have fresh lime juice! Or at least a homemade sour mix. I won’t stand for that bottled sour mix crap. Ew. And I like mine with a sugared rim. :-D

  16. Finding the perfect margarita recipe is on my summer bucket list. Looking forward to trying this one out! Would love recommendations of  what brand of tequila and Cointreau to buy. It’s a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to buy – would rather be doing the mixing and taste testing instead! :)

    • Hey Mindy! For the Triple Sec, I use Cointreau, which is great. For tequila, I love Camarena Tequila Reposado, and that’s what I usually use. But Sauza also works great, and I’ve heard good things about Siembra Azul Blanco. And of course, you can never go wrong with Patron. Hope that helps!

  17. Lived in the area for 3 years and have never been to Port Fonda! It’s a travesty, I know! Will be making it there soon!

  18. What is the recipe you use to make a pitcher of margaritas? I love a good margarita, but I find it kind of annoying to have to make each one individually. It would be much more fun to just be able to go to the fridge and refill my glass, or make a bunch so more than one person could enjoy it!

  19. i love your pins and I also have recently discovered this juicer. Amazing! The Beaty is you get so much more juice out of the fruit with a fraction of the aggravation. I can’t wait to try the margaritas.

  20. Made these today to go along with some Rose Bowl watching!  Delish!  Love that they are so simple and basic; no syrupy limeade concentrate.  Will absolutely make them again!  Thanks for the recipe!

  21. This sounds delicious! I just shared it on my blog for a post about National Margarita Day! Check it out here:
    http://www.biscuitsandburlap.com/2016/02/21/10-fresh-fruit-margaritas/
    Thanks for sharing!

    • That’s awesome Sara — thanks for sharing with us, and thanks for the sweet shout out on your blog! :D

  22. Best ever :) I will never buy a mix again

  23. I love the glasses! Where are the from?

  24. Besides the recipe, I am super interested in the glasses in the first picture!!! Where are those from?

  25. Hi Ali!

    I made these margaritas for Cinco de Mayo tonight! They were great.   I did end up adding a bit of agave as I had some in the cupboard but next time I may try without just to see if the Cointreau adds enough sugar to the mix. I just have one question though…the recipe lists a pitcher as 16 servings, but the notes in the recipe list a pitcher as 8 servings.  How many servings are in a pitcher? I made half of the “pitcher” recipe and I think this would equate to about 4 servings, but I don’t know if my serving size is just skewed…it is the first time I made margaritas!

    Thanks!

    • Hi Ceili! We’re sorry for just now getting your comment. We’re glad to hear you enjoyed these, and oh my, that serving amount is definitely a typo! A pitcher is 16 servings! We apologize for the confusion!

  26. Those look so good

  27. Listen here!

    You nailed it. I live in Galveston Texas and was a friend of Santos Cruz, Inventor of the Margarita (look up the story), and this is it. I usually use the ratio of 2:1:1 tequila, triple sec, lime juice but, being on Island time and all other measurements, somewhere in the vicinity is good. Cointreau IS much richer in flavor than Triple Sec, is a great substitute. I find, even here in Galveston, there are so many bartenders that do not know the simple recipe it’s just sacriligous! Kudos to you! Preach the word!
    Here’s a trick for your readers, a Daquiri, a true Daquiri, is simply a rum margarita. And NO TRUE AFFICIONADO would use sweet sour mix! Throw that radiator fluid out!
    I’m a big fan! Until next time JC from Texas, signing off! [email protected]

    • Thank you, John, we loved your comment! There’s nothing like a classic margarita done right. :D

  28. I also noticed in one of your comments you use Camarena tequila. Great stuff. Remember folks, buy the cheap tequila. By that I mean look for the stuff that is distilled AND bottled in Jalisco. Anything bottled in this country is way overpriced and not nearly as smooth. I use Cabrito a lot, the goat. El Amo is excellent. All of these are usually half the price of that fella Jose and much better stuff.

  29. This is my favorite way to have a margarita too. Better still, add around 25% Sprite or 7UP poured on top and give it a quick mild stir. If you don’t like the sweet try Tonic or plain seltzer. The effervescence really kicks off the flavor!!! And as a rule of thumb I use one whole lime per drink.

  30. PS Always use a tequila that says on the bottle ‘100% Agave’, not ‘agave’, not ‘blue agave’, it has to say 100% Agave or 100% Blue Agave. Anything else can legally be mixed with up 50% grain alcohlol. Use 100% Agave and avoid the headache or the Tequila hangover.

  31. 5 stars
    These are the best!!!

  32. 5 stars
    Delicious! I love a fresh no-sugar margarita and this is perfect! Thank you for posting.

  33. 5 stars
    These have become our go-to margs. SO GOOD.

  34. nice, great margarita recipe, like that you feature some essential margarita tools too, thank you for this!

  35. When we meet with friends it is always good to have something to take the stress out of the day, refresh and the margarita is perfect for this, I think very good but never prepared now seeing the recipe gave a crazy desire to do.

  36. 5 stars
    Love these. I make them for my wife and friends during the summer

  37. Will Stevia work as a sweetener (to keep it skinny)?

  38. we love margaritas at our house. we sweeten them up by adding a splash of amaretto – then it’s an Italian margarita. looking forward to trying these with the fresh lime juice!

  39. ¡Gracias! Te quiero.

  40. FYI, I recently discovered you can use a stand mixer to juice a ton of citrus at once with minimal effort. Its a game changer for margaritas!! Just quarter all the limes, plop them in the mixer, run it for a bit, and voila!

  41. 5 stars
    The best!!!

  42. 5 stars
    Soooooo good. (And strong! 😂)

  43. 5 stars
    Old post but one that never could be outdated! This is exactly like the chispas that we drink in San Antonio! For extra kick to it, rim your glass with tajin! SO GOOD!

    • Oops! This is NOT an old post… don’t know why I read that it was from 2015? I just woke up and haven’t had coffee yet! :( Sorry!

  44. Very tasty. For the pitcher option any chance you meant ounces and not cups? If you did mean cups, my wife and I and our current guest would love to join you some time as I imagine it would be a blast for a couple of hours before we all passed out. I modified a bit and it is still very tasty…and still very potent :) Thank you.