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All you need are 3 ingredients to make my favorite margarita recipe! Instructions included for how to make a single serving margarita or pitcher margaritas for a crowd.

Classic Margarita Recipe in Glass with Lime

Raise your hand if you love a good margarita! ♡

This famously sweet, sour and salty drink will forever and always be my all-time favorite cocktail. But while I adore just about any kind of margarita — frozen or on the rocks, tequila or mezcal, fruity or spicy or fizzy or creamy, you name it — a classic margarita cocktail in my book simply cannot be beat.

By contrast to many of the diluted, super-sweet, and sometimes fizzy huge mugs of margaritas that are often served in restaurants around the world nowadays, a traditional margarita is actually a strong, tart cocktail made with three simple ingredients — good-quality tequila, orange liqueur, and freshly-squeezed lime juice. This simple margarita mix is incredibly quick and easy to make, either for a single serving or a larger batch for a crowd. And it is downright delicious served on the rocks, with or without a salted rim.

I have become quite partial over the years to making margaritas with mezcal instead of tequila, which I highly recommend if you love a good smoky cocktail. And if you feel like spicing your drink up a bit, I’ve also included tips below for how to make a spicy salted rim or muddle a few chile peppers into your drink — so good!

Bottom line, if you love margaritas as much as I do, take a moment to read through my tips below and memorize this simple recipe. Then let’s make a round of margaritas together. Cheers!

Margarita Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Margarita FAQ:

What does margarita mean? Margarita means “daisy” in Spanish. ♡

Where did margaritas originate? We have the rich food and drink culture of Mexico to thank for this famously sweet, sour and salty cocktail. Historians debate the exact origins of the drink (you can read some of the most famous possible origin stories here and here). But it rose to popularity in the United States around Prohibition, during which time many Americans traveled to Mexico to drink and fell in love with their local tequila. And today, the margarita ranks as one of the most popular cocktails in the entire world.

How are margaritas traditionally served? By contrast to the large mugs of diluted large margaritas that are popularly served nowadays in many restaurants around the world, margaritas are traditionally served as a strong cocktail in a margarita glass rimmed with salt. Please note that the recipe below is the classic (strong) cocktail version.

When is national margarita day? February 22, so mark your calendars is you’d like to celebrate!

Margarita Mix in Measuring Cup

Margarita Ingredients:

To make the best margarita mix, all you really need are three basic margarita ingredients:

  • Tequila: Silver or reposado is traditionally considered to be the best tequila for margaritas, but any type of tequila (or smoky mezcal or sotol) will work.
  • Freshly-squeezed lime juice: For the best fresh flavor, I highly recommend juicing your own limes versus using store-bought lime juice. I swear by this citrus juicer, which makes juicing a breeze and comes in especially handy if you are making a large batch.
  • Orange liqueur: Cointreau is my go-to, but Grand Marnier is also delicious or you can use a good-quality Triple Sec.

You are also welcome to add:

  • Agave: If you would like to sweeten your margarita, I recommend adding agave syrup (or simple syrup, or any other sweetener you prefer) to taste.
  • Kosher salt: If you would like to salt the rims of your glasses, run a lime wedge around the rims and then dip them in coarse Kosher salt or margarita salt. (I also like to mix some Tajín into my salt to give it an extra chili-lime kick.)
  • Additional lime slices/wedges: Save a few extra lime slices or wedges if you would like to add them to the glass as garnish.

How To Make Margaritas with a Cocktail Strainer

How To Make A Margarita (Single-Serving):

Detailed instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a brief overview of how to make a single-serving homemade margarita:

  1. Prep your glasses: If you would like to salt the rim of your glass, simply run a juicy lime wedge around the rim and then dip the rim in coarse Kosher salt. Set the glass aside until ready to use.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker: Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. (Or alternately if you do not have a cocktail shaker, you can stir the ingredients together in a measuring cup or shake them together in a mason jar.)
  3. Shake shake shake: Give the mixture a good shake (or a good stir!) for about 10 seconds or until chilled.
  4. Taste and add sweetener, if desired: Give the margarita mix 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 the mix reaches your desired level of sweetness.
  5. Strain and serve on the rocks. Place a few ice cubes (or I often use one large ice cube so that it will melt more slowly) in the serving glass, then strain the margarita mix over the ice and garnish with a slice of lime.

Pitcher Margaritas

How To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas:

Detailed instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a brief overview of how to make pitcher margaritas:

  1. Prep your glasses: If you would like to salt the rims of your glasses, simply run a juicy lime wedge around the rims and then dip the rims in coarse Kosher salt. Set the glasses aside until ready to use.
  2. Stir the ingredients together in a large pitcher: Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur and a handful of ice in a large pitcher and stir to combine.
  3. Taste and add sweetener, if desired: Give the margarita mix 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. Place a few ice cubes (or I often use one large ice cube so that it will melt more slowly) in each serving glass, then pour the margarita mix over the ice and garnish each glass with a slice of lime.

Margarita Recipe in Glasses with Salt Rim

Possible Recipe Variations:

The sky’s the limit when it comes to different types of margaritas that you can make, but here are a few of my favorite simple tweaks that you can make to this classic margarita recipe:

  • Make mezcal margaritas: We are especially partial in our house to making margaritas with mezcal (or sotol) instead of tequila, which adds the most delicious, smoky, complex flavor to this cocktail. That said, if you would just like a subtly smoky margarita, try using a 50/50 blend of tequila and mezcal.
  • Make spicy margaritas: If you like your margarita to have a kick, try muddling a few slices of fresh jalapeño or serrano chiles into the margarita mix. Please note, however, that a few chile slices go a long way with a single serving. So I recommend starting with one or two slices, and then you can always add more if you’d like to your spicy margarita recipe.
  • Make “skinny” margaritas: 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. They still taste great!
  • Make virgin margaritas: Here is my favorite recipe for virgin margarita mocktails.
  • Customize the salted rim: I also love mixing Tajín with coarse salt to make a spicier chili-lime salted rim. Or if you want to go sweet and spicy, you can mix some turbinado sugar (or any type of sugar) with the salt too.

Classic Margarita Recipe in Glass with Lime

More Classic Cocktail Recipes:

Looking for more classic cocktail recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves:

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Classic Margarita Recipe


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 97 reviews
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x


My favorite margarita recipe is made with just 3 easy ingredients! See instructions 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
  • ice
  • lime wedge and coarse 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
  • lime wedges and coarse salt for rimming the glasses


  1. Salt the rim (optional). Run a lime wedge (the juicy part) around the top rim of your serving glass. Fill a shallow bowl or plate with salt, then dip the rim until it is covered with your desired amount of salt. Set aside.
  2. Make the margarita mix. Add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a few ice cubes to a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Give the mix a taste and stir in a teaspoon or two of sweetener if desired.
  3. Serve. Fill the prepared serving glass with ice. Strain in the margarita mix, garnish with a lime slice, serve and enjoy. Cheers!


To Make A Pitcher Of Margaritas (16 servings): Stir tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a handful of ice together in a large pitcher until combined.  Add sweetener to taste, if desired, until the margaritas reach your preferred level of sweetness. Serve over ice, garnishing each glass with an extra lime slice if desired.

A Note On Serving Sizes: Please note that one serving is 3.5 ounces (a little less than 1/2 cup) and it is quite strong, making this traditional margarita cocktail different than the large mugs of diluted margaritas that are served in many restaurants.

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192 comments on “Margaritas”

  1. just tried it- so good!! add a bit of carona to cut the sweetness and mmmmm

  2. I didn’t have Cointreau or triple sec so I substituted reconstituted frozen orange juice in same amount and it was bomb! I prefer recipe as written but when your in a pinch OJ works! I love the simple recipes best.

  3. These are PERFECT. I love love love a good margarita – pitchers of these might become a summertime staple! Thanks!

  4. Yes!! This is how a good margarita should be made. ?

  5. Limes were on sale !
    Tried the recipe !
    So refreshing !
    Fresh lime juice and a good tequila make this a really nice Margarita … but you can only have 2 ?

  6. This seems exactly the same as all the other hundreds of margarita recipes out there. Tequila, lime, triple sec/orange liqueur then a salted rim. Nothing different or special about this one

  7. The best Margaritas I’ve ever had!!!

    • Really nice recipe, I subb’d Passoa (passionfruit liqueur) for the Cointreau and worked a treat. We’re only 1 Marg down, be rude not to make another!

  8. Excellent and just perfect

  9. This was pretty good, but it needed something. I did add simple syrup. Maybe I will try more Grand Marnier next time. I have had margaritas in Mexico but I need something .

  10. Best ever! No sweetening needed. Just be careful, they are very drinkable. Thank you for sharing!!!

  11. LOVE this recipe. Seriously the best margs!

  12. Your recipe has been my go-to for years. So good.

  13. Now THIS is a good margarita. Thanks for not watering it down.

  14. Just made this margarita. I’m enjoying it so much, I should have made a pitcher for the weekend.

    • This literally put me and my 2 friends on the floor 😂😂. We didn’t read the disclaimer at the bottom and my sister made them and served them like regular large margaritas. An hour later and we were all throwing up and on the floor. Drink with caution and make sure you serve in a cocktail glass lol!

  15. Best margs ever!!!

  16. Your recipe is our favorite!

  17. My favorite margarita! I won’t even order one at a restaurant anymore-they simply don’t even come close to this one!

  18. I love this for what it is, the salt makes it divine. But what if the mug of diluted restaurant margarita was what we were looking for?

  19. This is the BEST!!! Very good!!! Made a pitcher and shared it with neighbors!

  20. This margarita is amazing. Every time I’ve made it people have thoroughly enjoyed it. I will say, it is best to disclaim to the people drinking it that they WILL get drunk if they have more than two. However, it has *always* produced a good time.

  21. Just made this tonight to watch the 2nd Round NFL Draft picks with restaurant chips and salsa!!! Amazing! Did they mention these pack a punch for just 3.5 oz?!!

  22. My go to margarita recipe! I am asked to bring margaritas to all the dinner parties because everyone loves this recipe. Not like a sweet Kool-Aid drink but rather a stronger better tasting margarita for sipping. Enjoy! We sure do.

  23. This was the. best margarita recipe EVER!! Will save it.

  24. The BEST margaritas. We love this recipe!

  25. I made this recipe exactly, I mean EXACTLY as presented, so my review is not given on a variation or substitutions.

    I thought the recipe, as presented, was just “okay.”

    I was impressed, however, with how “powerful” it was. I mean, a couple of sips and, whoa baby! I can see making a pitcher of these for a group of good friends on a hot summer night. It is, afterall, good friends that make a recipe taste better, am I right? Also, you know what would be fun to try with this recipe
    instead of the traditional salt to rim the glass, would be try Trader Joe’s new “Cuban-style Citrusy Garlic seasoning blend” which has lime oil, coriander and cumin in it! I’ll have to try it in the future and then report back with the results. -Mimi

  26. Margarita perfection.

  27. Can you tell me how much simple syrup should be added to pitcher of magaritas?

    • This margarita recipe is delicious. It’s also LETHAL. My husband and I are not lightweights, by any means. Two of these had us drunk, not tipsy, drunk. Three of these had us on the MF floor. A delicious recipe, but proceed with caution.

  28. Will be trying this recipe 😋

  29. Perfect! Did not need to add any simple syrup. Used homemade Grand Marnier. So simple. Keeping this recipe!!

  30. Best I’ve seen and good start to our upcoming Margarita party to see who’s got the best Margarita’s!
    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Cheers, Grant

  31. Yes! This is how an authentic margarita is actually made!

  32. This is a phenomenal simple recipe. I follow it to the T and everyone who’s tasted it says it’s the best they ever had. LOVE IT!!!

  33. I do not like sweet margaritas or ones that use sweet and sour so this was one I was excited to try. With using Cointreau for the orange liquor, it is the best recipe I have found and I’ve tried MANY! I use Espolon tequila. Perfect. Better than any I’ve tried at a restaurant too. Thank you!

  34. Loved it. Just the right amount of Tequila/Orange Liqueur to citrus. Used Triple Sec – what I had on hand. Did not add extra sweetness. Perfect!

  35. This recipe is spot on! I love muddling a serrano in the base of the glass to give it some spice too.

  36. I never had a margarita before I found this recipe. Fell in love with margaritas after making one. I’ll never use any other recipe, its first and only love. Lol

  37. Excellent! Strong! Delicious!

  38. I’ve tried this margarita recipe and it’s the best I’ve had.Cheers!!!!!!!!!

  39. this is my favourite margarita recipe ever – most restaurant margaritas don’t even come close to this version. just a hint of simple sugar make these delicious!

  40. This recipe has become my go to! A Tajin salt rim is a must!

  41. Fantastic

  42. It was okay. Not my favorite. It was way too sour. When I found the recipe I had doubts when the recipe had no lemon, but tried it anyways because of the reviews. I won’t make it again.

  43. I added sugar syrup because I like my drinks on the sweet side. It was a very good margarita.

  44. This margarita is the real deal! I love that she also included the recipe for a pitcher full.

  45. This recipe for margaritas is great! My husband and daughter liked them. I will definitely be making these again. For a change, I made one with Blue Curacao, still delish and very pretty! And they definitely are strong! I’m a lightweight and I’m going to have to drink the rest of my drink very slowly, lol!

  46. I used Cointreau and thought these were way too strong. I’ll try Triple Sec next time.

  47. Great flavor but way too strong. Like irresponsibly strong. I had a party and no one could drive after even 2 if these. After three folks were falling down and getting sick. Water it down; still tastes great but your guests won’t be on your floors the next day. The agave is such a great option and a time saver. But yeah…strong as heck. I know they warn you, but Jeepers. (The pitcher makes 12 not 16.)

  48. Now this is exactly how a proper margarita should taste! Thank you for not watering things down.

  49. Loved these. A little tip- if you have not yet discovered Nellie & Joes let west lime juice, highly recommend this. It’s so much easier than squeezing limes for every drink and tastes just like fresh squeezed limes. Made it exactly as described in the recipe. I think habanero or jalapeño peppers would make the perfect addition to this. If you don’t like the super sweetness of bottled margarita mix, this is your recipe!

  50. I’ve lost track of how many times my husband and I have made these margaritas. They remind us of home in SoCal! Thank you thank you thank you!