Classic Frozen Margarita Cocktail Recipe

While the origins of the margarita itself are disputed, we're confident we know exactly where and when the first frozen margarita machine was created: Dallas, Texas, in 1971. That machine is now housed in the Smithsonian's collection, as befits a great American icon. You don't need a special machine to make these frozen margaritas, though, as a simple blender will do the trick. Recipe developer Ting Dalton of Cook Simply says margaritas are her ultimate favorite cocktail, explaining,"I love how the sharpness of the lime marries so well with the distinct flavor of the tequila, and blend[ing it] this way with ice makes it so refreshing."

Dalton, however, has changed up the standard frozen margarita recipe with a secret ingredient: agave syrup, used in place of the simple syrup some recipes call for. As she explains, "its high fructose intensity adds a welcome sweetness to the cocktail, but not too sweet that it takes away from the liquor and the lime." She adds that agave is sweeter than simple syrup, dissolves easily in cocktails, and is even vegan. She does say, however, that if this ingredient is not available, you can use simple syrup, although you may need to up the amount. Alternatively, she tells us, "if you like a tart and stronger flavored drink, remove the sugar altogether."

Gather the ingredients to make a frozen margarita

To make this margarita, you'll need tequila, lime juice (fresh is best!), agave syrup, and Cointreau. Dalton tells us that while "Cointreau has a smoother, more intense flavor" than triple sec, the latter ingredient can be used in its stead if that's what you have on hand.

As these are frozen margaritas, you will also need some ice. Also, an indispensable part of any margarita is the salt-rimmed glass. Dalton recommends using coarse sea salt for this, and you'll also need a lime wedge to help with the glass rimming. You'll also want additional lime wedges to garnish the drinks.

Prepare the margarita glasses

Speaking of rimming the glasses, that's the first step in making these drinks. Dalton says that for a frozen margarita, "you can use any type of tall highball glass or margarita glass, as long as the rim is wide [enough] to salt the edges." Once you've selected the glassware, run a lime wedge around the rims of both glasses, then dip them in the salt.

Blend the margaritas

Put the ice cubes into a blender, then pour in the tequila, Cointreau, agave syrup, and lime juice. Blend all of these ingredients together until you have a smooth, slushy drink. Divide the margarita between the prepared glasses, then garnish the drinks with lime wedges.

While Dalton says this frozen margarita is "perfect to sip on a hot day and make it feel like I am on vacation by the beach," she does note that if you want your cocktail not to melt, you'll need to drink it right away.

You can change up the basic margarita, if you like

While this recipe is for a classic lime margarita, Dalton says it's easy to change the drink to a flavored variation instead. As she advises, "just add your favorite fruit to the mix before blending," suggesting strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, or mango as fruits that might work well.

Yet another way you can tweak the basic frozen margarita recipe a bit is to add some seasonings to the salt used to rim the glass. Dalton suggests you could use "chili powder for an extra kick, or paprika."

Frozen Margarita Cocktail Recipe
5 from 2 ratings
While the original frozen margarita used a machine now housed in the Smithsonian, you just need a blender to whip up this version of the classic cocktail.
Prep Time
Cook Time
frozen margaritas with lime garnish
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 3 lime wedges
  • coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup Cointreau
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 3 cups ice
  1. Run a lime wedge around the rim of 2 glasses.
  2. Dip the edges of the glasses in the salt.
  3. Combine the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, agave syrup, and ice in a blender.
  4. Blend the drink ingredients until smooth.
  5. Pour the margaritas into the prepared glasses.Garnish with remaining lime wedges.
Calories per Serving 256
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 10.6 g
Sodium 1,223.9 mg
Protein 0.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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