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This piña colada recipe is creamy, fruity, and totally classic! Here are the ingredients you need for this iconic frozen drink.

Piña colada

When it comes to frozen cocktails, the piña colada is iconic. It’s got 1990’s chain restaurant vibes, and it’s hard to find a resort that doesn’t have on on the menu. But did you know it’s actually a classic cocktail invented in the 1950’s? Unfortunately many restaurant versions and bottled mixes stray from the essence of the real thing. What ingredients are really in this tropical frozen mixed drink? Here’s how to make a piña colada…the classic way!

Piña colada ingredients

The piña colada is a popular classic cocktail invented in Puerto Rico made with pineapple juice, rum, and coconut, served blended or with crushed ice. The name means “strained pineapple” in Spanish. The original drink was invented in San Juan in 1954 by a bartender named Ramón “Monchito” Marrero. It became an instant favorite and was declared the official drink of Puerto Rico in 1978.

This drink is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, which means it has an official definition. Our spin on the classic adds two additional ingredients. The piña colada ingredients are:

  • Rum
  • Cream of coconut (not coconut cream)
  • Pineapple juice
  • Ice
  • Frozen pineapple
  • Lime juice

The IBA definition of a piña colada is the first three ingredients. Lime juice is traditionally added by many bartenders to add even more tangy flavor. We added frozen pineapple here to enhance the frozen texture and heighten the pineapple flavor.

Pina colada ingredients

Cream of coconut vs coconut cream

Here’s an important note about the piña colada ingredients: buy cream of coconut, not coconut cream. What’s the difference between these similar sounding products? A lot. Here’s what to know about cream of coconut vs coconut cream:

  • Coconut cream is made from chilling coconut milk and then skimming off the layer of cream that floats to the top. It is very thick and tastes like coconut, but is not sweetened. It’s typically sold in cans next to the coconut milk.
  • Cream of coconut is coconut cream with lots of sugar added. It’s used to sweeten tropical drinks like a classic piña colada and is sold in handy squeeze bottles. Cream of coconut is easy to find online or at your local liquor store. A popular brand is Coco Real. More popular coconut cocktails use this ingredient, too: try the Painkiller, Chi Chi, Coconut Martini or Bushwacker.

What happens if you buy coconut cream for this drink? Well, it won’t taste sweet at all. If you make this misstep and want to save your drink, you can add simple syrup to taste.

Cream of Coconut vs Coconut Cream

Or, make a coconut milk piña colada

Don’t want to bother with cream of coconut? Don’t worry: we’ve got a simplified version for you! Gather these ingredients and go to the Frozen Pina Colada recipe:

  • Frozen pineapple chunks
  • White rum
  • Full fat coconut milk
  • Lime juice
  • Simple syrup
Aged rum

Aged rum gives the best flavor to a piña colada

Many piña colada recipes call for white rum, or both white rum and aged rum. But want to have the best flavor in your piña colada? Make it with just aged rum! Here’s why:

  • Aged rum is also known as golden rum, amber rum, or añejo rum (meaning “aged”). Aging gives it a complex flavor, more like a Cognac. It has undertones of vanilla, coconut, almond, citrus, or caramel. The aged rum we used here was Brugal Añejo Rum.
  • White rum is more straightforward in flavor, with less nuance. It gives more of a classic rum “burn” to this piña colada. But it tastes great and you can use it if that’s all you have on hand!

Where to get drink umbrellas

What’s more fun than serving a piña colada with drunk umbrellas? It adds just the right festive flair: though of course, it tastes great no matter how you serve it! We found our drink umbrellas online here: buy drink umbrellas on Amazon.

Piña colada ingredients

Piña colada variations

Mixing up drinks for mixed company? We’ve got a version that works for kiddos, pregnant moms or anyone who wants to avoid alcohol. There are also several variations on this classic drink:

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Pina colada

Classic Piña Colada Recipe

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 drinks 1x


This piña colada recipe is creamy, fruity, and totally classic! Here are the ingredients you need for this iconic frozen drink. For a simplified spin with a smoothie-like texture, go to Frozen Piña Colada.


  • 1 ½ cups frozen pineapple
  • 1 ½ cups ice
  • 5 ounces (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) aged rum
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream of coconut (not coconut cream; see notes*)
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lime juice
  • For the garnish: cocktail cherry


  1. Blend pineapple and ice until chunky. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve garnished with a cocktail cherry and drink umbrellas.


*Cream of coconut is a special coconut product made for sweetening drinks, whereas coconut cream is unsweetened (read more at Cream of Coconut vs Coconut Cream). Don’t buy coconut cream or the drink will not taste sweetened! If you make this misstep and want to save your drink, you can add simple syrup to taste. You can also make a simplified version of this drink with coconut milk instead: go to Frozen Pina Colada

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: piña colada, piña colada ingredients

More classic rum drinks

There are so many tasty rum drinks to make with the rest of a bottle! Here are some of our best rum cocktails to try:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Absolute best recipe ever thank you so much keeping it classic❗️❗️❤️

  2. Wow. That was way too much alcohol. It tasted like a rum smoothly with a slight pineapple after taste. Not trying to be rude, just to give an accurate description. I couldn’t drink it.

  3. Yummy! So good and so easy. I made the mistake of buying coconut cream and didn’t notice until I got home. Thankfully they included what to do and I just used their recipe to make simple syrup. I added about 1oz of it and it everything came out perfectly! So delicious and it is definitely hitting the spot. Only thing I’m missing is a nice warm beach! I think I’ll use fresh lime juice instead next time because I think it would just give it that little something extra.

  4. I tried the recipe just as it was shown. For my tastes, I added an extra ounce of Cream of Coconut ( Coco Lopez), and added another 1/2 cup of ice (crushed). Definitely put in the lime juice, it makes a difference. Overall it was a good recipe to follow. Good job Sonja and Alex.👍

  5. It was so hot and muggy and I just yearned fir a pina colada. Ive never made one and thought I’d take a stab at it. Found my mixer and tried the recipe in the box…nope, too icy tasting. Tried my liquor store recommendation, nope, too boozy. Found your recipe and it is THE most delicious I’ve EVER enjoyed!!! I feel like I could take on any bartender in a competition! The ingredients are spot on…right amount of rum, pineapple and CREAM of coconut…but, the surprise is the little hint of LIME! Thanks for publishing this delicious tropical cocktail!

      1. This recipe is so good that it was my superbowl drink for my guests. Everyone loved it as mich as me especially my daughter and she’s not an easy sell lol. Seriously tho thanks loads for sharing my new favorite recipe.