Watermelon Margarita

This watermelon margarita is tangy, sweet, and seriously refreshing. Instead of salting the rim, it’s lightly salty for a perfectly balanced flavor.

Watermelon margarita

Each year that goes by, the more I appreciate seasonality. How special is watermelon when it’s near impossible to get a good one 10 months out of the year? Alex and I have been cherishing the seasonal fruits even more lately, like the miracle of sweet watermelon, ripe peaches and fresh basil. This year, Alex decided to try a fruity version of our classic margarita and came up with this watermelon margarita. It’s shocking pink, tangy, sweet, a little bit salty…and completely irresistible.

Watermelon margarita

Why make this watermelon margarita?

I was that kid who loved watermelon Jolly Ranchers (anyone else?). Oddly enough, I prefer making watermelon recipes to eating a straight slice of watermelon. You’ll find me making our watermelon salad with feta or watermelon gazpacho biting into a slice. So when Alex came up with the idea of a watermelon margarita, I knew I’d be into it. But I didn’t expect that it would border on obsession (ha)! I love the tang of a margarita, so this drink is perfection for me.

Here’s what we love about this drink:

  • Perfectly sweet tart. This watermelon margarita comes out with just the right amount of tang from the lime and sweetness.
  • Gorgeous hot pink color. Watermelon makes the perfect rosy hue.
  • No added sugar. It doesn’t even require any added sweetener!
  • The drink is salted (instead of the rim). The fun part about this drink is that instead of salting the rim, the drink itself is salted. This gives it a complexity in flavor that makes you want to keep drinking it: so beware!

How to make a watermelon margarita

Ready to get started? Here are the basic steps for this tasty summer drink:

  1. Blend the watermelon: Chop a watermelon into cubes, then blend into a juice in a blender. Pass the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove particles.
  2. Blend with lime, tequila, and ice: Return 3 cups of the watermelon juice to the blender, and blend with 1/2 cup lime juice, 1 cup tequila, and 1/2 cup ice.
  3. Serve: Serve immediately over ice, or chill for a few hours and serve over ice.
Watermelon margarita

How to tell if a watermelon is ripe?

There’s nothing worse than an unripe watermelon (we actually know from experience — and it’s bad!). This watermelon margarita requires a ripe watermelon to get the right flavoring, because the drink relies on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Here are a few tips for picking out a ripe watermelon:

  • To make sure you get ruby red, sweet flesh inside, look for a lighter spot where the watermelon rested in the field: it’s called a field spot. If the field spot is white, it’s unripe: if the spot is yellow, it’s ripe.
  • The watermelon should feel very heavy, which means there’s a lot of juice inside.
Watermelon margarita

What’s the best tequila to use?

Many people suggest using tequila blanco for margaritas. But Alex and I prefer the robust flavor of tequila reposado; it adds another nuance to the flavor. Either way, try to find a mid-price range tequila when you make a watermelon margarita. You can definitely taste the difference! Here’s the breakdown of tequila ages:

  • Tequila blanco (or “new” tequila) has been aged less than 2 months and has a strong, straightforward flavor.
  • Tequila reposado (“rested” in Spanish) is aged longer, from 2 to 12 months. It has a more nuanced flavor, with notes of oak and vanilla.

PS Another tequila drink? The Paloma Cocktail is a cousin of the margarita, featuring tequila with grapefruit instead of lime!

Watermelon margarita

More margarita variations

There are all sorts of fun ways to mix up the margarita! Here are some of our favorite ways:

This watermelon margarita recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.

Print
Watermelon margarita

Easy Watermelon Margarita


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.80 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

This watermelon margarita is tangy, sweet, and seriously refreshing. Instead of salting the rim, it’s lightly salty for a perfectly balanced flavor. 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cubed seedless ripe watermelon, chilled, enough for 3 cups juice
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup lime juice, plus lime slices for garnish (5 limes)
  • 1 cup tequila reposado
  • 1/2 cup ice

Instructions

  1. Add the watermelon cubes to a blender and blend until a juice forms. Then pour the juice through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container.
  2. Measure out 3 cups of the watermelon juice, then add it back to the blender. Add the kosher salt, lime juice, tequila, and ice and blend until fully
  3. Serve immediately over ice, or chill for several hours* and serve over ice. Garnish with lime slices.

Notes

*We preferred the chilled version, so make this a few hours in advance if possible. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired

Keywords: Watermelon margarita, how to make a watermelon margarita

Looking for more drink recipes?

Outside of this watermelon margarita recipe, here are a few more of our favorite drink recipes:

Last updated: March 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Autumn
    July 26, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Yup, this is my new fav summer drink! Sooo dang good! The watermelon I got was so perfectly sweet and ripe and I used my vitamix and didn’t even need to strain it! The color of this drink is also so appealing :) I made them for my girl friends paddle boarding birthday fun and it was the perfect refreshing drink while out on the water in the hot sun!
    I had so much watermelon that I ended up making tons of juice and freezing it in 2 cup portions so that I’ll be able to keep making this for awhile! :)

    • Reply
      Sonja
      July 26, 2019 at 9:45 am

      We could not be happier to hear this! So, so glad you loved this drink: and we love imagining you enjoying them with your friends in thes sun! So perfect. Thanks for letting us know!

  • Reply
    Chris
    June 5, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Where does the salt come in? I didn’t see it in the instructions. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      June 5, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      Good catch! We’ve updated the instructions accordingly. Thank you!

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