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Classic Margarita Recipe (3 Simple Ingredients)

Looking for a classic homemade margarita recipe that uses simple ingredients? You’re in luck! With this recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious margarita without all the added calories, chemicals and preservatives found in most store-bought mixes.

Crafted with a refreshing blend of tangy citrus, smooth tequila and a subtle hint of sweetness, this classic margarita recipe provides a delightful symphony of flavors that dance on your taste buds.

Whether you’re sipping by the beach, lounging out back or enjoying a drink gathering with friends, this classic margarita recipe is the perfect cocktail.

The problem with most margaritas

Did you know that most margaritas contain more sugar than a dessert? Not to mention, they’re often made with some iffy ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, coloring and preservatives.

Virtually ALL sweet mixed drinks are incredibly high in sugar, and margaritas are no exception.

While margarita mixes vary, the average mix we found contained around 26 grams of sugar per serving. That equates to MORE THAN 6 teaspoons of sugar. The worst part is, those 6 teaspoons of sugar only accounted for a small margarita, not one of those HUGE 32-ounce glasses you often get when you’re out at a restaurant. If you order one of those, you may just bump your sugar intake up to more than 192 grams of sugar in ONE drink, which equals 32 teaspoons. WOWZA!

That’s more sugar than 19 glazed Krispy Creme donuts.

We don’t know about you, but that alone made us reconsider what drink to order each time we go out, even on Taco Tuesdays. Because we LOVE margaritas and couldn’t imagine giving them up entirely, we wanted to concoct a margarita we could feel good about serving (and drinking!).

Do you need top-shelf tequila?

Although it’s not essential to use an expensive tequila, we suggest using a quality one. Even if you’re mixing all the components, it’s important to ensure that your drink has a smooth finish, rather than being harsh. Typically, we opt for a tequila from the middle shelf.
Our go-to tequilas:
  • First pick: 1800 Tequila
  • Second pick: El Jimador Tequila

Orange juice versus orange liqueur

If you’re aiming to keep your cocktail clean and FfL-friendly, we suggest using pure orange juice instead of orange liqueur. But if you prefer a more classic, mildly sweet margarita, consider giving Cointreau, an orange liqueur, a try.

Fresh lime juice versus bottled

When it comes to the taste of your drink, using freshly squeezed juice is a game-changer compared to bottled juice. To make the squeezing process easier, we recommend using a citrus squeezer.

Even though we like to consider ourselves strong, squeezing limes by hand can be agonizing. Fortunately, citrus squeezers are affordable and efficient, extracting twice as much juice. Our go-to squeezer is the Bellemain Citrus Squeezer, which has been a lifesaver for us when it comes to extracting fresh juice.

How much juice is in a lime?

A lime typically contains about 1 to 2 ounces of juice, depending on its size and ripeness. To extract the juice, you can cut the lime in half and use a citrus juicer or simply squeeze it by hand.

Juicing tips: 

  • Choose ripe and fresh fruit.
  • Room-temperature citrus is easier to juice than cold citrus. If you can, take your limes and/or oranges out of the fridge 30 minutes in advance.
  • Before slicing the citrus fruit, roll it back and forth on the counter, pressing slightly.  
  • To get the most juice from your fruit, cut it in half lengthwise, not across.
  • We’ve found that the easiest way to juice limes is with this hand-held juicer.

What kind of bottled lime juice is best?

We like to have bottled lime juice readily available in our pantry for making margaritas quickly and easily. When buying bottled lime juice, make sure that the only ingredient listed on the label is lime juice.

Our go-to bottled lime juice brands:
  • Lakewood Organic Lime Juice
  • Santa Cruz Organic Lime Juice

Top tips for prepping ahead:

Prepping ingredients really helps to reduce stress and simplify drinks if you are hosting friends or family.

  • If using freshly squeezed lime and/or orange juice, squeeze citrus and store juice in mason jars.

Pro tip: We’ve found that the easiest way to juice citrus fruit is with this hand-held juicer.

Should I chill my glass before serving?

It’s really up to your personal preference, but if you have the time to chill your glasses in advance, it can enhance the drinking experience. However, if you don’t have the luxury of planning ahead, a regular room-temperature glass will work just as well. Cheers!

Rim salt

To elevate your drink, mix raw coconut palm sugar or spices into your salt before rimming your glass. We’ve even ground up dehydrated jalapeno peppers and citrus peels and mixed them with salt to add a layer of complexity to the salt.   

Our two favorites are:
  • Sweet: Salt, palm sugar and cinnamon
  • Spicy: Salt, chili powder and paprika

If you like to heat things up

If you enjoy some heat in your drink, you can muddle a couple of fresh jalapeño slices at the bottom of your margarita glass (prior to adding the mixture). This will add a nice spicy touch without dominating the overall flavor of your drink.

What kind of shaker should I use?

When making margaritas, it’s recommended to use a cocktail shaker. This helps to mix the ingredients thoroughly and create a consistent flavor throughout the drink. A stainless steel shaker is a great option for durability and easy cleaning.

Our go-to shaker:

We have more margarita variations here, too!

Did you make this recipe?

If you make this Classic Margarita Recipe, we would love to hear how it turned out! Leave a comment below sharing what your friends and family thought of it. We love hearing from you and your ideas inspire us all! Don’t forget to tag @fullforlifegal on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! 🌟

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Classic Margarita Recipe

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  • Author: Kalie
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x


Looking for a classic homemade margarita recipe that uses simple ingredients? You’re in luck! With this recipe, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious margarita without all the added calories, chemicals and preservatives found in most store-bought mixes.


  • 2 fl oz tequila
  • 2 fl oz lime juice
  • 1/3 cup orange juice OR 1 fl oz orange liqueur
  • 1 cup ice cubes (or more — see instructions)


To rim the glass: (optional)


To salt the rim of your glass (optional):

  1. Pour a layer of kosher or Himalayan salt on a plate that’s slightly bigger than the diameter of your glass. Slice off a small piece of lime and then cut a notch in the slice. Run the notch around half the rim of the glass until it’s wet. Turn the glass over and dip the wet rim into the salt at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt.


  1. Place a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, lime juice and OJ or orange liqueur to the cocktail shaker. Put the lid on and shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ½ cup ice to each glass. Strain the liquid into your glass, garnish with a slice of lime and enjoy!


Orange liqueur: If you’re planning to use orange liqueur, we suggest using Cointreau.

Salted rim: If you prefer salt around the entire rim of your glass, run the lime slice around the entire rim of the margarita glass and roll it in the salt. We prefer half the glass to control how much salt we taste with each sip. 

For a sweeter margarita: Add 1 teaspoon of agave nectar. 

Lime juice: A lime typically contains about 1 to 2 ounces of juice, depending on its size and ripeness.

  • Prep Time: 2 minutes

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