My love for a margarita knows no bounds — I love a very classic fresh lime juice and tequila over the rocks margarita just as much as I love the sweet pitchers that our favorite Tex-Mex restaurant serves up. Frothy blended margaritas have a distinct appeal on a warm patio in the middle of summer — icy cold with a strong flavor that melts into a refreshingly mellow drink that keeps you from drinking too much.
On a mission to recreate what I love about a blended margarita without using sour mix or a can of limeade concentrate, I discovered an ice cube tray was the secret ingredient to making a blender margarita taste just as good as a fresh one with all the laid-back ease and hospitality the pitcher varieties offer.
How to Make Your Own Limeade Concentrate
Before we get to the tequila, we need to make a frozen lime-flavored base for blending with the tequila and ice. Inspired by the many blender margaritas made with frozen limeade concentrate, the base for these ultimate blender margarita is a concentrated limeade mixture frozen into ice cube trays. Zest a few limes and an orange, and make a citrus simple syrup to start. Then juice the limes and orange and add that to the cooled simple syrup before freezing.
The ice cube tray makes the cubes easier to blend and have the added benefit of making either a single-serve margarita or limeade readily accessible. It's also the fastest way to freeze the concentrate, which means frozen margaritas can happen even sooner.
What if you want to use purchased limeade concentrate?
You still can! Skip the limes and simple syrup and use one (12-ounce can) of frozen limeade concentrate in place of the lime concentrate cubes. Keep the orange juice, ice, and tequila, and use a sharp knife to cut the block of lime concentrate in half before blending.
The Best Tequila for Blender Margaritas
Ice and sugar will dull and hide the tequila's flavor slightly, so save the reposado for sipping neat and look for a 100% agave silver or blanco tequila instead. Blanco tequilas are clear with a clean taste that let the fresh citrus juices shine through.
Read more: All About Margaritas
What If You Don't Have a Blender?
A food processor is a fine alternative to a blender for these margaritas, but pulse the ice by itself before adding the remaining ingredients to guarantee an even consistency throughout each drink. We also tested using an immersion blender inside a Mason jar — one of our favorite blender alternatives — but the ice cubes didn't blend well, making for a chunky margarita rather than a smooth one.
To salt or not to salt?
A salt-rimmed glass is essential in my opinion, because blender margaritas are extra cold, muting both the lime and tequila's flavors. However, feel free to skip the salt rim and add just a pinch of salt to the blender if you prefer an unsalted glass.
Other Uses for Your Limeade Cubes
Beyond margaritas, these limeade cubes are like a summer secret weapon in your freezer. You can add two cups of water to one concentrate cube for a glass of limeade. Or, add a cube to two ounces of gin with four ounces of soda water for a delightful porch cocktail.
Need just one blender drink?
It's easy to make one frozen margarita at a time. Blend two ounces of tequila, four limeade cubes, and one cup of ice in a blender until slushy.
How To Make The Ultimate Blender Margaritas
What You Need
6 to 7 medium limes
1 medium orange
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
8 ounces 100% agave silver or blanco tequila
4 cups ice (20 ounces), divided
Kosher salt (optional)
Lime wedges, for serving
Citrus reamer or juicer
Ice cube trays
Gallon-sized zip-top bag
Small, rimmed plate
4 margarita glasses
- Zest and juice the citrus: Peel 3 (2-inch) strips of zest from 1 lime with a vegetable peeler. Juice the limes until you have 1 cup of juice. Peel 1 (4-inch) strip of zest from the orange. Juice the orange until you have 1/4 cup of juice.
- Make a citrus simple syrup: Combine the sugar, water, lime zest, and orange zest in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Mix and freeze the limeade concentrate: Stir the reserved lime and orange juices into the simple syrup. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze until solid.
- Salt the glasses: If desired, fill a small, rimmed plate with about 1/4 cup of kosher salt. Cut through the center of 1 lime wedge and run the flesh of the lime wedge around the rim of each margarita glass to moisten. Invert each glass into the salt so that the salt coats the rim.
- Blend the margaritas: Transfer the frozen limeade cubes to a blender. Pour in the tequila. Add 3 cups of the ice and blend to desired consistency, adding the final cup of ice if needed. Pour into the prepared glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.
- Storage: Once frozen, transfer the limeade cubes to a gallon-sized zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.