Recipe: 3-2-1 Pitcher Margaritas

updated Jan 29, 2020

Easy pitcher margaritas that serve a crowd, made with just tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

Serves8 to 10

Prep10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
Post Image
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Pitcher cocktails are smart party choices; they easily serve a crowd and don’t require you to be constantly shaking and stirring. These pitcher margaritas are even wiser than the rest, seeing as this recipe isn’t even a recipe — it’s a ratio. Commit it to memory and you’ll have an easy, crowd-pleasing cocktail to stir up whenever friends drop by, which will probably be more often once they get wind of it. After all, few can resist the tangy, refreshing taste of a homemade margarita.

The Simplest Ratio for the Best Margaritas

A great margarita isn’t complicated, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you have tequila, orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Triple Sec), and plenty of limes on hand, you have everything you need. Just follow a ratio of three parts tequila, two parts orange liqueur, and one part lime juice. Yes, that makes for a strong sip, but because margaritas are usually shaken, the ice mellows out the boozy bite as it melts. Since it’s a little impractical to shake a whole pitcher of margaritas, you’ll stir the ice directly into the pitcher, then let it sit for five minutes before serving so some of the ice starts to melt.

I like the tartness of these three-ingredient margaritas, but if you prefer a sweeter drink, make a simple syrup and stir in a few spoonfuls to taste.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

3-2-1 Pitcher Margaritas

Easy pitcher margaritas that serve a crowd, made with just tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

Prep time 10 minutes

Serves8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 3 cups

    blanco tequila

  • 2 cups

    orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Triple Sec

  • 1 cup

    freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 8 limes)

  • Ice

  • 3

    medium limes, thinly sliced


  1. Place the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and ice in a large pitcher, and stir to combine. Top with the lime slices. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow for some of the ice to melt and mellow the margaritas.

  2. Pour into glasses, adding more ice from the pitcher to each glass as needed. Scoop a couple of lime slices into each glass when serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pitcher can be made, without the ice and sliced limes, up to 1 day ahead. Cover and store in the refrigerator and add the ice and limes before serving.

Changing the tart or sweet levels: If you prefer sweeter margaritas, you can add a bit of simple syrup to taste. Or, if your prefer more tart margaritas, you can add more lime juice.