Easy 3 Ingredient Margarita Recipe (A Classic Margarita)

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. SEE THE PRIVACY POLICY LINKED IN MY FOOTER.

Make this easy 3 ingredient margarita recipe next time you want the perfect refreshing cocktail! With just three simple ingredients and a 2-1-1 ratio, you’ll be sipping on a tangy tequila drink that will is sure to be your new fave. This foolproof classic margarita recipe will make you the hit of happy hour.

A classic margarita with 3 ingredients in a margarita glass.
Let’s make this easy 3 ingredient margarita recipe.

Why This is the Best Margarita Recipe

This easy margarita recipe is our favorite cocktail and what we base all of our margaritas on. Our 3 ingredient margarita recipe is a tried and true classic that captures the essence of our beloved cocktail.

By sticking to the 2-1-1 ratio of tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur, you’ll achieve the perfect balance between sweet, sour, and boozy goodness.

This simple recipe gives you a great margarita every single time. Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, an orange liqueur (Triple Sec, Cointreau and Grand Marnier all work) and salted rim, give you the best margaritas in minutes. 

Related: Best Tools for Making Margaritas

Making homemade margaritas is so easy. All you need are a few essential tools: a cocktail shaker (or a mason jar if you don’t have a shaker), a jigger for accurate measurements, and a citrus juicer. 

Pair this refreshing classic cocktail with spicy dishes, citrusy seafood and grilled meats for your next gathering. Serve margaritas any time you want a delicious tequila cocktail. 

Serve this classic margarita at any party or when hosting a Cinco de Mayo gathering (use these fun Cinco de Mayo printable decorations!)

Ingredients

Ingredients to make a classic 3 ingredient margarita recipe on a counter.
What you need to make a classic margarita.
  • tequila (100% agave for the best quality and flavor)
  • freshly squeezed lime juice (about one large lime)
  • orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec or Cointreau)
  • Ice (crushed or cubed)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish and the salt rim)
  • Kosher salt, fine sea salt or margarita salt (for rimming the glass)

The best tequila for a great margarita is one you already have. We prefer blanco tequila (sometimes called silver tequila) but you can also use reposado tequila which adds a little bit more tequila flavor and stands up well when using additional flavors.

We used Don Julio tequila. It gave the margarita a classic flavor that was tequila-forward without being overbearing.

For the proper margarita flavor I think you MUST use fresh lime juice. But in a pinch, you can use bottled lime juice from the grocery store. But try to use fresh whenever possible, it’s the best part of the drink!

A sweet orange liqueur helps to balance the flavor of a traditional margarita. It has a slight orange flavor and is sweet. If you are trying to make the drink a little bit healthier you may want to skip this and use orange juice instead. But if you are looking for a simple margarita recipe, make it with the orange liqueur. 

Triple Sec and Cointreau are great options. Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur with cognac added making it delicious but a little heavier than other options. It’s typically not used in a classic margarita recipe.

Be sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card for the complete recipe.

How to Make a 2-1-1 Margarita

The 2-1-1 ratio is the best recipe to make a classic margarita. It means you use 2 parts of tequila and 1 part each of lime juice and orange liqueur. Not only does this keep it balanced and delicious, but it means you can easily remember the recipe and make these fast any time and any where.

Rim the margarita glass

Woman adding salt to the rim of a margarita glass.

To add salt to the rim of the glass, take a lime wedge and run it around the rim of your glass. Dip the rim in salt to create a tangy and salty contrast to the drink’s flavors.

For more detailed instruction plus troubleshooting, visit our other post: How to Properly Salt a Margarita Glass.

Woman measuring tequila in a jigger before putting it a cocktail shaker.

Step 1

Fill your cocktail shaker with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur.

Woman holding a cocktail shaker.

Step 2

Add the ice cubes. Put on the lid or other piece of the Boston shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds, allowing the ingredients to meld together and chill.

Woman straining a 3-1-1 margarita into a margarita glass.

Step 3

Using a Hawthorne strainer or built-in strainer from the cocktail shaker, pour the margarita into your salt-rimmed margarita glass filled with ice. (We added the ice after for some reason, but you should do it before). 

Woman adding a lime wheel to the side of a salt rimmed margarita glass.

Garnish with a wedge of lime to add a touch of freshness and visual appeal.

Serve your classic lime margarita immediately.

IMPORTANT: We didn’t serve this recipe over ice for some reason but that is how we prefer to drink them. Without the ice, the glass was only half full. We suggest serving all margaritas on the rocks!

Tips

  • Use fresh lime juice for the best vibrant taste.
  • Adjust the sweetness by adding a dash of simple syrup or agave nectar if you need it. Limes can sometimes be really tart.
  • Experiment with different tequila varieties to find your favorite flavor profile. Aged tequila (like reposado or anejo) will give you a little bit of a different flavor.
  • This recipe makes a classic margarita on the rocks. If you prefer a frozen margarita, put all the ingredients and ice in a blender and mix until smooth and slushy.
  • Using the 2-1-1 ratio makes it super simple to take this basic recipe and scale up for a crowd. Just adjust the amounts, keeping in the 2-1-1 ratio to easily make a pitcher of margaritas. For example, use 2 cups of tequila, 1 cup of lime juice and 1 cup of orange liqueur to make a pitcher.

Variations to Try


  • Fruit-infused Margarita: Add a splash of orange juice or another fruit juice (such as mango, strawberry, or pineapple) to the mix for a delightful twist.
  • Spicy Margarita: Infuse your margarita with a subtle kick by muddling jalapeño or serrano slices or adding a dash of hot sauce.
  • Mezcal Margarita: Swap out the tequila for mezcal to introduce a smoky and earthy note to your drink.
  • Flavored Rim: Rim your margarita glass with something other than salt. Try Tajin or flavored salt to give each sip a twist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bottled lime juice instead of fresh?

While fresh lime juice is highly recommended for the best flavor, bottled lime juice can be used in a pinch. Consider this an emergency situation like you have guests coming over and can’t get to the store for fresh limes. Fresh is SO much better. 

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the classic margarita?

Absolutely! Simply replace the tequila with a non-alcoholic alternative, or lemon-lime soda or a mix of lime juice and sparkling water.

Can I substitute the orange liqueur?

Yes! If you’re looking for a different twist, try using flavored liqueurs like elderflower liqueur or raspberry liqueur. This will add the sweetness and also another layer of flavor. 

What is the best tequila for a margarita?

We always suggest using a good-quality tequila but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Use your favorite tequila and you’ll always enjoy the flavor. Suzy thinks all tequila makes a tasty drink. I like El Tesoro and Cazadores if you aren’t sure what to get. 

Now that you have the ultimate classic 3 ingredient margarita recipe up your sleeve, it’s time to gather your friends, shake up some cocktails, and raise a glass to good times and great company.

Save and Pin this recipe for later!

Make sure you don’t lose this recipe by saving it for later! For more recipes make sure you’re following us on PinterestInstagram and like my page on Facebook. If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a star rating and tag us in your pictures!

A margarita glass holding a classic margarita recipe with a flower.

Classic 3-Ingredient Margarita

This delicious classic margarita recipe needs only 3-ingredients in a 2-1-1 ratio. It's our perfect, go-to margarita on the rocks recipe that we make all the time.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 227 kcal

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add salt to the rim the glass: Take a lime wedge and run it around the rim of your glass. Dip the wet rim in salt to create a tangy and salty contrast to the drink's flavors.
  • Fill your cocktail shaker with tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur.
  • Add the ice cubes. Put on the lid or other piece of the Boston shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds, allowing the ingredients to meld together and chill.
  • Using a hawthorne strainer or built-in strainer from the cocktail shaker, pour the margarita into your salt-rimmed margarita glass filled with ice. 
  • Garnish with a lime wedge or wheel.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Detailed instructions: How to rim a margarita glass.
    • Use fresh lime juice for the best vibrant taste.
    • Adjust the sweetness by adding a dash of simple syrup or agave nectar if you need it. Limes can sometimes be really tart.
    • Experiment with different tequila varieties to find your favorite flavor profile. Aged tequila (like reposado or anejo) will give you a little bit of a different flavor.
    • This recipe makes a classic margarita on the rocks. If you prefer a frozen margarita, put all the ingredients and ice in a blender and mix until smooth and slushy.
    • Using the 2-1-1 ratio makes it super simple to take this basic recipe and scale up for a crowd. Just adjust the amounts, keeping in the 2-1-1 ratio to easily make a pitcher of margaritas. For example, use 2 cups of tequila, 1 cup of lime juice and 1 cup of orange liqueur to make a pitcher.

Nutrition

Serving: 1drinkCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 6980mgPotassium: 40mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 14IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword classic margarita, margarita, tequila cocktail
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Share this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating