Spicy Margarita Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
Give the classic margarita a kick of heat with this spicy margarita recipe. All the usual suspects are here, including tequila, lime and Triple Sec. But throw in a bit of jalapeno and you'll be cooking with some spice!

Updated: May 14, 2024

Each sip of this margarita is both refreshing and spicy at the same time. It’s the most delicious cycle of heat and relief, which keeps you coming back for more!

I’ve been making spicy margaritas for years, using all kinds of chiles and many different methods. I’ve used hot honey, jalapeno simple syrups and muddled serranos, just to name a few variations. Don’t even get me started on all the salted rim options.

This is the go-to spicy margarita recipe that I’ve been honing over the years. Start by mixing one up, then play around and create your own perfect recipe.

Spicy Margarita Ingredients

overhead shot of spicy margarita ingredientsTMB Studio

  • Silver tequila: Use a tequila you like, but not one that’s overly expensive. (You’ll be mixing it with bold ingredients, which will cover up the nuanced flavors of a sipping tequila.) Still not sure what to buy? The best tequilas for margaritas are always labeled 100% de agave or puro de agave.
  • Lime juice: To make a restaurant-worthy cocktail at home, you’ve gotta use fresh citrus juice. Grab a couple of limes and juice them yourself. I promise, it makes a difference!
  • Triple Sec: There are a lot of Triple Sec options out there, so use what you like or what you have on hand. I prefer Cointreau, but any orange liqueur will work. (Gran Gala is a good option, and it’s cheaper than Cointreau.)
  • Agave syrup: Just a dash of agave is all that’s needed to balance out the flavors here. The orange liqueur will add a good amount of sweetness, so you don’t need much. Use a light agave syrup; you can find it near the maple syrup or honey in most grocery stores.
  • Jalapeno: This pepper is the star of the show! You need just one jalapeno to make a handful of margaritas (allow for a thin slice or two per margarita). If you like things really spicy, try a serrano pepper instead.


Step 1: Rim the glass

overhead shot of glass rim dipped in saltTMB Studio

Before you begin making the cocktail, it’s important to prepare the serving glass. This way, when you’re done shaking up the cocktail, you can pour it right away. Otherwise the cocktail will dilute in the shaker while you prep the glass.

To prep a margarita glass, cut a lime into wedges, then take one wedge and cut a small slit crosswise in the flesh. Place the wedge on the rim of a rocks glass and run it all the way around the rim. Dip the moistened rim in kosher salt. Fill the prepared margarita glass with ice and set it aside.

Editor’s Tip: Tajin—a slightly spicy and tart Mexican seasoning blend—is a great alternative to salt for rimming a cocktail glass. Instead of running a lime wedge around the rim of a glass, brush the sides or the rim of the glass with a bit of agave syrup then roll or dip it in Tajin. It also adds a nice pop of color to the cocktail!

Step 2: Muddle the jalapeno

close shot of muddling jalapeno pepper slices in a cocktail shakerTMB Studio

Add two slices of jalapeno to an empty cocktail shaker and muddle them. The goal is to release the spicy oils from the jalapeno, so you don’t need to mash it into oblivion. You should smell the spice!

Editor’s Tip: For a true spicy margarita, keep the ribs and seeds of the jalapeno intact. For a margarita that has the flavor of jalapeno with less kick, remove the ribs and seeds.

Step 3: Shake the margarita

overhead shot of ice cubes in cocktail shakerTMB Studio

Add the tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and agave syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Cover and shake the cocktail vigorously until frost forms on the outside of the shaker, about 15 to 20 seconds.

Step 4: Strain and garnish the margarita

wide shot of glass of spicy margarita garnished with jalapeno slicesTMB Studio

Strain the margarita into the prepared glass and garnish it with a few jalapeno slices.

Spicy Margarita Variations

There are loads of ways to make flavored margaritas! Once you’ve mastered the basics of margarita making, play around with some of these ideas:

  • Charred spicy margaritas: Char the jalapeno and lime halves on a grill before making the cocktail. This is a great summer variation.
  • Smoky and spicy margaritas: Swap some of the tequila for mezcal to create a margarita that’s both spicy and a bit smoky.
  • Spicy pineapple margarita: Instead of orange liqueur, use 1 ounce of pineapple juice. It will be slightly sweeter, but still nice and fruity.
  • Hot honey margarita: Skip the jalapeno and agave syrup, and use hot honey instead. Shake the cocktail without ice first, to combine all the ingredients. Then add ice and shake again to chill it.

Can you make spicy margaritas ahead of time?

You can definitely make this spicy margarita recipe ahead of time (I love a great margarita pitcher recipe). There are two ways you can go about this.

The first way is to simply add all of the ingredients to a pitcher (without ice), then cover and chill it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve drinks. Prepare your glasses with salt rims and ice, then pour and serve your spicy margaritas.

Alternatively, you can muddle the jalapeno in a large pitcher before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will result in a spicier margarita. Store it, covered, in the fridge until you’re ready to serve, then prepare your glasses and pour.

Keep in mind, the longer the margarita sits in the fridge with the jalapenos (the further in advance you prepare it) the spicier it will be.

Spicy Margarita Tips

wide shot of glass of spicy margarita garnished with jalapenoTMB Studio

What goes on the rim of a spicy margarita?

Kosher salt or Tajin are the two common rims for a spicy margarita. But don’t let that stop you from trying something different!

Can I use different citrus juices?

Absolutely! Feel free to add grapefruit juice, lemon juice or orange juice to your spicy margarita. If you can find yuzu juice at your local Asian market, that will be delicious too.

Spicy Margarita

Prep Time 5 min
Yield 1 serving.


  • Optional: Lime wedge and kosher salt or Tajin seasoning
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 jalapeno pepper slices
  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar or simple syrup


  1. If desired, moisten rim of 1 cocktail glass with lime wedge and sprinkle salt on a plate; dip rim in salt. Fill glass with ice.
  2. In an empty cocktail shaker, muddle jalapeno slices. Add tequila, lime juice, triple sec and agave nectar. Fill with ice; cover and shake until frost forms on the outside of the shaker, 15-20 seconds. Strain into prepared glass. If desired, garnish with additional jalapeno slices.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 249 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (23g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

Add a pinch of heat to your favorite tequila cocktail with this spicy margarita. Muddled jalapeno and a rim of tajin add the spice, while the lime juice and simple syrup keep the refreshing, citrusy flavor. —Lauren Grant, Minneapolis, Minnesota