This chelada recipe is super refreshing and delicious: fresh lime juice with Mexican beer over ice, all in a salt-rimmed glass. Easy to make and incredibly tasty, this is my go-to when in Mexico!
What Makes Chelada So Good
- It’s unbelievably delicious. Seriously. My husband & I go to Mexico a lot, and “vaso de chelada” is high on my list of phrases-I-use-most because I just can’t get enough of them. It’s the only thing I’ll drink on the beach when the sun is out, and I dreamed of them during my pregnancies. I mean, salt cravings + unquenchable thirst + “off limits”? Talk about wanting what you can’t have.
- It’s so easy to make. Even though it’s a cocktail, there’s no infused syrups, no muddling a bunch of different herbs and fruits, not even a need for a cocktail shaker.
- It’s super budget-friendly, and the ingredients are easy to find. All you really need are fresh limes, ice, a little salt, and a few beers.
- Cheladas are a great option if you want something to go with Mexican food but you’re not big on drinks like margaritas. They’re perfect alongside so many different recipes! Serve them next to carne asada fries, shredded chicken tacos, carnitas nachos, or Mexican stuffed peppers.
Key Ingredients for Chelada
Beer – The key to a good chelada is using the right beer. You want something that’s light and crisp, with a refreshing flavor – not anything heavy or overpowering. Dos Equis is my go-to for stateside cheladas, but you could use Modelo or Tecate or anything along those lines. Also, your beer needs to be as cold as possible!
Lime Juice – I really can’t recommend enough that you use fresh lime juice, not bottled. What’s really great is you can adjust the amount of lime juice in your chelada to preference. I can’t get enough of that lime flavor, but my husband prefers his chelada a little lighter – so I use the juice from two limes, and he sticks to just one.
- For a spicy take on a chelada, try a michelada. It’s similar, but most variations take the beer + lime juice combination a little further, adding ingredients like Clamato juice, Worcestershire, soy sauce, and hot sauce.
- You can skip the ice cubes if you want by putting your empty glass in the freezer at least 30 minutes before making your drink. The frosted glass will keep your chelada nice and cool without watering down your cocktail.
- To salt or not to salt? The salted rim is totally optional, so you can skip it if you prefer, but I think it adds a lot to the drink. Tajin is a great alternative if you want to add a little heat and lime flavor with your salt.
More Cocktail Recipes You Need to Try
- 15 Batch Cocktails
- 3-Ingredient Watermelon Margarita Recipe
- Strawberry Mojito
- Peach White Wine Sangria
- Paleo Sangria (Spanish Style)
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Chelada (Mexican Beer Cocktail with Lime)
- Flat bowl or small plate (2)
- Drinking glass
- juice of 1 large lime see Notes
- salt or Tajin for rim of glass
- 1 12-ounce bottle Mexican beer Dos Equis lager, etc.
- 1-2 handfuls ice
- lime wedges optional, for garnish
- Pour lime juice in flat, flat bowl or plate that's slightly wider than rim of glass. Pour salt or Tajin in another flat bowl or plate of same size.
- Dip rim of glass into lime juice, then immediately dip into salt or Tajin. Gently tap sides of glass to shake off any excess.
- Fill glass halfway with ice. Pour lime juice from bowl over ice, then pour beer to top of glass. Tilt glass as you pour to control foam.
- Serve and enjoy.
- I like my cheladas heavy on the lime juice, but O prefers them lighter. I use 2 limes; he uses 1. Use as much or as little as you like!
- You won’t use the entire bottle of beer for your first chelada, so hang on to it and top off your glass as needed.
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.