Prickly Pear Margarita



We’ve all heard about Strawberry Margaritas, but how about a Prickly Pear Margarita? Len and I were recently hiking in near-by Rice Canyon in Chula Vista, California, one of the many canyons in the San Diego area known for its natural cactus and chapparal  vegetation. I used to hike in this canyon when I was a child and past images came to my mind – branches of cholla cactus sticking to my hand as I brushed past – my friend’s mother donning garden gloves and pliers to remove the prickles from my hand.

That day as we walked in the canyon, the fruits from the Prickly Pear Cactus were out in abundance, their red color contrasting with the green spiky paddles of the plant. Len said that people have been eating this cactus fruit for many centuries and was a major source of food and medicine for Native Americans. I felt a major ‘What Tha!’ coming on and started to ponder what I could make with this fruit. It came to me suddenly – what about a Prickly Pear Margarita!

Prickly Pear fruit (called tuna in Spanish) has a subdued flavour with a cross between a watermelon and a plum. However, when puréed and added to a Margarita, it can turn an ordinary cocktail into something extraordinary!

Prickly Pear Cactus in Rice Canyon IMG_6124 You’ll need Garden Gloves and Pliers to harvest the fruit IMG_6129 You have to be very careful in picking the Prickly Pear fruit- the prickles are almost invisible and are rather difficult to remove if lodged in your skin. For my Margarita, I decided to buy the Prickly Pears from a local Mexican supermarket, where the prickles had already been removed.

To prepare the Prickly Pear:

IMG_6134  First, cut the fruit in half length-wise: IMG_6136   Next, scoop out the seeds: IMG_6143    Cut around the inner fruit to separate it from the outer skin: IMG_6144  And here is the delicious pulp from the Prickly Pear!


 To Prepare the Prickly Pear Purée:

  • First, prepare a syrup with a 1:2 ratio- I brought 1/4 cup water to a boil, then added 1/2 cup sugar and stirred for several minutes.
  • Reduce the heat; then add 3/4 Prickly Pear fruit and stir until the fruit mixture becomes soft.


  • Purée the mixture in a blender, ready to be added to your fantastic Prickly Pear Margarita!



5.0 from 3 reviews
Prickly Pear Margarita
Cuisine: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
A Margarita cocktail flavored with a delicious Prickly Pear purée
  • 4 ounces Tequila
  • 2 ounces Triple Sec (Cointreau)
  • 2 ounces Lime Juice
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • 2 - 4 tsp Prickly Pear Purée
  1. Add the Tequila, Triple Sec (Cointreau), lime juice and crushed ice into a blender and pulse until blended.
  2. Stir in 2 - 4 tsp Prickly Pear purée to taste.


20 thoughts on “Prickly Pear Margarita

    • Interesting- I just read that Prickly Pear cactus was introduced into Australia in the 1800’s to produce red dye, and it became a huge pest that destroyed millions of acres of farmland. A caterpillar moth was finally introduced that helped to eradicate the Prickly Pear- but there are still some left in Australia!
      Fran recently posted…Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

    • Thanks, Juliana. Yesterday, I saw another batch of Prickly Pear cactus with fruit, while on walk. I was tempted to pick some, but decided it is so much easier to buy them at the Mexican store, where the prickles have already been removed!
      Fran recently posted…Prickly Pear MargaritaMy Profile

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