Cheers! Enjoy a refreshing Mexican Chelada loaded with crisp light Mexican beer, fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of salt. This Mexican Beer Cocktail, often confused with a Michelada, will take you to a South of the Border paradise in only 2 minutes.

With a salted rim and lime wedge garnish, this Chelada recipe offer a harmonious balance of flavors using only 3 ingredients!

More Mexican Drinks to serve at your next Mexican Fiesta: Cantaritos, Mexican MuleMexican Candy Shot and Corona Sunrise.

Chelada recipe with a lime wedge garnish.

Chelada vs Michelada

The Michelada and Chelada are authentic Mexican drinks, both variations of beer cocktails. These beverages incorporate the simplicity of beer with the complexity of additional flavors, offering a refreshing treat for any beer lover.

Chelada – a Chelada is a simpler version, consisting only of beer, lime, and a salted rim. As it’s free of hot sauce, it’s a non-spicy drink.

Michelada – the Michelada includes beer, lime, a salted rim, and a mixture of different sauces and spices to add a kick flavor and spice it up. The most common additions are tomato juice, hot sauces, Worcestershire sauce, or even Clamato.

Here’s what a Michelada looks like – notice the darker red color from the hot sauce?

Michelada Recipe

Authentic Chelada Recipe

As with most recipes from Mexico, there are variations from region to region. So, while there is no set authentic “chelada recipe” anything comprised of beer and lime and salt fits the bill!

What Is A Chelada

A Chelada is a type of cerveza preparada which translates to “prepared beer” in Spanish. It’s a simple, yet enjoyable beer cocktail with only 3 ingredients:

  • Light Mexican Beer
  • Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • Salt

Corona beer next to lime wedges.

Best Mexican Beer

Use what you have on hand, or grab your favorite brand. Our favorite Mexican beer brands to use: Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, Sol, or Tecate.

There’s a Modelo Chelada and Bud Light Chelada but they don’t taste as good and why buy it when it’s so easy to make yourself?

Rimming Salt

The salted rim is what helps add balance to the drink, so don’t skip it (unless you just want to sprinkle salt directly into the glass). There are a few rimming salt options we like using:

Kosher Salt – the thicker salt granules stick better to the glass.

Chamoy Sauce A chamoy rim adds flavor and saltiness.

Tajín Using Tajín, a chili-salt based spice, is a classic. It’s used for many Mexican cocktails, the chelada being one of them. If you’re not familiar with tajín, read up about it here.

Upside down glass being dipped in chili salt.

How To Make

To make, just add the rimming salt, a dash of salt and lime juice to the glass and top off with your Mexican Cerveza! That’s all there is to it.

To Ice Or Not To Ice

Traditionalists do not add ice to the beverage. The beer should be cold enough to not need it. It does, however get ridiculously hot outside these days so a little ice never hurt anyone.

Adding ice can dilute the drink, so if you’re inclined make some beer ice (ice made with beer) so it won’t get watered down. That does take some pre-planning, however.

Bud light chelada in a tall glass.

Garnishes

To mix things up, or even elevate the drink, add some garnishes! Below are some garnishes ideas you might consider adding when preparing a Chelada.

As with a Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria or Bloody Caesar these garnishes can be mixed and matched according to personal preference.

Lime Wedges –  The classic garnish for a Chelada.

Pickled Vegetables – pickled peppers, pickled peaches, and pickled cucumbers can add a tangy, vinegary element to the drink.

Celery Stalk –  The freshness and crunch of celery make it a great garnish. It can also be used as a stir stick.

Fresh Cilantro –  Adds a fresh, herbaceous note to the drink.

Cucumber Slices –  Fresh cucumber can add a cooling element.

Olives –  Olives provide a briny flavor that complements the beer and lime juice.

Shrimp –  Often used in a Michelada, shrimp is a common garnish, especially in coastal regions where seafood is plentiful.

Recipe Tips

To ensure you get the best out of our Chelada recipe, follow these simple yet effective tips:

  • Always use fresh lime juice. Bottle juice isn’t as refreshing and does have an “off” taste.
  • Select a light Mexican lager to keep authenticity to the drink.
  • Chill the beer and lime juice prior to using to ensure an icy cold beverage.
  • Slowly pour the beer in the glass as the salt has a tendency to fizz up the beer.
  • Don’t want to dirty a glass? Just add the lime juice and salt directly to the bottle.

Beer being poured into a drinking glass.

When To Serve

This chilled summer drink is the perfect party drink, due to it’s ease of making and limited ingredients.

  • Mexican Fiesta
  • Birthday Party
  • Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
  • Sunday Funday brunch
  • Graduation Party
  • Hot Summer Day!

Food Pairings

A Chelada pairs wonderfully with spicy dishes and Mexican recipes. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to pair it with:

Taco RecipesStreet Tacos, Tacos al Carbon and Carne Asada Tacos are amazing.

Carne Asada Recipes (Carne Asada Fries, nachos and more)

Chicken RecipesAchiote Chicken, Pollo Asado and Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs.

Top down shot of chelada with lime slices.

The Perfect Chelada Recipe

Cheers! Enjoy a refreshing Mexican Chelada loaded with crisp light Mexican beer, fresh lime juice and a sprinkle or two of salt. This Mexican Beer Cocktail, often confused with a Michelada, will take you to a South of the Border paradise in only 2 minutes. 
5 from 30 votes
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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1 Drink
Calories: 186kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • coarse rimming salt or Tajín ((*Note 1))
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges ((*Note 2))
  • 1 dash table salt
  • 12 oz light Mexican beer ((*Note 3))

Instructions

  • Add kosher salt or Tajín to a wide, shallow plate. Rub the rim of the drinking glass with a lime wedge. Dip the top of the glass into the salt to create a salt-rimmed glass.
    Hand demonstrating how to rim a Michelada cup.
  • Fill the glass with a pinch of salt and 2-3 tbsp of fresh lime juice.
  • Slowly top off the glass with the beer. Gently stir to combine to keep the carbonation in tact.
  • Taste and add extra lime juice and/or salt, to taste. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

Note 1 - If you prefer to omit the salted rim, add an extra pinch of salt to the glass.
Note 2 - Fresh lime juice is far superior to bottled lime juice. 
Note 3 - Our favorite Mexican beer brands to use: Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, Sol, or Tecate.

Nutrition

Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @foodieandwine or tag #foodieandwine!

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