Cooking with Tequila: From Plant to Plate: A Splash of Tequila

One of the first recipes many bar-goers learn in college is a simple three-ingredient combination: salt, tequila, lime. It may not exactly count as cooking, but it’s how many of us learn for the first time that tequila is the perfect foil for ingredients that are tart and savory.


Cooking with Tequila Tips:

Made from Mexico’s blue agave plant, most tequila begins its life in the highlands and lowlands of Jalisco, sucking up nutrients from the soil rich with volcanic ash. Agave is still harvested by hand, with the jimadores examining each plant’s offspring carefully to decide if its sugar content is at the peak of perfection.

 The care given to the agave harvest is similar to the care a chef takes in preparing a fine meal, so it should be no surprise that tequila works in cooking as well as fine wines, imparting sweetness, an herbaceous flavor, and (of course) a mighty fine kick to any dish.


 Choose a tequila with 100% agave for the best flavor when cooking. A good rule of thumb is the same as the one used when cooking with wine: if you wouldn’t drink it straight, don’t cook with it. A few ounces of tequila go a long way toward flavoring a dish, so if you don’t want to use the same alcohol you’re saving for margaritas, pick up an airplane-sized bottle or two for cooking.

 One of the highlights of cooking with tequila is that you don’t even need a recipe. Adventurous chefs can add a shot or a drizzle to any of these foods to add flavor and interest:

  • Fresh fruit or fruit salads
  • Marinades for seafood or poultry
  • Gazpacho
  • BBQ sauce
  • Vinaigrettes or salad dressings
  • Salsa


Feel more comfortable with a tried-and-true recipe? You’re in luck. Try these tequila-laced recipes to give a kick to your tailgating festivities.

Tequila and Citrus-Marinated Chicken on the Grill


Mix up a batch of this tangy marinade the night before an event to let your chicken soak up the flavors.

Tequila-Caramelized Pineapple


Use as a topping for ham, chicken or seafood, or serve on its own as a refreshing dessert.

Grilled Caramelized Pineapple is a wonderful way to enjoy this fruit.

Spicy Sriracha Tequila Wings


Fiery sriracha is often called “rooster sauce,” because of the label on the most commonly-found brand. Find it in the Asian section of most groceries, or use your own favorite brand of chili sauce.

Try this tasty Tequila wings recipe when having a party.






One Response to Cooking with Tequila: From Plant to Plate: A Splash of Tequila

  1. Ann August 12, 2015 at 5:18 am #

    As my husband worked in an Italian restaurant in high school, he knows all sorts of recipes that call for wine, beer, or tequila. And if done correctly, they are absolutely delicious! (But tell your young kids NOT to go to school and say “I had beer with my dinner last night”…..that was a fun meeting.)

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