Chelada

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All over Mexico, the natives prefer the pure taste of cold beer, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt. This easy Chelada recipe is refreshing and uncomplicated, the perfect way to end your day or celebrate with friends and family.

A Chelada next to a beer bottle and a small bowl of limes.


 

While Cheladas are the ideal drink for a hot summer day, they are enjoyed year-round in Mexico. Anytime you see a lime wedge squeezed into a bottle of beer, someone is channeling the spirit of an ice-cold Chelada.

True Mexican beer (not the version imported to the United States) is strong and perhaps a bit sour, and the limes (possibly picked off a tree a moment prior) are sweet in Mexico, cutting through the sour flavor. And the sprinkling of salt is the perfect antidote to the sweetness of the lime.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for a Chelada.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Salt rim:  Carefully pour the beer in without making contact with the salt rim inside the glass, or the beer will foam excessively. You can also substitute Margarita salt (or any coarse salt), Old Bay, or Tajin chili powder.
  • Mexican beer: Corona, Dos Equis, Sol, and Modelo beer are all great options (or substitute the light beer of your choice).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a shallow dish as wide as your serving glass, add kosher salt to 1/4-inch deep. Run a lime wedge around the top of a pint glass, then dip the top of the glass upside-down into the salt and turn to coat the rim of your glass.
A pint glasss getting a salt rim.
  1. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and lime juice to glass. (I like 2 tablespoons) Swirl to combine.
Someone holding a pint glass with lime juice in it.
  1. Carefully top lime mixture with beer, pouring slowly at an angle. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Someone pouring a beer into a salt rimmed pint glass.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes one Chelada cocktail.
  • Glassware: Cheladas are traditionally made in a tall glass such as a highball or pint glass. Glass mason jars or mugs work, too.
  • Chelada vs. Michelada: this classic Mexican beer cocktail is made with Mexican beer, lime, and salt, while a Michelada cocktail is made with Clamato juice, Mexican beer, hot sauce, and spices. 
A chelada next to a plate of salt and a bowl of limes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Chelada and a Michelada?

While both drinks feature Mexican beer, the Michelada recipe has Clamato or tomato juice and a lot of spices, similar to a Bloody Mary.

More Mexican cocktails

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A Chelada next to a beer bottle and a small bowl of limes.

Chelada

All over Mexico, the natives prefer the pure taste of cold beer, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt. This easy Chelada recipe is refreshing and uncomplicated, the perfect way to end your or celebrate with friends and family.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cocktail
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 112
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients 

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt plus more for rimming the glass (see note 1)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus more, to taste
  • 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle light Mexican beer such as Corona or Dos Equis (see note 2)
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a shallow dish as wide as your serving glass, add salt to 1/4-inch deep. Run a lime wedge around the top of a pint glass, then dip the top of the glass upside-down into the salt and turn to coat.
  • Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and lime juice to glass. (I like 2 tablespoons) Swirl to combine. Carefully top lime mixture with beer, pouring slowly at an angle. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Notes

  1. Salt rim:  Carefully pour the beer in without making contact with the salt rim inside the glass, or the beer will foam excessively. You can also substitute Margarita salt (or any coarse salt), Old Bay, or Tajin chili powder.
  2. Mexican lager: Corona, Dos Equis, Modelo are all great options (or substitute the light beer of your choice).
  3. Yield: This recipe makes one Chelada cocktail.
  4. Glassware: Cheladas are traditionally made in a tall glass such as a highball or pint glass. Glass mason jars or mugs work, too.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 cocktailCalories: 112kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 306mgPotassium: 111mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 0.2mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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