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A margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in the world. It’s a simple drink made with tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, and a rim of salt. You can order a margarita straight up, on the rocks, or, what we're looking for here, frozen.
You don’t have to visit a bar or restaurant to enjoy one of these tropical cocktails, however. With just a few simple ingredients and a fun countertop machine, you can impress your friends (and yourself) with restaurant-quality frozen margaritas. A margarita machine takes homemade cocktails made with a shaker or blender to the next level, yielding the perfect slush consistency and icy temperature.
"If you love frozen drinks, and you also love to entertain, you need a margarita machine," says Amy Traynor of Moody Mixologist. "Sure, a top-quality blender can make one or two frozen Margaritas or Pina Coladas. But when you want to quickly and easily whip up batch after batch of perfectly smooth drinks, a margarita machine is a game-changer."
Margarita machines are also handy tools for making non-alcoholic frozen drinks like slushies. I personally couldn’t turn down a frozen lemonade in the middle of summer. Whether it's for you or a party, here are the best margarita machines.
Best Overall: Margaritaville Key West Frozen Concoction Maker
What We Love: Extra-large ice reservoir, 4 pre-programmed drink settings, dishwasher-safe parts
What We Don’t Love: Plastic construction, ice may get jammed
Margaritaville offers multiple margarita machines that differ in terms of capacity, features, and price. Their Key West model is a great middle-of-the-road option that checks all the boxes without entering into commercial territory.
"This machine looks ideal for the home user," says Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a professional bartender with more than 25 years of experience and author of "The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique." "It's got a nice big ice reservoir, and I like the pre-programmed drink settings. For those who own a pool, I can imagine having one of these things running next to it all summer long."
Traynor concurs. "This machine provides perfect, uniform texture for frozen drinks of all kinds, and best of all, it’s incredibly easy to use," she says. "Simply add ice and your liquid ingredients, flip a switch, and you’ll be on your way to Margaritaville in minutes."
It has a powerful wattage and can hold up to 36 ounces in the blender jar. You don’t have to keep topping off the ice reservoir, though. It holds enough to make three jars’ worth of margaritas, which is approximately 108 ounces.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 9 x 14 x 19 inches | Material: Plastic | Capacity: 36 ounces | Power: 450 watts
Best Budget: Nostalgia MSB64 64-Ounce Margarita and Slush Maker
What We Love: 64-ounce capacity, drip tray catches mess, easy to store
What We Don’t Love: Might be prone to leaking
Margaritas are relatively easy and affordable drinks to make, so your margarita machine should reflect that. This model by Nostalgia is cheaper than most blenders but performs similarly. Plus, it has a 64-ounce capacity, which is on the larger side.
While it doesn’t have a separate ice reservoir, this margarita machine has a blending cage that also shaves ice. It’s easy to use: simply add your ingredients and start blending. Don't worry about any drips from the spout while filling up your glass with a strawberry daiquiri. The bottom cup rest is also an easily removable drip tray. User reviews report that the machine crushes ice really well, but you may experience some leakage.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7.8 x 17.6 x 8.1 inches | Material: Plastic | Capacity: 64 ounces | Power: 200 watts
Best Portable: Nostalgia Margarita & Slush Machine
What We Love: Handle for portability, easy to clean, large capacity
What We Don’t Love: Parts are not dishwasher-safe
Heading to a party after work? This margarita machine is easy to pack up and take on the go. It has a handle for easy carrying, and it’s smaller than most other models. You’ll need electricity to use it when you get to your destination, but getting there is easier than lugging around some of the much larger machines. Bonus points for weighing less than 11 pounds.
The blending case is double insulated to keep the drinks cold, and to keep the condensation away. The cord stores away when you're done and it's also easy to clean. The chamber easily detaches from the base, though I recommend washing by hand as a few user reviews state that the dishwasher damages some of the parts.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 10 x 12 x 19.25 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Capacity: 128 ounces | Power: 200 watts
Related: The Best Blenders
Best for Parties: Margaritaville Tahiti Frozen Drink Machine
What We Love: Sturdy construction, large capacity, versatile
What We Don’t Love: Pricey, large footprint
Have a margarita machine at a social gathering and there’s a good chance everyone is going to want one. Margarita machines can handle multiple batches, but models with single jars aren’t designed to satisfy large parties. This model by Margaritaville has three 24-ounce jars, so it can make up to 72 ounces at a time. It’s also versatile since the ice chute rotates between the three jars. If you want some variety, you can use this machine to make smoothies, mudslides, mojitos, and more, all at the same time. And don't worry about not knowing the right ratios—there's a recipe guide built into the base.
"If you’ve ever hosted a get-together and spent the entire party in the kitchen blending drinks, this is an appliance you’ll love," says Traynor. "A margarita machine will keep the drinks (and the party) flowing, and keep you from having to make each one by hand. And frozen drink machines aren’t just for tequila drinkers. Anyone who enjoys frozen classics like Daiquiris, Painkillers, classic blended tiki cocktails, or even ice chunk-free frozen lemonade and smoothies will love the convenience and quality these machines provide."
With 700 watts, this is the most powerful margarita machine I came across. If ice-blending power is important to you, this is the model to consider.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 19.5 x 19.5 x 20 inches | Material: Bamboo wood, aluminum, and stainless steel | Capacity: 72 ounces | Power: 700 watts
Related: The Best Countertop Ice Makers
Easiest to Use: Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker
What We Love: Automatic and manual settings, prevents watery drinks, front controls
What We Don’t Love: Might not be the most durable machine
Some users purchase a margarita machine only to find out it’s too complicated for them. Who wants to refer to the user manual to figure out the complex steps every time you want to make a slushy? But the Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker couldn’t be simpler to use.
This model has both automatic and manual settings, so you can choose whichever is easier for you. It also has front controls to simplify the steps. To use, just fill the ice reservoir with ice cubes, add ingredients to the blender, and press “start” to shave and blend at the same time. While some users have had issues in a short period of time, signaling short longevity, most user reviews are positive.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 10 x 15 x 18.2 inches | Material: Plastic | Capacity: 36 ounces | Power: 400 watts
Related: The Best Ninja Blenders
Best Large Capacity: Margarita Girl Single-Bowl Mini-Sized Margarita Drink Machine
What We Love: Durable construction, 25-cup capacity, easy to use and clean
What We Don’t Love: Pricey, heavy
If you’re looking for something in between a blender margarita machine and a commercial one, consider this model by Margarita Girl. While it’s not intended for commercial use, it looks like something you’d see in a food establishment.
This machine holds up to 25 cups of frozen margarita, or approximately 1.6 gallons. It’s likely not a machine for smaller servings, but it’s perfect if you regularly have large gatherings and special occasions. It weighs about 40 pounds, so this is definitely a machine you put in one spot and leave it there. It comes with a 2-year parts warranty and freeze-up protection. Customer reviews state that this machine is easy to use and clean, making it a simple but sizable option.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 12.3 x 10 x 20 inches | Material: Stainless steel, plastic | Capacity: 25 cups | Power: 368 watts
Related: The Best Wine Fridges
Margaritaville offers several models of margarita machines but the Key West model is my top pick since it has an extra-large ice reservoir, which is the key to slushy, frozen margaritas, and other drinks. The Nostalgia MSB64 64-ounce Margarita and Slush Maker is a great option for those on a budget or dipping their toe into the world of at-home drink makers.
How We Selected
To round up the top margarita machines, I took a deep dive into the dozens of options available across all the major retailers. The initial search yielded an overwhelming amount of results, so to narrow down the selection, I considered criteria like price, ratings, customer reviews, capacity, and features. I'm a stickler for good reviews and sifted through dozens of testimonials to weed out the faulty machines and find the machines that are worth it.
I also consulted an expert, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a professional bartender with more than 25 years of experience, to gain insight on what makes a margarita machine stand above the rest. Morgenthaler shared his thoughts on one of the bestselling margarita machines on the market and weighed in when it comes to two crucial points to consider: capacity and versatility.
What to Look for in a Margarita Machine
Capacity is always an important factor when purchasing a kitchen tool that makes food or drinks. Margaritas are usually enjoyed with others, so you may prefer to choose a machine that can make drinks in batches. Some machines produce one drink at a time, but most with a blender can make several at once. If you host a lot of parties, you’ll want a machine with a large blender and ice reservoir. Most margarita machines have a capacity of 24 to 36 ounces, though some can hold up to a gallon or more.
"When looking for a margarita machine, first consider the capacity of the machine," says Traynor. "The ability to make multiple drinks per pitcher is great, but also having a reservoir for ice or liquids that can immediately begin churning the next round is ideal. To ensure a perfectly smooth, consistent drink texture, look for a machine that shaves the ice finely before blending. Other important features are how easy to clean the machine is, and how many settings it offers. It’s great to make large batches for a party, but what if sometimes you want to make just one? Make sure your model is versatile enough for your needs."
"I think the most important quality to look for in a margarita machine is an ice reservoir," says Morgenthaler. "These reservoirs take your standard home ice cubes and turn them into the correct size and texture for making perfectly smooth, slushy cocktails. If you're going to be doing a lot of entertaining at home, you probably want to find the biggest capacity blender you can get—enough to make four drinks at a time."
Margaritas are fun and popular, but they’re just one of many drinks. To avoid investing in a small kitchen appliance with a single purchase, select a model that’s versatile enough to make several other beverages—both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I would opt for a margarita maker that can make slushies, frozen juices, mocktails, snow cones, and more.
"A margarita machine is a fun addition for people who enjoy blended drinks and entertain a lot at home," says Morgenthaler. "And these days, who isn't entertaining at home? They're not limited to margaritas, either — they work great for drinks like slushy daiquiris and pina coladas." If a margarita machine has its own blender and ice reservoir, that’s a good indicator its use won’t be exclusive to just margaritas.
How do you clean a margarita machine?
Each margarita machine will have its own cleaning instructions. Some have dishwasher-safe parts for easy cleaning while others are a bit more hands-on. For most margarita machines, you can remove each of the parts and clean them by hand or place them in the dishwasher. Some parts though should only be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher. Wipe down the exterior of your margarita machine with a microfiber towel to get rid of dust and mess.
Do margarita machines make better margaritas than blenders?
People have been making margaritas with cocktail shakers and blenders, so do you really need a separate appliance? If you thoroughly enjoy frozen margaritas and other slushy drinks, then maybe.
A cocktail shaker is a great starting point. You use ice cubes to make the drink cold, but it’s not frozen or blended. A blender blends all the ingredients together at the same time, creating a uniform consistency. A margarita machine uses shaved ice to yield a fluffy texture. It also melts slower, so your drink doesn’t get watered down as quickly as with a blender.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lacey Muinos is a health and wellness writer with a specialty in food-related topics and a passion for kitchen gadgets. She has an impressive collection of small kitchen appliances and tools, which never seems to stop growing.
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