Sitting outside drinking a piña colada sounds amazing, doesn't it? Find out how a secret ingredient makes this the best piña colada recipe ever! Make it a cocktail or a mocktail.
If you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain... okay so I may have just stuck that song in your head for the rest of the day. But once you try my yummy piña colada it will all be worth it, I promise.
You will already impress your friends if you bring this recipe to your next summer party, but why not try and up your game even more and douse them with fun facts?
Piña is Spanish for pineapple, which you may have known. But did you know colada means "to wash/strain"?
So the translation for piña colada is just strained pineapple! Test out that newfound knowledge at your next summer party. And of course, let's keep adding coconut to our strained pineapple!
What's in a Piña Colada?
A straight-up piña colada will typically have pineapple juice, coconut milk or cream of coconut, and rum. Most of the time we like to get them "frozen" on a beach somewhere or at a Mexican restaurant on Friday night.
My secret ingredient is not typical. I add orange juice to my piña coladas. A little trick I learned from a guy in college!
The secret ingredient to a perfect piña colada brings out the tangy and sweet flavor of all the ingredients to make a super tasty sip.
You don't actually taste the orange juice. It acts as a flavor enhancer! Truth be told, when you mix coconut milk and tangy-sweet pineapple juice, sometimes it can result in a flat, creamy flavor.
That's where your rum comes in to make you too happy to care. I actually leave the rum out of mine (non-drinker here!) and make it a mocktail. So I want a flavor punch since I'm not getting the extra happy!
What is Cream of Coconut?
I like to use canned cream of coconut instead of coconut milk. Cream of coconut is a bit like the sweetened condensed milk of coconut milks.
It's thick, sweet, but very coconutty! Mixed with orange and pineapple juices, rum and ice, I get the best frozen drink.
How to make a piña colada
I usually mix up a batch, or double batch, of this homemade piña colada recipe in a few pitchers and keep it ready to blend with ice.
In the recipe, I have you mixing it all in the blender with the ice, and that is great too, if you're sure to serve 4 people all at once. My drink mix is meant to be blended, but you can definitely stir it into a glass of ice and serve it on the rocks as well.
It's pretty concentrated so whether you're blending or serving on the rocks, use plenty of ice.
What's the Best Rum for Piña Coladas?
You'll want to use a white rum for this easy piña colada recipe. Any brand will work, so use your favorite!
How Do I Make a Virgin Piña Colada?
Instead of using white rum, add ½ teaspoon of rum extract to the blender. The rum extract will impart that classic rum flavor, minus the alcohol!
I prefer using rum extract when making piña coladas from scratch since I don't drink alcohol, plus it means I can share the batch with my kids.
Can I Make a Piña Colada with Coconut Milk?
Technically, yes. However, I've found that cream of coconut makes for the best piña coladas.
The cream of coconut makes the drink super rich and creamy, whereas coconut milk is much less sweet and not as intense in flavor.
Tips for Making the Best Piña Colada
- Any blender will work for this creamy piña colada recipe (I sure like my Vitamix), but just make sure to let the mixture blend until all the ice is pulverized. You don't need to make a thick, shake-like drink, just something frosty and icy.
- You can stir together a batch of homemade piña coladas in a large pitcher before a party and keep it chilled until you're ready to blend it with some ice.
- Don't save this perfect piña colada just for the pool parties. I love it as a fun summer snack for the kids (go for the rum extract there!) or alongside grilled burgers in the backyard.
More Pineapple Recipes:
Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits! It can be delicious in a sweet snack Ginger Pineapple Snack Cake or even savory with Sausage and Peppers with Pineapple and Avocado Cream.
Don't get me started with how much I dig grilled pineapple, especially for dessert: Grilled Pineapple with Praline Caramel.
The Best Pina Colada
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 2 ¼ cups (18 oz) pineapple juice
- ¾ cup cream of coconut
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 8 oz white rum (or ½ teaspoon rum extract)
- 2 cups ice
- 4 slices pineapples (optional)
- ½ cup toasted coconut (optional)
- Fill blender half full of ice. Add orange juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, heavy cream, and rum (or rum extract). Blend until very smooth.
- Garnish with a pineapple slice and toasted coconut. Drink immediately.
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About Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes & food-styling for magazines, books, television & advertising. Order my new cookbook & stick around for amazing things to eat.
Recipe Tara. Photography Ty Mecham. Prop Styling Veronica Olson.
Love the Orange Juice tip! Probably adds just the right amount of tangy to it. Will have to try it out. Thanks!
It really boosts the pineapple and coconut flavors!
The store bought ( with alcohol) pina , isn’t bad, but i’m thinkin, the OJ is gonna do it.
Rj, I just love how the homemade version is balanced. And yes! I agree, the OJ seems to help enhance the pineapple and coconut flavors perfectly!
This sounds fantastic! I don't drink much anymore, but I LOVE pina coladas! Thanks for sharing your tip about adding orange juice 🙂
I make mine without alcohol! They are simply delicious!
Always one of my favorite summer drinks. My dad made the best. I will consider using orange juice too.
Oh awesome. Always good to know a skilled Pina Colada maker!
I love pina colada's so much, I need to try this one!
They are my fave! Such a treat!
jill conyers says
I've never tried a Pina Colada. Maybe I need to try it this summer.
Oh my goodness yes! Get on that Jill! Enjoy
I lovvve Pina Coladas and this does sound PERFECT, I like to add a little strawberry while blending too! So Delish!
Strawberry is a great addition!
Mary Bench says
I've tried these and they are divine! Love the OJ addition.