Piña Colada Recipe
May 01, 2020, Updated Nov 20, 2023
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The Piña colada is a classic poolside cocktail and one of my favorite blender cocktails of all time. Rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut come together to deliver a sweet and creamy cocktail that’s perfect for a hot summer day!
My Piña Colada mastery has always been revered as the best by family and friends. I’m not one to brag (maybe a little), but the key to success is not cutting corners and using the right ingredients and the right amount of booze. Part of the reason for my dedication to this drink is my own obsession with the cocktail. It’s my favorite island/Tiki-inspired cocktail of all time!
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In 1954, a bartender named Ramón “Monchito” Marrero created the official Piña Colada recipe at the Caribe Hilton Hotel’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The recipe included rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, shaken with ice and served in a hollowed-out pineapple.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get a bad Piña Colada made with cheap mixers. When made true to form, there’s nothing quite as rich and delicious.
- White rum: I traditionally use a simple white rum as the base spirit but you can also experiment with barrel-aged rums for added flavor, they just might be overpowering to some. Rum lover? Try the Hemingway Daiquiri.
- cream of coconut: the original cocktail was made with cream of coconut. Not to be confused with coconut cream, which is unsweetened and an entirely different product. I like Coco Reàl or Coco Lopez. More details on this are below.
- Pineapple juice: look for Dole brand 100% pineapple juice in the can. It tastes the best and is easier than making your own pineapple juice. Save the extra pineapple juice for a French Martini.
- Ice: ice will dictate the cocktail’s thickness if served blended. Always start with less and add more until you reach the desired thickness. Blend for at least 30 seconds to eliminate granular chunks of ice.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.
How to Make a Piña Colada
Combine cream of coconut, pineapple juice, rum, and optional frozen pineapple chunks in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth but a little thick and no longer “gritty”, about 30 seconds. Add more ice if too thin or watery.
Pour all contents into a hurricane, wine, or double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry (or both).
To serve the cocktail shaken: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed or pebble ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Pour all contents into a hurricane, wine, or double old-fashioned glass and garnish as desired.
- Avoid premade Piña Colada mix! Anything with artificial coconut flavoring that includes pineapple juice is going to taste awful.
- You can add frozen pineapple chucks to the blender for extra thickness and use less ice. Frozen pineapple will add texture and cut down on required ice.
- You can make cream of coconut by adding simple syrup to coconut milk.
Coconut Cream versus Cream of Coconut
The Piña Colada should be made with cream of coconut, not coconut cream. Coconut cream is a thick unsweetened ‘cream’ derived from the fat solids in coconut milk. Cream of coconut or cream de coconut is coconut milk with added sugar. It resembles a syrup similar to sweetened condensed milk. Both products taste like coconut however cream of coconut is much sweeter.
For cream of coconut, I recommend Coco Reàl or Coco Lopez. Both can be found in most grocery stores, usually sold with other drink mixes. They’re also usually sold in cans or convenient plastic squeeze bottles. Always shake/stir before adding in case the solids separate.
Shaken Versus Blended
The original Piña Colada was shaken with crushed or pebble ice. I love this method because it offers a different texture and it’s a lot simpler to make quickly. The shaken Piña Colada has very similar vibes to the Painkiller—another fantastic Tiki cocktail made with coconut and pineapple juice.
The frozen Piña Colada can be made in a blender or single-serve Ninja, NutriBullet, etc. Blend until smooth and no longer “gritty.” Add ice if it renders too thin or watery.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, just omit the rum and add a little extra pineapple juice in place of the rum!
I typically use Bacardi Superior rum because it’s simple and very affordable.
Yes, adding chunks of frozen pineapple helps to thicken the drink, add flavor, and eliminate the amount of ice needed for thickening. This holds up better as the drink warms.
Enjoy this recipe? If you made this cocktail, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
Piña Colada Recipe
- 3 ounces cream of coconut, see note
- 3 ounces pineapple juice
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1-1 1/2 cups ice
- 3-4 chunks frozen pineapple, optional
- 1 Pineapple wedge or cherry for garnish, optional
- Combine cream of coconut, pineapple juice, rum, and optional frozen pineapple chunks in a blender with ice. Blend until smooth but a little thick and no longer “gritty”, about 15-20 seconds. Add more ice if too thin or watery. Pour all contents into a hurricane, wine, or double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry (or both).
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with preferably crushed or pebble ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Pour all contents into a hurricane, wine, or double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge or cherry (or both).
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.