Easy Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca Recipe (Pitahaya Agua Fresca)

Get your taste buds ready for this simple, refreshing and delicious dragon fruit agua fresca recipe. Make your own hydrating and healthy pitahaya agua fresca to keep cool all spring and summer long with this exotic Mexican drink!

Refreshing dragon fruit agua fresca served in small glasses.
Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca

Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya

Dragon fruit, also known as pitahaya in Mexico, is a tropical fruit that’s very popular in Mexico and has now started being discovered in many parts of the world.

Did you know dragon fruit (or pitahaya) are native to Mexico and parts of Central America, but also hugely popular in some Asian cuisines?

Find out more below in the “Fun Facts” section.

Thanks to its unique, sweet and mild taste, and nutritional health benefits, dragon fruit is definitely something to add to your diet.

You can enjoy it as a snack on its own, or with some Tajin sprinkled over it. It’s also delicious in juices, smoothies and, of course agua fresca.

Fresh unpeeled dragon fruits and one sliced on a brown table.

14 Fun Facts and Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit

In Mexico, dragon fruit has long been celebrated for not only it’s refreshing taste, but also for all the health benefits. Here’s some fun facts about this bright pink fruit.

• Dragon fruit are also known as pitahayas, strawberry pear or nanettika fruit.

• Did you know they grow on cactus? These fruits grow on the Hylocereus cactus trees. They have white flowers that bloom only at night: “Pitahaya’s bloom only at night, and only last one night where pollination is necessary to set fruit.”

• Pitahaya and pitaya are not the same fruit. Though both are cacti fruit, in Mexico pitahaya referrers to dragon fruit and pitaya refers to prickly pears or tunas is another name.

• The cacti that produce pitahayas is originally native to Mexico. Sometime in history they began spreading across Central American. The Europeans then transplanted it to other areas of the world: The French introduced them to Vietnam, the Dutch to Taiwan. Currently pitahayas are grown in Mexico, Central America, Australia, Israel, China, Cyprus, America and countless East and Southeast Asian countries.

• There 3 dragon fruit colors. There are white-fleshed pitahaya fruits with pink peel. There are the red flesh colored ones. Then there’s the yellow skin color with white inner flesh. Out of the three, the white-fleshed variety is the most common.

• Unlike the vibrant outer colors, the three dragon fruit colors all have very tame flavors and scents.

A pink dragon fruit sliced and showing it's white skin.

• Dragon fruits are oval in shape and when cut open resemble a kiwi.

•They can weigh anywhere from 150-600gms (or 5.9 – 21oz.) but have also reached a weight of one kilo or 2.2 pounds.

• The skin is edible, some people make tea with it, but others say it can cause uncomfortable intestinal problems for some people. Others swear by the edible dragon fruit skin and it’s health benefits.

• Pitahayas are low in calories and a good source of Vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3, and a good source of iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, antioxidants and fiber.

• Dragon fruit is an anti inflammatory fruit that is good for your cholesterol, heart, to regulate blood sugar (beneficial for diabetes and hypoglycemia patients).

• It’s believed to be great for skin “giving you glowing skin”.

• Some say dragon fruit can help in weight management. Plus its high water content will help keep you hydrated and full.

• Dragon fruit is available year-round in most places. You can purchase it from Mexican, Latin or Asian food markets.

• Dragon fruit or pitahaya can be eaten on it’s own, mixed with other fruits for a sweet or spicy fruit salad, or a smoothie or juice. You can also make salsa with it and agua fresca.

Small glass filled with ice cold Mexican dragon fruit agua fresca.

Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca

Amigos, I’m so excited to share with you my pitahaya agua fresca.

I love this refreshing and healthy drink, specially on one of the hot days here in Southern Mexico when quenching my thirst is a must!

This dragon fruit agua fresca recipe is not only delicious, but also vegan-friendly — it’s really just perfect for everyone.

What is Agua Fresca

For those not familiar with agua fresca, it’s a Mexican beverage that translates to “freshwater.” Typically they’re made with a combination of fruit, water, sugar or a sweetener, and lime juice.

There are also ones made with edible flowers, nuts, and seeds.

In Mexico there’s nothing like an agua frescas to feel refreshed and hydrated during hot summer days.

Dragon fruit agua fresca or pitahaya agua fresca is just another popular variation of the many different fruit flavors of agua fresca.

Chopped white dragon fruit with brown sugar and lime juice on a brown table.
Pitahaya Agua Fresca Ingredients

Ingredients

When making agua fresca you’re going to love the short ingredients lists. Additionally they are usually seasonally based fruits or ingredients easy to find. Here’s what you’ll need for dragon fruit agua fresca.

  • dragon fruit or pitahaya (you can use any color you’d like)
  • freshly squeezed lime juice
  • muscovado sugar
  • cold water

Variations

When using the white colored dragon fruit, some people like to add a little bit of beet juice or a small piece of beet to give it that bright pink color.

You can omit the lime juice if desired.

Instead of sugar you could use agave syrup.

Blending the ingredients to make pithaya agua fresca.

How to Make Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca

Another amazing thing about agua frescas is that they are so incredibly easy to make.

  1. Peel and chop the pitahaya. Follow these instructions if you don’t know how.
  2. Place the dragon fruit pieces in the blender along with the lime juice, sugar and half the water.
  3. Blend until perfectly smooth.
  4. Pour into a large pitcher or you can also use a fine sieve to strain.
  5. Pour in the remaining cold water. Taste and adjust the lime or sugar if desired.
  6. Serve over ice cubes and stir before serving.

You can also add more water to thin it out more, if you’d like. I like it more concentrated.

Pouring dragon fruit agua fresca over ice into a glass.

How to Store

You can also store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Just give it a good stir because the seeds tend to float to the top.

This agua fresca will keep fresh for about a day. If you won’t be drinking leftovers straight away you can always freeze it or make water-based paletas with the leftovers.

A woman's hand reaching for an ice cold glass of Mexican dragon fruit agua fresca.

What Does Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca Taste Like?

This tropical drink has tones of limes and sweet hints of the pitahaya — the flavors compliment each other so well.

Perhaps next time I’ll use a mix of coconut water and see what happens.

It may not be an explosion of flavors but it was a very satisfying and refreshing drink. On scorching summer days this is exactly the type of drink one needs.

Salud!

View from above of a glass with ice cubes and dragon fruit agua fresca.
Refreshing dragon fruit agua fresca served in small glasses.

Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca Recipe (Pitahaya Agua Fresca)

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
Beat the heat this summer with a refreshing, flavorful dragon fruit agua fresca recipe. Get ready to make your own pitahaya agua fresca at home!
5 from 21 votes
Save Recipe Pin Recipe Leave a Review
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Blending Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course drink, summer, tropical
Cuisine international, Mexican, vegan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 81 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 medium dragon fruits or pitahayas any color, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups cold filtered water adjust to taste
  • 1 medium lime adjust less or more depending on taste and how sweet or tart the pitahaya is
  • 4 Tablespoons Muscovado sugar adjust depending on how sweet pitahaya is
  • ice cubes to taste

Instructions
 

  • Peel and chop the pitahaya. Follow these instructions if you don’t know how.
    Chopped white dragon fruit with brown sugar and lime juice on a brown table.
  • Place the dragon fruit pieces in the blender along with the lime juice, sugar and half the water.
    Blend until perfectly smooth.
    Pour into a large pitcher or you can also use a fine sieve to strain.
    Pour in the remaining cold water. Taste and adjust the lime or sugar if desired.
    Blending the ingredients to make pithaya agua fresca.
  • Serve over ice cubes and stir before serving.
    Small glass filled with ice cold Mexican dragon fruit agua fresca.

Video

Notes

Before you blend the pitahaya please make sure you taste it. The sweetness level will give you a better idea as to how much sugar you should use.
You can also add more water to thin it out more, if you’d like. I like it more concentrated.

Variations

When using the white colored dragon fruit, some people like to add a little bit of beet juice or a small piece of beet to give it that bright pink color.
You can omit the lime juice if desired.
Instead of sugar you could use agave syrup.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 81kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 0.1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.003gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.003gSodium: 46mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 8IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 23mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!
Pitahaya Agua Fresca and a slice of pink and white dragon fruit on the side.
Pitahaya Agua Fresca

FAQ

Is dragon fruit agua fresca vegan?

Yes, this recipe is completely vegan because it contains no animal products — make sure you’re using unrefined sugar.

Can I use frozen dragon fruit for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen dragon fruit instead of fresh. Just make sure to thaw it before blending. Use 3 heaping cups.

How long does dragon fruit agua fresca last?

Dragon fruit agua fresca is best served rightaway and fresh. It can be stored in the refrigerator for maximum of 2 days before the taste starts going off.

Can I add alcohol to dragon fruit agua fresca?

Yes, you can add alcohol to this recipe if you like and make a skinny margarita. Tequila blanco or even vodka would be a good choices for a cocktail version. You could even add ice or use frozen dragon fruit and make it more like a frozen drink.

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27 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for this post Nancy. The fruit and vegetable stand in Los Barriles BCS is named Pitahaya. I am there in the winter and have never seen one. I will be on the lookout next time I am in the mainland. Is October too late in the season?

    1. Hi Letty! I’ve found them almost year-round in Europe but I believe those were imported from Asia. I’m not 100% about finding them in BC during the late autumn/early winter. We moved to QR last November and I didn’t see them here until a couple of weeks ago, but where I live has no farmland and much of the fruits & vegetables are brought in. Anyway, Baja California is a pitahaya producing area and you might get lucky — they grow the yellow varieties too! Good luck 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this post Nancy!!! Never knew these facts about the dragon fruit!! Thanks for sharing all the information and the splendid pictures 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve always been tempted to buy some of these but ever knew how to cut them much less what to do with them. So thank you for taking care of both of the unknowns. 🙂 It’s such a beautiful fruit and no, I did not know that it was a cactus fruit. Thanks for this post Nancy!

  4. 5 stars
    I was just telling my son over the weekend that I wanted to try this. After seeing these pictures I’m more anxious than ever to see what it tastes like!

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