This watermelon agua fresca or agua de sandia is a refreshing and delicious treat the whole family will love! Made with ripe, sweet and juicy watermelon it’s a great way to keep hydrated all summer long. Hurry and make my agua watermelon agua fresca recipe for your next gathering.
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What is Agua Fresca
Agua means water and fresca fresh as in refreshing or cooling water.
Another translation for these drinks is “coolers”. So this would be a Mexican watermelon cooler.
Agua fresca is one of the most popular Mexican drinks all over Mexico, in the United States, and in some countries in Central America.
Typically it consists of blending seasonal fruits with water and a sweetener.
Sometimes edible fruits, nuts, grains and seeds are also used. As well as a combination of fruits or any of the previously mentioned items.
I grew up drinking fresh watermelon water and to me it was and still is the perfect drink, or best agua fresca flavor, to keep me cool during hot weather. Specially when I’m craving cold drinks with just a bit of sugar. This agua fresca is a great addition to summer barbecues or family get togethers.
Is Agua Fresca The Same as Juice?
No. An agua fresca is blended fruit mixed with water, and juice is extracted from the fruit and generally not watered down.
So in this watermelon agua fresca we are taking the watermelon juice and combining it with water to create or refreshing drink on a hot summer day.
Traditional Agua Fresca Flavors
Traditionally this non-alcoholic drink can be made with fresh fruit, dried edible flowers, rice, nuts, or seeds.
When fruits are used they are blended with a bit of water, sometimes strained to remove pulp, then mixed with more water and traditionally sugar is also added.
Some popular fruit based aguas frescas flavors both in peoples home and with street vendors are:
- Lime agua fresca
- agua con chia y limón or lime and chia
- cantaloupe or agua de melon
- strawberry agua fresca
- tunas or pitaya or cactus fruit
- pitahaya or dragon fruit
- orange agua fresca or naranja
- agua de tamarindo
- agua de platano or banana agua fresca
- guava or agua de guayava
- agua fresca de marañon which is the “cashew apple” or fruit in which cashews grow.
In the case of edible flowers, specifically hibiscus flowers or jamaica, they are simmered in hot water to make a tea. The tea is then strained and mixed with sugar and additional water.
Rice agua fresca, or horchata, is made by soaking the rice in water until soft or overnight. Cinnamon and sometimes nuts can be added when blending the rice. Sometimes sugar or condensed milk may be added for sweetness.
The process for barley or cebada agua fresca is similar to that of making horchata.
Agua de avena or oats agua fresca is another popular agua fresca flavor.
There’s even a mazapan agua fresca made with Mexico’s beloved sweet peanut candy, mazapan de cacahuate.
Watermelon Agua Fresca Ingredients
One of the things you’ll love about my recipe is that all of the simple ingredients are completely natural and easily found anywhere.
- Ripe Watermelon: Try to use a seedless watermelon so you don’t have to strain the agua fresca. Your favorite sweet variety is perfect.
- Water: I use filtered ice cold water.
- Fresh Lime Juice: Not everyone adds it but I love how it adds the perfect balance of sweet with a touch of tart. Also it helps preserve the fresh flavor longer.
- Sugar: Traditionally refined white sugar is used but it’s not vegan, so I use muscovado sugar. See variations below.
- Salt: This is not traditional at all but it’s something I’ve done for years because it adds a light touch of savory taste. You can omit if you’d like.
- Ice Cubes: Plenty for serving.
You’ll also need some lime slices to decorate your pitcher or serving glasses. If you’d like could also use fresh mint leaves too.
Watermelon Agua Fresca F.A.Q.
Is Watermelon Agua Fresca Vegan Friendly?
If you use muscovado or other unrefined sugar then yes. Instead of sugar you could use agave nectar or maple syrup – though maple syrup isn’t a typical Mexican ingredient.
Can I Use Frozen Watermelon?
Yes you can, though fresh watermelon will taste better.
Can Watermelon Agua Fresca be Made Ahead?
Yes! It will keep fresh in your refrigerator all day long. You could also make it the night before your gathering.
Can I Spike Watermelon Agua Fresca?
Yes, you can add some shots of tequila to the pitcher for an adult version. Or with the leftover watermelon you can grab your cocktail muddler and make my skinny watermelon margarita.
Sugar-Free Agua Fresca or Lightly Sweetened
I like to use very little sugar, if any at all. The reason being that I don’t feel the need to add more sweetness to a sweet fruit. If I don’t use lime juice, then in fact I won’t use any sweetener. Or if the fruit is extra sweet even with lime juice I’ll omit the sugar.
So if I’m using sugar or a sweetener, it is then added to the blender ingredients.
I would also suggest to stick to muscovado sugar because it not only adds a great flavor, but it’s also vegan!
Salt to Help Bring Out The Flavor
Something I like to do with my agua fresca is to add a pinch of salt. Yep, salt!
Salt has long been used to enhance flavor in food. That’s exactly what it does to the watermelon and lime juice in my agua fresca recipe.
How to Make Agua de Sandia
An agua fresca is one of the most delicious Mexican non-alcoholic beverage because it’s so easy to make.
In the case of agua de sandia or watermelon agua fresca, the part that will take the longest is the cutting the chunks of watermelon – though it’s super easy to do!
Once the watermelon is ready to use it’s just a matter of blending.
Step 1: Place the watermelon cubes, lime juice, sugar, and salt in a blender cup – depending on the size of the blender cup, this may need to be done in batches.
Blend until smooth, if needed add a little bit of water to help blend the ingredients.
Step 2: Place some ice cubes inside a large pitcher then pour the watermelon mixture into it. If you’d like to strain it simple put a fine mesh sieve over the pitcher and strain, discard any leftover pulp.
Step 3: Pour in the cool water and mix. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Should Agua Fresca be Strained?
Many people do strain all agua fresca varieties.
When it comes to fruit agua frescas, I personally don’t like to strain them. My blender does a pretty good job at breaking down the contents. Plus discarding the pulp is wasting natural plant fiber and vitamins and minerals.
But straining is completely up to you.
How to Serve Watermelon Agua Fresca
Agua fresca, all types of agua fresca flavors, are best served very cold and with plenty of ice cubes.
The cold temperature accentuates the natural flavors. Not to mention really hitting the spot on a hot day or when you’re super thirsty on a hot summer day.
Have fun and add slices of the fruit, fresh mint sprig, or some lime wedges to make the glass a bit prettier.
This watermelon agua fresca goes perfect with foods you normally serve during the hot summer months.
Tacos of course are another fantastic main dish to pair this delicious drink. Try vegan Tacos de Bistec or Steak Tacos, vegan fish tacos, Tacos de Papa Dorados (Potato Tacos), or my Vegan Birria Tacos.
How to Store Watermelon Agua Fresca
This refreshing Mexican drink will only keep fresh for one day, it loses it taste and a bit of the color the next day. You can still drink it the next day but it won’t be as vibrant tasting.
Mexican Watermelon Drink
This recipe can be tweaked and adjusted as you like. By adjusting the sugar amount and even the water amount depending on how juicy the watermelon is.
Amigos go ahead and try out my super easy, refreshing and delicious watermelon agua fresca or agua de sandia recipe. I promise it’s going to become one of your favorite summer drinks.
Watermelon Agua Fresca Recipe
I hope you try this watermelon agua fresca very soon!
Remember if you try my recipe please make sure to leave a star rating in the recipe card and tag me on social media. You’ll find me on IG, FB & Pinterest under @MexicanMadeMeatless.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
- 2 lbs. of seedless watermelon pieces the weight is just the fruit
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice optional but gives a yummy twist
- 1/4 cup muscovado sugar (add up to 1/2 cup sugar if desired, or agave to taste)
- 1 pinch sea salt optional for extra flavor
- 4 cups cold water
- plenty of ice cubes
- Prepare the watermelon pieces and weigh without the peel. Place the watermelon cubes, lime juice, sugar, and salt in a blender cup – depending on the size of the blender cup, this may need to be done in batches.Add the pinch of salt, if using.
- Blend until smooth, if needed add a little bit of water to help blend the ingredients.
- Place some ice cubes inside a large pitcher then pour the watermelon mixture into it. If you’d like to strain it simple put a fine mesh sieve over the pitcher and strain, discard any leftover pulp.
- Pour in the water and give a very good stir. Taste and if necessary adjust either the sugar or water.
- Serve right away or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve in glass with plenty of ice cubes and enjoy!
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…