With only 3 ingredients, you'll be able to enjoy a tart, sweet, and refreshing agua de tamarindo in no time. Make this drink for you and your family to understand just how delicious it is!
You are going to love agua de tamarindo!
Tamarind water is known for its tart, sour, and slightly sweet taste. But most of all, how refreshing it is on a hot summer day!
If you serve this drink the next time you have company over, we guarantee you're friends and family will be dying for the recipe.
And the best part? You only need 3 ingredients (tamarind, sweetener, and water)!
What is agua de tamarindo?
In Mexico, tamarind can be found in a wide variety of recipes. Whether it's candies, sodas, or marinades, tamarind can do it all.
We would describe the taste as a mix between dates, molasses, brown sugar, and very tart oranges. It's really something you have to taste to understand.
The best way to serve your agua de tamarindo is in a glass full of ice. It's super refreshing paired with spicy meals, as a way to cool off, or for a tasty treat throughout the day.
Want to get a little tipsy?
Agua de tamarindo makes the perfect base for vodka, tequila, or whiskey. You can even turn it into a margarita if you want to shake things up!
This delicious drink is vegan, gluten-free, and contains no refined sugars. Try it today to experience a taste that's nothing like you've ever had before!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
What is it: tamarind is a hardwood tree native to Africa (it also grows in other tropical climates). It produces seed-filled pods that are surrounded by a fibrous pulp, which is the part we're interested in!
Taste: tamarind has a tangy citrus flavor with caramel undertones. The flavor is perfectly highlighted in agua de tamarindo, but that's not all it's good for! You can find this ingredient in many sweet or savoury dishes (like authentic pad Thai...mmm).
Health: tamarind is often praised for its antioxidant properties and impressive nutrient profile (mainly B vitamins, iron, potassium, and magnesium). It has long been used for treating nausea, diarrhea, and peptic ulcers, but modern research is taking interest in the anti-inflammatory properties.
Where to buy: you can find this delicious ingredient at Latin, Asian, or Middle Eastern markets in most cities. We've even seen it at large chain grocery stores. You can find it in paste, powder, blocks, and pods (like we use here).
What is it: piloncillo (pee-lohn-see-yoh) is the raw form of cane sugar you'll often see in Mexican cooking and baking. It's free of additives and preservatives since it's made by simply boiling pure cane juice, then allowing it to harden in pylon-shaped molds.
Taste: it's often used interchangeably with brown sugar, but it actually has a more complex flavor profile. You can taste smoky, rich, molasses notes with hints of caramel.
Where to buy: you may see this labeled as panela (which is what it goes outside of Mexico) and it can be found at most Mexican or Latin grocery stores. We've also seen it in the ethnic aisle of larger supermarkets. If you still can't find it, try ordering some online.
If you have questions about this tamarindo drink, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: prepare the tamarind pods by removing the outer shell and as many of the fibrous strings as you can manage (it's easiest to pull them from the bottom up — see below).
Step 2: bring 4 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add in the peeled tamarind. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, turn the heat off and let the water cool to room temperature for about 60-90 minutes.
Step 3: once the water has cooled, use your hands to separate the sticky paste from the hard seeds in the pot. Discard the seeds and any more fibrous strings.
Step 4: add the tamarind paste and cooking water to your blender with ½ cup grated piloncillo (or brown sugar). Blend on high until smooth, then taste and add in the rest of the sweetener if you think it needs it.
Step 5: pour the tamarind mixture through a mesh strainer into a pitcher or large mason jar (make sure to press it down with a spoon or spatula). Mix in the rest of the water to taste, then let your agua fresca chill for a few hours or serve immediately over ice.
For the best taste, let your agua de tamarindo drink chill in the fridge for a few hours.
You can keep this agua fresca in your fridge for up to 5-6 days. It's best to use glass so it keeps the drink fresh and prevents any flavor contamination from other foods in your fridge.
This drink will keep in your freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw it in your fridge overnight when you want to serve it. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays to add to your next batch (no more diluted drinks).
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- Add more water. If this tamarindo drink is too concentrated for you, feel free to add more water until it's just right.
- Add more sugar. This drink is meant to be fairly tart. If it's too tangy, add more sugar to your recipe (or individual glass)!
- Stir before serving. The tamarind mixture tends to settle at the bottom of the jar, so you'll want to give it a good stir before serving.
- Don't forget the alcohol. Tamarindo goes super well with most spirits. Our personal favorite is bourbon.
- Make it low-cal. Try replacing the sugar with stevia or leaving it out altogether (pucker up).
🍴 Tasting notes
We love this agua de tamarindo recipe, and we know you will too. It's:
If you try this agua fresca, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Agua de Tamarindo
- Large pot
- Mesh Strainer
- Pitcher or large mason jar
- 18 dried tamarind pods ($1.25)
- 9-12 cups water ($0.01)
- ¾ cup grated piloncillo ($0.34)
- Lime wedges
- First, prepare the tamarind pods by removing the outer shell and as many of the fibrous strings as you can manage (it's easiest to pull them from one end downwards along the length of the pod).
- Then, bring 4 cups of water to boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add in the peeled tamarind. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, then let the water cool to room temperature, about 60-90 minutes.
- Once the water has cooled, separate the sticky paste from the seeds in the pot. Discard the hard seeds and any more strings.
- Add the tamarind paste and cooking water to your blender with ½ cup grated piloncillo (or brown sugar). Blend on high until smooth, then taste and add the rest of the sweetener if you think it needs it.
- Pour the tamarind mixture through a mesh strainer into a pitcher or large mason jar. Mix in the rest of the water to preference, then let your agua fresca chill for a few hours or serve immediately over ice with a lime wedge. Happy eating!
- Start with less sweetener and adjust to your preferences.
- If you don't have piloncillo, substitute with equal parts brown sugar and 1 tablespoon molasses.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty drink ideas, check out our:
- Horchata for a rich, creamy, and refreshing agua fresca.
- Agua de Jamaica if you prefer your drinks to be tart with a lil' sweet.
- Agua de sandia for some summer vibes. You won't be able to stop at just one glass!
- Mango-avocado smoothie because you can never go wrong with these two tropical fruits.
You can discard the seeds. We've also heard you can roast them to eat as a snack or grind them up to make a thickening agent.
If you don't have access to tamarind pods, you can purchase them in paste form (regular or concentrated) or pressed block forms as well.
If you use a pressed block, substitute 1:1 for the pods (adjusting slightly for the weight of the seeds). If you use the paste, it is about 1 ½ times more potent than the pods or blocks.
Piloncillo is the raw, unprocessed form of cane sugar. It is more complex than brown sugar, but similar nonetheless. You can replace the piloncillo 1:1 with brown sugar + 1 tablespoon molasses.
Absolutely! If you want a lower calorie option, replace the piloncillo with stevia, monk fruit, or your low-calorie sweetener of choice.