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Cool off with a sweet, hydrating, and extremely refreshing pitahaya agua fresca. This tasty drink made from dragon fruit is loaded with flavor and packed with health benefits!
Table of Contents
This drink comes together in less than 10 minutes, and it’s ready to pair with your favorite snacks or meals on a hot summer day. Plus, who can say no to this crazy-looking tropical fruit?!
What is pitahaya?
Pitahaya commonly goes by the name dragon fruit. This funky fruit is indigenous to Central and South America, but it’s now grown all over the world!
Pitahaya actually belongs to several species of cactus and has a ton of health benefits (find a breakdown of these in the key ingredients section).
Depending on which species you buy, the flesh ranges from white to reddish pink, and its flavor is similar to an earthy watermelon with the texture of a kiwi.
You’re going to love it!
What is pitahaya agua fresca?
In Mexico, aguas frescas are a popular style of drink sold at taquerías or street vendors (actually, pretty much anywhere something is being sold).
You can make aguas frescas from ingredients like dried flowers (agua de Jamaica), grains (horchata), and fruit (agua de piña).
This pitahaya agua fresca is super refreshing with a delicate pear-like flavor, a touch of sweetness, and a tanginess from the citrus.
Dating back to the Aztecs, agua frescas are said to have been created to keep travelers hydrated on long and laborious journeys to Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City).
People from all over the country would travel to this large market and purchase supplies for their communities back home.
On the journey, it is thought that voyagers would collect and muddle fresh fruits with water, thus creating the original aguas frescas.
Serve your dragon fruit drink chilled over ice to taste the best flavor and cooling experience.
Although not typical, we sometimes add a little vodka or rum for an adult version. This also goes well with tasty antojitos like empanadas, picaditas, sopes, or tamales.
However you serve your pitahaya agua fresca, this recipe is 100% vegan and gluten-free.
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Taste: although this fruit may look kind of crazy, the flavor is similar to a cross between a pear, watermelon, and kiwi. So, it’s a little sweet, water-rich, and tart, making it perfect for a refreshing drink!
Health: not only is pitahaya a great source of fiber, magnesium, and iron, but it also contains several antioxidants. The flavonoids in particular have been linked to better heart and brain health.
Taste: adding zesty, citrusy flavors to complement the pitahaya, lime is an ideal choice. Although you can make this agua fresca without lime, we think it makes a delicious addition to the overall recipe.
Health: high in antioxidants and jam-packed with vitamin C, lime juice is great for the skin and immune system. Whenever we find an excuse to add lime juice to recipes, we always do!
Taste: to round out the flavors in this pitahaya drink, add cane sugar for a touch of sweetness. You can also use other sweeteners like agave, piloncillo, or even stevia if you prefer!
Health: although sugar doesn’t pass as a “health food,” we think it’s important to find drinks that provide nutritional value and can replace high-sugar items like sodas or fruit juice. By monitoring the amount of sugar you add to your own recipe, you can take better control over your health.
If you have questions about this dragon fruit drink recipe, don’t forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: cut the pitahayas in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Add the pulp to a blender along with the lime juice, sweetener of choice, and 3-4 cups of water.
Step 2: blend until no chunks of dragon fruit remain, then pour the mixture into a jar or pitcher and add the rest of the water in. Taste and adjust the sweetener to your preferences.
Step 3: transfer the pitcher to your fridge to chill for a few hours, or serve your agua de pitahaya immediately over ice with lime, lemon, or more pitahaya wedges. Happy drinking!
Whenever we’re feeling like a fun and unique drink, this pitahaya agua fresca always comes to mind. Follow these tips for optimal storage.
We prefer keeping our aguas frescas in glass jars because it preserves the flavors best. Either way, your dragon fruit drink will last about 2-3 days in the fridge.
If you choose to freeze your pitahaya agua fresca, it will keep for up to 12 months. Just don’t forget to use freezer-safe containers. To serve again, let it thaw overnight in the fridge and stir it vigorously before pouring.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share the tips and tricks we learned while experimenting with this dragon fruit drink for you:
- Add fruit juice or citrus. This drink is also great with lemon juice, orange juice, or our favorite — mango!
- Dissolve the sugar. To avoid having to make simple syrup, dissolve the sugar in room temperature water.
- Add in coconut water. For a more electrolyte-rich drink, try using coconut water in place of plain water.
🍴 Tasting notes
You’re going to fall head over heels for this dragon fruit drink! It’s:
If you try this pitahaya 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!
Pitahaya Agua Fresca
- Knife & cutting board
- Large jar or pitcher
- 3 fresh pitahayas (dragon fruit) ($3.62)
- 6 cups water ($0.01)
- ½ cup cane sugar or agave ($0.02)
- 2 limes ($0.24)
- First, cut the pitahayas in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Add the pulp to a blender along with the lime juice, sweetener of choice, and 3-4 cups of water.
- Blend on high until no chunks of fruit remain, then pour the mixture into a jar or pitcher. Add the rest of the water and stir. Taste and adjust the sweetener to your preferences.
- Transfer to your fridge to chill for a few hours, or serve your agua de pitahaya immediately over ice with lime, lemon, or more pitahaya wedges. Happy drinking!
- It is normal to have seeds in your drink. If you prefer fewer seeds, pour the mixture through a mesh strainer into your pitcher.
- Stevia makes a great replacement if you want a healthier option. For reference, 2 tablespoons of cane sugar are equal to 1 typical packet of powdered stevia (or an 8:1 ratio).
- 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 refreshing aguas frescas and juices, check out our:
- Chia fresca to try this tangy, sweet, and invigorating agua fresca loaded with fiber-rich chia seeds!
- Agua de guayaba if you love creamy, sweet, and tropical drinks, you’ll want to give this one a go.
- Agua de piña to turn yet another tropical fruit into a sweet and refreshing pineapple drink.
- Tamarindo drink for a tangy agua fresca made from tamarind pods that is unique and refreshing.
- Peach juice that’s made with just 1 ingredient and a blender!
Yes, you can use pink flesh or white flesh for this drink. The end result will taste slightly different, but all varieties are delicious.
Some large-chain grocery stores carry pitahaya, but you’ll have the best luck finding it at Oriental markets.
We find sweetener makes this drink taste more robust. If you don’t want the extra calories, try it without sugar or with your favorite sugar-free sweetener (stevia, monk fruit, etc).