In a sea of cocktails, margaritas always stand out. The drink can please almost any palate with salty, savory, spicy, and tart versions that are easily derived from the same base, making it the perfect drink for a crowd. While there are plenty of blenders that are perfect for frozen drinks (we included a few on this list, too), a dedicated margarita machine promises consistent results and cocktail perfection. We tested several options to find the appliances that will pulverize ice, blend your favorite mixes, and win over everyone at the party or tailgate. Read on to browse our top picks.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Margaritaville Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker
Watts: 700 | Capacity: 72 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes
- Made balanced drinks
- Ice was perfectly shaved and blended
- High-powered motor was great for lots of batches
- Hard to store
- Difficult to clean
Why we chose it: It’s easy to use, perfect for a crowd, and allows for making more than one frozen drink at a time.
There’s a reason why Margaritaville frozen drink makers continue to be a favorite: they know what they’re doing. While perhaps a little excessive for a casual backyard barbecue, the Margaritaville Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker certainly is impressive. The machine automatically rotates between three pitchers, shaving ice and making drinks quickly and efficiently. It’s easy to assemble and easy to program, too, which leaves plenty of time for sipping and entertaining. The high-powered motor made light work of the ice, which can be blended or shaved. Keep in mind, though, that the machine is quite large, and can be difficult to find a home for if you’re short on storage space.
Best Splurge: Vitamix E310
Watts: 1,400 | Capacity: 48 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: No
- Powerful motor
- Versatile speed control with precision dial
- Easy to clean
- Very loud
- Size may result in multiple batches
- Measuring necessary
Why we chose it: The high-powered motor and variable speed control allow you to make margaritas to your specifications.
While a 48-ounce container may seem small for a blender or juicer, the Vitamix E310 works perfectly for frozen drinks. Powerful and simple to use, this blender has 10 speeds and a precision dial, allowing you to get the consistency of your drink just the way you like it. With no pre-measured ingredients or a programmable button, feel free to make the frozen margarita of your dreams—however, you must be cognizant of the recipe and ingredients you’re using. While this may be fine for someone with even the tiniest knowledge of classic cocktails, it will require you to measure accordingly, and won’t produce an adult beverage with just a touch of a button. However, the blender can be used for everything from sauces to soups, so it’s well-worth the investment.
Best for Parties: Taco Tuesday Margarita And Slushie Maker
Best for Parties
Watts: N/A | Capacity: 64 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: No
- 64-ounce capacity
- Easy to serve
- Can leak when serving
- Can get clogged
- Long shaving/grinding time
Why we chose it: This margarita maker allows guests to easily pour their own drinks without having to ask you for a refill.
A margarita maker that allows people to serve themselves? We’ll take it. This 64-ounce capacity margarita and slushie maker is perfect for a party. Made of plastic with stainless steel blades, this machine is easy to transfer from kitchen to outdoors, or even bring along to a friend’s house. While this machine takes a bit longer to shave the ice (about 7 minutes), the job gets done. However, the one drawback here is that the ice tends to be inconsistently shaved, which can cause some problems at serving, including too much liquid. To combat this, give what’s left in the machine a quick pulse, which will help stir any excess liquid that falls to the bottom and also helps to prevent larger pieces of ice from blocking all that yummy margarita goodness.
Best Small: Ninja Twisti Blender
Watts: 1,200 | Capacity: 34 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes
- Even ice consistency
- Frozen drink program option
- Even blending
- Smaller capacity (34 ounces)
Why we chose it: Blade technology is on display here, with even ice shavings and consistently good results.
While less expensive than both the Margaritaville and Vitamix option, the Ninja Twisti Blender seems to produce the best ice consistency all around—and that’s important when you’re serving up frozen cocktails. Plus, the blender comes equipped with a frozen drink option for easy use and consistently good results. It also includes a twisting tamper, so no need to stop blending to free up stuck ice bits, either. If you’re looking to add fresh fruits to your frozen drink, these blades break them down like they’re nothing, blending them seamlessly into your sipper.
Best Style: Nostalgia Margarita Maker
Watts: 200 | Capacity: 64 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: No
- 64-ounce capacity
- Unique look
- Easy to clean
- Ice was either too slushy or not completely blended
Why we chose it: Lightweight and easy to store and use, this margarita maker has a surprisingly strong motor and a look that draws attention.
If you’re looking for something that looks beautiful and makes a mean margarita, you’re in luck. This bright red machine virtually screams party from the get-go, and it’s light so can be moved from the kitchen to the outdoor living space without much fanfare. Another plus for this machine? Everything detaches from the base and can be thrown in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, including the cup rest and drip tray. No more worrying about how to get the “sticky” off of all the pieces before storing. However, it does not have different settings or dials to allow for a change in drink consistency. In some tests, the ice became more slush-like, while in others, there were large pieces of ice that did not get blended.
Best Budget: Classic Cuisine Margarita Maker
Watts: 85 | Capacity: 32 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: Yes
- Easy to use
- Easy to store
- Inconsistent ice crushing
- Smaller capacity
Why we chose it: This no-frills machine gets the job done in a flash, without any complicated bells and whistles.
This easy-to-use drink maker is perfect for those moments when you just want a frozen margarita and don’t feel like going out. It gets the job done without taking too much time or too many ingredients, and it’s easy to use and store. And, with a price point of less than $40, you’ll get your money’s worth in two uses. The 32-ounce pitcher also has a stirring and mixing paddle to help the end product along, a key feature on this model.
Best Portable: BlendJet 2
Watts: N/A | Capacity: 16 fluid ounces | Dishwasher safe: No
- Crushes ice well
- Holds charge well
- Takes longer to crush ice
- Ice usage takes more battery life
- Smaller batches
Why we chose it: Margaritas just about anywhere? Yes, please. This powerful motor gets the job done with the touch of a button.
If you’re looking to make margs on the go, there really is no better option than BlendJet 2. This machine is small and sleek (perfect for any beach bag or carry-on) and allows you to take blending capabilities just about anywhere. While it is great at crushing ice and does so pretty consistently, it does work better and faster with smaller cubes. It also works better if given a small break in between blendings, meaning you may have to split batches. It does hold a charge for a surprisingly long time, though, which means you’ll be able to make multiple batches. A handy indicator light alerts you when the battery life is low.
When selecting margarita makers to test, we looked at popular options from both big names and smaller brands, reading reviews and searching several websites to find the margarita makers that home cooks are most interested in. For machines with pre-made mixes (Margaritaville), we were careful to follow the instructions for best use. For all other machines, we used a classic margarita recipe with one cup of ice to ensure consistent results. While using, we took note of precision dials, speeds, and other features that would change the results. Each machine was tested a minimum of twice. We also consulted with Colt Taylor, chef and owner of The Essex in Old Saybrook, Connecticut and Los Charros Cantina in Centerbrook, Connecticut on use of frozen margarita machines and blenders at home.
Features to Keep In Mind
Margarita makers are definitely appealing, but there are so many on the market, each with different features and benefits, which makes narrowing the purchase down even more confusing. Horsepower, says Taylor, is the most important thing when deciding which margarita maker should come home with you. “You need to make sure that the margarita machine you purchase is going to have enough horsepower to suit your purpose,” he says. “No one wants big chunks of ice in their frozen margarita, that ruins it.”
Taylor also noted that some of the machines have variable controls, like speed, ice consistency, pre-programmed drink functions, and more. “This will allow you to have more control over the consistency of the margarita or slushie and you can really make it the way you prefer,” he says.
If you like to entertain, consider a machine with a larger capacity in order to make more drinks at once. Keep in mind, though, that a larger capacity means larger sizes, which can be more difficult to store and clean.
Ask The Experts
Are margarita machines dishwasher friendly?
Many of the components to frozen margarita makers come apart and can be put in the dishwasher. “Nothing is going to sanitize and clean these pieces like the heat from the dishwasher,” says Taylor. But, he adds, before disassembling the machine, you should do a run with warm water and a gentle sanitizer to help clean out anything left in the lines. This will ensure every batch continues to taste as good as the last.
Do I need margarita mix for a machine?
While some of the frozen margarita machines pre-measure the ingredients, others allow you to create your own recipe. Taylor explains that the added ice will dilute the flavor of your drink. The solution? “Go heavy on the fresh lime juice as well as heavy on the tequila. This will balance any loss of flavor you’ll get because anything cold tends to dilute the flavor profile of the cocktail,” he says. If you don’t specifically purchase a margarita maker, Taylor adds that you can ensure a perfect margarita by making a classic margarita, freezing it in cubes, and then blending it with whatever you have. This will help with dilution and flavor.
The best margarita machines blend or shave ice into consistent pieces, are easy to use, and have a motor that won’t leave ice or fruit chunks in your drink. In our experience, margarita machines with pre-programmed functions are best, but strong blenders can be used as well.
Continue to Next Story