Piña Colada


Coconut milk provides richness that rounds out sweet-tart chunks of frozen pineapple and adds a creamy texture to this Piña Colada.

Fresh and Easy Piña Coladas
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

No cocktail evokes crashing waves, salty air, and warm sand quite like the Piña Colada, a drink which for many, has become synonymous with vacation. Though some cocktail bars might serve a more restrained Piña Colada on the rocks, the classic, sweet and frothy frozen version is our go-to. This drink gets served in a tall glass with a straw — extra points for elaborate garnishes like a thick slice of pineapple and bright red maraschino cherries. 

While a Piña Colada dispensed from a churning frosty machine behind a poolside bar can be objectively delicious, a homemade alternative with fresh ingredients is the best way to ensure pure pineapple and coconut flavors without the risk of a cloying, overly-sweet drink. In this recipe, frozen pineapple combines with creamy canned coconut milk, light brown sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice, vanilla extract, and both white and dark rum. To achieve an ultra-thick texture, place your blender or food processor in the freezer for an additional thirty minutes once the ingredients are combined. This extra time to chill will firm up any excess moisture from the pineapple and lime juice. A quick blitz of the blender or food processor after the thirty minute freeze will ensure, creamy, ready-to-drink Piña Coladas.

While many Piña Colada recipes lean on Coco López or cream of coconut, a sweetened and thickened coconut cream, for coconut flavor and sweetness, this recipe calls for pure coconut milk. Unlike cream of coconut which can sometimes be too sweet, using pure coconut milk will result in a thick, luscious Piña Colada with clear fresh coconut flavors and a creamy mouthfeel from the incorporated coconut milk fats. Plus, coconut milk brings a lightness to the drink compared to coconut cream. This drink is all about pineapple and coconut, but like how salt can accentuate the flavors of a dish, a dash of vanilla helps meld the fruity notes in this recipe. A combination of both light and dark rums brings richness and an intensity of flavor, and to be honest, who wants just one type of rum when you can have two? 


  • 2 cups diced pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned in 100% juice, drained)

  • 1 cup well-shaken and stirred coconut milk

  • 4 ounces white rum

  • 4 ounces dark rum, plus more to taste

  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

  • 1 cup ice cubes

  • Pineapple leaves, pineapple wedges, lime wheels, maraschino or brandied cherries, cocktail umbrellas, flamingo drink stirrers, and paper straws, for serving


  1. If using fresh or drained canned pineapple, arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or in a ziplock bag, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

  2. Combine frozen pineapple, coconut milk, rums, sugar, lime juice, and vanilla bean paste in a blender; process until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Place blender pitcher in refrigerator, and let piña colada mixture rest until flavors meld, about 30 minutes. Return pitcher to blender base; add ice cubes, and process until thick and smooth, about 30 seconds. Divide among tulip wine glasses or hurricane glasses. Float additional dark rum on top of each drink to taste, and garnish as desired.

Make Ahead

Pineapple can be frozen up to 1 week ahead.

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