happy May! this month marks the last "official" month of spring. before you know it, summer and it's laissez-faire attitude will take hold. the time of year when it's a little easier to slip into memories of lazy days, cold treats and the magic of summer nights. one drink that becomes a mainstay (at least for me!) is a freshly juiced margarita. this no bake margarita pie brings all the things I love about this summer ready cocktail and turns it into a fantastic summer ready dessert! this no bake dessert also happens to arrive just in time for cinco de mayo.
what is cinco de mayo...
and why do americans celebrate it?
this holiday has taken up prominence in American culture as a day to eat tex-mex food, drink margaritas and celebrate. but, it is worth taking note on the historical significance of this day to the Mexican people.
May 5, 1862 is marked in Mexican history as the day the Mexican Army was victorious over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. many Americans believe this marks a sort of mexican "independence day," that day is actually September 16, 1810. on that day, the Mexican War against Spain officially ended and Mexico gained its independence.
so how did Americans come to celebrate cinco de mayo?
this celebratory holiday was initially started in the US around the time of the America's own civil war. in 1863, the first cinco de mayo celebration was held in Southern California as an act of solidarity for the mexican people's fight against the French. overtime, this holiday became more commercialized to resemble this very festive, loosely based around historical events type of holiday.
for me, this is a time when I choose to celebrate the Mexican culture (and my own Mexican heritage) that is so closely intertwined to Texas and it's own history. so many of the insanely delicious foods and drinks come straight from our neighbors to the south. many traditions, words and celebrations can be traced back to Mexican culture. in that celebratory spirit, I created this no bake margarita pie. to be enjoyed by family and friends on a hot spring or summer day.
describe this frozen pie in a few words
- back notes of tequila
- like a sweet margarita in pie from
put these ingredients on your grocery list
- pretzels (whole or crushed)
- sub with graham crackers for a sweeter crust
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter
- heavy whipping cream
- sweetened condensed milk
- tequila blanco
- this is my favorite brand for drinking
- use what you have or buy a mini bottle for making this dessert
- lemon or lime extract
- flaky salt
grab these baking tools for the best no bake margarita pie
- 9" spring form pan
- suggested pan for this dessert, you can also use:
- 9-10" tart pan
- 8X8 or 9X9 pan (bars)
- 9X5 or larger loaf pan
- individual serving glasses
- food processor
- to crush the pretzels for the crust
- buy pre crushed pretzels or graham crackers for a pie crust
- you could also buy a ready to use no bake crust
- stand mixer with whisk attachment
- to make the whipped cream
- sub with cool whip
- large bowl, large spatula or spoon
- for mixing the filling
- parchment paper
- to line the bottom and sides of the pan
to tequila or not?
is a margarita the same without it? for me, the answer is a big NO. but, if you'd like to serve this to kids or you just don't like alcohol, you can omit the boozy portion.
- sub with the same amount of lime juice
- the texture will be firmer when frozen
- set at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before cutting
how much is too much tequila?
adding more than 3 tbsp (or 2 full shots) of tequila will make the filling less stable. as in, it might be too runny to slice as a pie. why?
alcohol has a lower freezing point than other liquids. this means, the other liquids need to do the heavy structural lifting. after testing a few rounds, I found the MOST you can add and still get a nice slice is 3 - 4 tbsp of tequila. if you want more, I suggest serving this in glasses like a pudding.
still looking for a boozier bite? throw in an actual margarita to go with your slice of no bake margarita pie!
tips and tricks for the perfect frozen boozy dessert
- freeze the crust before filling
- otherwise you will end up with pieces of crust floating in the filling!
- mix the ingredients really well before folding in the whipped cream
- when folding the whipped cream, be very gentle
- we want to keep all the air you spent time whipping into the cream!
- you have to freeze this dessert
- just placing the dessert in the fridge means it may not set properly
- remove from the freezer right before serving
- the filling starts to soften about 15-20 minutes after coming out of the freezer
- the toppings add a nice contrast to the filling. I like adding them. its totally up to you!
- I added toppings after 2 hours of freezing
- if needed, toppings can be added right before serving
other no bake recipes to try
- no churn tahini ice cream
- strawberry + lavender popsicles
- Guinness toffee ice cream
- mini marinated cheese jars
make sure to leave a star review below
no bake (frozen) margarita pie
- food processor
- 8-10" spring form pan (see notes for other pans)
- stand mixer with whisk and paddle OR electric mixer with beaters
- parchment paper
- plastic cling wrap and foil (for covering while freezing)
- 3 c pretzels reduced down to 1 1/2 c crushed pretzels (sub with graham crackers for a sweeter crust)
- 3 tbsp (38g) brown sugar
- 6-7 tbsp (85-99g) unsalted butter, melted
- zest of one lime
creamy tequila lime filling
- 1 c (237ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
- 1/2 c (118ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- 14 oz. (396g) sweetened condesned milk
- 2-3 tbsp (30-45ml) tequila blanco of choice sub with more lime juice
- 1 tsp (5ml) lemon or lime extract, optional for flavor
- 1/2 tsp salt
- crush pretzels for topping
- zest of one lime for topping
- flaky salt for topping
- Line the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with parchment paper. Cut a seperate strip of parchment paper to line the side of the pan. Set aside.
- To prepare the crust: Place whole preztels in a food processor. Process until the consistency of sand. Add in the brown sugar and lime zest. Pulse to combine. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in most of the melted butter. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons to add in if needed. Once combined, the crust should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If not, add 1-2 tbsp more melted butter. Press the crust into the bottom of the lined pan. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.
- To prepare the filling: Pour the cold heavy cream into a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk on low-medium for 1 minute. Gradually increase to medium-high until stiff peaks form. Look for a peak that doesn't collapse when the whisk is held upright.
- Using another mixing bowl, pour the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, tequila, lime or lemon extract and salt. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. (If adding more tequila, do not exceed more than 4 tbsp/2.5 shots/ 1/4c)
- Gently fold in the whipped cream into the sweetened milk filling.
- Once the filling is fully combined. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.
- Pour the filling into the chilled pretzel crust. Freeze for 2 hours. If topping with any of the suggested toppings, add them now. Wrap the pie with plastic wrap and freeze a minimum of 6 more hours (8+ hours total).If serving within the next 24 hours pastic wrap is enough. If serving more than 24 hours later, wrap in plastic wrap and a layer of foil.
- After 8+ hours, the pie can be served. The filling should be set enough (firm, but still soft) to slice through easily. Slice and serve immediately.The filling consistency is dependent on how much tequila was used. If more was used, the filling will be softer. If no alcohol was used, the filling with be very firm and may require 5-10 minutes at room temperature before slicing. It is recommended to keep the pie frozen until ready to serve. The pie begins to "melt" about 10-20 minutes at room temperature on a warm day. Any unused pieces of pie should be wraped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer.
- bars: use a 8X8 - 9X9 pan
- tart: 9-10" tart pan with removable bottom (you may have extra filling)
- individual serving glasses: use 4oz. - 6oz. glasses