Classic Chelada Recipe - A Mexican Beer Cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on August 29, 2023

A Chelada is a cocktail from Mexico made with beer, lime juice, and a salt rim. It's a refreshing and unique way to enjoy a cold beer.
Three Chelada cocktails with lime and Tajin

Mexican beer, including classics like Sol, Dos Equis, and Corona, usually pairs perfectly with lime. So it's no surprise that a well-made Chelada is a great drink. 

Like many other Mexican drinks, a Chelada also features a salt rim. An unpretentious addition that rounds off this refreshing thirst quencher. 

Quick Facts Chelada

  • Method: built in glass
  • Flavor profile: refreshing, mildly bitter
  • How to serve it: over ice
  • Best glassware: pint glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 4% ABV, 13 grams of alcohol per serving

Read on and find out how to create a perfect Chelada, which you can serve alongside Tacos, Nachos, and Guacamole.

Three Chelada cocktails with lime and Tajin

Chelada Recipe

A classic Mexican beer cocktail made with Lager beer, fresh lime juice, and a delicate salt rim.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Beer, lime
Servings: 1
Calories: 132kcal
Cost: $2.10


  • 1 Bar spoon


  • 12 oz Mexican beer
  • 1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 pinch Fleur de sel
  • 1 tbsp Fleur de sel (for salt rim)
  • 1 tbsp Tajín (for salt rim)


  • Mix Fleur de sel (or flaky sea salt) with Tajín on a small plate until thoroughly mixed.
    1 tbsp Fleur de sel (for salt rim), 1 tbsp Tajín (for salt rim)
  • Use a lime wedge to wet the glass rim and then dip the glass into the salt and spice mix.
  • Add freshly squeezed lime juice into the glass, add a pinch of sea salt, and stir until salt dissolves.
    1 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 pinch Fleur de sel
  • Add ice cubes and pour in the chilled beer. If needed, stir gently.
    12 oz Mexican beer


Serving: 13ozCalories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 39mgSugar: 1.1gVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Best Ingredients for a Chelada

To make a great Chelada, you'll need three things:

  • An ice-cold beer: Mexican beers like Sol, Corona, or Dos Equis are the best fit because they are mild and go exceptionally well with lime and salt.
  • Fresh lime juice: this might not be a craft cocktail, still, the lime juice has to be freshly squeezed for this drink to work. If you plan to use bottled juice, I advise against making a Chelada and drink the beer straight instead.
  • Salt rim: rimming your glass with salt is almost an art form in Mexico. Thus, table salt won't do. Read on to learn what makes the perfect salt rim for a Chelada Cocktail. 

The salt rim of a Chelada

For a Chelada, I prefer a combination of fleur de sel and Tajín to give it a bit of spice. Here's what you need to do to get a perfect salt rim for your beer drink:

  • Combine equal parts of fleur de sel and Tajín spice on a small plate and mix thoroughly. That will add just enough zing to the rim to lift the drink without overpowering the taste of your Chelada.
  • Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of the glass. If you want, you can cut into the lime flesh for easier handling.
  • Dip the glass into the salt and spice mix. Depending on your preference, you can dip only the outside of the glass or the inside, as well. Yet, keep in mind that salt on the inside can lead to salt and spice falling into your drink.

Once the glass is ready to go, set it aside while preparing the other ingredients.

The salt rim in Mexican cocktails is often an essential part of traditional drinks. You can make it with fleur de sel, a flaky sea salt, or a mix of fleur de sel and a spice mix like Tajín - as we do here.

Meaning of Chelada

The Chelada is just one of many Mexican beer cocktails. There, this category of drinks is called Cerveza preparada - or "prepared beer". Another similar cerveza preparada is the Michelada cocktail.

The origin of both drinks is a bit murky, but most likely, both got their name from a combination of the words mi, chela, and helada

Chela is a common word in Mexico for beer, and helada translates to ice. Therefore, the words (mi) chela helada more or less translate to (my) ice-cold beer.

Tips & Tricks for the Preparation

As easy as making a great Chelada is, there's a small trick to make it even better.

First, pour the lime juice into a chilled and rimmed glass. Make sure to use just enough to add that needed zestiness to the beer, not more.

Add a pinch of salt and stir until the salt has dissolved. That brings a nice salty touch to your Chelada.

Then add some ice cubes to keep the beer chilled before finally pouring in the ice-cold beer. Use a light, Lager-style beer from Mexico for this (preferably Sol or Corona).

As you pour in the beer, it immediately and automatically mixes with the lime juice - No stirring or mixing is required.

Michelada cocktail

Chelada vs. Michelada

Chelada and Michelada are both Mexican beer cocktails. While a classic Chelada consists of only three ingredients, the Michelada is way more complex.

The ingredients of a Michelada vary from recipe to recipe but always include a variety of sauces like hot sauce, Maggi sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. 

Both drinks feature a salt rim, although the Michelada often comes solely with the Tajín spice mix - as opposed to a blend of Tajín and salt for the Chelada. That only makes sense when you consider that its taste is supposed to be more complex and intense compared to a classic Chelada.

Related Recipes

Mexicans are not the only nationality who love their beer. However, you might be surprised to hear that one of the more recently trending beer cocktails is actually from Thailand: The Jelly Beer. Give this half-frozen beverage a try on a hot summer day. 

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