Cucumber Agua Fresca

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Cucumber agua fresca is the best hot-weather drink that also uses up too many cucumbers if you’re being overrun in the garden. Cucumbers, lime juice, a little salt and some sugar bring at all together in minutes.

A glass of cucumber agua fresca with some limes alongside.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Agua fresca is a Mexican term for freshly made juices designed to a) quench your thirst on a hot day, and b) get you some easy-to-handle nutrition while you’re at it.

Tons of varieties exist, and I have a really good recipe for prickly pear agua fresca on this site. But if you Google around, you’ll find recipes for agua fresca with tamarind, cantaloupe, strawberries, hibiscus, you name it.

Cucumbers are cooling, perfect for a hot day, and, well, they grow really fast. So if you are growing cucumbers you can easily find yourself with too many cucumbers. Cucumber agua fresca is a great answer to that.

I don’t peel the cucumbers for this recipe because I grow a Japanese variety of cucumber with skins that aren’t bitter. That said, many varieties of cucumber get bitter skins, especially as the cukes mature.

If this is the case, peel them. You’ll get a lighter cucumber agua fresca in that case, but it’s not a big deal.

Overhead view of a glass of cucumber agua fresca.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Now, you have two choices when making this drink: Strain it or not.

I strain my cucumber agua fresca because that removes bits of seeds and pulp, making the drink easier to pour. All you do it blend it as normal, then push it through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl. It’s a short extra step that makes a better drink.

How much salt, sugar and lime juice you add is up to you.

What’s also up to you is whether you decide to spike your cucumber agua fresca. I don’t always, but it’s really good with a silver tequila, mezcal, bacanora or sotol.

Once made, this will keep a day or two in the fridge, but it’s really best the day it’s made.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

A glass of cucumber agua fresca with some limes alongside.
5 from 14 votes

Cucumber Agua Fresca

This is a simple, refreshing summertime drink. You can vary the amounts of salt, sugar and lime juice to suit your tastes. Start small, and go from there. You can also use honey instead of sugar. Agave syrup is a good choice, too.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 Blender
  • 1 fine meshed strainer

Ingredients 

  • 2 cucumbers, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Juice of 3 limes

Instructions 

  • Put the cucumbers, salt, sugar and lime juice in the blender. Cover with 6 cups of water.
  • Blend until totally smooth. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a bowl and push the liquid through it. Taste the liquid and add more salt, sugar or lime juice to taste. Serve over ice.

Notes

You can add more lime, salt or sugar, but this will get you started. Remember to taste the cucumber skin and peel it if it’s bitter. 

Variations

  • You can add an herb like mint, cilantro, lemon verbena, hoja santa, or some other sweet herb. Pitiona is a great option. 
  • Grated ginger and lemongrass give this a Southeast Asian flair. 
  • Agave syrup is a good alternative sweetener. 
  • Grated zest of the lime is a really nice option. 
  • So is tequila…

Nutrition

Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 256mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 133IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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14 Comments

  1. If you strain this would it keep if you freeze it perhaps in ice cubes to serve later? I was just wondering if it would keep and taste as good after being frozen?

  2. nice, made and did not strain (will next time). had it with gin. Making another batch right now. Waiting for the prickly pears to ripen so I can try that recipe. Thanks

  3. The summer recipe I didn’t know I needed. Took your suggestion of adding a bit of mint and lime zest and the result was one of the most pleasant and refreshing hot-weather beverages I’ve ever had. And so quick and easy! (We didn’t strain ours, and the froth was delightful too.) Why isn’t this served everywhere??

  4. The cucumber agua fresca was sooo good and quenching in the hot and humid weather we were having in southeastern New England during the month of July. Cucumbers have been loving the weather, and you can only eat so many in salad and as pickles! Your recipe offered a fantastic way to enjoy the bounty. Thank you!

  5. could you list how to use other fruits like strawberries or raspberries. I’m a big fan of minute maids Agua frescos. but I’d like to learn how to make it myself. and I can’t use cucumbers because they make me sick.

    1. Angie: There are some details for each that I can’t get into in a comment, but generally speaking it’s the same procedure: Blend with a tiny pinch of salt, as much sugar as you like, and if you want, lime juice. Strain, or not. Up yo you. With some fruits, you’ll need to add water. I’d add some with raspberries and strawberries.

  6. Thanks for this “cool” recipe. Definitely going to try it. I have 3 of your hunter gatherer cookbooks and they have helped make this hunter gather a better wild game cook for the family.

  7. Great version of a great drink. Had it first in New Mexico where they just sliced the cucs into the water and added a squirt of lime. This is more intense but both are good.

  8. Thanks for the recipe, I will sure be trying this when my cucumbers grow. Usually I get so many cucumbers I dont know what to do with them all. Now I can solve that problem. I will let you know more after I make it, Thanks for all your recipes.