Agua de naranja (orange fresca) is a refreshing and sweet Mexican drink made out of orange juice, sugar, and water. If you are looking for a drink to serve with your favorite Mexican foods, do not miss this recipe!
This is one of the most popular Mexican beverages and I warn you, it’s addictive. It’s also incredibly easy to make with just 3 ingredients required!
What Is Agua de Naranja?
The recipe is one of the countless versions of aguas frescas and it features fresh orange juice, sugar, and water. It is very simple to make, requiring only about 10 minutes from start to finish!
You can also find this recipe in spanish as agua fresca de naranja or in english as orange water or orange fresca.
Aguas frescas dates back to the Aztec era and had been always an important part of the Mexican gastronomy.
Those traditional beverages are made with seasonal fruits, grains, and even flowers. They are hydrating, delicious, and a healthier alternative for bottled beverages.
All around Mexico you will find stands displaying large jugs called vitroleros containing various flavors of agua fresca and people will stop on their ways to buy and enjoy a large glass of this refreshing drink.
The Health Benefits of Oranges
Oranges are a healthy fruit packed with many vitamins and nutrients such as:
Vitamin C: Is estimated that a single orange have around 70 milligrams of vitamin C which is a good percentage of the recommended daily intake.
This type of vitamin boost immunity and help our cells fights diseases and reduce the impact of air pollution and infections such as colds. Also, promote the creation of collagen and its multiple benefits.
Potassium: This mineral helps to absorb nutrients from the food you eat and can help to regulate your heartbeat and nerves contraction.
Vitamin B9: Also known as folate, this vitamin is highly recommended for pregnant woman as it plays an importan role in DNA formation.
Thiamine: Commonly known as Vitamin B1, thiamin helps your body to process fats, carbohydrates, and proteins from foods you eat.
As you can see, this drink can do a lot more for you than just refresh your body. If you go the extra mile and use natural sweeteners instead of refined sugar, it can help with weight management, and even weight loss.
The Step by Step Recipe
Wash the oranges and cut them into halves. Extract the juice using a manual or electric citrus juicer, you will need about 1 1/2 cups of orange juice, so make sure you use as many oranges as needed.
Pour the orange juice in a pitcher larger enough to contain about 10 cups of liquid. Add sugar and stir to dissolve it.
Now, add 7 1/2 cups of water to the pitcher and mix well. Adjust sugar to taste if needed.
Serve your agua de naranja in glasses with ice or place the pitcher in the fridge until the water is cold to your liking. When ready, garnish with some orange slices and serve.
Useful notes and tips
- You can make this agua de naranja recipe with any type of fresh oranges you have available where you live. Related: 10 types of oranges.
- Do not add all sugar at once, so you can adjust the sweetness to your liking.
- You can use other types of sweetener such as stevia, brown sugar, or honey.
- Choose oranges that feel heavy when you get them and have a firm skin too. So stay away from those that feel spongy or have some soft spots.
- Use oranges that are on season, Valencias (late spring to midsummer), Blood oranges (early winter until early spring), or Navel (midwinter to early spring).
How To Store
You can make ahead agua de naranja up to 3 days and store in the fridge. Glass containers preserve the taste best, but feel free to use other types of containers as long as hey have a tight lid to prevent the orange fresca from absorbing other smells.
Watch How To Make It
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Agua de Naranja (orange water)
- 1 ½ cups orange juice (freshly squeezed)
- 7 ½ cups water
- ⅓ cup sugar (read notes)
- Pour the orange juice in a pitcher larger enough to contain about 8 cups of liquid.
- Add sugar and stir to dissolve it.
- Add the water to the pitcher and mix well.
- Adjust sugar to taste if needed.
- Serve in glasses with ice or place the pitcher in the fridge until the water is cold to your liking.
What type of orange can I use?
You can use any type of oranges to make this recipe. Just make sure to adjust the sugar as some types are sweeter than others.
Can I make it with bottled orange juice?
Yes, but the taste and health benefits won’t be the same as it is with fresh oranges.
Can I make it ahead?
Of course. If you planning to serve this refreshing orange fresca at a party or gathering, you can make it up to 3 days ahead and keep it in the fridge until needed.
Can I make it sugar-free?
Yes, you can make this recipe leaving out the sugar entirely. You will enjoy a refreshing orange flavored water perfect to drink during the warm season.
Other aguas frescas you might like
- Tamarind drink. Made with tamarind concentrate, this fresca water can be made in just 10 minutes!
- Strawberry agua fresca. Made with fresh or frozen strawberries with the addition of chia seeds.
- Agua de piña. Tart and sweet, this pineapple water is perfect for summer parties.
- Lime and chia fresca. The traditional agua de limón with a fun spin.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.