Tepache Recipe

Tepache is a Mexican beverage that is centuries old. It is a memory of authentic Mexican culture and cuisine. So, if you are a Mexican food and culture lover, you can’t pass by without trying this drink.

This delicious fermented, bubbly, and sweet drink is made by fermenting pineapple peels. Although the ingredients have changed over the years, the preparation process is the same.

A bottle with tepache and some served on glasses with ice.

You can easily make it at home. This drink is perfect to beat the summer heat. You can drink it straight out of the bottle, or mix it with sparkling water, or use it in a tepache cocktail. Either way, it is refreshing, light, and flavourful.

Related article: Benefits of fermented drinks/foods – bbcgoodfod.com

What is tepache?

The word “Tepache” originated from the Nahuatl word “tepiatl,” which means “drink made from corn.” So, we can say that the original drink was made using corn instead of pineapple. Over time, the recipe evolved, and corn was replaced with pineapple. However, in some rural communities in south Mexico, tepache is still made with corn, similar to Tejuino.

There’s not only one way of making this beverage in Mexico. Almost every state or region has its own recipe and some may include other types of fruits, spices or also, as in ancient times, corn.

Tepache on a glass seen from above.

So, we can say that the bubbly, sweet, and flavorful drink that we enjoy today has come a long way. Because pineapple has a unique fruity, sweet and citrusy flavor, this beverage has a unique taste that is addictive.

Is alcoholic?

Because of the fermentation process, this beverage also has a low content of alcohol. Something about 2% or even less, depending how long it ferments or how much sweet you add, but nothing too strong!

A jar with fermented tepache.

What to use instead of Piloncillo?

Piloncillo is actually raw cane sugar. It is the main ingredient of this beverage. It is also the most commonly used ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Piloncillo is also known as Mexican brown sugar. That is because, like brown sugar, it is also an unprocessed version of cane sugar. It has a strong sweet, rich and deep flavor. 

If you cant find Piloncillo, it doesn’t mean you can make this delicious drink. You can use molasses, or dark brown sugar, or both instead as well.

Glasses with tepache de pina on a marble surface.

Tips for perfect tepache

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when making this drink:

  • Once you dissolve piloncillo in water, wait for it to reach room temperature before adding it to pineapple peels.
  • When using molasses instead of piloncillo, you have to use it directly without simmering it in water.
  • Make sure to wash very well pineapple, use a brush.
  • If you see pineapple peels floating after the fermenting process starts, carefully push them down, but make sure to not mix or you’ll stop the fermentation process. 
  • Dont let it ferment for more than three days or it will turn into vinegar.
  • When tasting, always use a clean spoon to prevent crossed contamination.
Foamy tepache on a jar (from side).

How To Make Tepache

Wash very well your pineapple under running water and using a brush to remove all dust. Peel it and set aside the peel and core. Save the pulp for other recipes.

Peeled and cut pineapple on a cutting board.

In a medium pot pour 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add piloncillo or brown sugar and set heat to the lowest while stirring constantly, until piloncillo has dissolved. Allow to cool down.

Dissolving piloncillo on water.

Place the pineapple peel and the core cut into chunks in a large water jar with tap. You can also use a plastic container or even better, a clay pot.

The peels placed on a large jar.

Pour in the piloncillo water, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. You can also add peppercorns (about 1/2 tsp) if you like.

Adding spices to jar.

Add the remaining water and mix everything very well.

Mixture just made.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place the jar on the countertop and let it sit for 24 hours.

If the weather is warm enough, within the first 12 hours you will notice some small bubbles and a bit of foam will appear on the surface, those are a clear sign that there’s some activity (fermentation) going on.

The jar from front showing some bubbles on top of liquid.

After 24 hours you’ll see some white foam formed on top, if you don’t see it, cover again the jar and allow to rest for another day or two.

Teach from above after 36 hours. Showing foam on top.

The time for fermentation will vary according to some factors such as room temperature, ripeness of pineapple, and how much piloncillo you added. The one you see below was after 72 hrs at about 75°F/24°C room temperature.

Foam on top tepache.

Once your tepache is ready, strain it and discard the peel and spices. Then transfer to bottles and store in the fridge or serve in glasses with ice.

How To Drink It

The best way to drink tepache is cold, you can place the bottle in the fridge and allow to get cold or you can also serve it over ice in glasses. If you think the flavor is too strong, you can dilute it a bit with sparkling or still water.

My grandpa Gabino loved to drink it very cold from the fridge and add one or two teaspoons of bicarbonate (baking soda).

3 glasses with mexican fermented tepache de piña.

How long does tepache last?

Unfortunately, once it is fermented, it doesn’t last for a very long time. Although you can store it in the refrigerator, its flavor will deteriorate slowly, and it will end up as vinegar. So, it is better to consume it within three days after fermentation. 

Tepache recipe.

Tepache (Mexican fermented pineapple drink)

Tepache is a delicious fermented, bubbly, and sweet drink made by fermenting pineapple peels.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 5 minutes
TOTAL 3 days 15 minutes
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 1 large ripe pineapple (well washed)
  • 12 oz piloncillo (or brown sugar)
  • 2 small sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 quarts filtered water

Instructions

  • Peel the pineapple and set aside the peel and core.
  • In a medium pot pour 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add piloncillo or brown sugar and reduce heat to the lowest. Stir constantly, until piloncillo has dissolved. Allow to cool down.
  • Place the pineapple peel and the core cut into chunks in a large water jar. You can also use a plastic container or a clay pot.
  • Add piloncillo water, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves to the jar.
  • Add the remaining water and mix everything very well.
  • Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place the jar on the countertop and let it sit for 24 hours.
  • If the weather is warm enough, within the first 12 hours you will notice some small bubbles and a bit of foam will appear on the surface.
  • After 24 hours you’ll see some white foam formed on top. Cover again the jar and allow to rest for another day or two.
  • Between 36 and 72 hours your tepache will be ready and with lots of foam on top.
  • Once your tepache is ready, strain it and discard the peel and spices. Then transfer to bottles and serve over ice or store in the fridge.

notes

  • Once you dissolve piloncillo in water, wait for it to reach room temperature before adding it to pineapple peels.
  • When using molasses instead of piloncillo, you have to use it directly without simmering it in water.
  • Make sure to wash very well pineapple, use a brush.
  • If you see pineapple peels floating after the fermenting process starts, carefully push them down, but make sure to not mix or you’ll stop the fermentation process. 
  • Dont let it ferment for more than 3 days or it will turn into vinegar.
  • When tasting, always use a clean spoon to prevent crossed contamination.
Nutrition
Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 82mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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