Enjoy the bold flavor of a tropical cocktail with less sugar and fat in this healthier piña colada! This easy drink is made with an intentional blend of ingredients for a satisfying summer sipper.
An alcoholic beverage is not going to be straight-up "healthy" no matter what else is in it, with this ringing especially true for a piña colada. Typically heavy on the cream of coconut and pineapple juice, the fat and sugar content is usually on the higher side for this tropical drink.
After nailing down my preferred piña colada mocktail recipe, I started tinkering with a blended piña colada to see how low I could take the aforementioned fat and sugar before the taste suffered.
Here's where I landed. This healthier piña colada has less sugar and less fat than standard recipes, and doesn't rely on flavored baking extracts or artificial sweeteners.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- From my testing, using less of the real thing (cream of coconut) provided more flavor with less fat than by trying to add coconut flavor using coconut milk.
- Traditional recipes use somewhere between 1-2 ounces of cream of coconut per drink, while this healthier piña colada contains 0.5 ounces per serving. This saves upwards of 10 grams of sugar, 1.5 grams of fat, and 60 calories.
- Coconut sparkling water boosts the coconut flavor even more without adding fat, sugar, or calories.
- Frozen pineapple chunks provide frosty thickness and are a better source of fiber than pineapple juice.
- Cream of Coconut: Found often with the canned coconut milks or with the drink mixers, a squeeze bottle makes for easy measuring and longevity once refrigerated. We're using less in this lower-sugar piña colada than they do in standard recipes.
- Pineapple Chunks: Fresh or frozen are fine. Frozen pineapple chunks add frostiness when blended without needing ice. Canned pineapple can be used after draining, though I recommend going for fruit canned in juice versus sugared syrup.
- Lime Juice: A little bit of freshly-squeezed lime juice ties these tropical flavors together nicely.
- Rum: White or gold rum varieties work well for a piña colada. Some like to use a coconut rum like Malibu (which is actually a liqueur with rum) in tropical drinks like this, but the extra coconut flavor comes with added sugars.
- Coconut Sparkling Water: My favorite lightened-up cocktail or mocktail ingredient! It adds perfect tropical flavor, adds a hint of effervescence, and bulks out a drink without extra sugar. I personally love the La Croix brand for this purpose or bubly coconut pineapple, but do use your favorite coconut-flavored sparkling water if it's different.
While some prefer piña coladas on the rocks, using frozen pineapple means that this less sugar/fat piña colada recipe will need to be blended.
- Add pineapple chunks, rum, cream of coconut, and lime juice to a blender and blend until mostly smooth.
- Pour in the coconut sparkling water and pulse until combined and smooth.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Blending carbonated water. I have always been a big scaredy cat when it comes to this, but you should be able to blend this into the piña colada mixture (on the lowest speed available) just fine without overflow.
- Adjust to taste. Drink preferences are so individual, so take a taste before portioning it out and add things if you see fit. I make these exactly as written.
- Other uses for coconut sparkling water. Buy a 12-pack? Besides sipping straight, consider substituting it in any variety of drinks you make at home that call for sparkling water, seltzer, club soda, etc. if the flavor fits. I'm partial to it in a mojito (either traditional or a mojito mocktail).
More Summery Drinks
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Healthier Piña Colada
- 1 ½ cups frozen pineapple chunks
- 3 ounces rum white or gold
- 1 ounce cream of coconut more if desired
- ½ ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
- 6 ounces coconut sparkling water
- Maraschino cherries for garnish
- Add frozen pineapple, rum, cream of coconut, and lime juice to a blender. Blend until the mixture is frothy and smooth as can be.
- Pour in the coconut sparkling water and blend in short spurts on the lowest speed until combined.
- Divide between two glasses, garnish with maraschino cherries and paper drink umbrellas, and serve.
- After blending, take a taste and adjust the ingredients as you like: more lime juice, an extra squeeze of cream of coconut if you'd like things sweeter, etc.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer