Home Recipe Roundup 10 Prickly Pear Recipes (+ Best Cactus Fruit Dishes)

10 Prickly Pear Recipes (+ Best Cactus Fruit Dishes)

From cocktails to candy, these prickly pear recipes have you covered.

There may only be ten of them, but they’re 10 of the best. 

Boozy Prickly Pear Margarita
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But let’s back up a second. What exactly is a prickly pear, and why should you eat it? 

Prickly pears are cactus fruits. That’s even what some people call them. Chances are, you’ve heard of them by one name or another. 

Either way, you can enjoy them raw or cooked. They’re spectacularly sweet, almost like a candied watermelon. In a word, they’re delicious. 

And that’s why you should check out this tasty list.

1. Prickly Pear Juice

This vibrant red juice is as yummy as it is gorgeous. You can make it with nothing more than prickly pears. 

Wash, peel, and puree them until they’re drinkable. That’s all it takes.

However, you can give it a sweeter, more complex flavor if you want. Just add lime juice and agave syrup.

The whole process takes 10 minutes tops. Once you have it ready, you can enjoy it by itself or in cocktails. 

2. Prickly Pear Syrup

Prickly pear syrup is just as fantastic. However, it’s sweeter, thicker, and doesn’t include limes.

You make it with prickly pears, sugar, and water. It takes a little over an hour and a half to make a batch. 

Luckily, you can keep it for up to a week or more in the refrigerator. That way, you won’t have to make a new batch every time you have a craving.

Like the juice, you can use the syrup in cocktails. It also tastes phenomenal on ice cream, pancakes, or waffles.

You can even add it to frosting for a fruity taste and vibrant color.

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3. Prickly Pear Margarita

I’ve talked about cocktails too much, and now I want one. Let’s check out a couple of recipes for them, shall we?

We’ll start with this hot pink margarita. It’s always a crowd-pleaser.

It’s sweet and tangy with notes of watermelon (from the prickly pear) and lime. It takes 5 minutes to whip up two, so you can share with a friend.

Salt the rim and add a slice of lime. It’s the perfect summertime drink. 

4. Prickly Pear Bourbon Cocktail

The bourbon cocktail isn’t as sweet as the margarita. However, it is fruity, delicious, and refreshing. 

With two ounces of liquor, it’s reasonably strong. It also features bourbon’s warm, earthy undertones.

(The half-cup of prickly pear syrup doesn’t mask it all that much.)

It’s a wonderful combination, though. It’s biting and bracing but not bitter. It makes a fantastic before-dinner cocktail. 

5. Prickly Pear and Lime Sorbet

Don’t you just adore naturally bright food and drinks? When something is a vibrant red or bold blue, I love it. 

This tart and tangy sorbet doesn’t need any food coloring to shine.

Its stunning reddish-pink color comes straight from the prickly pears. So does the fruity, jazzy taste. 

It uses four ingredients and might become your new favorite summer dessert. You can even make it boozy by adding a dash (or two) of Mezcal. 

Be sure to make two batches if you do. The kids will love it, too, and you won’t want to leave them out. 

6. Prickly Pear Lemonade

Kick your strawberry lemonade to the curb. Prickly pear lemonade is about to take its place!

You’ll adore its gem-like color, and its tropical, sweetly tart taste is even better. 

It takes just 5 minutes to make, and if you follow the recipes as written, it has only one net carb per serving! Go ahead and add this one to your favorites. 

After all, can you ever have too many refreshing summer drinks? Nope, I don’t think so, either! 

7. Tenderloin with Prickly Pear Sauce

Surprisingly, prickly pears aren’t just for sweet recipes, either. This tenderloin recipe is as savory as savory gets.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t liven it up with prickly pear sauce.

The sauce ensures the tenderloin is juicy and succulent. It’s also buttery with a hint of herbs and spiciness.

The sauce, though, takes it to a whole other level of scrumptiousness. You can have this decadent dish on the table in 30 minutes or less.

And I promise you that you’ve never had anything quite like it before. Your entire family will love it. 

8. Prickly Pear Vinaigrette

Some people think ranch dressing is the only salad dressing worth using. But you just can’t beat a bright, zesty vinaigrette. 

You can buy some excellent options, of course. However, there’s nothing quite like the limitless homemade varieties you can make.

This one is bright, zingy, and just a bit sweet.

It’s similar to raspberry vinaigrette, but there’s more to it. It’s slightly citrusy and bold, and it tastes fantastic on any salad. 

It works best with summer salads. However, I have been known to use it on a traditional Cobb.

9.  Prickly Pear Gum Drops

These pretty pink gumdrops are sticky, sugary, and oh-so-chewy. You can make them with just four ingredients and minimal effort.

They have a sweet, tropical, berry-like flavor that’s unbelievably good. However, unlike store-bought gumdrops, they don’t taste so artificial. 

Instead, they have a clean, natural sweetness, similar to apples or overripe berries. 

*Note: You may have to leave them longer than recommended recipe set times. If they still don’t firm up, try using more pectin the next time around. 

Just remember, even sticky and semi-liquid, they still taste incredible!

10. Prickly Pear Jelly

Prickly pear jelly is a must-make for any jam or jelly lover. It has the most wonderful flavor. 

It’s sweet but also tangy and tart. It’s almost like apple preserves mixed with blackberry/raspberry jam. And it tastes fantastic on everything.

Do you enjoy jelly on your bagels or biscuits? How about toast or a PB&J?

You can use prickly pear jelly on any of those things with spectacular results.

And if you have a favorite Dijon-apricot meat recipe, use this instead!

I can’t even begin to explain how unbelievable it tastes on chicken thighs or pork chops.

10 Ways to Use Prickly Pears

Learn how to eat cactus fruit with these tasty prickly pear recipes. From drinks to candy to sorbet, prickly pear is a flavor that can’t be topped.


  • Prickly Pear Juice

  • Prickly Pear Syrup

  • Prickly Pear Margarita

  • Prickly Pear Bourbon Cocktail

  • Prickly Pear and Lime Sorbet

  • Prickly Pear Lemonade

  • Ten derloin with Prickly Pear Sauce

  • Prickly Pear Vinaigrette

  • Prickly Pear Gum Drops

  • Prickly Pear Jelly


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a prickly pear recipe in 30 minutes or less!
Prickly Pear Recipes

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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