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Pineapple Tepache

The foolproof guide to easy pineapple tepache, a fizzy fermented Mexican drink made from just pineapple peels, sugar, and water!

Tepache in a glass with a red striped straw and pineapple

TEPACHE! Words cannot express how excited I am to finally be sharing this tepache recipe with you. So instead, I’ll just chant what I chant whenever I crack open a bangin’ bottle of tepache…

TEPACHE TEPACHE TEPACHE TEPACHE!

Ever since Brad of Bon Appetit brought tepache into my life, I’ve been working on perfecting my own recipe for this fizzy fermented brew.

You have questions, I know. Like what is tepache? (Perfection). And is it easy to make? (Heckin’ yes). So let’s brew, shall we? (You can jump around this tutorial by clicking the links below):

Tepache in second fermentation bottles

What is tepache?

Tepache, otherwise known as Tepache de Piña or pineapple beer, is a Mexican fermented drink made from the peel of pineapple.

Here’s how it works: There is yeast living virtually everywhere, and it can be harnessed to make delicious things! Yeast on flour makes sourdough, yeast on tea makes kombucha, and yeast on pineapple skin…makes tepache!

By feeding this yeast what it loves (sugar), you can use these yeast beasts to create flavor and carbonation.

So what does this pineapple brew taste like? Tepache can range from cider-like and sweet to yeasty like beer. But just as complex as the flavor is the carbonation, which gives this drink a fizzy, effervescent feel. The result is a delicious drink falling somewhere between soda, kombucha, and beer.

Tepache in a glass with a red striped straw and pineapple

Ingredients for homemade tepache

One of the best things about tepache is how simple the ingredients are! You’ll just need:

  • Pineapple Peel: Since we’re using the peel, aim for an organic pineapple. Pineapples are a pesticide intensive crop, and you don’t want that in your tepache!
  • Sugar: Use either piloncillo (the traditional Mexican sugar) or light brown sugar.
  • Water: No need to overcomplicate things – tap water is just fine here!
Pineapple rind cut for tepache

How to Make Tepache

To go with our easy list of ingredients, it’s also incredible easy to make. Here’s how to make tepache, step-by-step!

Step 1: Cut the Pineapple
Remove the crown and base of the pineapple, then rinse the body of the pineapple with cool tap water to remove potential pests or dirt. Cut the peel from the pineapple in big chunks, leaving about ½ inch of the pineapple flesh on the peel.

Step 2: Assemble
To a clean, large glass or ceramic jar, add light brown sugar (or piloncillo) and some water, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Add pineapple rinds, then cover with remaining water. The pineapple will need to be submerged in the liquid to prevent mold, so weigh it down using either a glass, spoon, or fermentation weight.

Step by step collage of how to make tepache

Step 3: Ferment
Cover with a clean dish towel or a few layers of paper towels, then secure with a rubber band. This will keep out pesky gnats or flies while allowing the yeasts to have oxygen. Set somewhere dark and room temperature (ideally 75-80°F, 24-26°C), letting it ferment for 1 to 3 days.

Making tepache in a glass jug on a white background

Step 4: Drink or Bottle
The tepache is finished fermenting when you see many small bubbles on top and it tastes how you want it to (test by drawing some out with a paper straw, using your finger to keep the tepache in the straw).

The longer it ferments, the less sweet and more yeast flavored it will become. The reaction will go more quickly in a warm environment, and will slow down when it is cooler, so begin tasting after 24 hours, letting the fermentation run for up to 72 hours.

At this point, you can either refrigerate and drink the tepache as it is, or carbonate it by bottling the liquid in what we call the second fermentation.

Pro-tip: There is still yeast left on your pineapple peels, so you can reuse them for one or two more rounds!

Pineapple rinds in tepache with bubbles on top

Second Fermentation

Much like in brewing kombucha, the second fermentation is an optional step used to add carbonation (and sometimes flavor) to your drink.

By bottling the tepache in an air tight container, all the CO2 released by the yeast is trapped in the liquid, creating that fizzy, beer-like texture. Which brings us to the final step of making tepache:

Step 5: Second Fermentation (optional, but recommended)
Funnel the liquid into fermentation-grade bottles (I recommend these bottles), leaving about 2 inches free at the top of each bottle. Set somewhere room temperature and dark, then allow it to ferment for another 1 to 3 days. After 24 hours, pop open a bottle to see how carbonated it has become and to gauge how much longer they will need. When the tepache has reached a carbonation level that you like, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.

Please note, carbonating tepache does involve pressure build up inside the bottles, which is why I recommend bottles specifically made for fermentation. As with any second fermentation, there is a risk of bottles exploding, so check on your bottles regularly and move them to the refrigerator when done.

Carbonation bubbles in a second fermentation bottle

Flavor Variations

Tepache is incredibly versatile in the flavors you can add to it! Here are some ideas to get you started:

To the first fermentation, you can add 2 thumbs of fresh sliced ginger (highly recommend), whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, chilis, pineapple flesh, or even diced mango. Just be sure to submerge all ingredients fully in liquid to prevent mold.

To the second fermentation, you can add virtually any fruit juice or fruit puree. Get some ideas from our kombucha flavors!

Pineapple rind, ginger, and chili in a glass jar with tepache

Tepache FAQ

Most fermentations involve a bit of trial and error, so it’s normal to have questions along the way! Here are some frequently asked questions (but feel free to drop a comment below with questions not answered here!).

Why isn’t my tepache bubbling?

If your tepache isn’t bubbly, it is likely because the yeast aren’t working well. This could be because you washed or submerged the pineapple in hot water (which would kill the yeast), or because your pineapple wasn’t ripe enough (meaning there wasn’t much yeast on it to begin with). If your tepache does not bubble in the first fermentation, consider starting over. If it did bubble in the first but not in the second fermentation, add a little sugar or juice to the bottles to give the yeast something to “eat”.

What is the alcohol content of tepache?

Tepache has an alcohol content of about 2% ABV, though this can be less if you let it ferment for a shorter time, or more if you let it go longer or are in a warmer climate. Test your tepache alcohol level with this tool.

What are the health benefits of tepache?

The main benefit of tepache are the probiotics, which promote a healthy gut and digestion. More on probiotics here.

How do you store tepache?

Store finished tepache in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a year. As with most fermentations, tepache will last virtually forever due to the acidity. Over time the flavors will continue to develop towards yeasty, but a properly made tepache will last for a long, long time!

Is tepache safe?

When made with clean supplies and when ingredients are submerged in the liquid while fermenting, tepache is safe to drink. The sugar in the liquid prevents bacterial growth until the yeast acidifies the drink, then the low pH takes over as an antibacterial protection. If you notice any mold growing, or detect any off-flavors or smells, throw away the whole batch and clean your supplies well before trying again.

What temperature is best for tepache?

Tepache ferments between 60-85°F (16-29°C), though for the most delicious tepache, aim for a temperature range between 75-80°F (24-26°C).

Can I use metal?

It is best to avoid prolonged contact with metal, as the acidity in the tepache can interact with the metal. Aim for glass or ceramic jars and bottles when brewing.

Pouring tepache into a tall glass with ice

Be sure to try our other fermentation projects, like kimchikefir, Greek Yogurt, and kombucha!

Tepache in a glass with a red striped straw and pineapple

Pineapple Tepache

The foolproof guide to easy pineapple tepache, a fizzy fermented Mexican drink made from just pineapple peels, sugar, and water!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverages (Non-Alcoholic)
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: how to make tepache, pineapple beer, pineapple tepache, tepache, Tepache de Piña
Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian
Occasion: 4th of July, Birthdays, Cinco de Mayo, Game Day
Time: 60 minutes or more
Prep: 5 mins
Fermentation: 1 d
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
5 from 4 votes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • 1 cup light brown sugar 200 g, or 1 large cone piloncillo
  • 8 cups water 1.9 L
  • Optional: 2 thumbs sliced fresh ginger, ½ red chili, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut: Remove the crown and base of the pineapple, then rinse the body of the pineapple with cool tap water to remove potential pests or dirt. Cut the peel from the pineapple in big chunks, leaving about ½ inch of the pineapple flesh on the peel.
  • Assemble: Add sugar (or piloncillo) and 1 cup of the water to a clean, large glass or ceramic jar, stirring well to dissolve sugar. Add optional flavors and cover with pineapple rinds, then add remaining water. Submerge all ingredients in the liquid to prevent mold by weighing it down using either a glass, ladle spoon, or fermentation weight.
  • Ferment: Cover with a clean dish towel or a few layers of paper towels, then secure with a rubber band. Set somewhere dark and room temperature (ideally 75-80°F, 24-26°C), letting it ferment for 1 to 3 days.
  • Drink or Bottle: The tepache is finished when you see many small bubbles on top and it tastes how you want it to (test by drawing some out with a paper straw, using your finger to keep the tepache in the straw). Either refrigerate and drink the tepache as is, or carbonate it in the second fermentation.
  • Second Fermentation (Optional): Funnel the liquid into fermentation-grade bottles, leaving about 2 inches free at the top of each bottle. Set somewhere room temperature and dark, then allow it to ferment for another 1 to 3 days. After 24 hours, pop open a bottle to see how carbonated it has become and to gauge how much longer they will need. When the tepache has reached a carbonation level that you like, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.

NOTES

  • Reuse the pineapple peels for another 1 or 2 rounds after your initial fermentation. There is still plenty of yeast on them!
  • Blast zone: Carbonating tepache in the second fermentation does involve pressure build up inside the bottles, which is why I recommend bottles specifically made for fermentation. As with any second fermentation, there is a risk of bottles exploding, so check on your bottles regularly and move them to the refrigerator when done.
  • Store finished tepache in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a year. As with most fermentations, tepache will last virtually forever due to the acidity. Over time the flavors will continue to develop towards yeasty, but a properly made tepache will last for a long, long time!

NUTRITION

Serving: 1cup (depends on fermentation lenngth) | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 0mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg
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  1. Muriel says:

    If you have fresh pineapple, but have already discarded the peel – can you still make Tepache using the pineapple fruit?

    1. Sarah says:

      Great question! You will need the peel – this is where that natural yeast hangs out, and what you will need to kick off the fermentation. 😀

  2. Heather says:

    My Tepache never bubbled and smelled “funky”! I washed in lukewarm water as suggested and the pineapple was nice and ripe. My house is chilly so I gave it 2 days for the first ferment. It smelled weird and had no bubbles. I checked again days 3 and 4 and it was a bust! This seems so easy, if I can get it to work! I’ll try again once I buy another pineapple. The rind just goes into the compost anyway so why not make something from it! Any suggestions in the meantime?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Heather! Did you give it a taste to see if any flavors were developing? If your house is chilly, it could take even longer than 4 days (up to about a week). But with that said, a super chilly house will prevent any fermentation from happening. Can you try to find a warmer area?

      And try rinsing with cool water rather than lukewarm, just in case the yeast were impacted by that. Happy brewing!

  3. Suzanne says:

    I think I need some help. I haven’t had tepache before but I don’t like the flavor. I thought it would be more like the kombucha, which I love. I’m wondering if I did something wrong.
    The temperature is around 70 degrees. I started with 3 days then did a second batch with the same peels for 2 days. Still not loving it. Does it need to go longer? It seems very yeasty.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Suzanne! Tepache can range from anywhere between sweet like pineapple soda and yeasty like beer. If it is very yeasty then it likely went for too long. Try tasting after just 24 hours and go from there!

  4. Andrea Stevens says:

    Hi!
    I just made this morning but my jar only held 4 1\2 cups of water. Will it be ok for this batch? I’ll get a bigger jar this weekend for the next try. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      That should be fine, I would just scale down the recipe proportionally 😀

  5. Andrea Stevens says:

    Thanks for the quick response!
    Unfortunately, I added the sugar before I realized the jar wouldn’t hold a lot. Should I let it sit longer because of the extra sugar?

    1. Sarah says:

      You could try that and see what happens! It will indeed more time to process through that sugar, and the flavor may be different than it would with less sugar.

  6. Angela says:

    Will it work if I had refrigerated the pineapple?

    1. Sarah says:

      That should be fine, Angela! 😀

  7. Roha says:

    If I added baker’s instant yeast, is it bad to drink the beer given the yeast is still active in the final beer that has a relatively low alcohol content?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Roha! I’m really not sure, unfortunately. I’m not sure how bread yeast would work with this. If you want to try to make this more alcoholic, I would recommend champagne yeast (but have not personally tried it so can’t be sure).

  8. Aya Burt says:

    Hi! So I made my tepache. It took three days and just saw some bubbles forming but also a clear film formed on the pineapple. Is not smelly or gooey when you touch it it is like a wet napkin kind of texture. Is that normal? Is it safe to drink? The smell And taste are perfect I’m Mexican and grew up drinking it so I’m familiar with the smell and taste but I had never tried making it. Than you for your help!

    1. Sarah says:

      Is the layer dry, fuzzy, or off-colored? If the taste and smell are correct then I don’t think it’s mold, though I haven’t had something like this happen before so I can’t be for sure.

  9. Jeanne says:

    I wanted my latest batch to be less sweet, so left it longer. It now tastes completely like vinegar! Is there anything I can use this for Or should I just toss it?

    1. Sarah says:

      Ah shoot, sorry to hear it, Jeanne! Those fermentation can be so temperamental. You could try mixing it 50/50 with ginger ale, sprite, or carbonated water!

  10. Helen says:

    I love the natural recipe, what did you do with the pineapple?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      I love it in smoothies or kombucha! 😀

  11. Gabriel Bourgogne says:

    hello there ! the recipe is simple to make and everything but there is a smell of rotten egg…is that normal ?
    Thank you

    1. Sarah says:

      Hmm rotten egg smell isn’t normal. It should smell yeasty, like beer or bread. Are there any traces of mold on the surface? And is your pineapple fully submerged?

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