Tepache: A Pineapple Fermented Drink

Photo by Mike Canon

This recipe is from Sandor Katz’s Fermentation Journeys by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green Publishing, October 2021) and is reprinted with permission from the publisher.

James Beard Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of “The Art of Fermentation,” Sandor Katz combines his love of travel and passion for fermented foods in his latest book “Sandor Katz’s Fermentation Journeys,” he shares the stories of how fermented foods are often a unique aspect of a culture. The book is his personal culinary travelogue with recipes from his travels.   

Tepache is a wonderful, effervescent, lightly fermented pineapple beverage popular in Mexico. It is made from the skins and core of pineapple; you can enjoy the fresh pineapple flesh and also make use of the parts typically discarded in order to enjoy it over a longer period of time.


2 to 5 days


Wide-mouth vessel of at least ¹/2-gallon/2-liter capacity with lid or cloth to cover


for about 1 quart/1 liter

  • ¹/2 cup/100 grams
    sugar (or more, to taste)*
  • Peel and core of 1 pineapple (eat the rest of the fruit!),
    cut into 1- to 2-inch/3- to 5-centimeter pieces
  • 1 cinnamon stick and/or a
    few whole cloves and/or other spices (optional)


  • Dissolve the sugar in about 1 cup/250 milliliters of water.
  • Place the pineapple skin and core pieces and the optional spices into the vessel.
  • Pour the sugar water over the pineapple, then add additional water as needed to cover the pineapple.
  • Cover with a loose lid or cloth, and stir daily.
  • Ferment for 2 to 5 days, depending upon temperature and desired level of fermentation. It will get fizzy, and then develop a pronounced sourness after a few days.
  • Taste each day after the first two to evaluate developing flavor.
  • Once you are happy with the flavor, strain out the solids.
  • Enjoy fresh or refrigerate for up to a couple of weeks.

If it gets too sour, do not despair! After straining out the solids, leave it with its surface exposed to airflow and it will become pineapple vinegar after a week or two.

* ideally piloncillo, panela, or another unrefined sugar, but any type of sugar will work

Sandor Ellix Katz, is a self-taught fermentation experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee. He is the author of two best-selling books: Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation (winner of a James Beard Award in 2013). Through hundreds of fermentation workshops, he has taught around the world, he has helped catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. Sandor and his work have appeared on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, and numerous other national and international media.

In this Bioneers interview, Sandor dives deep into the fascinating world of fermentation.

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