Oct 17, 2023
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Horchata is an iced rice milk beverage from Mexico that’s a simple blend of rice, cinnamon, milk and sweetener. It’s a sweet and creamy delight that’s super refreshing on a hot day, but can be enjoyed year round!
What Is Horchata
For those who’ve never had horchata before, you’re in for a treat. Horchata is a grain-based beverage that’s made from various types of nuts or grains that differ slightly between countries. Spain uses dried and sweetened tiger nuts while Puerto Rico uses grounded sesame seeds.
The horchata we know and love here in the U.S. is a rice-based drink straight from Mexico. But don’t let the rice part fool you. The texture is beautifully creamy with a blend of sweet and spiced cinnamon flavors. It’s almost like my rice pudding recipe, in liquidy drink form!
While traditional horchata contains milk and sugar, it can also be made dairy-free and with sugar alternatives (which I will talk about below). So get your bag of rice ready – and let’s get blending!
For this recipe, all you need are few pantry staples, which likely have on hand. That’s the beauty of this recipe!
- Long Grain White Rice: The starch from the rice helps to create the notable creamy texture in horchata.
- Cinnamon Sticks: If you have a high-powered blender you can grind cinnamon sticks straight in the blender. Otherwise, you can use ground cinnamon as well. Though you’re going to get much more flavor out of cinnamon sticks.
- Water & Milk: These liquids form the base of the drink. You can use any dairy or dairy-free milk (such as cashew milk, almond milk or oat milk) that you prefer.
- Sugar: Traditional horchata uses regular granulated sugar. I’m swapping in maple syrup today, which I think pairs even better with the cinnamon flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: A little vanilla add an extra sweet flavor.
How To Make Horchata
Horchata is quite easy to make. All you need is a blender, large pitcher, and a little patience while the flavors meld together. Here’s you make it:
- Blend the mixture. Add the rice, water, and cinnamon sticks to a high-speed blender. Blend for about 40 to 60 seconds, or until everything is grounded.
- Let it soak and chill. Pour the mixture into a large container, cover, and let it chill in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours. Preferably, you’ll want to soak this overnight.
- Strain the mixture. Over a large pitcher, strain the mixture through a nut-milk bag.
- Add the rest. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Taste test to see if you need to add more sweetener or water.
- Serve. Add ice to the pitcher, give everything a stir, and serve in glasses with freshly ground cinnamon.
Yes! You can use any granulated sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia, or even pitted dates. So feel free to choose your favorite.
Absolutely. If you find this to be too watery, you can use 3 cups of water and 3 cups of milk instead. Just increase the ratio of milk.
While you can of course drink it straight away if you wish ( I know it’s hard to resist!), remember that soaking it overnight allows all of the flavors to meld. So if you want the best tasting horchata, don’t skip this step!
Yes, there can be reside from the rice and cinnamon sticks. But that usually happens when the drink hasn’t been strained through a finely woven nut-milk bag. You can always strain it twice, to remove as much residue as possible.
A pitcher of horchata will keep fresh in the fridge for about 4 days. Just remember to not let it sit at room temperature for longer than 30 minutes. Keep the mixture chilled as much as possible.
More Refreshing Drinks
Here’s a few of my favorite drink recipes to make at home!
- Agua Fresca – Mexico’s famous fruity street-cart drink.
- Eggnog – While often thought of as a holiday beverage, it can be enjoyed year round. Plus, it has a similar creamy cinnamon flavor.
- Jamu Juice – This reader favorite is a chilled, immune-boosting drink.
- Banana Smoothie – The easiest 3-ingredient smoothie.
I hope you enjoy this horchata recipe as much as I do! If you make it, I’d love to hear how it turned out in the comment box below. Your review will help other readers!
Easy Horchata Recipe
- Nut Milk Bag My favorite nut-milk bag!
- Add the rice, water, and cinnamon sticks to a high-powered blender. Blend for about 40 to 60 seconds, until the rice and cinnamon sticks are grounded.
- Pour the mixture into a large container. Then cover and let it chill in the fridge for 8 to 12 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Strain the mixture through a nut-milk bag into a pitcher.
- Stir in the milk, vanilla, and maple syrup. Taste test and add more sweetener if needed.
- Serve over ice and and garnish with freshly ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks.
- I love my modern glass pitcher and it’s the perfect size for this recipe!
- If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, you could substitute ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon per stick. So 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in this recipe.
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Recipe originally posted May 2020, but updated to include new information for your benefit!