Horchata

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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!

Horchata in a glass with cinnamon stick.

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!

Adding horchata ingredients to a blender.

Horchata Ingredients

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.
Blending horchata ingredients in a blender.

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.
Straining horchata into a pitcher.

Common Questions

Will any sweetener work in this drink?

Yes! You can use any granulated sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia, or even pitted dates. So feel free to choose your favorite.

Can this be made creamier?

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.

Is soaking overnight really necessary? Can I just drink it straight away?

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!

My horchata has some residue in the glass, is that normal?

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.

Pouring horchata into a glass.

To Store

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.

Sprinkled cinnamon on a glass of horchata.

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!

Horchata in a glass with ice.

Easy Horchata Recipe

4.95 from 20 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Horchata is an iced rice milk beverage from Mexico that's a simple blend of rice, cinnamon, almond milk and sweetener. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • 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.

Lisa’s Tips

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 93kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 118mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Easy horchata recipe, Horchata, Horchata Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted May 2020, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




59 Comments

  1. I really like that this recipe isn’t loaded up with evaporated and sweetened condensed milk. It’s pure and just lightly sweetened. To be honest, I didn’t even add the additional milk, but just a little sweetener. You can really taste the goodness of the rice and the cinnamon, and the slight creaminess created from blending in the vitamix. I felt lighter after drinking this, and found it to be the refreshing drink, that I craved more of after my first glass!! THANK YOU!5 stars

  2. When I was little and would visit my grandparents in Mexico, we always had Horchata. I still love it, but can’t order it at restaurants as its usually made with evaporated and condensed milk. But now I can enjoy it once again made with a dairy free milk!! That’s a win for me!! I may even make it next time with some Abuelita or Ibarra Mexican Chocolate added to it. Thank you Lisa for really doing your research on how to make our cultural food as authentic as possible. I really appreciate you!5 stars

  3. This horchata was so light, refreshing and delicious! I’m having fun playing with this recipe. My hubby is accustomed to a heavier, creamier horchata so next time I’m adding 1/4c. almonds to blending ingredients and swapping out the maple syrup for 1/2c. Sweetened condensed milk.  Thank you Lisa for your blog and cookbook. I’m learning so much!5 stars

  4. Holy moly! This is sooooo delicious. My whole family ranted and raved over this drink. It was a new taste for all of us and really fantastic. My favorite recipe to date on your website and I have tried A LOT of your recipes. Excuse me while I go make some more. 😬5 stars

  5. This drink took me right back to my childhood. It was delicious and (dare I say) even BETTER than what I remembered. Thank you! :)5 stars

  6. In Spain there is a drink called horchata. In reality is a nut-milk.
    The ingredients are:
    1 cup tigernuts soaked, 4 cupwater and 1 spoon sugar.
    A cinnamon stik or a lemon zest are optional but they enhance the flavor. And not normaly used on homemade Horchata

    1. Yep! I mentioned in the post that horchata can vary a bit between countries :) But I’m very keen to try the Spanish version!

      1. Love this refreshing drink! I love your recipe whereas I used to buy mixes in the past which were not fresh and had other yucky stuff in it! I have made this many times and its always wonderful! P.S. I thought I previously commented on this recipe but I don’t see my reviews. I always want to support you and your work. Love you book too!5 stars

      2. Hi Elizabeth – Thanks for taking the time to leave a review! Homemade horchata is best compared to the pre-made mixes.

  7. I cant believe it is that easy! I love horchata and order it whenever i get a chance at a restaurant. I just blended my rice and leaving it overnight in fridge. Cant wait to try it!5 stars

    1. Hi Martha- It’s much easier than you think! And great, can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this :)

  8. Hi Lisa, I haven’t tried this yet but am anxious to do so.  It sounds fantastic.  One question though.  I saw a very similar recipe elsewhere, and in a few comments people said they added sweetened condensed milk to make it creamier.  Do you think this would work, and, if so, how much might I add?5 stars

    1. Hi Marcia- Can’t wait for you to try this recipe! As for condensed milk, I haven’t tried it yet so I’m not sure how much you would need to add. But, I think it will definitely make it a bit creamier.

  9. I really liked how this came out, but wanted to makes sure that I made it right. After blending there was rice at the bottom of the blender the consistency of course sand. Is that how it should be. Or should I have blended longer. I scooped what was at the bottom into the container and let it sit overnight, then strained and added the rest of the ingredients. It tasted good, but not sure if I should have blened longer.4 stars

    1. Hi Caille – yes, that’s normal to have that rice sediment at the bottom. Sounds like you did it right!

  10. Thank you so much for this recipe! I love horchata and would t never guess that it was that easy to make it my own. I’ve made it last night and waited overnight just like you said and it come out perfect!! ❤️❤️5 stars

    1. Hi Dea- It really is such a simple drink, just takes a bit of patience with a few steps. Happy to hear you enjoyed it!

    2. Hi Lisa,

      I don’t see the video for this page? Could you please upload as it says to watch how it’s made here and no video shows.

  11. I have been looking for an Horchata recipe for a while since it is my sons favorite drink. When Lisa posted hers I knew I had to make it.
    At first I was a little skeptical that the recipe called to blend first and not let soak first. But I went with it and doubled the recipe.
    I had one cinnamon stick and the rest I used ground cinnamon. Used regular milk and regular sugar.
    I like that I can control the sugar since restaurant ones are usually too sweet.
    My son said, “this is better than the kind we buy!”
    My only recommendation is to pour slowly into the nut bag and clean it out between pouring in more since it clogged for me, maybe it was just my bag, idk.
    This recipe is a keeper!
    Thank you once again Lisa!5 stars

    1. Hi Nubia – I’m glad you decided to give this recipe a try! You know I always do tons of recipe testing before I post to make sure it’s the best one yet. In terms of pouring, yes it’s a bit thick so you do want to pour slowly :)

    1. You might notice some subtle changes (like a brown rice might be a bit nuttier), but I imagine it would be fairly small given the addition of nut milk, sweeteners and cinnamon.

  12. You’re stunning.😘 I’m married or i would’ve asked you out. Lol. But Beauty needs to be appreciated. Peace

  13. I wonder if longer soaking of the rice would give higher yield and less discard of rice when strained..I thought of this as I do not have a high speed blender, only a very old (but still functional) kenwood chef.

    1. That’s a good question. Perhaps try a few different soaking times and see which you prefer!

  14. Want to make this for cinco de Mayo this week but don’t have a nut milk bag. What else do you suggest for straining? 

  15. So excited to try this!! Perfect timing since it’s so warm out today. If you don’t have cinnamon sticks how much powdered cinnamon should you use?5 stars

    1. Hi Dani – I just added a note to the recipe card, but you could use 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in this recipe to replace the two cinnamon sticks. Enjoy!

  16. Very interesting recipe. Have you used raw rice here? Won’t it taste raw..How does it taste? I would love to try this recipe5 stars

    1. Yes, the rice is raw but rinsed. And it tastes deliciously creamy! You should definitely give it a try. :)

  17. Wow, I have no idea this was made with such simple ingredients!! I need to give this a go! Thanks for the recipe! :)5 stars

    1. Hi Cathleen- Definitely a much easier recipe than most people think! Can’t wait for you to try this :)

  18. This sounds so simple to make and delicious! I love horchata at restaurants, so looking forward to making it.5 stars

    1. Hi Biana – You’re going to love this homemade version! The flavors and texture is all up to par :)

  19. You mention several times to blend with the almonds but you don’t ever mention them in the ingredients. Could you please clarify?

    1. Hi Patricia – sorry about that. An earlier version of the recipe accidentally posted. But since I’m using almond milk in this recipe, the almonds weren’t needed. I’ve fixed the recipe! :)