Horchata is an iced rice milk beverage from Mexico that’s a simple blend of rice, cinnamon, milk and sweetener. My version is a healthier spin on the classic. It’s a sweet and creamy delight and refreshing on a hot day. Prep a chilled pitcher for your next Cinco de Mayo party – I guarantee your guests will love this.
What Is Horchata
For those who’ve never had horchata before, you’re in for a treat. Historically, 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 cinnamon, and earthy flavors. It’ll be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day.
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!
Horchata Recipe Video
While this recipe is easy to make, it always helps to watch a quick tutorial video. Give it a watch below!
For this recipe, all you need are few pantry staples you might already have.
- Long Grain White Rice
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Almond Milk (or other milk)
- Maple Syrup (or other sweetener)
- Vanilla Extract
How To Make Horchata
Horchata is fairly easy to make. All you need is a blender, large pitcher, and a little patience. Here’s how to make it.
- Wash the rice. Under running water, rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve.
- Blend the mixture. Add the rice, water, and cinnamon sticks to a high speed blender. Blend for about 40-60 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 8-12 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.
If you’re finding that a few of the ingredients don’t work for you, here’s a list of alternatives.
Make it nut-free: Just choose a different milk option.
Alternative sweeteners: Maple syrup, honey, or dates (add to the blended mixture) can be used. Stevia works as well.
Make it creamier: If you find this to be too watery, you can use 3 cups of water and 3 cups of milk instead.
A Few Tips For The Best Horchata
- Use a blender. Instead of whisking, blending will help you maximize the flavors from the rice and cinnamon.
- Use cinnamon sticks. While ground cinnamon can be an option, you’re going to get much more flavor out of cinnamon sticks.
- Soak overnight. It’s important to not skip this step. You want all the flavors have time to meld together. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
- Strain it well. There’s going to be a lot of residue from the rice and cinnamon sticks. So make sure you strain everything through a nut-milk bag to get a perfectly creamy liquid.
- Pour over ice. This recipe is traditionally served over ice for the ultimate chilled beverage.
How Long Will This Keep In The Fridge?
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
Hot summer days are ahead, so here’s a few refreshments that you can alternate throughout the weeks.
- Agua Fresca
- Jamu Juice
- Lavender Lemonade
- Classic Margarita
- White Sangria With Mango And Berries
- Iced Matcha And Salted Caramel Latte
Easy Mexican Horchata Recipe
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups almond milk, or any dairy or dairy-free milk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup, or other sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Under running water, rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve.
- Add the rice, water, and cinnamon sticks to a high speed blender. Blend for about 40-60 seconds until the rice and cinnamon are grounded.
- Pour the mixture into a large container. Then cover and let it chill in the fridge for about 8-12 hours, preferably overnight.
- Over a pitcher, strain the mixture through a nut-milk bag.
- 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 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per stick. So 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in this recipe.