Smooth and creamy, this horchata drink has the perfect cinnamon spice and sweetness. Serve up a cold glass on ice! This drink is perfect after a meal of tacos or enchiladas. The cold creaminess perfectly balances the heat and spice of the meal. 

Glass rimmed with cinnamon and filled with cold and creamy homemade horchata, served with cinnamon sticks.

Horchata (OR-cha-tah) is a traditional drink of Latin American countries. Origins go back to Spain, where they prepare an horchata that is made of Tiger Nuts. This recipe that I’m sharing on the blog today would be a Mexican Horchata. Which is a version made with white rice. You might also see this drink referred to as Agua de Horchata. 

Ingredients Needed for Homemade Horchata:

Ingredients needed to make homemade horchata laid out on the counter.

Notes on the Ingredients:

  • Long grain white rice– this can be substituted for another rice, but any change will also change the flavor of the horchata.
  • Cinnamon sticks– using full cinnamon sticks gives the best flavor. You can typically find pouches with 3-4 sticks, or grab as many as you need from the bulk spice bins at most markets.
  • Vanilla– use your favorite kind. Madagascar vanilla has a rich, creamy flavor. Mexican vanilla will be dark and smokey. Both of those are great options in this drink.
  • Sugar– white granulated sugar to sweeten the drink. Can be substituted for another sweetener of your choice. Again, any changes will change the flavor. Options to sweeten include: honey, maple syrup, agave, or even blended medjool dates.
  • Milk– I love using whole milk, it gives a creamier horchata. Other options would include almond milk or coconut milk. Again, any changes will change the flavor of the finished horchata. Some recipes call for sweetened condensed milk. If you are using this option then cut out the sweetener or the drink will be way too sweet.
  • Almonds (optional!) some recipes call for almonds, they do give a strong almond flavor to the drink, you can sub out 1/3 cup of rice for 1/3 cup of almonds. For best results blanch the almonds and remove the skin. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the raw almonds to the boiling water, boil for just about one minute, not longer, pour into a strainer, then rinse the almonds with cold water. The skins will easily fall off with your fingers.

How to make Horchata (step by step):

Collage showing a blender filled with water, rice and cinnamon, and then after being blended.
  • Rinse the rice. Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse the rice until the water runs clear.
  • Blend: water, long grain white rice, and cinnamon sticks. 
  • Soak: Pour the mixture into a container and store in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 3 hours.
Pouring rice milk through a strainer into a glass container, then adding milk to the rice milk.
  • Strain: After chilling, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, or into cheesecloth and into another container. I typically will strain twice to get all the fine, tiny pieces
  • Sweeten: add milk of choice, vanilla, and then sweeten to preference. I prefer 1/3 cup, however, I would recommend starting with 1/4 cup and adding to taste. Remember, if you are using sweetened condensed milk, you do not want to add any other sweetener.

Expert Tips:

  • Use a high powdered blender. This will help ensure the cinnamon gets blended really well, giving the best flavor.
  • Use whole cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon
  • Soak time. Make sure you are giving enough time to soak to get the most flavor.
  • Strain the mixture twice! This gets all those tiny bits and gives you the smoothest horchata drink.
  • Sweeten at the end so that you can control the amount of sweetness you are getting.
  • Serve cold! Horchata is meant to be cold. So store it in the refrigerator while soaking to help make sure it’s cold when you make it.
Pouring a glass of horchata.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I make this without a blender?

Without a blender you wouldn’t be able to blend the rice enough to drink it. You can make another version though: combine 8 cups of rice milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and 1 tsp of vanilla. Whisk this together.

Can I make this Dairy Free?

Yes! Substitute the milk for a dairy free milk of choice, such as almond or coconut milk.

What are some alternative Sweeteners?

Maple syrup, honey or agave are great options.

More Refreshing Recipes to Try:

If you tried this recipe please leave a comment and a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below! Thank you so much!

Glass rimmed with cinnamon and filled with cold and creamy homemade horchata, served with cinnamon sticks.

Horchata

Horchata. This creamy, Agua de horchata is cold and refreshing. This cold and creamy authentic Mexican drink recipe is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. This drink also pairs with all your favorite Mexican or Tex Mex meals!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups cold water, filtered
  • cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup whole milk , or milk of preference

Equipment

Instructions

  • Rinse the rice: place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under water, until the water runs clear.
  • Blend: Add rice, cinnamon sticks and 2 cups of water to a blender. Blend until rice and cinnamon are broken down.
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of water and blend.
  • Pour this mixture into a pitcher. Make sure to scrape all the rice bits from the bottom of the blender.
  • Chill: Store in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Strain: After soaking overnight, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another large pitcher.
  • Rinse the original pitcher and clean. Then pour the rice drink back through the fine mesh strainer back into the pitcher. This way the drink is being strained twice.
  • Sweeten: Stir in milk, vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Stir together with a whisk. Taste and sweeten more to taste if desired. 

Video

Notes

  • Long grain white rice– can be substituted for another white rice of choice.
  • Cinnamon sticks– gives more flavor than ground cinnamon.
  • Vanilla– Madagascar vanilla has a rich, creamy flavor. Mexican vanilla will be dark and smokey. Both of those are great options in this drink.
  • Sugar– white granulated sugar to sweeten the drink. Add more, up to 1 cup if you desire a sweeter drink.  Can be substituted for another sweetener of your choice. Options to sweeten include: honey, maple syrup, agave, or even blended medjool dates. 
  • Milk– whole milk  gives a creamier horchata drink. Other options would include almond milk or coconut milk. Again, any changes will change the flavor of the finished horchata drink. If you are using sweetened condensed milk then cut out the sweetener or the drink will be way too sweet.
  • Almonds (optional!) some recipes call for almonds, they do give a strong almond flavor to the drink, you can sub out 1/3 cup of rice for 1/3 cup of almonds. For best results blanch the almonds and remove the skin. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the raw almonds to the boiling water, boil for just about one minute, not longer, pour into a strainer, then rinse the almonds with cold water. The skins will easily fall off with your fingers.
  • Make a large batch: Keep the ratios the same. You will need a large container to hold everything and you will need to work in batches when blending.
  • Storage: This drink will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You might need to give it a stir before serving due to settling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 340kcal, Carbohydrates: 71g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 30mg, Potassium: 151mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 99IU, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @HouseofYumm on Instagram and hashtag #houseofyumm!

Recipe first published on October 4, 2019. Updated on April 2, 2021 with new information and images.

Photography done by the wonderful @KJandCompany.co