An easy Horchata recipe so you can make this delicious, refreshing, and healthy drink at home – perfect for Cinco De Mayo!
With Cinco De Mayo coming up around the corner, I have a delicious horchata recipe for you to enjoy.
I have such a fondness for horchata. I just love the creamy, cool, soothing feeling I get when I drink a horchata. It’s like tasty rice milk, but with cinnamon and other goodness.
Oddly enough, I had never really thought about making it for the longest time. But, for some reason, it felt like it was was calling to me, after all these years.
Recipes like this make me realize just how many foods and drinks are out there that can be made easily and well at home. Once you break down that barrier and realize it’s something that can be made from scratch, everything opens up.
So, what is in a Mexican horchata? All the ingredients you really need are some rice, milk, cinnamon sticks and water. See? I told you it was crazy simple.
How to Make Horchata
In order to make horchata at home, you will either need some cheesecloth on hand or a very fine mesh sieve to remove the tiny pieces of rice that sneak through the fine mesh sieve. Otherwise, you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now.
Oh, and be sure to let the rice soak in the water for at least 8-10 hours, preferably overnight, to get the tasty horchata flavor. It’ll still work if you only let it sit for a few hours, but the flavor won’t be nearly as rich.
Is Horchata Vegan?
Unfortunately, many horchata recipes usually call for condensed milk and refined sugar. In typical ASPC fashion, I’ve chosen to make my horchata with 100% whole foods, so you get all creamy, tasty, and refreshing flavors without the empty calories.
I use unsweetened almond milk, which makes this horchata recipe vegan, too. And that pure vanilla extract adds a nice caramel sweetness to the horchata. Oh yes.
Is Horchata good for you?
While it tastes like dessert, Mexican horchata is healthier than you think. Dairy-free and made with naturally-sweet ingredients, like cinnamon, vanilla, and rice, this beverage is actually a decent source of several minerals. While it’s still a sweetened drink so it is more of a treat than a normal thing, it’s perfectly good for you to drink and enjoy the festivities — assuming you make your own homemade horchata recipe.
Try it out for yourself and enjoy a refreshing Mexican horchata at home for Cinco De Mayo!
Or, you know, tonight…whatever works 🙂
Try this easy Horchata recipe so you can make this delicious, refreshing, and healthy drink at home – perfect for Cinco De Mayo!
- 1 cup white rice, uncooked and rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (can use any milk of your choice)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
- 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Wash and drain rice. Combine rice with cinnamon sticks in water and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
After the rice has soaked for at least 8-10 hours, preferably overnight, discard the cinnamon sticks and pour rice and water into a blender.
Add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and blend on low for 3-5 minutes until well blended.
Pour blended rice mixture through fine mesh sieve two times and then through cheesecloth one more time to remove all gritty bits of rice.
Pour strained mixture into a pitcher, add milk, pure maple syrup, and vanilla and stir well to combine. Add more syrup if needed, to taste.
To serve, pour over ice and garnish with ground cinnamon, if desired.
Horchata has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. While there are many variations of horchata, I feel this recipe combines some of the amazing flavors we all know and love in horchata while also allowing for it to not be loaded in processed sugar and fat.
I've also added this mixture to a popsicle mold for frozen horchata pops which were a huge hit with the kids.
Make sure to look for good quality cinnamon sticks to really transfer that depth of flavor to the drink - you won't be disappointed!
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
50 thoughts on “Horchata Recipe”
Hi there! Can’t wait to try this- just wondering how you got 74 calories? I plugged everything into myfitnesspal and I got 194. I took out the rice and was left with 91 calories. Not sure if I did the math wrong or what! Thank you!!!!
The rice isn’t actually consumed because we strain it out so it’s possible the milks we chose to use are slightly different.
if I use a vitamix for say 3-5 min., is it necessary to use sieve/cheese cloth?
Lacey, this looks awesome, and I can’t wait to make it, but I have a question that was previously asked but not answered. You agreed that sweetened condensed milk can be added to make this drink creamier, but could you please specify how much you would add for this recipe? Thank you!
I haven’t tried yet, and really looking forward to it, but I don’t do waste if at all possible.
I’m curious why you’d throw away the yummy cinnamon sticks, just to add ground cinnamon back in again after that. Why not just blend the sticks in with the rice and filter the whole lot?
i definitely see what you mean but maybe bc the sticks have lost their flavor? so adding ground cinnamon will really give it that kick of flavor, but that is a rlly smart question!
Based on my experience with a different horchata recipe, the cinnamon sticks will still be quite full of flavor after the soaking period. In fact, I took those cinnamon sticks and used them in rice pudding, and the rice that was sitting closest to the cinnamon sticks in the serving dish wound up as cinnamon-spicy as Hot Tamales candy!
So yeah, no reason to use ground cinnamon if you trust your blender to properly crunch up the sticks. Though unless you want your horchata REALLY cinnamony, it might be a good idea to blend only a single cinnamon stick, or even only a half? That stuff is very strong.
Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made a double batch, used oat milk (to add thickness) and almond milk, less maple syrup and added a couple of glugs of dark rum. My version isn’t authentic by any means but it sure tastes great!
My mouth is watering. I want to drink that!
Hi I am diabetic. Can I use Stevie instead of maple syrup and use wholegrain rice?
I made this yesterday in a gallon. This is how I did it. 4 cups of water, 3 cups of rice, 7 cin. sticks. Soaked for 17 hrs. Put all of this in the blender and blended for a good 3 min. Strained through a siv twice and then tried a coffee filter (this was a mistake so I bought cheesecloth). I then added the remaining 8 cups of water, one can of sweetened condensed milk (I think it could have done two), 3 cups whole milk, 2/3 cup brown sugar and 3 3/4 tsp vanilla. I added an additional 1tsp of ground cinnamon. THIS WAS AMAZING. I made this for a party of 14 and there wasn’t any left. Some guests added 1 shot white rum to the glass and made Rumchata. Thank you so much for this recipe. It is a keeper.
So glad it turned out for you, Ellen!
Sounds good for the summer
It sounds good any day of the week!
i was wonder how many cups does this recipe make?
I would like to make a gallon at a time. Would I have to double or triple this recipe?
I believe it makes about 4-6 cups, though I can’t say for certain as I’ve never measured the exact final recipe. I hope that helps! Since there are 16 cups in one gallon, it seems like you’d need to triple or quadruple the recipe…if my math is correct lol. 🙂
? awesome thank you!!!
My husband and I have tried this multiple times and we absolutely love it! The only thing we change about the recipe is we also put in sweetened and condensed milk. It just makes it more creamy and delicious!
Amanda, please tell how much sweetened an condensed milk?
Hi Amanda! Yes, some recipes do add sweetened condensed milk and this definitely adds a sweet richness to the horchata.
I am also wondering.. is the rice cooked?
Nope! Use raw rice 🙂
I tried this today and thought it was pretty close to my favorite horchata I’ve ever had. I will try to blend the cinnamon sticks next time because I didn’t feel like there was enough cinnamon flavor. It was good but I like more. Also, my vanilla was double strength so I would probably only use 1 Tbsp next time. Thank you for this awesome recipe!
I make this all the time and to my opinion horchata tastes better with a can of condensed milk than with regular milk. It is a lot more creamier. I also blend the soaked rice with the cinnamon sticks so that it has that cinnamon taste in the water and all of the debris will be sifted out in the end.
Tried the recipe today. The overall flavor was good, but it was a bit watery.
Hi!! My husband and I love this recipe!!! We also add some sweetened and condensed milk to make it a little my creamy and delicious. Thanks for posting!
I’m assuming you’re soaking “cooked” rice? You didn’t say and I’ve never done it..
You have have been late for last year, but you posted just in time for my Cinco de Mayo menu planning! (see the post below!):) Thanks for this – I adore Horchata!
Hi Lacey, I’m Lacey 😉 but funny, i just saw this pinned and i’m stoked! we had it last night at a local mexican restaurant because was saw some ethnic folks drinking it glass after glass. Thank-goodness we had it! SO yum. it’ll be perfect for a little cinco-de-mayoing. Your recipe looks far better (for you) than what they described at the restaurant. Thank-you!
YUMMM! I am so making this! 🙂
My daughter and I will be trying this for a school project and can’t wait! How long can this be left prepared in the fridge before serving? Thanks so much for the recipe!
Thanks, Lacey! My first attempt at horchata turned out very well!
Hooray! Congrats 🙂
is it ok if my rice was in the frige for about 24 hours?
Do you mean soaking in the fridge, Iryna?
Yes, thats what i ment)
But I already did it and it tasted just awesome! Luv horchata 🙂
Calm down people, THIS IS how Orchata is made in Mexico, good gawd.
I laughed at the above exchange. Food/drink can really get people riled up…
@ Seize: Horchata? OMG! This is definitely how horchata is made in Mexico. From Wikipedia: “In Mexico, horchata is made of rice, sometimes with vanilla and always with cinnamon.”
Horchata? OMG! This is definitely NOT horchata.
First: Horchata is Valencian product (Spanish, not Mexican).
Second: It’s made from tigernuts as Nik said.
This is a kind of weird fussion of “Leche Merengada” (also Spanish) and “Arroz con Leche” (Rice pudding)
The original horchata is made from tigernuts.
This is some kind of rice milk with cinammon…
Hi! We usually buy kilos of rice, but it’s not the longrain variety. Will that be okay? Also, how long does horchata keep for?
I love making horchata. It’s one of my favorite late night treats. And I have friends that make strawberry horchata…oh so good!
Wow — strawberry horchata — how interesting! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
How many servings of horchata does this yield? Can’t wait to make it!
Hi Elena! It made a large pitcher of horchata — about 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your glasses. Enjoy!
I love horchata! It’s the first thing I look for in a Mexican market. I get a glass of plain vanilla horchata, sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and enjoy it while I shop. It’s so lovely and refreshing. Now I can make my own. Thanks, Lacey!
I am bummed I didn’t get to try this I was really looking forward to it.
Yeah, I wanted you to try it also. Jordan had it and loved it. It was so easy to make, I can do it again soon.
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