A refreshing horchata recipe that’s creamy, easy to make, and lightly sweetened. Made from 7 simple ingredients, this authentic Mexican rice drink is perfect on hot and sunny days!
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It’s officially horchata season! The sun is out, and what better way to cool off than with a tall glass of creamy and sweet horchata?
It’s one of my favorite types of Mexican aguas frescas, and I’m so excited to share the recipe with you!
What is Horchata?
Horchata is a popular Mexican drink made by soaking and blending rice and cinnamon sticks, then sweetened and served over ice.
There are many variations of the drink throughout Mexico and Latin America. Some are completely dairy-free or nut-free, some contain milk or evaporated milk, and others are sweetened with sugar or sweetened condensed milk.
This particular recipe is made with a little milk for some added creaminess, sweetened with a touch of granulated sugar, and flavored with some almonds and vanilla extract.
What Does Horchata Taste Like?
The flavor of horchata is very reminiscent of arroz con leche, or Mexican rice pudding. Since it’s served over ice and only lightly sweetened, it’s the perfect Mexican summer drink!
This horchata recipe is made from 7 simple ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen:
- long grain white rice
- sliced almonds
- cinnamon stick
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
If you’re looking for a dairy-free or nut-free version of horchata, see below for recipe variations and substitutions.
How to Make Horchata
- Soak: Add the rice, almonds, and cinnamon stick into a large bowl or pitcher. Cover with water and let it sit in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
- Blend: Transfer the mixture to a large blender, add in some more water, and blend until completely smooth.
- Strain: Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag 2-4 times until it is no longer gritty and as smooth as you can get it.
- Mix: Add the milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the strained mixture and stir until combined.
- Serve: Serve the horchata over ice with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and enjoy on a hot day!
- Make sure to blend the ingredients really well! It may take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes of blending on the highest setting, depending on the power of the blender.
- I used sliced almonds to make blending easier, but you can also use whole almonds.
- Straining the mixture at least twice is key to getting rid of any gritty or chalky texture and making horchata as silky smooth as possible. Use a fine or extra fine mesh strainer. A nut milk bag is also a great option!
- Serve horchata cold. Horchata is meant to be refreshing on a hot day, so serve it over ice for the best experience possible.
- Separation of the water and the rice mixture is completely normal, especially if it’s been sitting in the fridge for a day or two. Just mix it together with a large spoon and serve as you normally would.
- Strainer. This one comes in 3 different sizes and is perfect for straining the horchata mixture so it’s silky and smooth.
- Nut milk bag. This is also a great option for straining liquids and typically strains out any little particles on the first try!
- Pitcher. Here’s a great glass pitcher with a lid that fits perfectly in the fridge!
There are so many different ways to make horchata. Here are a few variations:
- To make it dairy free, use a dairy milk alternative like almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or cashew milk.
- To make it nut free, you can simply omit the almonds. No need to replace them.
- If you don’t want to use granulated sugar, you can use a different sweetener like honey, agave, or even sweetened condensed milk to make it extra creamy.
Horchata will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week. The best thing to do is to remove the lid from the pitcher or container and give it a little smell. If it’s gone bad, you’ll definitely know.