Make this refreshing traditional Mexican Horchata at home using pantry staples and 15 minutes of active working time. This homemade drink is creamy, earthy, nutty, and perfect to sip on hot summer days.
Check out a few variations of this drink here – Strawberry Horchata, Coffee Horchata.
I have a lot of Mexican-style recipes that you can make for a complete Mexican feast. Do check them out.
About This Recipe
Horchata (pronounced as Or-CHAH-tah) is authentic Mexican rice and milk beverage. It is also called as Horchata de Arroz.
Mexican Horchata tastes sweet, milky, earthy, and rich with a slight nuttiness and its texture is smooth and creamy.
This traditional drink is served in most Mexican-style restaurants all over the world but it’s mostly made using a powder mix and does not taste authentic. So, I make mine at home. It takes a few pantry staples and hardly any time to make it from scratch and the taste is phenomenal.
This drink is perfect to sip on hot summer days. It is also a great option to make for Cinco De Mayo parties or any get-togethers.
Health Benefits Of Horchata
Horchata is a very healthy drink with multiple health benefits. Listing a few here
It is rich. in Vit C and Vit C and is a rich source of minerals like phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
If you have an upset stomach, make it without the addition of dairy, it will give you instant relief.
It is high in calories and is a great drink to sip post or pre-workout.
Horchata is considered a very potent aphrodisiac, even better than chocolate and oysters.
Rice – I like to use long grain basmati rice to make this drink as it is very fragrant. You can use any fragrant white rice that you have.
Nuts – Traditionally, Tiger Nuts (Chufas) were used to make this drink but you can replace them with almonds as I have done.
People also use sesame seeds, cashew nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, or cantaloupe seeds to make this drink.
Cinnamon – If possible, try to use Mexican whole cinnamon as it gives a very peculiar taste to this drink. Having said that, regular whole cinnamon sticks also work fine.
Refrain from using ground cinnamon as the powder keeps floating on top of the drink and doesn’t get mixed nicely.
Sweetener – I use regular granulated sugar but you can use maple syrup, honey, or sugar-free substitutes like stevia. Also, feel free to adjust the sweeteners according to your taste.
Condensed Milk & Milk – Traditionally, Mexican Horchata is a vegan dairy-free drink, but I like to add some condensed milk and regular milk for extra flavor.
Vanilla Extract – Vanilla extract adds a subtle vanilla flavor, that makes this drink even better.
Others – Make an adult version by adding a splash of spiced rum, plain rum, or bourbon. Add approx 1 oz alcohol to 3 oz horchata and serve it on the rocks.
How To Make Mexican Horchata
Rinse 1 cup of white rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear.
Drain the water and add the rice to the medium jar of a heavy-duty blender along with 2 cinnamon sticks (lightly crushed), 1 and ½ cups of cold water, and ¼ cup whole almonds. You can also crush the almonds if you wish to. Crushing the cinnamon and almonds makes the blending process easier.
Blend the ingredient to make a coarse paste. You don’t have to make it really smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a large glass bowl. Add the remaining 2 and ½ cups of water to the bowl and mix well.
Cover the mouth of the bowl using a cloth or a plate and leave it on the counter for 8-10 hours.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth and discard the coarse mixture. We don’t want any particles coming up in the drink.
Add ½ cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups whole milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ cup granulated sugar to the bowl and mix everything well.
Chill the drink for a few hours before serving. Pour Horchata into serving glasses, add a few ice cubes and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. Serve chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although cinnamon has many health benefits, it is recommended to control the intake in pregnancy. So you can have a glass or two in a week but I would not suggest having this drink on a regular basis. I also suggest consulting your physician regarding this.
When horchata is mixed with cold brew coffee, it’s called dirty horchata. To make dirty horchata, pour the drink into a glass. Top with ¼ cup of cold brew coffee, mix well and serve. Check this post on how to make cold brew coffee.
Traditionally this drink was made without any milk or condensed milk added to it and it was naturally vegan. With time, it was improvised and milk and consed milk were added to make it creamier and sweet.
To make it vegan, you can either skip adding milk and condensed milk or replace dairy milk and condensed milk with plant-based options.
Yes, you can. Skip adding any nut in the recipe and make it with just rice and flavorings.
This is a cheat recipe where instead of grinding the rice, you use rice milk in place of dairy milk and almond powder in place of whole almonds. Soak the rice milk and almond powder with the rest of the ingredients overnight and then strain it.
Pro Tips By Neha
Use a glass container to keep the drink as it is non-reactive.
Some people like to roast the rice and almonds until they are lightly browned before grinding them. The flavor will become more intense in this case. Give it a try and choose your fav method.
If a fine mesh strainer is not available, you can also use a muslin cloth or a few layers of cheesecloth to strain the drink.
Add some lime zest to the drink for that hint of citrus.
You can keep Mexican Horchata in the refrigerator for up to 7 days and freeze it for up to a month. Just thaw it over the counter until it melts before serving.
You can also freeze it in popsicle molds and serve as ice lollies.
It is best to drink this drink chilled. I like to refrigerate it for a few hours before serving and add a few ice cubes to the glasses.
I personally like to serve it chilled but on cold winter days, you can definitely heat it up and serve it hot.
Add a splash of spiced rum or bourbon for an adult version.
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Mexican Horchata Recipe
- Heavy Duty Grinder
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks (lightly crushed)
- ¼ cup whole almonds (crush them lightly if your blender is not powerful)
- 4 cups cold water (divided)
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk (use plant-based for a vegan version)
- 2 cups whole milk (you can use skim, low fat or plant based milk too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Rinse the rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear.
- Drain the water and add the rice to the medium jar of a heavy-duty blender along with cinnamon sticks, ¼ cup whole almonds, and 1 and ½ cups of cold water. You can also crush the almonds if you wish to. Crushing the cinnamon and almonds makes the blending process easier.
- Blend the ingredient to make a coarse paste. You don’t have to make it really smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a large glass bowl. Add the remaining 2 and ½ cups of water to the bowl and mix well.
- Cover the mouth of the bowl using a cloth or a plate and leave it on the counter for 8-10 hours.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth and discard the coarse mixture. We don’t want any particles coming up in the drink.
- Add condensed milk, whole milk, vanilla extract, and granulated sugar to the bowl and mix everything well.
- Chill the drink for a few hours before serving. Pour Horchata into serving glasses, add a few ice cubes and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. Serve chilled.
Here in Valencia, Spain, where Horchata truly originated from, it is only made with the tiger nut, which has been grown around these parts of la Comunitat Valenciana for hundreds of years, but this rice version sounds really good, like you said great alternative to a milk drink. Great post 🙂
I can only imagine the taste tiger nuts would give to this drink. It’s sad they are not available in India.