Make this refreshing traditional Mexican Horchata Drink at home using pantry staples and 15 minutes of cook time. This homemade drink is creamy, earthy, nutty, and perfect to sip on hot summer days.
About This Recipe
Horchata (pronounced as Or-CHAH-tah) is a traditional Mexican sweet rice and milk beverage which is served in most Mexican style restaurants all over the world.
This Mexican drink also called Horchata de Arroz is very refreshing to sip on hot summer days. It is super easy to make at home and can be made using pantry staples in hardly any time.
To make Mexican Horchata, rice is soaked in water, flavored with cinnamon, and sweetened with sugar. It is then ground and strained. Milk and condensed milk are added to it to make it rich and creamy. Sometimes additional flavors like vanilla or coconut are added to it too.
Mexican Horchata tastes milky, earthy, and rich with a slight nuttiness and its texture is smooth and creamy. It is perfect to make for Cinco De Mayo parties or any get-togethers.
I read an interesting article on the history of Horchata. You too can read it here.
This Mexican Horchata is,
- Prepared vegan too
- Easy & Quick
- Best served chilled
Rice – I use long-grain white rice to make this drink. Any white rice with good fragrance can be used to make Mexican Horchata. The rice is going to be ground into a paste so it really doesn’t matter which race you are using to make this drink.
I loved going through this article which explained the choice of rice to use in this drink in detail. You must go through it too.
Nuts – Traditionally, Tiger Nuts or 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 – Refrain from adding ground cinnamon instead of cinnamon stick in this recipe as the powder keeps floating on top of the drink and doesn’t get mixed nicely.
Also if possible, try to use Mexican Cinnamon as it gives a very peculiar taste to this dish. But if not possible, use the regular one.
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?
Wash 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 grinder along with 2 cinnamon sticks (crushed), 4 cups of cold water, and ¼ cup almonds. You can also crush the almonds if you wish to. Crushing the cinnamon and almonds makes the grinding process easier.
Blend the ingredient to make a coarse paste. You don’t have to make it really smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl.
Cover the mouth of the bowl using a cloth or a plate and leave the bowl on the counter for 8-10 hours.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth. We don’t want any particles coming up in the drink.
Add the remaining ingredients like ½ cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and ½ cup granulated sugar to the bowl and mix everything well.
Chill the drink for a few hours before serving. You can skip adding milk and condensed milk if you want a traditional version. Pour Horchata into serving glasses, add a few ice cubes and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. Serve chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Horchata de chufa is the Spanish version of this drink which is made using chufa or tiger nuts while Horchata de arroz of the Mexican version made using rice.
A good heavy-duty high-speed blender is needed to blend the ingredients to make a paste. You will need a glass pitcher or bowl to leave the horchata over the counter. Glass pitcher or bowl is advised as it will not react with the ingredients and give a funny taste to the drink.
You will also need a very fine mesh strainer. Even a fine muslin cloth or a few layers of cheesecloth works well to strain Horchata. It is served in large drinking glasses. So make sure you have some in your cabinet
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 it is mixed with cold brew coffee, it’s called Dirty Horchata. To make dirty horchata, pour it into a glass. Top with ¼ cup of cold brew coffee. Check this post on how to make cold brew coffee.
Traditionally this drink was made vegan without any milk or condensed milk added to it. You can make the exact same recipe as mentioned below but skip to add milk and condensed milk for a vegan version.
If you want it milky, you can add any vegan dairy-free milk like coconut milk, almond milk, etc to the recipe.
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 directly. Soak the milk with 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.
Use cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon as it doesn’t get dissolved in the milk and keep floating on top of the drink. Crush the cinnamon stick slightly before grinding them.
Some people like to roast the rice and almonds until they are slightly 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.
You can also use rice flour instead of rice and add some lime zest to it for that hint of citrusy flavor.
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 warm it up and sip to comfort your soul 🙂
Add a splash of spiced rum or bourbon for an adult version.
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 moulds and serve as ice lollies.
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Mexican Horchata Recipe
- Heavy Duty Grinder
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- ¼ cup whole almonds
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- Wash 1 cup of white rice 2-3 times with water until the water runs clear. Drain the water and add the rice in the medium jar of a heavy-duty grinder along with 2 cinnamon sticks (crushed), 4 cups of cold water, and ¼ cup almonds. You can also crush the almonds if you wish to. Crushing the cinnamon and almonds makes the grinding process easier.
- Blend the ingredient to make a coarse paste. You don’t have to make it really smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a glass bowl.
- Cover the mouth of the bowl using a cloth or a plate and leave the bowl on the counter for 8-10 hours.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth. We don’t want any particles coming up in the drink.
- Add the remaining ingredients like ½ cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 cups milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and ½ cup granulated sugar to the bowl and mix everything well.
- Chill the drink for a few hours before serving. You can skip adding milk and condensed milk if you want a traditional version. Pour Horchata into serving glasses, add a few ice cubes and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. Serve chilled.