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Homemade Horchata

Creamy, nutty, and delicious, this recipe for homemade Horchata is a refreshing drink made with rice and almonds soaked in water and milk. It’s a light, sweet, non-alcoholic drink that’s perfect for any occasion.

Homemade Horchata Recipe

If you’ve never had Horchata before, you’re in for a treat! Horchata is a sweet, creamy, rice-based drink, originally from Spain and popular in Mexico. The traditional Spanish version was often made with tiger nuts, but Mexican horchata is different, usually made by soaking rice and cinnamon in water and then straining it to produce a smooth, light drink that’s sweetened with a small amount of sugar. Think rice pudding in liquid form!

Horchata is one of Mexico’s most famous drinks, and it’s easy to see why! With its mild, nutty flavor, this drink can be served as a snack, as a treat, after a meal, or whenever! If you add more sugar, it can be almost like a dessert; if you use less sugar, it’s a refreshing pick-me-up.

a tall glass pitcher filled with Horchata

Does Horchata Contain Alcohol?

Traditional horchatas are alcohol-free, making them a fun treat for the entire family! However, if you want to add alcohol, that’s perfectly okay! Rum, brandy, and Kahlua are all great choices for adding a little kick to this refreshing sipper.

Ingredients For Horchata

  • Rice: You’ll need uncooked, long-grain white rice, not cooked rice.
  • Almonds: Blanched almonds are best, since they have had their bitter skins removed.
  • Cinnamon: I use cinnamon sticks, but ground cinnamon works as well.
  • Water
  • Granulated Sugar: You can use sugar or substitute a different sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Sweeten to your liking.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Milk: Dairy milk is my go-to, but you can also use non-dairy milk, such as oat milk or almond milk.
  • Ice: For serving.
Overhead image of sliced almonds and cinnamon sticks in a blender.

How to Make Horchata

If you’re new to making horchata, it might seem like an unusual recipe, but the method couldn’t be simpler. There are just a few steps, including blending your ingredients, chilling the drink, and finally, straining it.

  1. Blend the Dry Ingredients. Combine the rice, almonds, and cinnamon sticks in a blender, and then pour in about ¼ cup water to help in the blending process. Pulse the blender until the mixture is ground. 
  2. Add Water, Vanilla, and Milk. Next, pour in two more cups of water, along with the sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to blend until it is well combined. This should take about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a large bowl or container, and then stir in the rest of the water and milk.
  3. Refrigerate and Strain. Cover your mixture tightly and refrigerate it overnight. When it’s ready, use a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain it into a pitcher. Stir it well, and serve over ice.
photo of a blender jug with blended rice, water, cinnamon sticks, and almonds inside of it.

Tips for Making Horchata

This traditional drink is so easy, and the recipe is very flexible. Feel free to play with the amounts and even the ingredients to make it the way you want. Here are some simple tips and variations you can try:

  • Add Milk: To make a richer horchata, use more milk and less water.
  • Fine Mesh: If you are using a mesh strainer, make sure it is very fine. This helps to eliminate any rice in your beverage, preventing it from becoming gritty.
  • Strawberry Horchata: After the horchata soaks overnight, you can blend in some strawberries to make a strawberry horchata, aka horchifresa.
  • Coffee Horchata: For a coffee-spiked horchata, add ground coffee to the rice mixture as it soaks, or replace some of the water in the recipe with cooled espresso.
drinking glasses filled with ice cubes and horchata, and garnished with a cinnamon stick

Serving Ideas


  • Horchata should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container and consumed within 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze, store it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1 to 2 months. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays to blend it into a frappe!
  • Thaw in the refrigerator.
overhead shot of a drinking glass filled with ice cubes and horchata, and garnished with a cinnamon stick


overhead shot of two drinking glasses filled with ice cubes and horchata, and garnished with a cinnamon stick

The Best Horchata

Katerina | Diethood
My version of the beloved Horchata recipe includes rice, almonds, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and water. Quick to prepare, it's refreshing and so delicious!
5 from 4 votes
Servings : 12
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes


  • 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • ½ cup chopped or sliced almonds,
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, or use 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • cup granulated sugar, or your choice of substitute sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk, you can also use oat milk or nut milk
  • Ice, for serving


  • Combine rice, almonds, and cinnamon sticks in a high powered blender; pour in about ¼ cup water and blend until mixture is ground.
  • Pour in 2 cups water, add the sugar and vanilla extract, and continue to blend until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a large bowl or container; add in the remaining water and milk.
  • Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
  • When ready, using a fine mesh or cheese cloth, strain the mixture into a pitcher. Stir it well, and serve over ice.


  • For a creamier horchata, increase milk and reduce water.
  • Use a fine mesh strainer to remove any rice residue for a smoother texture.
  • Create a strawberry horchata (horchifresa) by blending strawberries after soaking.
  • Change up horchata with coffee by adding ground coffee to the soaking mix or using cooled espresso instead of some water.


Calories: 159 kcal | Carbohydrates: 27 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 4 mg | Sodium: 23 mg | Potassium: 110 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 14 g | Vitamin A: 68 IU | Vitamin C: 1 mg | Calcium: 71 mg | Iron: 1 mg | Net Carbs: 26 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Drinks/Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: agua de horchata, homemade horchata
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