Horchata

Agua de Horchata

Horchata is Mexico’s famous cinnamon-infused rice water drink. Is it worth it to make homemade? Absolutely! Of course, you can buy horchata concentrate and it’s super easy to use but it doesn’t compare to the real stuff.

We’ll show you how to make traditional horchata from scratch using rice, not rice flour. Sweetened condensed milk gives it its refreshing sweet taste.

Pitcher of Horchata Agua Fresca
Glass of Authentic Horchata

How to Make

You will need the following to make horchata. When you prepare it with soaked rice the texture is smooth, not chalky.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk (reduce by half for a mildly sweet drink)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp.ground cinnamon (add to taste)
Ingredients to Make Authentic Horchata

Process

In a mixing bowl, add the rice, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon sticks.

Mixing Base for Horchata

Pour hot water into the mixture and stir until the sweetened condensed milk dissolves.

Adding Hot Water to Base

Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then refrigerate the mixture for a minimum of 2 hours.

We recommend refrigerating overnight for a more concentrated flavor.

Mixing Bowl with Horchata Base Covered in Plastic

After refrigerating, uncover the mixture. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard.

Discarded Cinnamon Sticks

Strain the mixture to separate the rice. Reserve the liquid.

Straining Horchata Mixture
Straining Soaked Rice

Add the rice and 1.5 cups of the strained liquid to your blender. Blend for 3 minutes until the rice is liquefied.

Rice in Blender

Strain the blended rice back into the reserved liquid.

Second Straining

Check to make sure that the rice has been completely liquified. There shouldn’t be any bits of rice remaining in the strainer. If there is blend the horchata mixture again.

Checking Horchata Mixture for Texture

Serving

Serve over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick if you like for a posher presentation.

Glass of Homemade Horchata

Variations

Boozy Horchata

  • Turn horchata into a grownup alcoholic beverage by adding half a shot of your favorite rum or vodka to each glass. It’s great with a splash of Kahlua too.

Fruity Horchata

  • Strawberry horchata – when you are blending the soaked rice add 1 cup of sliced strawberries and prepare as usual.
  • Mango horchata – when you are blending the soaked rice add 1 cup of sliced mango and prepare as usual.
  • Apple horchata – when you are blending the soaked rice add 1 cup of sliced peeled apple and prepare as usual.

Dairy-free

  • You can make it without milk. Substitute 1 cup of unflavored, unsweetened almond milk for the whole milk and prepare as usual.
Glass of Authentic Horchata Topped with Cinnamon

Provecho!

Glass of Authentic Horchata
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3.6 from 20 votes

Horchata Recipe

How to make authentic Horchata, Mexico's famous cinnamon-infused rice water drink. It's mild slightly sweet cinnamon infused flavor complements spicy Mexican food. It's one of many delicious aguas frescas prepared in Mexican homes.
Course Beverage
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Horchata Drink, Horchata Recipe, How to Make Horchata
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 10 oz. cups
Calories 461kcal
Author Andrés Carnalla

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups rice
  • 1 can 14oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp.ground cinnamon add to taste

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add the rice, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon sticks.
  • Pour hot water into the mixture and stir until the sweetened condensed milk dissolves.
  • Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap then refrigerate the mixture for a minimum of 2 hours. Refrigerate up to 12 hours for a more concentrated flavor.
  • Uncover the mixture. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard.
  • Strain the mixture to separate the rice. Reserve the liquid.
  • Add the rice and 1.5 cups of the strained liquid to your blender. Blend for 3 minutes until the rice is liquefied.
  • Strain the blended rice back into the reserved liquid. Blend the horchata mixture again if the mixture is gritty.
  • Serve over ice with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Notes

Substitutions
  • For a less sweet drink, reduce the sweetened condensed milk by half.
  • For a dairy-free horchata, substitute 1 cup of unsweetened, unflavored almond milk for the whole milk.
  • If it is too thick, add 1 cup cold water and stir well.
Storage
  • Horchata will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 131mg | Sugar: 51g

More Aguas Frescas

Some more of our favorite Mexican drinks.

12 comments… add one
  • Gena

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I was always afraid to try to make this but this looks doable.

  • Thhis site was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me.
    Appreciate it!

  • Katja

    You said you can make a dairy-free if you substitute almond milk for the whole milk, and prepare as usual, but the condensed milk obviously has dairy as well…. What do you substitute for the sweetened condensed milk?

    • Eva

      You can use condensed coconut milk.

  • Paul Jones

    What kind of rice do you generally use?

  • Sydney

    Are dulce de leche and standard sweetened condensed milk interchangeable here?

    • Lina

      No… very different character to each. Dulce de leche is much closer to caramel sauce in overall qualities; sweetened condensed milk is thick and sweet but still has a very “milk” quality…it is what is traditionally used to sweeten Thai ice tea, if that helps.

  • Tiffany Nkezabahizi

    I grew up drinking horchata. I made it for the first time with your recipe. It is on point. Thank you so much for posting it.

  • Jeff Tovar

    Can I use skim or 1% milk? I don’t drink whole milk.

  • Mercedes Fuentes

    Very good recipe. I like mine with cafe and sambuca or vodca maybe even some mooneshine

  • Roxana

    I am really happy to say it is an interesting
    post to read. I learn new information from your article, you do a excellent job.

    Best regards,
    Thompson Zacho

  • Pastrychef

    The product pictured is caramel or dulche de leche, not plain sweetened condensed milk.

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