Horchata

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Horchata is a drink made primarily with rice and spices. Although it is white in color and creamy, this recipe does not contain milk.

Homemade Horchata with three cinnamon sticks

In Spain horchata is made with chufa (tiger nut) but in Mexico it’s made with rice. Most Latin families that make it have their own special twists.

My cousin Georgina shared her recipe with my mom, and she gave it a few tweaks (using simple syrup instead of granulated sugar and pulverizing the rice beforehand to eliminate chalky sediment and a gritty taste). Grinding the rice also helps thicken the drink.

What is Horchata?

Horchata (pronounced or-CHAH-tah) is that white milky-looking drink you see in large bee-hive glass jars at taquerías or sold by street vendors. It’s the perfect summertime refreshment.

Dairy free homemade drink served with cinnamon sticks and straws

Once you have the base for this thirst quenching (dairy-free) drink, you can experiment with the addition of more or less sugar. Since it does not contain milk, it will not spoil as easily as a dairy-containing beverage.

Dairy-free Agua de Horchata (Rice and Cinnamon Drink)

What Ingredients are in Homemade Horchata?

This drink is easy to make. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients that you will need in your kitchen. 

  • Long grain white rice – this is what gives the drink its unique flavor.
  • Cinnamon stick – I usually purchase canela in bulk at my Latin market. If you don’t have canela substitute with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. 
  • Cloves – whole cloves add a distinct pungent warm flavor, but can be omitted from this recipe. 
  • Vanilla extract – I recommend Mexican vanilla for the best flavor.
  • Water – once rice, cinnamon stick, and cloves soak overnight in water it will turn into a creamy rice beverage.
  • Granulated sugar – to make simple syrup.

Supplies needed to make horchata

  • Food processor: A food processor is great to pulverize the rice, but this step can be skipped, and is not necessary.
  • Blender: A high-powered blender will be needed to blend rice and cinnamon stick.
  • Cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer: You need to strain the rice mixture after you blend it to avoid a grainy texture. I like to use cheesecloth and a strainer, but you can also use a nut bag
  • Vitrolero: A vitrolero (glass barrel jar) is the traditional way to serve aguas frescas, but feel free to store and serve in a pitcher or glass milk bottle.

How to make Horchata?

  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Over low heat allow the sugar to melt, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
  • In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulverize the rice so it is the consistency of ground coffee.
  • In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat; add rice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cover and let soak for eight hours or overnight at room temperature.
  • After soaking, break the cinnamon stick in half, and place the water, rice, broken cinnamon stick, and cloves in a blender. Puree for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid through a fine strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, into a pitcher. Squeeze the excess liquid and discard the solids.
  • Stir in the vanilla and 2 cups of the thin simple syrup.
  • Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Stir before pouring and serve over ice.

How Long will Horchata Keep for?

  • For best results keep refrigerated and serve within 5 days of preparing. 

If you like horchata, you will love these recipes

Watch this video to learn how to make horchata at home.

Have you made this horchata? Rate the recipe and leave me a comment below to let me know how it turned out! 

Agua de Horchata (Rice and Cinnamon Drink)

Milky, yet dairy free Mexican classic drink is made with rice, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and served ice cold. It is sweet and refreshing.
Homemade Horchata with three cinnamon sticks
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4.5 from 2 votes
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Ingredients

Thin Simple Syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Over low heat allow the sugar to melt, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
  • In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulverize the rice so it is the consistency of ground coffee.
  • In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat; add rice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cover and let soak for eight hours or overnight at room temperature.
  • After soaking, break the cinnamon stick in half, and place the water, rice, broken cinnamon stick, and cloves in a blender. Puree for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid through a fine strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, into a pitcher. Squeeze the excess liquid and discard the solids.
  • Stir in the vanilla and 2 cups of the thin simple syrup.
  • Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Stir before pouring and serve over ice.

Video

Notes

  • No canela - If you don't have canela substitute with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. 
  • Cloves - whole cloves add a distinct pungent warm flavor, but can be omitted from this recipe. 
  • Vanilla extract – I recommend Mexican vanilla for the best flavor.
  • Food processor: A food processor is great to pulverize the rice, but this step can be skipped, and is not necessary.
  • Blender: A high-powered blender will be needed to blend rice and cinnamon stick.
  • Cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer: You need to strain the rice mixture after you blend it to avoid a grainy texture. I like to use cheesecloth and a strainer, but you can also use a nut bag
  • Vitrolero: A vitrolero (glass barrel jar) is the traditional way to serve aguas frescas, but feel free to store and serve in a pitcher or glass milk bottle.
  • How to store: Refrigerate horchata and serve within 5 days of preparing. 

Nutrition

Calories: 819kcal, Carbohydrates: 211g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 107mg, Potassium: 159mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 173g, Calcium: 47mg, Iron: 7mg

I’d love to see what you cook!

Tag #MUYBUENOCOOKING if you make this recipe.

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Originally published: July 2011. This recipe is also published in the Muy Bueno cookbook.