Smooth, rich, sweet, and so refreshing, there’s nothing quite like a tall cold glass of Mexican Horchata! This Horchata Drink Recipe is the real deal made with soaked rice infused with cinnamon, then mixed with two different milks and a touch of vanilla. It’s very easy to make and incredibly delicious!
Authentic Mexican Horchata Recipe
The first time I ever had Horchata was at a quinceañera several years ago and I thought it was just about one of the best drinks I had ever tasted. I’m extremely fortunate that my son’s best friends are Mexican and their mother happily hands me over her family recipes when I beg for them. HA. This is another one, handed down from her abuelita to her mom to her. The best recipes, right!?
What is Horchata?
Horchata is a drink made from rice water infused with cinnamon. Its origins are linked to Spain, but is incredibly popular throughout Mexico and Latin America, with the ingredients varying by region. In some places it’s prepared with almonds, while others made from coconut, and some add in vanilla.
You can find horchata at most Mexican restaurants, mercados, and local taquerias in the United States and, of course, abroad. I use to buy some every chance I got, but once I snagged the recipe from my friend Roxana, I simply make up a batch at home all the time.
What does Horchata taste like? It’s smooth and rich, with the perfect amount of sweetness and notes of cinnamon. If you like the leftover milk after eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, it’s sort of like that, but thicker, sweeter, and better. But that’s the total white gal in me trying to find a good comparison. #facepalm Trust me, it’s so delicious and super refreshing served over ice.
The necessary ingredients to make this horchata recipe is short and simple, most likely items you already have in your pantry.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions.)
- White rice – Raw long grain white rice.
- Very hot water
- Cinnamon sticks – They should be about 3 inches long.
- Two milks – Similar to tres leches cake, this drink includes evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.
- Granulated sugar – Sweetens the drink more, if preferred. I always add at least 1/4 cup. It’s supposed to be a sweet drink.
- Vanilla – I always add in vanilla, since I love the flavor.
- Ice – This is a drink served over ice. It’s wonderfully refreshing.
How to Make Horchata
Homemade horchata is incredibly easy to make! Here’s a summary:
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions, and don’t miss the video below.)
- Blend the rice. Put the raw rice in a blender and pulverize into a powder. Add in the hot water and cinnamon sticks.
- Let sit overnight. Keep the lid on the blender and let sit on the countertop overnight (or at least 8 hours) until the water is cool and the cinnamon sticks have hydrated and softened. In the morning, make sure the lid is still secure and turn on the blender; blend about for 2 minutes or until the rice and cinnamon sticks are completely ground and incorporated.
- Strain. Pour and strain the mixture into a cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer over a large pitcher. (Discard the gritty rice and cinnamon bits that has collected in the cheese cloth.)
- Add in other ingredients. Add to the pitcher the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla; stir to combine. Taste and adjust the sweetness.
- Chill and serve. Chill until ready to serve, then stir well before drinking. Pour into a glass filled with ice and enjoy!
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Use cinnamon sticks. Do not replace the cinnamon sticks with ground cinnamon, it’s not the same.
- Optional add ins. Some people really like to add in sweetened coconut flakes or almonds.
- Change the type of milk. Try using almond milk in place of the evaporated milk.
- Why soak so long? It takes at least 8 hours for the cinnamon sticks to really soften in the hot water and the rice to absorb the cinnamon flavor. I always prep it before bedtime, so I’m not waiting around. Then come morning time, I finish making it in minutes.
- Blend in batches, if necessary. This recipe makes about 8 cups, so if you have a smaller blender (6 cups or less) you’ll need to prep in batches. Alternatively, you can reduce the ingredients proportionately and just make less.
- Use a fine mesh strainer. Make sure you use a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth when draining the rice-cinnamon water to avoid a gritty texture.
Video: How to Make Mexican Horchata
- How long does Horchata last? Homemade Horchata should be stored in the fridge and will keep for about 3 to 4 days. Stir well before serving again.
- Can you freeze Horchata? Yes, horchata can be frozen. Use it within a month for best flavor. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and give it a very good stir before enjoying.
More Favorite Mexican Recipes:
- 1 cup raw long grain white rice
- 8 cups very hot water
- 2 cinnamon sticks (about 3 inches long)
- 1 can (12 ounce) evaporated milk
- 1 can (14 ounce) condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- up to 1/3 cup sugar
- Ice , for serving
- Put the raw rice in a blender and pulverize into a powder. Add in the hot water and cinnamon sticks. Keep the lid on and let sit on the countertop overnight (or at least 8 hours) until the water is cool and the cinnamon sticks have hydrated and softened.
- In the morning, make sure the lid is still secure and turn on the blender; blend about for 2 minutes or until the rice and cinnamon sticks are completely ground and incorporated.
- Pour and strain the mixture into a cheese cloth or very fine mesh strainer over a large pitcher. (Discard the gritty rice and cinnamon bits that has collected in the cheese cloth.)
- Add to the pitcher the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla; stir to combine. (If the consistency feels too thick, you can add in 1 more cup of cool water. I personally like it thicker, so I don’t add more water.)
- Taste and adjust the sweetness. If it needs more, add in up to 1/3 cup granulated sugar. (I always add this.)
- Now your Horchata is ready. Keep chilled until ready to serve and stir well before serving. Pour into a glass filled with ice and enjoy!