How to Make Horchata
Find out how to make creamy horchata at home with this easy blender recipe! This homemade horchata tastes just like the drink at your favorite Mexican restaurants, but has no refined sugar, and is dairy-free, and vegan.
Whenever we go out for Mexican food, my hubby orders a cold glass of horchata, also knows as agua de horchata. On a recent family date night to a favorite taco place, Corazon Cocina, I tried a sip of his drink to see what all the fuss was about. For research purposes, of course.
I had expected horchata to be heavy and overly sweet, but it wasn’t! I was surprised at first by the slightly gritty mouth feel, but it was actually very refreshing and perfect with spicy tacos. After that I decided I had to try making horchata at home. This non-alcoholic beverage is perfect for Cinco de Mayo, Fiesta, or any taco night.
What is Horchata?
This is a question I asked myself a few years ago when I noticed Yummy Hubby ordering it in Mexican restaurants. Horchata is a popular Mexican beverage that’s made with cinnamon, rice, and sugar. It’s milky, and a little gritty, and the flavor reminds me of a snickerdoodle cookie. A drinkable snickerdoodle? I’m in! Horchata is usually served cold in a tall glass, but some fun variations have evolved as well. Starbucks serves a blended frappuccino version, and some people make popsicles, or paletas, with it. I think it could make a killer cocktail with a splash of rum too.
Is Horchata Vegan?
Another question I’ve asked myself on these Mexican date nights. I had always assumed horchata was made with whole milk and loads of sugar. While the latter is probably true, this creamy drink really gets its milkiness from rice. Cows milk or almond milk may be added and both can make a traditional, authentic recipe.
An Easy Horchata Recipe
After pouring over recipes in Spanish, on Youtube, and playing around with making my own recipe a few times, I was surprised to find that this is one seriously fun and easy beverage to make! White rice, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and water soak for a few hours or overnight. Do you rinse the rice? Rice is typically always rinsed before cooking, and thought I couldn’t find a definitive answer for this particular recipe, it worked perfectly with rinsed rice. Some people blend the rice and cinnamon and then soak, but they should blend more easily after soaking. The second time I made this recipe I was in a hurry and only let the rice and cinnamon soak for about an hour and a half. And it was fine.
It took a few minutes to grind the cinnamon sticks and create a milky liquid. At this point we need to strain the solids because no one wants to chew on cinnamon pieces. Set a fine mesh sieve or a piece of cheesecloth over a bowl or pitcher and pour through.
It’s that easy! Store your fresh homemade horchata in the refrigerator. It does naturally separate a bit, with the heaver pieces sinking to the bottom. Just give a little shake or stir before pouring.
Cheers and don’t miss the short video tutorial below!
Milky Mexican agua de horchata is easy to mix up in the blender and tastes delicious any time of day. It’s particularly great with spicy Mexican food. This version is made with more natural ingredients like maple syrup and almond milk but tastes just like authentic horchata.
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice (I used basmati)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- Rinse and drain the rice. Place it in a blender and add the water and cinnamon sticks. Cover and let soak for at least three hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).
- Blend the cinnamon, rice, and water until the cinnamon is ground up and the mixture is as smooth and milky as possible. This took a couple of minutes in my high powered blender. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a pitcher to strain the solid bits.
- Whisk in the almond milk, vanilla, and syrup. Taste and add more syrup if desired.