How To Make Horchata
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How to Make Horchata – An easy recipe to make the best thick and wonderfully refreshing authentic horchata from scratch. Your family will love enjoying this nutty, creamy, perfectly sweet drink all summer!
What is Horchata?
Silky, sweet, creamy, slightly spicy Horchata is a beloved Mexican drink often enjoyed during the summer.
It’s a wonderfully rich blend of homemade rice milk, almonds, cinnamon, and canned milk(s) that’s served ice-cold as a refreshing way to beat the heat!
My kids love making all sorts of fresh and fruity agua frescas throughout the summer months. And, technically, Horchata is a type of agua fresca. However, instead of using fruit, you add grains, nuts, and milk to the water for a thicker, more luxurious treat.
You’ve got to give this recipe a try!
The Best Horchata Recipe
This Easy Horchata Recipe is simply the best for authentic Mexican-style beverages.
Using traditional ingredients and time-saving tricks, you can easily make a large batch of ice-cold Horchata at home, from scratch, in just a couple of hours.
It’s also great to make ahead the night before, and enjoy the next day at a potluck or poolside party!
My family loves this recipe, and it is traditionally a great kid-friendly beverage. However, if you want to booze it up, you can certainly add a shot of rum to each glass for a refreshingly delicious adult drink.
What Ingredients You Need
Here are all of the ingredients in our authentic Mexican Horchata recipe:
- Long-Grain Rice – to create a thick and silky base
- Almonds – for that perfect earthy, nutty taste
- Cinnamon Stick – the whole stick is used for just the right amount of spice and flavor
- Sweetened Condensed Milk AND Evaporated Milk – these two ingredients add sweetness and a devilishly creamy texture
- Vanilla Extract – balances the spice of the cinnamon and the sweetness of the milks
- Salt – just a little to enhance the other flavors
Canned milk is a classic Mexican ingredient, which became popular when fresh milk was historically not available. They do provide a unique flavor! However, you can substitute 3 cups of regular milk (or almond milk) + 1 cup sugar if you prefer… Or if sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are not available in your area.
How to Make Horchata
Making homemade Horchata from scratch is simple, although it does take a couple of hours to chill before you can enjoy it. I love making a large batch the night before a party, so it’s terrifically cold and ready to go when guests arrive!
Here’s how to make the best homemade authentic Horchata:
1. First, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a kettle or a large saucepan.
2. Then, to a large heat-safe bowl add the dry long-grain rice, sliced or chopped almonds, whole cinnamon stick, and salt. Carefully pour the boiling water over the rice mixture, and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or even overnight.
3. Once cold, pour the rice mixture into a blender, including the cinnamon stick. Puree until very smooth.
4. Next, set a fine-mesh strainer over a 10-cup or larger measuring pitcher. Slowly pour the blended rice mixture into the strainer. Allow the liquid to completely pour through, removing any remaining debris.
5. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. The canned milk(s) mixed with the almond and cinnamon will smell so lusciously sweet! Add additional cold water, until you have 9-10 cups for horchata total.
6. Add additional cold water, until you have 9-10 cups of Horchata total. I recommend 9 cups for extra-thick horchata; however, my kids like it a little thinner and so I tend to make the full 10 cups.
Chill the Horchata in the fridge until ready to enjoy. Give it a good stir before serving.
Serve over ice as-is, or with a shot of rum.
For extra flavor and flair, I like to also add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon to the top of each glass.
Get the Complete (Printable) Best Easy Horchata Recipe Below. Enjoy!
How to Make Agua de Avena (Mexican Horchata with Oats)
Like in this recipe, Mexican Horchata is most typically made with rice. However, oats can be substituted for the rice to make a popular (and healthy fiber-filled) variation called Agua de Avena. Both are made with the same process, but you simply swap rice for steel-cut oats.
To Make Agua de Avena: Substitute 1 cup of steel-cut oats for the rice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does This Beverage Last?
This drink can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 10 days in an airtight container.
How Can I Make the Best Dairy-Free Vegan Version?
This easy Horchata recipe is excellent when made dairy-free! Just substitute 3 cups of almond or rice milk + 1 cup of sugar to replace the canned milk in this recipe.
Keep in mind that plant-based milk alternatives tend to not be quite as thick as canned sweetened condensed and evaporated milk, so you will want to watch how much cold water you add to the base mixture to make the full recipe.
How Can I Use The Leftover Condensed Milk?
You can drizzle it over some fresh fruit, add it to tea or coffee to sweeten it up, make a tres leches cake, or make ice cream!
Looking for More Refreshing Summer Drink Recipes?
- Cucumber Ginger Mint Agua Fresca Recipe
- Smoothie King Caribbean Way Smoothie Recipe
- Mulled Lemonade Recipe
- Southern Orangeade Recipe
- Spicy Michelada Recipe
- How to Make Authentic Agua Fresca Recipe
- How to Make Sweet Tea Recipe
- Easiest Healthy Watermelon Smoothie Recipe
How to Make Horchata
- 1 cup dry long-grain rice
- ½ cup sliced almonds or chopped
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 6-8 cups water
- 14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
- 12 ounce evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil (in a kettle or a sauce pan).
- In a large heat-safe bowl add the dry rice, almonds, cinnamon stick, and salt. Pour the boiling water over the rice mixture. Stir well. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Could be overnight.)
- Pour the rice mixture into the blender, including the cinnamon stick. Puree until very smooth.
- Set a fine mesh strainer (sieve) over a 10-cup measuring pitcher. Pour the rice mixture into the strainer. Allow the liquid to pour through, removing any remaining debris.
- Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. Add additional cold water, until you have 9-10 cups for horchata total. (9 cups for extra-thick horchata. My kids like it a little thinner.)
- Chill until ready to use. Stir before serving. Serve over ice as-is, or with a shot of rum.
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It says boil 4 cups of water. And never mentions adding more water. However, the recipe says 6-8 cups of water. Am I supposed to be adding water somewhere else?
Thanks for posting. I look forward to making this recipe!
Adding the additional water happens in step 5. Hope this helps! :)
This is so flavorful and refreshing! My husband said it reminds him of his Grandma’s recipe. HUGE compliment!!
Just discovered this recipe and I am anxious to try it. I am thinking ahead and in Fall there is Pumpkin Spice 🎃 Everything. I may try a bit of Pumpkin Pie Seasoning. Later I might experiment with Eggnog. I love “tweaking” recipes. This does sound perfect as is. Thank you for sharing this recipe. **
Oh my goodness I am addicted, I have never tried this before and decided to give it a go, I have had 3 cups since I made it and I plan on making more tomorrow. This is so good!!
This drink sis my hubby’s favorite when he’s outside mowing the lawn! So refreshing and cooling! Definitely one of our favorites.
this drink tastes just like it did when I was in Mexico a few years ago! So delicious!
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There are some restaurants that I’ve tried their horchata, but this tops all of them! Nothing beats a fresh drink!
Hi, I was wondering where I could buy a pitcher like the one you have here? I’ve looked all over with no luck
I believe I found it at a kitchen supply store. Hope this helps!
I love those aqua and white cups. Do you have a link for purchase?
They are from a company called Barn Light Electric. They make gorgeous lighting and all sorts of home goods. :)
Never knew it could me so easy to make! The flavor is amazing!
I seriously love how easy this is to make!!
Oh my! This was so good!! I’ve got a new favorite drink right here!
This looks so delicious and perfect for summer! I can’t wait to make this! I’ll be drinking it all summer!!