How To Make Horchata
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 Horchata.
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 Horchata, 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
The canned milk(s) are classic Mexican ingredients used, 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 milks mixed with the almond and cinnamon will smell so lusciously sweet!
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 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 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 Horchata?
This easy Horchata recipe is excellent for making dairy-free! Just substitute 3 cups of almond or rice milk + 1 cup of sugar for 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
- Agua de Jamaica Recipe
How to Make Horchata
- 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.
Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!