Horchata

Drinks, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Horchata is a rice-based drink from Mexico. While horchata is not traditionally dairy-free this horchata recipe is dairy-free! This recipe has has rice, toasted almonds, brown sugar and vanilla! P.S. If you’re looking for a take on this recipe, check out my recipe for Horchata Coffee! 

Horchata

The First Time I had Horchata

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t super familiar with different types of Mexican food. Living in South Florida, the food that was there was mostly from the Caribbean and South America. But soon after moving here, I quickly learned the difference of Mexican food from Jalisco, Sonora, Colima and Mexico City. It was fascinating to understand and eat my way through the different regions. Mexican food immediately became my next-in-line favorite behind Peruvian food. I’m a bit bias 🙂

One drink that has quickly won my heart is agua de horchata. At most taquierias, it’s made close to this way but with a can of sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. You can do this, too, if you like. I would just say to eliminate the brown sugar and add those two in addition to these ingredients. It will definitely be milkier. I love this version because it’s dairy-free and I find it a bit lighter and more refreshing.

Horchata

Horchata

Where is Horchata from?

Horchata is made in Central America, Spain and Mexico. All of these countries make versions that are slightly different from the other. The one we’re making mostly resembles the Mexican version but even within Mexico it can vary.

Horchata

What is Horchata?

While versions vary, Horchata in Mexico is always a rice-based drink. This version you see here consists of rice, toasted almonds, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, salt and a bit of vanilla, All of these ingredients are soaked in water for about 4 hours or overnight. This softens all of the ingredients and then when it’s blended, it all marries together. Run it through a strainer and you have a delicious aqua fresca!

What’s Is Horchata Made Of?

  • White Long-Grain Rice. You don’t want long grain rice such as basmati or jasmine. I find them too fragrant and they impart their flavor on the horchata.
  • Slivered Almonds. I tested this recipe where I toasted ALL of the almonds and found that it made the horchata taste too much like almonds. So, now the recipe you see below, only toasts 1/4 cup. I found that to be the perfect amount.
  • Brown Sugar. I found that a lot of traditional Mexican recipes used piloncillo sugar. Since piloncillo sugar can be difficult to find, I found that brown sugar gives a comparable flavor. It’s rich and delicious.
  • Cinnamon Sticks. You can’t have horchata without the flavor of cinnamon. Whole Mexican cinnamon sticks are preferred.
  • Kosher salt. Like any sweet item, we need a bit of salt to balance out the flavors. You can’t taste it at all.
  • Vanilla Extract. I used a small amount of vanilla extract. There’s just a hint of the flavor.
  • Filtered Water. If the water from your tap “tastes” like tap water then definitely use filtered water. I do always and it makes all the difference.

Horchata

How to Make Horchata

  1. Toast the almonds. Horchata ingredients are simple. This step is my favorite. Remember, we’re only toasting a small amount of the almonds. As a result, it’ll add the absolute best amount of toasty flavor. Pour them to a large bowl.
  2. And then add in the rest of the almonds, rice, cinnamon sticks, vanilla and salt.
    Pour in the filtered water.
  3. Allow everything to soak for at least 4 hours. I soaked mine for about 6 hours. If you want to store it overnight, I would cover the mixture and stick it in the fridge.
  4. Pour the mixture into the blender. I had to do this in two batches since my blender wasn’t big enough.
  5. Place a sieve over a bowl and pour it the horchata through it. As a result, it will eliminate a good amount of the pulp.
  6. *Options* I wanted it silky smooth so I passed it through a nut bag. This step is optional.
    You could also nestle two sheets of cheese cloth on a sieve and pour it through there.
  7. Add ice cubes to glasses.
  8. Pour the horchata in the glasses and top with a bit of cinnamon.

Horchata

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

A lot of people want to know, does horchata have dairy? does horchata have milk? The answer isn’t a total simple one. There are recipes that include dairy (mainly evaporated milk and/or sweetened condensed milk. This recipe for horchata drink is totally dairy-free. If you want to make it creamier, you’re more than welcome to add a can of evaporated milk to the mixture and stick it in the fridge to soak.

 

Horchata Recipe

PRINT
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Soaking Time 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 13 minutes
Serving Size: 8
Calories: 108kcal
Horchata is a rice-based drink from Mexico. While horchata is not traditionally dairy-free this recipe is dairy-free! This recipe has has rice, toasted almonds, brown sugar and vanilla!  

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) blanched almonds, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) uncooked white rice
  • 3 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract , (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 cups filtered water

Directions

  • In a medium skillet, set over medium-low heat, add 1/4 cup blanched almonds. Toast the almonds until medium golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, tossing them every so often.
  • Transfer the toasted almonds and untoasted almonds to a large bowl. Pour in the white rice, cinnamon sticks, browns sugar, vanilla extract, salt and filtered water. Mix everything up until combined and cover the bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 5 hours. Or overnight in the fridge.
  • Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in batches. Transfer the horchata mix (including the cinnamon sticks) to your blender (adding what will fit, giving room at the top for blending). Blend for about 1 minute, until the horchata turns cloudy and white. Pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl to catch the majority of the nut pulp.
  • Place a nut bag in the center of a bowl and pour the once-strained mixture into the nut bag. This will eliminate the majority of the grit from the horchata and make it silky smooth. Gently squeeze the nut bag so the horchata runs out.
  • Continue this process until you work with the rest of horchata mixture. Serve over ice and top with a dusting of ground cinnamon

Notes

Alternative Straining Methods: 
I passed the horchata through a medium mesh strainer. And then poured it through a nut bag. If you don't have a nut bag, you can simply use a fine-mesh strainer. OR you could use place a few layers of cheese cloth nestled in a medium-mesh strainer. 
To Store: 
This horchata will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Just be sure to stir it vigorously before serving. 
Equipment:
Fine Mesh Strainer | Pyrex Bowl Set with Lids | High-Powered Blender (Splurge) | High-Powered Blender (Budget) | Nut Bag
CourseDrinks
CuisineAmerican, Central America, Mexican
Keywordhorchata, horchata drink, horchata recipe, mexican horchata, what is horchata
Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

 

If you end up making this recipe, let me know on Instagram! 

Horchata

Looking for more Latin-inspired recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

35 Comments

Leave a Reply






  • Reply grace April 12, 2010 at 3:14 am

    great post–we’re a lot alike. although i’ve never been fortunate to taste an authentic batch of horchata, it’s so appealing and beautiful–thanks for your recipe!

  • Reply Memoria April 11, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Your horchata looks beautiful. I love the shot of the cinnamon sticks.

  • Reply Amy April 11, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I’ve never heard of this drink, but it sounds mighty yummy. I’m on a no dairy kick so this is perfect for a creamy drink!

  • Reply Claire April 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    i love horchata! great pictures, definitely want to make this very soon

  • Reply Ryan April 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Favorite Blog: definitely acozykitchen

    Gatta try this horchata business. It’s looks way better than my signature milk pasta smoothie…maybe it’s a white guy thing…

    Keep the goodness coming!

  • Reply Fuji Mama April 10, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I absolutely love this post. Great way to introduce the horchata recipe. I’m with you–horchata definitely needs to hire a publicist, because it does not receive it’s due!

  • Reply Adrianna April 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Abbey–Hmmm…well I would maybe do a little combo action of nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ginger. I’d start of with a tiny pinch of each and then after it’s done soaking for the 6 hrs or overnight, then I’d add more depending on taste. But you’re definitely right–the hint of spiciness is what makes this drink awesome. Let me know how it turns out!

    Kirstin–I actually just changed the recipe. The original recipe dictated blanched, but I only had raw and it turned out great.

  • Reply Kirstin April 10, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve never heard of this but I’m totally intrigued. I think I might buy almonds just to make this. Do the almonds have to be blanched or can you use raw?

  • Reply Abbey April 10, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Hi, I live with someone who’s allergic to cinnamon, I was wondering if there’s any alternative you would suggest? It seems like a big part of the flavour that I wouldn’t want to just do without!
    Thanks

  • Reply Fair April 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    This seems so easy to ‘cook’ and I can’t wait to try it. It’s gone to the top of my to-do list.

  • Reply Adrianna April 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Monica–can’t wait til you try it! let me know how it turns out.

    Kayla–yep! super cheap for sorta high quality sheets!

    Randi–buy some cheese cloth and dooooo it! and you can’t not love rick bayless. he’s amazing!

  • Reply Randi April 9, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    LOVE horchata – always think I’m going to make it, and never do. i’ll get me some cheese cloth and remedy that post-haste. thanks for this recipe! also, who doesn’t love rick bayless?

  • Reply Kayla April 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I totally buy my sheets at Ross too!!! High tread count, low price. 🙂

  • Reply Monica April 9, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I have travelled to Mexico most of my life, first as vacations spots then for work and I live in Florida (west coast) who is full of taquerias, and mexican mom & pop places.. I live 5 blocks away from a TACO BUS (yep) and they have the BEST Horchata, outside of Mexico. And everytime I drink a huge glass of the stuff I mumbled to myself “I got to find the recipe and make this at home”…. thanks for GIVING me the recipe for making this!

  • Reply Katrina April 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

    This looks sooo good!

  • 1 2