Traditional Mexican Horchata

Horchata de Arroz is a popular & refreshing Mexican drink made with ground rice, milk and cinnamon. Learn how to make this delicious drink with these step by step instructions!

One of the reasons Horchata is very popular in Mexico, is that it’s the perfect pairing for spicy & flavorful meals. Every time I make Pozole, Entomatadas, or Bistec Ranchero, you’ll see Horchata on my table….It’s also my favorite drink and it’ll be yours soon too 🙂

Three glasses with horchata placed on a pretty wood board

My recipe is for traditional Mexican horchata but I’ve seen versions around the web to fit today’s different diet needs: Some use almond or coconut milk to make it lactose-free or they use no calorie-sweeteners for diabetic needs.

While they may taste good, nothing beats the taste of the traditional version! It’s creamy, flavorful and so refreshing. I hope you treat yourself to the real deal at least once in a while.

a pretty jar with horchata placed on a wood bard

Horchata ingredients

  • Use 1 cup of any uncooked white rice and 2 cinnamon sticks
  • The milk base comes from 1 can each of evaporated milk and condensed milk. This is what gives the horchata the wonderful flavor and a creamy consistency.
  • If the condensed milk does not make it sweet enough for you, you can add more sugar to taste.
  • Ground cinnamon to garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional) – Just don’t use too much vanilla as we don’t want to overpower the cinnamon & rice flavor.

I once tasted an Horchata from La Santisima Mexican Restaurant that is made with chunks of fruits (cantaloupe, strawberries, grapes) and pecans. It’s so good! I think I’ll do that to mine next time.

Jar pouring Mexican rice drink in glasses with ice

How to make horchata

  • Wash and drain the rice.
  • Place the rice, cinnamon stick and 4 cups of water into a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hours (the longer the better!).
  • Add 1/2 of the rice & 1/2 of the soaking water and some of the cinnamon stick in a blender.
  • Puree until it’s very smooth and forms a paste like texture. About 4 minutes long.
  • Using a very fine strainer (or some cheese cloth) pour the mixture over a pitcher. Strain out as much liquid as possible, pushing on the solids with a spatula or spoon.
  • Repeat this process for the rest of the rice & cinnamon mixture.
  • Stir in the milks, vanilla (optional), and 4 cups of water. Stir well.
  • Taste and add more sugar or water if needed.
  • Chill and stir before serving over ice. 

FAQs:

How how long does horchata keep for in the fridge?

It should last about 3 or 4 days for the best taste. But I guarantee that you’ll want to drink it all in a day!

What kind of rice can I use?

Any white rice will work: long grain, jasmine, basmati, short grain. Just make sure it’s raw white rice!

Do you need to wash the rice prior to soaking?

Yes! Since we’ll be using the same soaking water to make the horchata, I recommend you wash it to have a clean drink.

Do you leave it in the fridge overnight or just out on the counter when soaking?

Place the bowl in the fridge since we’ll be using that same water for our final Horchata drink. This water already contains a lot of the rice & cinnamon flavor and we don’t want to waste it!

How can I make it dairy free?

Use almond milk or coconut milk. But you’ll need to sweeten it with sugar or your favorite sweetener. This may change the authenticity and it may not provide the same results as this recipe.

Two glasses with the milk drink

You guys, if you go to a Mexican restaurant I guarantee you will see Horchata on the menu. You may have seen it as “Agua de Horchata”. The wonderful thing is it’s super easy to make and you can make it at home!

Other Mexican drinks you may enjoy!

Two glasses with metal straws and Mexican Horchata. A jar in the background

Traditional Mexican Horchata

Servings 12 cups
Ana Frias
4.86 from 108 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Learn how to make the authentic Horchata drink that everyone loves! With this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be able to make the best homemade Horchata recipe made with a few simple ingredients. Skip the store-bought mixes and use this easy recipe right at home!

Equipment

  • Blender
12 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1-12 oz can condensed milk
  • 8 cups of warm water divided
  • Sugar to taste
  • Ground cinnamon to garnish optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla optional

Instructions
 

  • Wash and drain the rice. Place the rice, cinnamon sticks (see note #1 below) and 4 cups of water into a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight (preferably) or a minimum of 4 hours.
  • Once you're ready to blend the rice, remove most of the cinnamon sticks but it's okay to leave small pieces with the rice.
  • Blend the rice in two separate batches by adding 1/2 of the rice & water with some of the cinnamon stick left behind. Puree until it's very smooth and it forms a paste like texture. About 4 minutes long.
  • Using a very fine strainer (or some cheese cloth) pour the blended mixture over a pitcher. Strain out as much liquid as possible, pushing on the solids with a spatula or spoon.
  • Repeat this process for the rest of the rice, water & cinnamon mixture.
  • Stir in the milks, vanilla (0ptional), and 4 cups of water. Stir well.
  • Taste and add more sugar or water if needed.
  • Chill and stir before serving over ice. 

Video

*Ana’s Notes:

  1. Break the cinnamon sticks in large pieces before you place in the bowl to soak. This will give more flavor from the inside of the cinnamon.
  2. If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, you can soak the rice with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder. 
  3. If you decided to use vanilla, don’t add too much of it as it will overpower the cinnamon & rice flavor. 
  4. To make a boozy version just add some rum to make Rumchata! 
 
 

ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 132mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

This recipe was originally published in July 2014. It has been updated to revise the content and photographs. The original delicious recipe remains the same. Enjoy! 

Three glasses with horchata

PIN ME to make later!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




168 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious! I added one star of anise just because I like this spice. I used a cheesecloth and added a whole 14oz can of condensed milk for more sweetness. I also added the vanilla. It came out perfect! Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    I had a big enough blender that I didn’t have to split my soaked rice and water and it came out fine. I followed the rest of the recipe and wow! Very delicious. I added a shot of espresso in mine because of a TikTok I watched and its really divine.

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe made it many times, but I have a few questions: Did you use sweetened condensed milk? And do you need to add the four cups of water if you use the 4 cups it soaked in?

  4. Can you reuse the cinnamon sticks for other recipes or the same one again, or should you just throw them out?

    1. Hi Jesse! Great question! I would not reuse them unless you’ll do that on the same day with a similar recipe (like arroz con leche). Most of the time the flavor of the cinnamon sticks would be gone and wherever you use them next, would not get the same intensity that the recipe it asks for.

      Enjoy the horchata and have a great weekend!
      Ana

  5. 5 stars
    This turned out very good, with a light sweetness and cinnamon flavor and a slight creaminess. However, one thing I would recommend is to prepare the rice and water mixture in two separate bowls, half in each, so that you get an even amount of rice and water in each blend. I only used one bowl like it said, and the water all just poured out first before the rice. Apart from that, it was very easy to make and tasted great at the end! Also, I only used half the recommended amount of water when mixing everything together at the end and it turned out fine. Make sure not to buy 2 24 ounce cans of either milk if you’re doubling it, though. Just 12 ounce cans. I assume it’s just an error in the code.

    1. The ingredients says 8 cups of water. 4 cups for soaking and blending… What do I do with the remaining 4 cups of water. Am I incorporating that in the blender?

  6. Hi. When it says stir in the milks, and 4 cups of water, am I stirring the milks into the rice/water mixture, or into a new 4 cups of water?

    1. Hi Gabe! You’ll stir the milks into the rice/water mixture. So mix everything together. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Enjoy and thanks so much for making it!
      xo,
      Ana

  7. Hi Ana!

    I made this recipe and I’m wondering if something went wrong? I let my rice soak almost a whole day, and the rice was still hard, I assumed it should it have been soft? But so when I blended, it never became a paste. I followed the rest of the recipe despite this, and it just doesn’t seem right now that it’s finished.

    I know it’s hard to diagnose the problem without being able to see it, but I’m hoping you might be able to troubleshoot me a little to have success the next time

    1. The rice is not going to get soft and what i did after you let it set for 4 hrs was I removed the rice and add it to the blender and took about 1 cup of the water that was soaking in rice and blend it for about 4 min

  8. 5 stars
    Great Horchata recipe. I’m going to make it again for the entire family and double the recipe. Yum..

  9. 5 stars
    Great recipe, Ana, thanks for sharing! I used Jasmine rice and like another poster found that most of it blended into the liquid, however only a small amount of pulp got through the cheesecloth. Also used 1/2 cup sugar (seems just right) and blended one cinnamon stick (will use 2 next time). Absolutely delicious! My daughter introduced me to Horchata recently and she’s going to go nuts over this.

  10. Hi!! i haven’t made it yet but will later today, i needed to know since i’m making 2x the original recipe, it still says to add 4 cups to the rice water and cinnamon sticks and after blending 4 more. i don’t know if i just add x2 of that. i already have the rice soaking in just 4 cups of water but i’m sure i can add more later. would that be okay?

    1. Hi Emi! You can start adding 6 more cups of water and add 2 more later if needed. Just taste it as you go to your liking. Normally it would be 16 cups of water total if you were to double the recipe. I hope i’m understanding your question correctly. If not, let me know and I’ll keep checking the comments for further questions.

      Enjoy!!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Ana! Thank you so much, i’ll be making it soon, but to my understanding after i blend everything i just add 6 instead of the remaining 12 cups? as of currently i’ve only put 4 with the rice and cinnamon stick mixture. should i have added more?

        1. Okay so if you double the recipe to a T, it would be 16 cups of water total. You already added 4 so left to add would be 12 (you’re correct). I was suggesting to add 10 more to start with and adjust to 12 if needed. But honestly I don’t think you can go wrong with adding 12 to begin with. Sorry to confuse you with my math problems lol!

          You’re okay with soaking with only 4 cups 🙂

          1. 5 stars
            Thank you so much Ana it was no problem at all, i will be coming back after making it and let you know. Greatly appreciated!

  11. 4 stars
    This recipe was delicious; better than most restaurant versions I have tried. Letting it chill in the refrigerator before serving really improves it. I blended in two large broken-up and soaked cinnamon sticks, yet it wasn’t quite as cinnamony as I like. I blended it in two batches for 2 minutes each in my high-speed Ninja blender, but maybe I should have blended it more. It was my first attempt. I will be making it again. Thank you for the great recipe.

    1. 5 stars
      After several hours in the fridge, the horchata was amazing. The flavors really melded, and the balance of cinnamon and sweetness was perfect. My wife and I drank the entire batch in 2 days, and it seemed to get better and better.

  12. 5 stars
    Hi I don’t know what I did wrong this might be a dumb question but how come I didn’t get nothing behind in the strainer I got no paste like just liquid did I blend for to long? Everyone is talking about paste and I got no paste did I add to much water in the blender with the rice?

    1. You’re all good! If you didn’t get much paste is due to the rice being very soft when you blended it. It often happens when it’s soaked overnight which happens to me often too. Or maybe your strainer was not fine enough and a lot of the pulp went to the drink? If that happen don’t worry about it. It will settle at the bottom of the jar or even glass when you serve it.

      Enjoy!

  13. 5 stars
    Thank you for this perfect and easy recipe. I wanted to get horchata just right and this recipe is sublime. It’s almost too good to chug chug chug like you want to on those hot days. It’s a very special drink. No more grainy horchata powder!!!

  14. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Simple, full of flavor, very fragrant, fresh, and good balance on ingredients. I kept the rice, cinnamon, snd water for about 1.5 days.
    I didn’t add vanilla extract since it smelled perfect as it was. I used jasmine rice. To cut down the sweetness, I used about 1 1/4 cup of rice, with 5 cups of water, 2 1/2 cinnamon sticks, and maintain proportion of 1 can of condensed milk & 1 can of evaporated milk. The result was perfect for me, to drink with ice cubes, or to make Horchata ice coffee, or to simply add cold milk.
    I used leftover paste for body-scrub, mixed with sea salt & coconut oil.
    This recipe is win-win. Love it. Thanks again.

  15. I’m making my second batch right now. Excellent recipe, absolutely delicious!
    One question… why does the rice, cinnamon stick and water need to refrigerated to soak? Since the milk hasn’t been added yet, can’t it spend overnight on the counter?

  16. So tasty! Started soaking the rice this morning and made the horchata for dinner. I used a Bullet Blender to blend the rice, and filtered the mixture in a sieve right into a pitcher—didn’t bother with a cheesecloth. Turned out beautifully rich and the perfect amount of flavor with the two kinds of milk. Thank you Ana!!

  17. 5 stars
    Light, sweet and flavourful. This recipe was very easy to follow. I would recommend when grinding use little water to start with and add more later. It makes it really hard for the rice to get finely ground with so much water. I also added about 1 tbs vanilla for extra flavour.

  18. This may be a stupid question, but am I adding the milks to the rice/cinnamon puree, or am I adding it to the liquid I squeeze out?

  19. 5 stars
    Hi Ana, I am on batch number three since finding your recipe a couple of weeks ago. Thank you so much for sharing – this has become our favorite summer drink! I made the recipe exactly as printed and it is delicious; so much so that we all think it is much better than the ones at our local restaurants.
    (I do not use any vanilla as we LOVE the rich rice and cinnamon flavor ).
    If you have not tried it, try it-you will love it as well!

    1. Hi Sari!! Thank you so much for the feedback and I’m delighted that you like this Horchata Recipe! I also think it’s better than restaurants…ha! 😀 … I hope you continue to enjoy your summer and thanks so much again for the rating! XO, Ana

    1. Hi Angie, blend 1/2 of the portion of the rice & water from the bowl that you left soaking. So you’ll blend them in two separate batches. I hope this helps but let me know! Thanks a bunch! Ana

  20. 5 stars
    Perfect! I doubled it for a party (Taco Tuesday requires Horchata, right?!) it was a first time for everyone there (except my own family) and they LOVED IT! My kids have happily finished the last bits and are asking for it to be a staple drink from now on. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. This is great to hear Emily! Thank you so much for the review and I’m thrilled that it was a success for you and your family.

      Stay well! xo, Ana

  21. 5 stars
    This recipe was a hit at my sisters graduation party !!! I made 5 gallons of it ! Boy was i exhausted haha !!! Thank you for sharing ! it was sooooo gooood, ppl wanted to take some home 🥰🥰 and of course i shared your recipe with them

    1. Wow that was so nice of you Kayla for making this for your sister! 5 gallons it’s a lot! I bet you were exhausted LOL! I really appreciate the kind review and you sharing the recipe with the guest. Congrats to your sister too!

      xo, Ana