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Easy Mexican Horchata Recipe

This refreshing Mexican horchata tastes like dessert in a glass!

It’s made with soaked white rice and flavored with sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix in the milk, and it’s an extra creamy treat.

A glass of horchata with cinnamon sticks placed on top.
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A tall pour of this Mexican drink will quench your thirst for sure. Plus, it’s beginner-friendly!

What Is Mexican Horchata?

Mexican horchata is a popular grain-based beverage served cold. 

Like many traditional foods, the ingredients vary by region. The Mexican version, however, is my favorite! 

It’s essentially rice water infused with cinnamon. Milk, vanilla, and sugar join the party for a sweet, creamy, delicious drink. 

Most Mexican restaurants and taco shops have it on the menu. But there’s nothing quite like homemade Mexican horchata! 

It’s extra refreshing since you make it from scratch.

What Does Horchata Taste Like? 

Horchata tastes sweet, creamy, and cinnamony with hints of vanilla. It’s served cold over ice, making it very refreshing. 

The flavor reminds me of a cross between milk and rice pudding. It has the ideal balance of sweetness and creaminess.

Despite tasting like dessert, a cup of horchata is also surprisingly low in calories. Mind the sugar, and it can also be a healthy-ish drink. 

It’s great for a mid-morning boost or an afternoon pick-me-up!

Three glasses of horchata with cinnamon sticks placed on top of each.

Ingredients

You can make Mexican horchata with just 7 basic ingredients. Odds are, you already have everything you need!

Here’s the list:

  • White Rice – You can’t make Mexican horchata without rice. Choose a long-grain variety. It will have the most neutral flavor and the best consistency.
  • Hot Water – For steeping the rice.
  • Cinnamon Sticks – The sticks are better than ground for infusing the rice. 
  • Milk – Whole milk will have the best flavor and creamiest consistency. You can also use non-dairy milk like almond milk.
  • Vanilla – To enhance the flavor and give the drink more depth.
  • Sugar – Use regular granulated sugar for sweetening the drink. 
  • Ice – For serving! It makes horchata extra refreshing. 

How to Make Mexican Horchata 

The hardest part about making this Mexican horchata recipe is the wait! Luckily, the process is very simple. 

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Here are the basic steps:

1. Steep the rice. Add the rice, hot water, and cinnamon sticks to a bowl. Cover and let sit for 4 hours.

2. Blend the rice. Transfer the rice mixture to a blender. Blend it until smooth. Strain it into a pitcher and discard the solids.

3. Add the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Give the mixture a good stir. Cover and chill it for 2 hours.

4. Pour and serve. Pour the horchata into a glass with ice. Serve and enjoy!

Three Glasses of Mexican Horchata with Cinnamon

Tips and Variations

Mexican horchata is easier to make than you might think! Still, here are some pointers and variations to ensure it turns out perfectly: 

  • Wash the rice. Before soaking the rice, wash it first. That way, you don’t wind up with dirt or unpleasant off-flavors in your drink.
  • Try Spanish horchata. Wondering what horchata tastes like in Spain? Make horchata de chufa with tiger nuts instead of rice. 
  • Specify the sweetness. For sweeter horchata, use more sugar. For less sweet horchata, reduce the sugar.
  • Crank up the cream. Use 1 cup less water and 1 cup more milk. You can also use evaporated milk instead of regular milk.
  • Try a tropical twist. Are you crazy for coconut? Add some shredded coconut for a tropical twist. 
  • Ditch the dairy. To make a vegan horchata, use unsweetened almond milk or another plant-based milk like cashew.

What to Serve with Horchata 

The best way to serve horchata is cold over ice with your favorite Mexican food. From a big burrito to a refreshing taco salad, there are plenty of serving options. 

Here are some of my favorite horchata food pairings:

  • Tacos – Chicken, beef, pork, or vegetarian, take your pick. If you’re feeding a crowd, you can turn your tacos into a taco casserole
  • EmpanadasHomemade empanadas and horchata are a true treat! Any filling tastes great if you ask me. I especially like a sweet potato empanada with horchata.
  • Tostadas – Need a savory snack? Pair your horchata with a crunchy black bean tostada. Yum!
  • Pork Carnitas – You know it’s a fiesta when there’s pork carnitas and horchata!
  • Churros – And for dessert? It’s all about the homemade churros! The cinnamon and sugar coating makes this fried dessert the ideal match for horchata.
Mexican horchata on a glass and pitcher with cinnamon sticks.

How to Store

Wondering what to do with leftover horchata? Simply store it for later. That way, you don’t waste a single drop. 

Here’s how to store horchata:

To Store: Pour the horchata into an air-tight container or in a pitcher with a lid. Refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days.

To Freeze: Transfer the horchata to an air-tight, freezer-friendly container. Label and freeze it. Likewise, you can pour it into an ice cube tray. Frozen horchata will last for up to 3 months.

Easy Mexican Horchata Recipe

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Calories

170

kcal

This Mexican horchata is such a creamy delight! Made with white rice, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, it’s a sweet treat no one can resist.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice (washed and strained)

  • 4 cups hot water

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 4 cups milk (whole or dairy-free alternative like almond milk)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste

  • Ice, for serving

Instructions

  • Combine the rice, hot water, and cinnamon sticks in a large bowl. Cover and let it steep for at least 4 hours, or overnight for maximum flavor.
  • Transfer the soaked rice mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a large pitcher, discarding the solids.
  • Stir in the milk, vanilla extract, and sugar. Taste and adjust sweetness to your preference. Cover and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or until chilled.
  • Serve and enjoy! Pour the horchata over ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.
Mexican Horchata

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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