Horchata: Mexico's Favorite Rice Drink

Horchata rice drink

The Spruce

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chilling time: 10 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
149 Calories
0g Fat
36g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 149
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 17mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Among the aguas frescas served throughout Latin America, horchata (or-CHAH-tah) tops the list of favorites in Mexico. The refreshing chilled beverage combines water and/or milk with fruit, seeds, nuts, or grains (such as sesame or cantaloupe seeds, almonds, walnuts, or white rice and cinnamon). You can buy bottled syrups to make horchata, but this version makes it easy to prepare homemade horchata from scratch. 


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, uncooked

  • 1 (5-inch) stick cinnamon, broken into several pieces

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

  • 5 cups water, divided

  • 1/2 cup sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for horchata
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  2. Pulverize the rice in a blender until it reaches a floury consistency.

    Pulverize rice in blender
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  3. Toss it with the cinnamon stick and lime zest, and let it rest in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.

    Cinnamon in horchata
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  4. Put the rice mixture back in the blender and blend it until the cinnamon stick pieces get fully broken down.

    Put rice mixture back in blender
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  5. Add 2 cups of water to the mixture and stir it.

    Add water
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  6. Put it in the refrigerator to soak for 2 hours.

    Put it in the refridgerator
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  7. Strain the liquid into a pitcher or bowl through a fine sieve or a few layers of cheesecloth, squeezing frequently to remove as much of the milky rice water as possible.

    Strain liquid
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  8. Add the remaining 3 cups of water and the sugar; stir until the sugar dissolves.

    Add remaining water
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  9. Refrigerate the horchata until completely chilled.

    Refridgerate the horchata
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  10. Serve it over ice, if desired.

    Serve it over ice
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Recipe Variations

  • Coffee Horchata: Follow the basic recipe, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of instant coffee powder with the sugar in Step 4.
  • Coconut Horchata: In Step 4, replace 1 cup of water with 1 cup of coconut milk (not coconut cream).
  • Strawberry Horchata: Add 2/3 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries to the mixture after Step 3; blend until smooth.
  • Vanilla Horchata: Add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence to each glass of horchata right before serving.
  • Chocolate Horchata: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mixture after Step 3; blend or stir vigorously until smooth.
  • Nut Horchata: Add 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts to the mixture after Step 3; blend until smooth.

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