Horchata: Mexico's Favorite Rice Drink

Horchata rice drink

The Spruce

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Chilling time: 10 hrs
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
276 Calories
0g Fat
65g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 276
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 24%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 3g
Calcium 57mg 4%
*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. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (uncooked)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (approximately 5 inches, broken into several pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon ​lime zest
  • 5 cups drinking water (divided)
  • 1/2 cup granulated 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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