Horchata is that white milky-looking drink you see in large bee-hive glass jars at taquerías or sold by street vendors. It’s the perfect summertime refreshment.

There are many variations of horchata. In Spain, horchata is made with chufa (tigernut). In Mexico, horchata is made with rice.

Once you have the base for this thirst quenching (dairy-free) drink, you can experiment with the addition of more or less sugar. Since it does not contain milk, it will not spoil as easily as a dairy-containing beverage.

Recently, after talking to my niece, Georgina she had a recipe she was willing to share. It was wonderful as-is, but instead of using granulated sugar I decided to use a thin simple syrup mixture. Pulverizing the rice eliminated the chalky sediment and gritty taste. Grinding the rice also helps open up the flavors as well as thicken the drink.


Agua de Horchata (Rice and Cinnamon Drink)

Yield: 4 to 5 cups


1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice, ground
6 cups hot water
2 cloves, whole
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups simple syrup (see below)

Thin Simple Syrup:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar


In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Over low heat allow the sugar to melt, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

In a food processor or coffee grinder, pulverize the rice so it is the consistency of ground coffee.

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat; add rice, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cover and let soak for eight hours or overnight at room temperature.

After soaking, break the cinnamon stick in half, and place the water, rice, broken cinnamon stick, and cloves in a blender. Puree for 2-3 minutes.

Pour the liquid through a fine strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth, into a pitcher. Squeeze the excess liquid and discard the solids.

Stir in the vanilla and 2 cups of the thin simple syrup.

Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Stir before pouring and serve over ice.

Photography by Jeanine Thurston

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  1. Wow! I make horchata all the time, and love it. The way I make it is probably tthe way you were originally told. This way seems too long especially if you want to make it on short notice.

  2. Love to buy Horchata whenever possible. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. I can’t wait to make this for Kait; horchata is her favorite!

    • Hola Michael!

      Thanks for trying out our recipe! 3.5 Stars out of 5…that’s it? LOL! This recipe is worth the wait, but obviously if you have a taqueria close to home with some good homemade horchata, then I’d probably go that route too. Lucky you!

  4. Love this recipe, thanks for sharing!

  5. I wonder if changing the syrup for the blue Agave will taste as good. It is worth a try. I also know that using a Blendtec really pulverizes the rice doing a fantastic job.

    Thanks for this recipe!

  6. i am so excited about the cookbook! when i was small i remember my grandmother making sweet
    tamales. i have searched for years for a recipe. does anyone know what i’m talking about? i was raised in warez mexico, if that helps. maybe the recipe came from mexico.

    • Hola Connie,

      Ahhhh sweet tamales! YUM! We know exactly what you are talking about! My grandma use to make them with raisins. My kid’s favorites are made with pineapple and coconut. What is your favorite sweet filling?

  7. i don’t really have a favorite, my grandmother used meat and maybe powdered sugar, i was hurt
    real bad when i was 16, i was in a coma for a long time. my memory is kinda blury! will they be in the
    cookbook? i live in maui hawaii. not to many mexican places, i’ve been talking to the owners of the
    few we have about your cookbook!

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  9. Great recipe! In the time I’ve been making horchata, my own recipe is almost exactly the same, but I find that using powdered sugar is my favourite way to sweeten this drink.

  10. You could definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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    • Hi there, just saw your post and it looks good. I agree, it may have been a little thick because it really needs to be strained through cheesecloth to get rid of the rice pulp. Thanks for giving our recipe a try.

  12. Pingback: Horchata! « S.J. Taco Time

  13. Elizabeth Quiroz Reply

    I have never had horchata without milk in it…

  14. Amazing recipe! I followed the recipe exactly, except for omitting 1 clove, and it came out so flavorful, sweet and creamy even after I strained it like 3 times. Definitely keeping this recipe! THANK YOU for sharing.

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