This gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free Horchata recipe is a delicious, healthy take on a traditional Horchata beverage.
Looking for a delicious Mexican dish to pair with this creamy Horchata? Try it with these amazing pork carnitas!
Originally published January 2012; this post has been updated.
If you’ve gone out to a Mexican restaurant before (back in the day when eating out was a thing. Remember those days?), you may have tried Horchata. It’s a refreshing, creamy cup of goodness!
What is Horchata?
Mexican Horchata (or horchata de arroza) is a simple, but delicious drink. To make it, soak rice and cinnamon in water overnight, blend these three ingredients, strain them, and add milk (usually condensed and/or evaporated) and sugar. It is one of the more popular aguas frescas (light, non-alcoholic beverages).
White rice — Just reach for your favorite classic uncooked rice (not instant!). This is the basis of our drink, much like if you were making almond milk from scratch.
Cinnamon stick — This is infused right into the drink itself, making the entire glass a cinnamon delight.
Water and almond milk — Soaking the rice and then blending in liquid is what breaks up the rice. This will be pulverized into a smooth drink.
Dates and honey — These natural sweeteners add just enough to the glass to make this feel like a decadent treat.
How to Make Horchata
Let rice, cinnamon stick, and warm water soak. Overnight is best, so that the rice and cinnamon stick are very soft. You should be able to break the cinnamon into pieces.
Transfer the entire contents of the soaking bowl to a high-powered blender. Add the remaining ingredients and process until no large solids remain.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to ensure your drink is smooth.
Taste and add any extra sweeteners as desired.
Serve immediately over ice or chill for later.
Can I use brown rice in horchata?
Yes – you can use white or brown rice. Just keep in mind it might require a longer soak to soften, and will definitely need a good strain. It is up to you which rice to use as some think brown rice has more health benefits, but it is sometimes more difficult to digest.
Do I need to wash the rice?
Definitely rinse your rice (and discard that liquid) before soaking. This removes any excess starch and gives you a chance to catch any foreign or bad pieces.
Is horchata dairy-free?
Yes, this recipe uses rice “milk” and almond milk. You can also use coconut milk and people even use heavy cream to make a true treat (though of course then it won’t be dairy-free).
Make sure and store your healthy horchata recipe in the fridge. Place it in a lovely glass pitcher for easy storage and pouring. It should last up to a week if you are using a fresh carton of almond milk. This makes it perfect for making ahead of a gathering.
For another delicious drink with flavors from another part of the world, mix up a batch of this instant chai latte powder. You can create an entire Mexican feast by serving horchata after a meal of Mexican Chopped Salad and Pork Carnitas.
- 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed and thoroughly drained
- 1 small organic cinnamon stick
- 6 cups water, divided
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted
- 2-3 tablespoons honey, preferably local
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 4 long cinnamon sticks
- Ground cinnamon
1. Add rice, organic cinnamon stick, and 4 cups of very warm water to a medium-sized bowl. Let soak overnight at room temperature, or until the rice softens and the cinnamon stick is soft enough to break into several smaller pieces.
2. Transfer the rice mixture to a high-powered blender and blend to combine. Add 2 cups cold water, almond milk, dates, 2 tablespoons honey, vanilla extract, and almonds. Blend until
thoroughly combined and no large solids remain. Taste and add additional honey, if desired.
3. Strain contents of blender with a fine-weave mesh strainer and 1-2 layers of cheesecloth. When finished, discard remaining solids in the strainer and transfer the reserved liquid to a pitcher or other container.
4. Refrigerate until chilled, or serve immediately over ice with whole cinnamon sticks or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, for garnish. Enjoy!
Store your healthy horchata recipe in the fridge. It should last up to a week if you are using a fresh carton of almond milk. This makes it perfect for making ahead of a gathering.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 19gProtein: 3g