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This Easy Horchata recipe made with brown rice, milk of choice, sugar, and cinnamon served over ice, makes a delightfully refreshing drink for hot summer days. Easy to make dairy-free!

A pitcher of horchata

Easy Horchata Recipe

Horchata is a deliciously refreshing Mexican beverage made from rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon, typically served chilled over ice. And while you can find packets of horchata mix at some stores, making your own from scratch not only tastes better but is super easy too!

Similar to my Colombian avena recipe, which is a beverage made with cooked oatmeal instead, in Mexico, horchata de arroz is a more typical beverage and is naturally gluten-free. It’s usually made with white rice but I experimented with brown rice and raw sugar and the results were lovely. Sweeten to your taste or even experiment with monk fruit or stevia.

Mexican horchata in a glass over ice

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Horchata Drink

  • Easy to make. Homemade horchata is simple to make and SO much better than horchata powder mixes. All you need to do is soak and blend the rice then strain it and stir the ingredients together.
  • Light & refreshing. Horchata is the perfect drink for cooling down on a hot summer day. Served over ice, it’s light, refreshing, and just slightly sweet.
  • Cinnamon-vanilla flavor. This horchata is spiced with cinnamon and a splash of vanilla, for a flavor that’s lightly spiced but not over-powering.
  • Pairs perfectly with Mexican food. This rice drink is the perfect alternative to margaritas on your next Taco Tuesday or anytime you cook Mexican.

Ingredients needed to make Mexican horchata

Recipe Ingredients

This homemade horchata de arroz is made with just a handful of ingredients. Scroll down to the recipe card below for measurements.

  • Rice – Use long grain or short grain brown rice.
  • Water – For soaking the rice.
  • Cinnamon sticks – Adds warm spiced flavor to the drink.
  • Milk of your choice – You can use skim milk, evaporated milk, almond milk, coconut milk or another non-dairy substitute.
  • Raw sugar – Agave, monk fruit sweetener, or stevia works too.
  • Dark vanilla extract – For flavor.
  • Ground cinnamon – Adds more of the classic cinnamon flavor.

How To Make Horchata

The hardest part of making horchata is remembering to soak the rice the night before! Scroll down to the recipe card below for printable instructions.

  • Soak the rice. Soak the rice in water with the cinnamon sticks for at least 8 hours.
  • Blend. Discard the cinnamon sticks and blend the rice and water for about 5 minutes. Pass through a fine mesh sieve twice or a cheesecloth to remove all of the gritty bits.
  • Combine. Pour the blended rice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla into a pitcher. Stir to combine.
  • Chill. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then serve over ice.
Horchata being poured into a glass

Tips and Variations

Here are a few tips for making this Mexican rice drink, as well as some ways to customize it.

  • Rice Variations: I used brown rice here, but authentic horchata uses white rice. You can also play around with different types of rice for different flavors like jasmine or basmati rice.
  • Be sure to blend completely. It takes a while to blend rice, even after letting it soak all night. I recommend blending for at least 5 minutes.
  • Taste test and adjust the sugar. The amount of sweetener needed will vary based on your preferences. Start with a small amount and add more as needed.
  • Use your preferred milk. I used skim milk but almond milk is a great alternative. Soy and oat milk can be used too.
  • Adjust the consistency. If the drink is thicker than desired after you combine everything, simply add more milk or water to think it out.
Angled overhead view of a glass of horchata

Serving Suggestions

Serve your Mexican horchata in a glass over ice and sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon. It’s a light, refreshing drink that’s perfect for hot summer afternoons. And, of course, it pairs perfectly with Mexican dishes.

Enjoy horchata with your favorite tacos (whether they’re shrimp tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos or vegetarian tacos like cauliflower, or black bean), enchiladas, shrimp tostadas, shrimp diablo, or whatever your go-to Mexican dish is.

How to Store Homemade Horchata

Horchata can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days in the pitcher that you prepared it in. Keep in mind that the rice may start to settle to the bottom, so you should always give it a good stir before serving.

More Drink Recipes To Try

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Brown Rice Horchata

5 from 1 vote
This Easy Horchata recipe made with brown rice, milk of choice, sugar, and cinnamon served over ice, makes a delightfully refreshing drink for hot summer days. Easy to make dairy-free!
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Mexican horchata in a glass over ice
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Soak Time: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup


  • blneder


  • 1 cup rinsed brown rice, I used short grain brown rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup milk of your choice, I used skim milk
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar, agave, or sweetener of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon dark vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to topping


  • Soak the rice overnight or at least 8 hours in water with cinnamon sticks.
  • The next day discard cinnamon sticks and blend the rice and water in your blender at the highest speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Pass through a fine mesh sieve about two times to catch all the gritty bits. (A stocking works great) Discard the remaining rice pulp.
  • Pour into a pitcher, add skim milk, sugar, ground cinnamon and vanilla and mix well by stirring. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • To serve fill a glass with ice, pour horchata into a glass and sprinkle a little cinnamon on each serving just before drinking.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 cup, Calories: 138 kcal, Carbohydrates: 31.5 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 30.5 mg, Fiber: 1.5 g, Sugar: 2.5 g


*This was tricky to calculate, I discarded about 1/2 cup rice pulp so I deducted this from nutritional info.