Homemade Horchata

One of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer is go to the farmers market, walk around and take it all in, and drink freshly made horchata.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

At the farmers market, I load up on a ridiculous amount of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and my refrigerator storage drawer.

MY OTHER RECIPES

The treat of the day is usually homemade horchata.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

The local vendors offer more free samples than Costco.

They make everything from hibiscus punch to watermelon juice to mango salad…

…along with their fabulous homemade fresh horchata.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

When I was in Mexico City last summer, I also had some amazing horchata from the markets and street food vendors.

This was a life-changing day. So incredibly powerful; a day I will never forget as long as I live. Some of the things I saw, oh boy.

There was so much to see and so much food to eat.

I started researching recipes and came across a Rick Bayless recipe for horchata.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

It seems that most people make horchata with almonds but I generally prefer cashews to almonds because cashews are creamier, they’re more neutral-tasting, and they blend much better and more easily.

The blending part is key because I didn’t want to be bothered with straining this or bothering with a cheesecloth, which is why I used cashews.

The vanilla flavor was very pronounced and there was a hint of cinnamon present.

The horchata was sweet, creamy, milky, and I had to restrain from drinking about 19 ounces of horchata at once.

It’s that good and this is going to become a staple.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

 

A Visual Guide

Put the cashews (or almonds) into the Vita-Mix or blender canister with rice, water, and a cinnamon stick and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove the cinnamon stick, add sweetener and vanilla…

Blend, blend, blend…

Pour…

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

And try not to drink the whole batch at once.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

Refrigerate excess (if you mange to have any and haven’t drank it all directly from the Vita-Mix canister).

I was classier than that.

I used a straw and a mason jar.

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

Homemade Horchata (vegan, GF) - This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

Homemade Horchata (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

This creamy, smooth, nourishing & healthy beverage is as easy to make as turning on your blender!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews (or use raw or blanched almonds)

2/3 cup white rice, uncooked (medium or long-grain preferred)

2 1/2 cups water + 3 cups water

one 3-inch cinnamon stick

2/3 cup granulated sugar, or to taste*

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (increase to 1 teaspoon, or to taste, if you love vanilla)

Directions:

  1. In a large blender canister, Vita-Mix canister, or large bowl combine cashews, uncooked rice, 2 1/2 cups warm tap water, cinnamon stick, cover and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Remove canister from the refrigerator, remove the cinnamon stick, and blend the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes on high speed, or until blended as smoothly as possible.
  3. Add sugar (to taste), vanilla extract, 3 cups more water and blend again for 2 more minutes, or until mixture is as smooth as possible.
  4. If desired, strain horchata through a sieve or cheesecloth (I did not find it necessary as the cashews blended incredibly smoothly in my Vita-Mix). Serve immediately as is, over ice, or refrigerate and serve chilled, shaking before if mixture has separated. Horchata will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days; use common sense.
  5. Notes: I used traditional recipes here and here and here as reference for the sugar (and they use more than I did). You may wish to start with 1/3 cup sugar, and increase from there if you prefer something less sweet. You can use another form of sweetener, to taste. All amounts are to taste. If you are serving over ice, it will also water down and become less sweet, something to keep in mind. This is a sweet beverage; it’s not supposed to be “barely sweet”; it’s supposed to be sweet. If you prefer a thinner horchata increase the amount of water, to taste, or strain it. Whatever blender you use, blend, blend, blend. Depending on type of blender used, and taste preferences, strain if desired.
  6. Ideas: Use over cereal, in oatmeal, in smoothies, make ice cubes with it for iced coffee, bake with it in place of recipes calling for nut or rice milk, use it as coffee creamer, add chocolate sauce for chocolate “milk”, freeze it for 2 hours or until barely frozen for a slushy-ice cream treat; add 1 ounce of Baileys, Kahlua, or Vanilla Vodka, etc. to 4 to 6 ounces of Horchta and ice cubes, shake/stir and serve.
Only Eats

Another beverage that’s incredibly easy to make is kefir. Three ingredients, let it sit on your countertop for a day while the good bacteria do their work, and serve.

Coconut Milk Kefir (gluten free, vegan)

You could also make smoothies such as a Pineapple Banana and Coconut Cream Smoothie with horchata rather than using coconut milk or another type of milk.

140 comments on “Homemade Horchata”

  1. I’ve heard of Horchata before but never knew what it was, and I definitely didn’t know it’d be this easy to make at home. Definitely going to try this, soon! Xo

  2. Thank you! My husband is dairy free and I’ve been making my own rice milk and coconut and such. I’ve got coconut down, but rice has been another story. I was so excited when I fou d this recipe because all rice milk recipes call for cooked rice, not only is this easier, but it cuts out the gooey ness :) made it loved it! I’m going to try straight rice milk this way, I don’t like drinking it, but it is fabulous to substitute bake with!

  3. I cannot wait to try this out this weekend. Besides Jamaica I adore Horchata. Thank you for your beautiful pictures and many variations.

  4. Hi!

    This might be a silly question, but….does it have to be uncooked rice? I have some cooked rice hanging out in the fridge right now that I would love to use up. Love horchata, & this looks great.

    thanks, kim

  5. Your smoothies look delish! Thanks for sharing them….love your blog!

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  9. Hi! I just made this, and first time making a milk, and it was delish! :) I used boiled rice that I had left over and soaked the cashews for six hours, then blendered. I have a decent blender, but it’s got basically nothing on a Vita; it turned out smooth and without any tiny bits in it, so that worked perfectly!
    Now I’ve got to try and stay away from the filled-to-the brim jam jars in the fridge until to morrow… xD
    I’m thirsty.
    Ok, maybe I’m not. o_o

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  11. Hello! I love how simple this recipe is but was wondering if we could use a grain free option for this i.e. quinoa? Thanks in advance.

  12. Thank you for your response. I will try this sometime next week and let you know! 

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  14. Hi, Averie – I’ve made horchata using your recipe several times now (always with cashews). I’m so glad I found this – here in Albuquerque NM many Mexican restaurants serve horchata, but they’re always too sweet for me (I know horchata is supposed to be sweet, as you said, but….there’s sweet and then there’s SWEET!) I like being able to adjust that level of sweetness. I don’t have a Vitamix so there’s always some grit no matter how long I soak or how long I blend but a little grit doesn’t detract from the finished product in my opinion! Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that you’ve made it several times! I totally know what you mean about sweet, and then there’s SWEET, and being able to control things and get it just the way that’s perfect for you is always awesome!

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