Homemade Horchata — This easy horchata recipe requires some planning, but it’s so easy to make! Just soak your ingredients overnight, then blend them up!
Creamy 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. 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.
The treat of the day is usually homemade horchata. 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.
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. 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. And try not to drink the whole batch at once. Refrigerate excess (if you mange to have any and haven’t drank it all directly from the Vita-Mix canister).
But I was classier than that. I used a straw and a mason jar.
What’s in Horchata?
For this easy horchata recipe, you’ll need:
- Raw cashews
- White rice
- Cinnamon stick
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
How to Make Horchata at Home
Put the cashews into the Vita-Mix or blender canister along with the rice, water, and a cinnamon stick and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove the cinnamon stick and add in the sugar and vanilla.
Blend the mixture until it’s as smooth as possible. If needed, you can strain the homemade horchata through a cheesecloth to remove any lumps. My Vita-Mix blended everything up perfectly, but depending on how strong your blender is you may want to strain it.
Can I Use Almonds Instead of Cashews?
Yes, you can make this easy horchata recipe with raw or blanched almonds. Just make sure they don’t contain any salt!
Ways to Enjoy Horchata
There are SO many ways for you to enjoy homemade horchata, besides drinking it straight. A few of my go-to ways to use up horchata are:
- Use over cereal, in oatmeal, and 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-esque treat.
- Make it into a cocktail! Just Add 1 ounce of Baileys, Kahlua, or Vanilla Vodka to 4 to 6 ounces of horcahta and ice cubes, shake/stir and serve.
Tips for Making Horchata
I used traditional recipes (here and here) as reference for the amount of sugar to add to this horchata recipe (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 sweeter. You can also 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.
Lastly, make sure you’re using raw unsalted cashews in this recipe. If your cashews are salted, the flavor of your horchata will be way off!
More Easy Drink Recipes:
- The Best Homemade Margaritas — How to make a margarita with just three natural ingredients! Nothing fake, neon green, and no sugary chemicals.
- Tequila Sunrise — Not only is it pretty to look at, but a Tequila Sunrise is also refreshing, nostalgic, and the grenadine sweetens it up enough that you may not even notice it packs quite a punch!
- Flavored Water — I’ve shared two of my favorite flavored water recipes in this post — a cucumber water and a berry water — but the flavor options are endless!
- Tropical Strawberry Lemonade Party Punch — This tropical alcoholic punch is one of my all-time favorite party drinks! Feel free to leave the alcohol out if desired. This punch tastes delicious even without it!
- Rum Runner — This delicious Rum Runner recipe (complete with my secret ingredient!) packs a punch that can sneak up on you!
- 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 + 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 if you love vanilla)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
*You may wish to start with 1/3 cup sugar, and increase from there if you prefer something sweeter. You can use another form of sweetener, to taste. All amounts are to taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 4g
Even More Mexican Recipes:
The Best Tres Leches Cake — This easy tres leches cake melts in your mouth and requires just 15 minutes of hands-on prep work. This is an authentic three milk cake your family will love!
Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad — This Mexican bean salad is such a fast and easy recipe to make. Plus, it’s loaded with flavor and textures galore.
Easy 30-Minute Chicken Fajitas — These fajitas take just 30 minutes to make and are the perfect weeknight dinner. Friends and family will go crazy for this recipe!
Loaded Smothered Beef Burritos — Mexican comfort food that’s loaded with seasoned ground beef, refried beans, rice, and smothered with sauce and CHEESE!