Homemade Horchata

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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! 

Homemade Horchata in three glasses

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.

jugs filled with drinks at farmers market

What’s in Horchata? 

For this easy horchata recipe, you’ll need: 

  • Raw cashews
  • White rice
  • Water
  • 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. 

Homemade Horchata in three glasses

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.

horchata in three glasses

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! 

horchata in glasses

More Easy Drink Recipes: 

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homemade horchata in three glasses

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! 

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5 from 3 votes

Homemade Horchata

By Averie Sunshine
This easy horchata recipe requires some planning, but it’s so easy to make! Just soak your ingredients overnight, then blend them up!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Soak Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 7 cups
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Ingredients  

  • 1 cup raw cashews, or use raw or blanched almonds
  • cup white rice, uncooked (medium or long-grain preferred)
  • 2 ½ cups + 3 cups water
  • one 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • cup granulated sugar, or to taste*
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, increase to 1 teaspoon if you love vanilla

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

*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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 198kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 7mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. I haven’t tried with quinoa so cannot speak for sure one way or the other or with other grain-free options.

  3. 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

    1. Glad this came out great for you and even without a Vita, you were still able to get it smooth! Great to hear! And glad you’ve got full jars in the fridge…love that feeling :)

  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

    1. I’ve never tried it with cooked rice but one of the reasons to soak the rice for so long is to soften it, so…yours is already softened. You could soak the cashews for about 4 hours, drain. And then add the cooked rice and everything else and blend it up. You have nothing to lose if you try, right! LMK how it goes!

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

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. Made this today and it is wonderful!! ‘Forgot’ to remove the cinnamon stick before blending, Vitamix chopped it up no problem and it has a wonderful cinnamon flavor! :)

    1. Lol!!! Glad it all worked out. Gotta love the power of a Vitamix…and a nice, very robustly cinnamon-flavored beverage :)

  9. I did try to make horchata one time, but I left it sitting to long. I started the process and didn’t finish :( I think this means I need to try again!! I like your idea of putting it RIGHT in the vitamix. That will be what I do next time so then I can guarantee that it’s blended and not just left!!!

  10. you mentioned Kefir and now I know there are two types – water and dairy. I would love to get some water kefir grains locally. Long beach, CA area. Have any suggestions who I should contact?

  11. Hi! I’m spanish food blogger, horchata is tipycal from Valencia, but is not like this, the real one is made with tiger nuts, sugar, cinnamon and water. This one must be delicious as well. In Spain we have horchata during all summer and we eat fartons (kind of sponge cake) whit it.
    Best from Spain

    1. the “real” horchata? common! mexican and spanish horchatas are too different things, both of them are the “real one” in their respective countries. By the way, coconut horchata is just as good, if not better (I have a thing for the extra creamy factor) you guys should try it, sooo good!!! I’m actually drooling right now just thinking about it haha :D

  12. I am impressed by the recipe! I’m ovo-lacto vegetarian, but my sister’s husband is vegan and would love to surprise him at the next visit
    Thank you for share!

  13. I grew up drinking Horchata, whether my mom made it or from the street vendors in Juarez. I miss visiting Mexico and I miss buying Horchata from the street vendors. Your pictures are so clear, makes me want to grab the glass straight out of the monitor. Good job and this one’s a definite keeper!! Thanks for sharing. Please come to my Fiesta – Cinco de Mayo linky party. I’d love to have you enter all your delicious Mexican/Tex Mex recipes! Hope to see you there! http://isavortheweekend.blogspot.com/2012/04/fiesta-cinco-de-mayo-linky-party.html Thanks! -Bev

      1. Thank you so much for linking to my Fiesta-Cinco de Mayo linky party!! I’m so thrilled how it’s turning out and I can’t wait to try your Horchata – I know my hubby will love it too. Thanks again!! -Bev

    1. I wouldn’t say normal, no. Some nuts, almonds, cashews, are just chalkier than others. It can also be a sign they went rancid on you. Or it could mean you need to add more sweetener and/or strain the mixture through a sieve or cheesecloth to get rid of some of the pulp if your blender wasn’t a super powerful one. LMK what you do to tweak it and what works!

    1. I haven’t tried it but I don’t see why not…other than the mixture may not be as white in color AND it may have more texture so you may need to strain it but I haven’t tried it so not sure. LMK if you make it and what you do!

  14. Averie I came from Marina’s blog to check Horchata recipe. I got to see such wonderful picturesque blog.
    This drink seems so refreshing. You are right cashews give more creamy texture. We use them to thicken our gravies. I make almond shake (not milk) in Vita mix.Now I am going to make this cashew horchata. Signing up for email.

    1. Welcome and thanks for the compliments and hope you enjoy my blog and stick around reading from the email subscription. Keep me posted if you try the horchata!

  15. I am so happy you found my blog and that i discovered yours. Great photos and I ma learning about new treats. This drink sound and looks wonderful.
    Rita

  16. I’ve never heard of this before but it looks so great (and sounds so yummy) that I definitely want to try, hoping that my small blender will do the job. But I have a silly question to ask : is the rice cooked or raw when you combine it in the canister with all the ingredients ? Thanks for your answer and for the great recipe !

  17. I would love to try & make this. Love your blender! I want to get a better one. Thanks for your recent visit & I was happy to share your smoothie. I am happy to have found your site. Have a great week ahead!

  18. Thank you for posting the horchata recipe! I made it yesterday with almonds and we LOVE it! It’s perfect for me since I dislike a full breakfast meal and the almonds are quite filling. So excited to find this, thanks again!

    1. Thanks for the report back! Yes, I have made almond milk like this (but without the rice) before, too. Glad to hear you had success with the almonds + rice!

  19. I’ve never had horchata but I’m really intrigued after reading your post! I think I need a better blender before I tackle it. And wow, is your farmer’s market ever awesome, I’m jealous :)

    1. Yes, I will admit, that without a Vita, not sure how smooth this gets, but with the Vita, it’s….heavenly!

  20. For some reason i thought horchata was made with cooked rice. anywho it looks delish! I need to invest in a nut milk bag because my non-dairy milk consumption is getting out of hand (and quite expensive!)

    1. And I didn’t even strain this; no nut milk bag for me required on this one. To each her own, of course, regarding straining.

  21. I LOVE horchata! We grew up with it and I crave it every summer. We make ours with rice and it could be quite the process. I just might have to try your variation when I don’t want to grind up rice and strain ;)

    Your photos are beautiful and that farmers market looks amazing!

  22. Hi, I found your blog through foodgawker. I have never heard of horchata before. I make almond milk myself and it is bit tedious as I have to strain each time. But yours is a very easy recipe. It will be a keeper for me. Thanks a lot for sharing. Navi.

  23. LOVE this – my favorite recipe of yours so far – would love to run into you at one of our local Farmers Markets. Which is your favorite?

    1. Usually H.C. but sometimes M.H.’s

      Haven’t been in ages though…been too chilly and bad timing. But spring/summer is right around the corner! Once we get past the dreary weather today.

  24. I apparently am the only person in healthy-blogger-land who’s not tried this. I need to try it! Thanks for sharing an easy recipe.

  25. I want to make this so bad, but first I have a dumb question. Is the rice cooked or raw? I’ve made nut milks before, but they don’t have rice. Think I have all the ingredients on hand, but don’t know about the rice. I’ve never heard of this drink at all, but it sound delicious. Love all your recipes and the pictures are spectacular. Always makes me hungry!

    1. raw and then soak it overnight with the cashews like I indicated in the recipe and pictures, then blend the next day.

  26. Can I just start by telling you how amazing you are? I had no idea that you could make horchata at home. I’ve always thought that I needed some super secret ingredients or something but that’s not the case at all! I don’t even like horchata but I am stoked to make this because Jason (the boyfriend) is obsessed with horchata. He’s going to be thrilled when he comes home to homemade horchata! And best of all, I just got a new blender and a box of Mason jars.

    I really think it’s fate that I came across this recipe today :)

  27. Remember how you said we could switch kitchens cause we are on the same wavelength so often? Well, this morning, my oldest said “We should make our own Horchata. I’m sure it would be healthier and less expensive.” I kid you not. SO…..I bought all the ingredients after I was done tripping out about your post! Recipe on the agenda for tomorrow! :-)

    1. Ok keep me posted and that’s beyond trippy!

      My daughter told me yesterday she wanted dinner to be grilled. I said honey we don’t have a grill. She said, but people in Mexico do. I said yes, they probably do. She said, well we should go to Mexico then! lol

  28. I’ve always steered clear of horchata, because I’ve only seen it kind of chunky from the rice. I’m a texture person, so I thought I wouldn’t like it, but I think I need to try your version if it is smooth!

    1. Well the Vitamix got it SUPER smooth but of course, your mileage may vary based on blender used :)

  29. I swear, it’s never a good idea to look at your blog when I’m hungry. Haha, it always feels like a tease! ;)
    I’ve never heard about horchata, but I HAVE to make it and try it out now that you’ve mentioned it! :)

  30. I don’t care for Horchata, but my friend loves it. I should ask her to bring in some white rice tomorrow and I’ll bring in the rest of the ingredients, than we can make it at work and have it the next day! She would love that and it would be a great Friday treat!!

  31. I am hooked, this one I have not made yet. I do make my own almond milk (when I can find a raw almonds, roasted don’t taste the same), sunflower butter, rice milk, walnut spread. I am waiting for my kefir grains to arrive to start making kefir, love this drink! With kefir life is different: happy and sunny (inside)!

  32. My boyfriend loves horchata!!! I never even thought to make it.

    Can’t wait for the farmer’s markets! It was over 70 degrees in Chicago today. Hooray!

  33. i do miss those cali farmers markets.
    i mean they are huge
    you should see our farmers markets here, small and sad

    1. I know. I grew up in MN then Chicago. Farmers “market” in MN means like 10 vendors sometimes!

  34. wow! i need to hit up that farmers market. Or just come to your house and have you serve it up with ANY of your delicious treats. Great recipe Averie. A keeper for sure!

  35. I’ve never even had horchata but this looks delicious and easy. I will have to try it. thanks for posting!

  36. Your pics look as good as your recipe sounds! I’ve never had horchata but rice-cashew milk with sugar and spice sounds yummy. Also nice not to have to strain it. I love to make my own nut butters and I’m a mixer. Almond-cashew or almond-macadamia are my favorites (often with a handful of pecans or pistachios in there too).

  37. I have only had the Horchata they make in spain which is made from tiger nut milk and I LOVE IT!!!!!! Especially on a hot summers day : )

  38. Could your photos be any prettier??? Love this! I’ve never had it but I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  39. I want to try my hand at making cinnamon pistachio nut butter. I’ve been deterred by the shelling of the pistachios. That hurts my fingers after a while! Plus I like unsalted nuts and the shelled unsalted are hard to find. I suppose it would be a good rainy day activity!

  40. I have never tried horchata before. It sounds delicious with cashews. Your pictures look beautiful!

  41. Oh, wow! I’ve never had Horchata but I’ve been obsessively pounding the homemade cashew milk lately, so I think I will definitely love this. I’ll definitely be trying this and I definitely think I’ll have no self-control with it!

  42. These pictures are BEAUTIFUL! Love the white on white with the cinnamon sticks-they are all so pretty. Never tried Horchata but after seeing those pictures and reading the ingredients, I think I just might have to.

  43. What an awesome recipe, I’ve never tried horchata! This looks like a lot of fun!

    You Mexico city trip looked like such fun, I’d live to sneak away on a trip like that!

  44. I’ve never heard of horchata. Sounds very interesting. Love cashews, so how could it be bad?? And honestly, even if I don’t like something, you make it look so darn good!

  45. I had actually never even heard of horchata before. I have heard of kefir, but I’ve never tried it. I have had cultured coconut milk, which I just recently tried. The only nut milk I’ve tried is almond, but my stomach doesn’t tolerate it well. Cashews are a great replacement for almonds in recipes!

  46. My husband loves horchata. I will have try this. Good call using the cashews! I hate messing with cheesecloth, too.

  47. If I had the time I would Pin every single one of your photos. There is such a clarity in your photography I come back everyday for more.

    I’ve never tried horchata, but you made it look so easy, I just may…and the glass stray = envy.

    1. Thanks so much, Deirdre. That is my goal, to make the pics look online as good as the food looked in person; some days with better success than others…haha! Thanks for your support, as always!

  48. Hey Averie! This sounds delightful, I have never had this before! And you have a beautiful space, love your photographs! So glad to be your new follower!

  49. I AODRE horchata! (Which is why I put a raw version in my cookbook, of course) This looks amazing…but dangerous. I’m likely to drink it all at once…

    1. As I have been reading your cookbook (like most people read novels, page by page, really studying each and every page and recipe), I have seen recipes for tons of things I already make, made, or have in my to-be-published drafts. This one has been waiting for almost a month…so I was chuckling when I saw your recipe the other day in the book :)

  50. I love going to the farmers market too. One of my favorite destinations. I have never tried horchata but it looks so light and refreshing! I would love to try this one day!!

    : ))
    Jen

  51. It is something I have always wanted to try, but I’ve never done so. You make it sound so simple, maybe I should just do it :)

  52. I LOVE horchata! I actually thought it was just rice though, I had no idea there were other nuts in there. I’ve clearly not done my horchata research. I’ve mostly just had it at mexican restaurants and used the instnat packets from the grocery store. I’m lazy like that. But, I do have some cashews and I’m thinking maybe this would be good without the rice. (Not a rice fan.) and with my brown sugar cinnamon coffee syrup.

    Oh, baby.

    1. I’m not a big rice lover either; you can’t taste it but I really think it does help and is important. Use less than I did or else you basically just have nut milk on your hands which is fine too but I wouldn’t steer you wrong…try it just once with the rice :)

  53. When my roommate traveled to Puerto Rico last year she came back with all sorts of recipes to share, horchata being one of them, and I had never heard of it up until then. Yours looks fantastic, and I really want to try making it. Also- I had no idea nut milks were that simple to make (always thought you had to strain etc.) but I am so trying my own almond milk asap. Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. You know, there are people who will but it’s based on your tastes, your blender, and if you are okay with some thickness. If you want “paper thin” milk, i.e. like grocery store skim milk, this is not that.

      If you want something thicker like full fat coconut milk or half and half, this is more like that. Keep me posted!

  54. I’ve never tried horchata but love cashews, vanilla, and cinnamon – definitely on my list of recipes to try!

  55. I’m in love with these bright white pictures! Horchata is something I’ve always wanted to make (and try, I’ve never even had it!) b/c I know I’ll love it.

      1. haha you must’ve popped up in my reader just as I was going through it. good timing :)

      2. I took off some plugin on my site that was causing allllll kinds of issues (only took a year to figure out which one) and since then my site’s feed seems to be hitting Google Reader almost instantly, rather than in 5 to 45 minutes. I better not type any more because this is one of those knock on wood things. Lol

        But I think we’ve talked feeds/timing in the past so just geeking out with you :)