Homemade Horchata

January 9, 2013 • Alaska from Scratch, Beverages, Recipes

Weather: 1 degree, looks like it’s thinking about snowing
What I’m listening to: Sovereign, Chris Tomlin

Horchata recipes vary widely from country to country and region to region. Some recipes call for nuts like almonds, others call for seeds or barley. The horchata that I love, that I grew up drinking from the agua fresca stations in Mexican restaurants all over California, is made with rice. It’s cold, it’s sweet, it’s refreshing, and it’s full of spice from loads of fresh cinnamon sticks, mellowed by creamy real vanilla. It’s a real treat.


You can see the rice and cinnamon at the bottom of the pitcher. [you can also see me in the reflection on the pitcher if you look really closely].

If you have a good, strong blender, it’s simple to make at home (and far and away more delicious than the store-bought knock offs of the real deal). All you need is dry white rice, water, sweetened condensed milk, good vanilla, and cinnamon sticks. Muy delicioso. 

Homemade Horchata

Yields: About 10 cups

  • 1c uncooked white rice
  • 8-10c cold water, divided
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2T vanilla
  • 5 whole cinnamon sticks

To a good, strong blender, add the rice, 4 cups of the cold water, the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and cinnamon sticks. Cover and blend well for 1-2 minutes or until the rice is broken down into fine grains. Pour the mixture, including the rice and cinnamon, into a large pitcher. Dilute with another 4 cups of water. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until well chilled. The rice and cinnamon will all fall to the bottom of the pitcher. Taste for sweetness - if too sweet, add up to two more cups of cold water until desired sweetness is reached. At this point, it is optional strain the horchata through a fine mesh sieve to remove all of the rice and cinnamon grains and return it to the pitcher before serving (I don't because they stay at the bottom of the pitcher/glass and because authentic horchata usually has some of that still in it. This is a matter of preference.) Serve over ice.