Homemade Horchata

Homemade horchata, a delicious cinnamon-infused almond and rice milk served in Latin America. cookieandkate.com

Today I’m popping in to let you know about my guest post over at one of my favorite blogs, Turntable Kitchen. I’ve been a fan of Kasey’s thoughtful writing and inspiring recipes for a long time, but recently had the pleasure of meeting her in real life when we were in New York over the same weekend. Serendipity!

When Kasey asked me to share a recipe inspired by my travels, I decided to make horchata, which is a refreshing, cinnamon-infused rice and almond milk served in Latin America. So far I’ve only sampled horchata in Colorado and New York, but I hope to get a chance to try authentic horchata when I’m in Belize later this week. That’s right, I’m going to Belize! More on that soon.

horchata with spiced rum

You know me, I couldn’t resist turning my horchata into a cocktail by adding dark rum—an excellent idea, if I do say so myself. If you want to booze up your horchata, I highly recommend adding Gosling’s spiced rum. I also tried Kraken spiced rum (pretty good) and vodka (not complementary). I have a hunch that a White Russian made with horchata instead of milk would be mighty tasty, however. Who wants to come up with a clever name for that concoction?

Lastly, if you’re tempted to make horchata popsicles, don’t—they turn out chalky and icy. If you’re thinking about making horchata muesli, do—and add fresh cherries. Amazing! (Curious about muesli? Check out my post on simple summer breakfasts.) I’ll quit rambling, but thanks again to Kasey and Matt for inviting me to guest post and please give horchata a try soon. Hop on over to Turntable Kitchen for step-by-step photos of my agave-sweetened horchata recipe!

Homemade Horchata
Recipe type: Drinks
Horchata is a sweet, cinnamon-infused almond and rice milk served in Latin America. I sweeten my horchata with agave and turn it into a cocktail by adding rum! Note that the ingredients require an overnight soak. Recipe yields about 4 cups horchata.
  • ⅔ cup long grain brown or white rice (dry/uncooked)
  • 1¼ cup blanched almonds
  • 3-inch piece of cinnamon stick
  • 4½ cups water, divided
  • ⅓ to ½ cup light agave nectar, to taste
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the rice, almonds, cinnamon stick and 2½ cups hot tap water. Allow the mixture to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Pour the mixture into a blender, add agave (start with ⅓ cup, you can add more later) and blend on high for several minutes, until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add one cup of cold water and blend for 10 seconds.
  3. Place a large metal sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with cheesecloth (or use a nut milk bag or clean paint straining bag, found at hardware stores). Pour the mixture through slowly, stirring as you pour. Press on the solids with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Lift the cheesecloth/bag and squeeze the rest of the liquid out. Discard the remaining dryish pulp. Pour the mixture into a pitcher and stir in the last cup of water. Pour into glasses filled with ice and serve.
Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless.
I made my horchata with brown rice because The Kitchn told me I could.
You can either buy pre-blanched almonds or blanch your own. Just pour 1¼ cup whole almonds into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let the almonds sit for a minute, then drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water. Use your hands to slide the skins off and proceed with the recipe as directed.


  1. says

    I’ve actually never had horchata but it sounds like something I would really enjoy. Love that you added rum too, rum makes everything better!

  2. says

    this drink looks yummmmmy. especially with the rum. pleaseandthankyou. i have kahlua in my pantry. now i’m inspired to go find something to mix with it…

  3. says

    I love horchata, and have been looking for a good recipe. Love that this one uses almonds and agave instead of milk and sugar. I will definitely be adding rum. : )

  4. says

    A: I’m so excited (and a tad jealous) for you – Belize!!! Safe travels!
    B: this drink looks like it needs to happen in my life (you know I’ll be adding the rum) ASAP.
    C: next time your in NYC I hope we grab cocktails!!

  5. says

    I have never heard of horchata! But I am adding this to my to-do list immediately. It sounds amazing and so perfect for summer time!

  6. kirsten says

    i can’t wait to make this. it looks incredible. thanks for sharing! and have an epic trip to belize!! see you in a few weeks! :)

    • says

      Thanks, friend, can’t wait to see you! If you make the horchata (and please do!), read the comments on the post at Turntable Kitchen first. I forgot to add some little details to the recipe and can’t fix it because it’s not my site, and she’s on vacation for the week! eeps!

  7. Rosabel says

    This is the perfect Summer drink! Thanks for sharing: I will even give it a ‘Quebec’ twist and add Organic Maple Syrup in it, to give it this sweet and delicate flavor (I get my syrup online with Rouge Maple should you want to try it out too…it’s my favorite maple syrup!) Thanks for sharing!

  8. says

    I’ve heard so much about Horchata but have never had any. I’m not a fan at all of sweet drinks but maybe I’ll give it a try without any sugar? Thanks for the recipe & enjoy your trip!

    • says

      I hear you, I am not usually a fan of super sweet drinks either. The original recipe called for one cup of sugar and I reduced it down to 1/3 cup agave nectar, but you might like it with just a drizzle of agave. I tried it without any sweetener at all and wasn’t crazy about it, but to each her own!

  9. says

    Interesting! Never heard of horchata, and I live in Belize, though haven’t been here even a year yet. It sounds delicious. I’ll be interested to hear if you find it here — and if so, where!

    • says

      Hey Emily! I never found horchata, but I kind of forgot to look for it. I was happy drinking all the watermelon juice and pineapple juice! On the flight in, the girl next to me told me that she has had horchata made with seaweed in Belize, but I definitely didn’t see that on any menus.

      • says

        Yes, the fresh juices here are wonderful. I made watermelon juice in the blender last week and liked it better than that you buy because I didn’t use sugar. It doesn’t need it, but they tend to add a lot here.

  10. says

    Hi Kate:
    Found you via the Foodista feature – Congrats!
    We’re Texans living in Brazil. I’ve never had horchata, but I miss Almond Milk so much (not available here) that I decided to try this. Wondy-ful recipe – I thought I had smuggled a box of Silk! ;)
    One question – did you find any way to use the almond/rice pulp? I was thinking perhaps I could dry it, to use as a meal in a baked good….Just curious.

    • says

      Great question, Alison, and no, unfortunately, I didn’t come up with a use for the almond/rice pulp. I know you can use almond meal in baked good recipes, but I wasn’t sure how the rice would factor in! Surely it would work in recipes for almond meal… right?

  11. Elizabeth says

    I’ve never had horchata made of rice/almond milk. Really authentic horchata is from Spain, not South America. It’s made from the chufa (tiger nut in the US). The history of it starts in Egypt but the drink and name of the drink started in Spain. The area where my dad is from, Valencia, has the best climate for growing chufas so I can’t visit without drinking a ton of horchata! My favorite is horchata granzada which means its like a slushie. So good! Here’s a link to a little history about it’s origins and name: http://www.popsynth.com/horchata.htm

  12. jodi says

    I found this on pinterest ,
    I lived in Spain when I was a child an remembered the joy of this drink from then ,
    I just made some of my own blend,
    Rice milk /Almond mild, cinnamon ,vanilla been,nutmeg , and honey.
    warming on the stove top so yummy smelling in my belly makes me so happy. thanks for putting this out there. it has brought me back to very found memory’s of childhood .

  13. magzien says

    Hi! Horchata is a delicious drink! but if you want to try the authentic drink, you have to go to El Salvador, horchata a is traditional drink there.
    Each country prepares horchata slightly different. But Belize was a British colony, and besides is a Caribbean country, so the food is more Caribbean.

  14. Nora says

    Yummy! I completed making this today and it reminds me of an Indian spiced rice pudding. It’s very decadent yet dairy free. I just couldn’t believe how little liquid is left after the straining of the pulp. Is there a way to use that pulp without wasting it?

    • says

      I’m glad you enjoyed the horchata, Nora. Are you sure you strained out as much water as possible? I wish I knew of a good use for the pulp, but I’m not sure since it contains both almonds and rice. I know that when people make almond milk, they save the pulp and use it as almond meal.

  15. Juan says

    Hola Hola! I’m mexican and since i was a child used to drink a lots of horchata ❤
    Just let you know but there’s some places in Mexico where they serve it hot which is good too.
    Btw thanx for this easy recepie

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