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Best Mexican Horchata in a glass carafe with 2 glasses of agua fresca garnished with cinnamon sticks.


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 15 reviews

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 10 Minutes + 8 Hours Soaking
  • Yield: 12 Servings 1x


Authentic Mexican horchata is cool, creamy and refreshing! It’s quick and easy to make. On hot summer days, pour it over ice. Enjoy this delicious drink with your favorite Mexican entrees.


  • 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 3 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (about 5-inches each)
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican vanilla extract (or regular vanilla extract)
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 gallon milk (low-fat or whole)
  • Garnish: ground cinnamon

NOTE: For sweeter horchata, add a few pinches granulated sugar.


  1. Add rice, water, vanilla extract and cinnamon sticks to a large container. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the mixture soak at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight. 
  2. Pour the rice, cinnamon sticks and soaking liquid into a high-speed blender. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is finely ground. 
  3. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth. Over the kitchen sink, strain the liquid rice mixture into a large beverage container. 
  4. Add condensed milk and low-fat or whole milk. Whisk or stir until incorporated. Chill until serving time.
  5. Fill glasses 2/3 full with ice. Stir horchata well before pouring. Garnish with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.


DAIRY-FREE HORCHATA RECIPE: Replace the milk with almond milk or coconut milk. Replace the sweetened condensed milk with sweetened condensed coconut milk. 

BEST TYPE OF RICE FOR THIS RECIPE: Traditional horchata is made with long-grain white rice. Its neutral flavor is the perfect backdrop for the other flavors. Basmati rice is strongly aromatic. It can outshine the other ingredients. As a second option, use long-grain brown rice. It will give this drink a slightly nutty flavor.

BEST VANILLA FOR THIS RECIPE: Mexican vanilla extract! The flavor profile is distinctly Mexican. It has a delicious buttery taste and smell. It comes in two colors: “Clear” and “Amber” (a caramel color). For this horchata recipe, I used the darker vanilla to give the drink more color.

CAN I SWAP GROUND CINNAMON FOR CINNAMON STICKS? For a traditional-tasting drink, this is not recommended. Ground cinnamon from a jar has a different flavor profile than cinnamon sticks.

BLEND WELL / STRAIN WELL: No one enjoys a gritty beverage. It’s important to blend the mixture well, and then strain it well. For best results, line a fine-mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth. In a pinch, use a coffee filter or a thin flour-sack towel.

HOW LONG WILL HORCHATA KEEP? This depends on the expiration date of the milk and how the beverage was handled after preparation. This drink must be kept chilled and stored in the fridge. Do not let it come to room temperature. For the best taste, enjoy this agua fresca within 3 days.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: Mexican