Homemade horchata is a cool, creamy drink made from rice, almonds, and cinnamon. This recipe is dairy-free so everyone can enjoy it. Cheers!
I love Mexican food. I’m pretty sure I could eat it every day and not get tired of it. There are a few different Mexican restaurants here in town that I frequent depending on my mood. One has great grilled meats and I adore their tortilla soup. Another one is awesome for traditional recipes like cochinita pibil and has a terrific patio for when the weather is nice. The third is a little hole-in-the-wall place with killer tacos. I order their tacos al pastor pretty much every time I go there.
The taco place doesn’t have a liquor license, which means no margaritas. It’s ok though because they have amazing horchata. If you look around, you’ll see that almost everyone there has a pitcher of it. Not a pitcher for the table, but a pitcher for each person. They serve it to you with the straw right in it – no need to dirty a glass.
The theme for this months Progressive Eats menu is Cinco de Mayo and it took me about two seconds to decide that I wanted my contribution to be a homemade horchata recipe. Make sure you scroll to the very bottom of this post for the complete menu of what everyone else made!
What is horchata?
Broken down to its basic elements, authentic horchata is essentially sweetened rice and almond milk that’s flavored with a little cinnamon. It’s cold, creamy, and shockingly refreshing for something that looks so much like a glass of milk.
Horchata is traditionally dairy-free, but it’s also not uncommon for restaurants to make it with sweetened condensed milk. If you have a dairy allergy, be sure to ask before you order it out – never just assume it will be dairy free!
My horchata recipe gives a nod to both types. I start by soaking rice and almonds overnight to make homemade nut milk, but I stir in canned coconut milk at the end to give it some of the creaminess that sweetened condensed milk adds. I also sweeten my horchata with honey. You could use white sugar, which is more traditional, but I love the subtle floral flavor that honey adds to the drink.
This horchata will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, but it might separate over time as the solids settle to the bottom of the pitcher. Just give it a good stir and it will be as good as new.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
- ½ cup whole blanched almonds
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- Ground cinnamon for topping
- Combine the boiling water, rice, almonds, and cinnamon sticks in a heat-proof container. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Discard the cinnamon sticks and transfer the rice and almond mixture to a blender. Add 2 cups cold water. Cover and blend on high got 3-4 minutes, or until very smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher.
- Heat the coconut milk and honey in a saucepan set over medium heat until the honey dissolves. Let cool, then pour into the pitcher with the rice mixture. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve over ice and top with ground cinnamon.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, and our host is Jane who blogs at The Heritage Cook
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious fiesta inspired dishes!
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta
- Tamarind Margarita – Spice Roots
- Spicy Crab Guacamole – The Red Head Baker
- Stovetop Spicy Sweet Pepitas – Mother Would Know
- Orejas Mexican Pan Dulce – Creative Culinary
- Instant Pot Barbacoa Tacos – The Heritage Cook
- Pork Pozole Verde – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chicken Tostadas with Black Bean Guacamole and Salsa Fresca – From a Chef’s Kitchen
- Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo) – Beyond Mere Sustenance
- Mexican Chocolate Pots de Creme – Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Mini Margarita Cheesecakes – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
17 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Horchata (Dairy Free)”
I have never tried horchata. Need to change that stat a this looks and sounds amazing!
I’ve heard of horchata, but honestly had no idea what it was. Thanks so much for clueing me in!! Particularly since I can tell I would LOVE it! It sounds so refreshing, I might never miss the margaritas at a restaurant too!
I can’t wait to try this. I’m not sure what has taken me so long.
I can’t wait to try this! Sounds amazing!
I haven’t had horchata in such a long time but I’ll have to change that now. Will be making with agave to keep it vegan ..can’t wait.
Horchata holds a bittersweet memory for me – I first tasted it with another blogger at a conference in Baltimore. It was a revelation! So creamy and delicious. A while after that conference I heard that my blogger friend died suddenly. I haven’t had horchata since, but with this lovely post as a reminder, I realize it’s time to honor my friend with a drink to her memory. Thanks.