How to Make Homemade Horchata (Dairy Free)

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Homemade horchata is a cool, creamy drink made from rice, almonds, and cinnamon. This recipe is dairy-free so everyone can enjoy it. Cheers!
Two glasses of dairy free horchata on a platter with a pitcher in the background

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!

overhead photo of two glasses of horchata topped with cinnamon


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. 

coconut milk horchata topped with cinnamon

How to Make Homemade Horchata (Dairy Free)

Dairy-Free Horchata

Homemade horchata is a cool, creamy drink made from rice, almonds, and cinnamon. This recipe is dairy-free so everyone can enjoy it. Cheers!
4.94 from 15 votes
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Course: 40+ Healthy Drinks Recipes
Cuisine: South American
Keyword: coconut milk horchata, diary free horchata, horchata, horchata recipe, how to make horchata, rice milk
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 205kcal


  • 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
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
Dairy-Free Horchata
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 205 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Sodium 90mg4%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 4g8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthyDelish or tag #HealthyDelish!

Progressive Eats

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




Main Courses

Side Dish



Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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17 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Horchata (Dairy Free)”

  1. 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.

  2. 5 stars
    The taco truck that sets up near my office opens next week and I cannot wait. They make the best shrimp tacos ever. With regards to the horchata, I’ve never had it, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy (and so would my kids — especially my almond milk-loving daughter). Thank you for introducing me to something new! Also, I am so glad you joined Progressive Eats this month! Welcome!

  3. Wow! It never crossed my mind that one could make horchata at home, though I’ve lived on the border and enjoyed it all my life! I’m looking forward to trying this. It looks and sounds delicious!

  4. I’ve never heard of this drink but have to say I’m very intrigued and think the family would love this too! It looks like something I could totally handle – thanks for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I love this so much – the perfect way to cool the heat of spicy food! And the fact that it is great for people with dietary restrictions makes it an even better choice!

4.94 from 15 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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