You already know that horchata is originally from Spain and the best places to get some IRL.
And if you’ve spent any real time eating tacos at a taco truck or taqueria, you’ve probably tamed a spicy salsas bite with one of the most classic Aguas Frescas of all: horchata aka agua de horchata.
But do you know how to make real-deal Mexican horchata?
Well, we’ve got you covered. While classic Spanish horchata is made with tiger nuts, Mexican horchata is most commonly made with rice and almonds. We say “most commonly” because, as with so many Mexican recipes, there are a lot of variations.
While some people take shortcuts and use condensed milk to make it quickly, we think it’s a simple enough recipe that it’s worth it to make it the traditional way. All you need is some patience and an excellent blender.
How To Make The Perfect Horchata
Like with perfect nut milk, the quality of the ingredients and a long soak make all the difference in creating a superb horchata. Because let’s be honest, horchata is essentially the original nut milk, except it has rice and delicious Canela or Ceylon cinnamon added.
To us, a perfect horchata is a little thick — say like an oat milk latte — not too sweet, and a balance of nut and spice. Oh, if you make a big batch, you can use leftovers to make lattes, a twist on tres leches cake, or even this spiked tequila cocktail!
All in all, this Classic Mexican Horchata recipe is super classic, except that we use dates instead of granulated sugar to sweeten it because we want to be a touch healthier.
Classic Mexican Horchata Recipe
- 12 cups cold water divided
- 1 1/2 pounds blanched almonds
- 3 cups uncooked long grain rice
- 1 cup roughly chopped pitted dates
- 8 cinnamon sticks plus 1 stick more for garnish
- Sea salt
- Finely grated lime zest for garnish (optional)
- Toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
- Soak The Horchata Base: Bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Combine boiling water, rice, almonds, dates, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Blend The Horchata: Remove cinnamon then put half of the mix into a blender. Make sure to add equal parts solids and liquids to help the blender along. Set to the highest speed and process the horchata until smooth, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Sweeten The Horchata: Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. The horchata will be a touch chalky thanks to the rice. If you want it silkier and smoother, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. If you want it sweeter, add some maple syrup or agave nectar and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.
- Serve over ice and garnish with grated cinnamon or grated lime zest or toasted coconut or all three!