Sweet, creamy Horchata is a chilled Mexican drink made with cream, cinnamon, and white rice! It’s super easy to make with just ten minutes of prep. The secret to this perfect horchata recipe? A can of sweetened condensed milk!
Why You Will Love This Creamy Horchata Recipe
There’s lots to love about homemade horchata, and this recipe is one of the best. Here’s why:
- Utterly Rich: The combination of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream (if used) gives this horchata a creamy, rich flavor that’s totally decadent.
- Cold and Sweet: This drink is so refreshing on a hot day! Its cold, cinnamon-y flavor is impossible to resist.
- Customizable: You can choose to add sugar to your taste, and adjust the cinnamon as well, to get that perfect balance.
- Easy to Make: This recipe is simple and doesn’t require many ingredients, which makes it so simple and quick to pull together.
What Does Horchata Taste Like?
Horchata is a rich and creamy milk-like drink that is seasoned with warm cinnamon. Mexican horchata comes in different styles – this version is thicker than some with the warm flavors of rice pudding. The base of the drink is rice soaked in water, which is then combined with milk for that arroz con leche taste that is so comforting and wholesome. Served as a cold drink, it might remind you of coquito – just not as thick and without the coconut flavor.
However, many recipes for horchata are actually dairy-free, with all of the creaminess coming from the rice and water. The sweetness of the horchata also varies, depending on the region and recipe. Either way, this is one refreshing and simple treat you’re sure to love.
What Is Horchata Made Of?
You can make horchata in different ways – this recipe is for a really creamy, indulgent version. For full ingredient amounts and directions, scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- White Rice: This is the base for the horchata, giving it a starchy, creamy texture.
- Cinnamon Sticks: Whole cinnamon sticks, or sticks of canela, or Mexican cinnamon all work.
- Evaporated Milk: Enhances the creaminess and richness of the horchata.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: Adds sweetness and a caramel-like flavor to the horchata, and makes it even thicker and creamier!
- Heavy Cream: If you want to really up the ante, add some heavy cream. But this is totally optional and the horchata will still be delicious without it.
- Granulated Sugar: You can adjust the level of sweetness by adding a little more sugar, to your taste.
- Vanilla: Another optional add-in, vanilla plays well with cream and cinnamon, making the horchata taste even more complex and sweet.
- Ground Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is pretty sprinkled on top, and adds a little more spicy flavor.
How to Make Horchata
Making this recipe is very easy and mostly hands-off. You will need time to refrigerate, however, so be sure to budget about eight hours for that.
- Blend and Soak: Blend rice with hot water, then add your cinnamon sticks, and refrigerate this for at least 8 hours.
- Blend Again: After soaking in the fridge, take out the rice mixture and blend it again until it is smooth.
- Strain: Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or some cheesecloth to strain out the rice. Discard the leftover rice.
- Finish: Mix in the rest of the ingredients, and refrigerate the horchata until you’re ready to serve. Serve chilled, with optional ground cinnamon as a garnish.
Helpful Tips & Variations
Making horchata is simple and easily customized to your tastes.
- Whole Milk: If you don’t want to use evaporated milk, you can use whole milk instead. You will need to use 4 cups of milk to replace the evaporated milk, and be sure to reduce the amount of water to 5 cups.
- White Rice: What kind of rice should you use? Any plain white rice is fine (long grain, jasmine, etc.). Just don’t use instant or quick rice.
- Cinnamon Sticks: I like to use Mexican cinnamon (canela). It breaks easily, helping the flavor get into the rice.
- Chocolate Horchata: Change this up by adding a chocolate Abuelita tablet! Blend it well, and strain with the rice.
- 4-Hour Horchata: Blending the rice for a bit and using hot water makes it possible to enjoy this horchata sooner than usual – you can check it at about 4 hours and see if it’s creamy enough for your liking. However, I really think it’s best when given 8 hours to soak.
Refrigerating and Freezing This Mexican Rice Drink
You can keep this in the fridge in an airtight container or jar for 3 – 5 days, or even longer – it depends on the freshness of your dairy, the temperature of your refrigerator, and other factors. Be sure to toss it if it seems “off” at all – whether there’s an odd smell or a slimy texture.
As for freezing, you can safely freeze horchata. However, it may separate and have a different texture if you freeze and thaw it.
More Best-Loved Mexican Drinks
- Cucumber Agua Fresca
- Mexican Hot Chocolate
- Watermelon Agua Fresca
- Cafe de Olla
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Ground cinnamon, for garnish
- Heat 4 cups of water until hot, then add to a blender with the rice and blend until the rice is coarsely ground.
- Add the cinnamon sticks and blend again. Refrigerate mixture for at least 8 hours. (I place the lid on the blender and store this mixture in the fridge in the blender.)
- Add the mixture back into the blender and blend again until smooth.
- Stir in the remaining water, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Stir or shake well before serving. Serve over ice with a little extra ground cinnamon on top, if desired.
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