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Homemade vegan horchata de arroz is a simple, super creamy and refreshing 5-ingredient Mexican rice milk drink with cinnamon and vanilla (+ flavor variations!) – perfect alongside spicy foods and on sunny days!

completed Mexican Horchata Recipe against a white background

Looking for your next favorite summer beverage? It’s time to give this easy homemade horchata recipe a try! It’s creamy and sweet yet refreshing, nutty, cinnamon and vanilla-infused, and so easy to make with simple pantry staples.

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What Is Horchata?

Horchata (pronounced or-CHAH-tah), or orxata, is an umbrella term for several types of homemade plant-milk beverages. This time, we’re referring to Mexican ‘Horchata de Arroz’ -aka with rice – and is a popular type of agua fresca (meaning ‘fresh water’, usually refers to a fruity water-based drink) – ‘agua de horchata’.

Vegan horchata is made with a base of white rice and water to make a creamy homemade rice milk, sweetened, and flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. Plus, we’ve made this naturally vegan horchata even creamier with the addition of extra (plant-based) milk.

What Does Vegan Horchata Taste Like?

With the combination of creamy rice milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, we think (and many agree) that this Mexican rice drink tastes a little like sweet rice pudding (arroz con leche) in a smooth, rich drink form. We’re all for that!

It’s a sweet and creamy, refreshing Mexican vegan milk drink perfect for drinking over ice during Summer and all year long. We especially love making horchata for special events like Cinco de Mayo, New Year’s, and on taco nights – alongside black bean tacos, sweet potato enchiladas, and Southwest stuffed peppers.

The Horchata Ingredients

ingredients for Mexican Horchata Recipe measured out against a white surface
  • Rice: All-purpose long-grain white rice provides the most traditional horchata flavor, though you could use jasmine rice, basmati, or even brown rice.
  • Water: To make up the ‘base’ for the homemade Mexican rice milk.
  • Plant-based milk: For a creamier horchata drink, use your preferred dairy-free milk. i.e., almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, etc. For the creamiest results, use full-fat canned coconut milk or dairy-free evaporated milk.
  • Cinnamon: Use fresh ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick (break it into smaller pieces, then leave it to soak in the rice mixture overnight to make it easier to blend).
  • Sugar: We used regular sugar, though you can use coconut sugar, maple syrup, or even a sugar substitute (like erythritol) and adjust the amount to taste.
  • Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla for the best flavored agua fresca horchata.

Horchata Flavor Variations

  • Strawberry horchata: Add 1-1 ½ cups of strawberries to the mixture when blending.
  • Matcha horchata: Blend matcha powder into the horchata rice milk mixture.
  • Horchata latte: Top up a shot of espresso with this horchata instead of other milk.
  • Chocolate horchata: Follow our recipe for vegan Mexican hot chocolate, using horchata instead of another dairy-free milk.
  • Almond milk horchata: Make it creamier by adding slivered almonds (about ½ cup per 1 cup rice) or top it up with almond milk. Add more flavor with almond extract.
  • Other spices: Add depth with cardamom, nutmeg, or make pumpkin spice horchata.

How to Make Vegan Horchata

Follow just four simple steps to make this delicious, easy horchata recipe!

  • 1) First, rinse the rice to remove extra starch. Then combine the rice, water, and cinnamon in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy/milky (about 4 minutes).
  • 2) Then leave it to soak in the refrigerator overnight.

This step is important as it helps to make it super milky the longer it sits. We don’t recommend skipping this ‘resting’ stage. You can even re-blend it after soaking for creamier horchata.

  • 3) Pour the rice milk through a cheesecloth lined fine-mesh strainer or nut milk bag into a pitcher. Press/squeeze it well to extract maximum liquid.
  • 4) Then, add the plant-based milk, sugar, and vanilla extract, mix well, and then taste and adjust (sweetness, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.).

We love to serve the agua de horchata chilled, over ice, with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon for a super refreshing drink during summer and alongside spicy meals. However, you can also enjoy it warm, if preferred (note the starches thicken the drink when warmed)!

FAQs

How long to soak rice for horchata?

You can leave it to soak for up to 36 hours. We don’t recommend more than that, as the rice can begin fermenting.

Can I use the leftover rice pulp?

There are actually several ways to use the cinnamon-y rice pulp, including turning it into rice pudding (vegan arroz con leche), making it into a body scrub, or even allowing it to fully dry (spread across a tray or in a dehydrator) to grind and use as rice flour in sweet bakes – like dairy-free pancakes, cakes, etc.

How to avoid chalky homemade horchata?

If you taste it and it seems chalky, it’s best to strain the rice milk and cinnamon mixture once more to remove more sediment.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Blend it thoroughly: When ready, the Mexican cinnamon milk should be smooth and milky with just a slightly gritty texture. The rice needs to be broken down as much as possible to extract the most flavor.
  • Leave it to soak: This step is really important to make the creamiest agua de horchata recipe. Some recipes soak the rice pre-blending, but we prefer to do so after.
  • For the creamiest horchata: Blend it before AND after soaking.
  • Strain it well: Otherwise the rice and cinnamon residue can make the Mexican rice milk a little ‘chalky’. You may need to strain it twice.
  • Adjust the ratios: Not only by sweetening it to taste, but also by adjusting the amount of vanilla/cinnamon if preferred.  
completed Mexican Horchata Recipe against a white background

Storage Instructions

Store any prepared/leftover homemade horchata in an airtight container/jug in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, shaking it in-between servings.

Don’t leave it out of the refrigerator for more than an hour at a time, otherwise it will need to be discarded.

More Fun Vegan Drinks

Or enjoy browsing our entire collection of budget-friendly vegan drink recipes!

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Mexican Horchata Recipe against a white background

Vegan Horchata Recipe

4.91 from 30 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Rest: 1 day
Total: 1 day 10 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Homemade vegan horchata de arroz is a simple, super creamy and refreshing 5-ingredient Mexican rice milk drink with cinnamon and vanilla (+ flavor variations!) – perfect alongside spicy foods and on sunny days!

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of long-grain white or brown rice, uncooked
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of plant-based milk (any variety)
  • ¼ to ½ cup of sugar (depending on sweetness preference)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Pour rice, water, and cinnamon into a blender and blend it until the rice is broken up and the water looks milky, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Using cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer over a pitcher to remove the rice, pour the rice milk into a pitcher.
  • Add the plant-based milk, sugar, and vanilla extract, mix well, and enjoy it poured into a glass of ice.

Video

Notes

  • Blend it thoroughly: When ready, the Mexican cinnamon milk should be smooth and milky with just a slightly gritty texture. The rice needs to be broken down as much as possible to extract the most flavor.
  • Leave it to soak: This step is really important to make the creamiest agua de horchata recipe. Some recipes soak the rice pre-blending, but we prefer to do so after.
  • For the creamiest horchata: Blend it before AND after soaking.
  • Strain it well: Otherwise the rice and cinnamon residue can make the Mexican rice milk a little ‘chalky’. You may need to strain it twice.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 183mgPotassium: 146mgFiber: 4gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 12IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 217mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Toni Okamoto
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Mexican
Method: Blend
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Toni Okamoto

“They say you are what you eat, so I strive to be healthy.
My goal in life is not to be rich or wealthy,
‘Cause true wealth comes from good health and wise ways…
we got to start taking better care of ourselves ” – Dead Prez

More about Toni Okamoto

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    This s a great simple recipe. Ive looked at many vegan horchata recipes. I like yours a lot. One thing though, most recipes call for nut milk as an ingredient. It just doesn’t make sense to me. We are making milk here. If I want an almond flavor why not just add almonds to the recipe? Am I missing something? Other than that I followed the recipe and its delish.