Horchata, or “horchata de arroz” is a unique drink that is made of ground rice, water, cinnamon, milk, and vanilla. It’s served at most Mexican restaurants and was an extra special treat growing up because we didn’t tend to spend money on “dessert.” Horchata definitely qualifies as a dessert drink because it’s super sweet and creamy.

I’ve always had horchata cold, served over ice, but lately the highs in Rapid City have been in the negative digits so I’ve been waking up to a beautiful snow covered landscape and craving something warm to drink. My typical go-to is a London Fog, but this week I warmed up equal parts horchata with frothed milk, which was delicious! I didn’t realize how easy it was to make horchata at home. Most of the work involves combining the ingredients in a blender, pushing a button, and waiting. I found it was easiest to do the work the night before so the next day I could strain it, add the sugar and vanilla, and enjoy!

I will say that this recipe can be tweaked depending on your preference. I used two fairly long cinnamon sticks to blend in with the rice so I could have left out the powdered cinnamon the next day and it still would have tasted phenomenal. My kiddos thought it was too “cinnamon-y” but I thought it was just fine. However, I’d recommend tasting it before the addition of the ground cinnamon. Also, I appreciate that there’s only one cup of milk for this entire batch because I seem to have a slight intolerance to milk, but if you wanted it creamier you could certainly add a second cup, or use an alternative milk like almond or rice milk to keep it dairy free!


  • 1 1/3 cup long-grain rice uncooked
  • 5 cups water divided
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole but pick your pleasure)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar


  • Add uncooked rice, and 2 cups water and cinnamon sticks to your blender and blend until roughly ground. Add the rest of the water and blend for an additional minute. Pour this into a pitcher and refrigerate overnight (or at least 4 hours).
  • Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer and discard chunks.
  • Add milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar into the rice water and chill before serving over ice.
  • If desired, you can serve warm. I like adding one cup of horchata mixture to one cup warmed, frothed milk for a horchata latte.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe by Lil’ Luna


One response to “Horchata

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