Horchata is essentially cinnamon rice milk. This classic Mexican drink is made from rice, flavored with cinnamon, and sweetened with sugar. It’s refreshing in the warm, summer months and comforting in the chilly, winter months. And always delicious no matter when you choose to sip on a glass of classic horchata (pronounced Or-CHAH-ta).

Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: overnight (at least 8 hours)


  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (approx. 3″ each)  or 1 1/2  tsp of ground cinnamon, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, we like mixing brown and white sugar together
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 2 cups Whole milk, you can also use a non-dairy substitute 


Using a high-speed blender (Vitamix works great!), pulverize rice, almonds, and cinnamon sticks in :15-:30 second intervals for approximately 2 minutes until all three ingredients are blended and as fine as sand.

Add water, sugar, and vanilla. It’s important to use hot water as it will help to dissolve the sugar. Blend mixture again for an additional :30 – :45 seconds. By now, the ingredients will likely be at the top of your blender. If you are able, carefully add milk and blend for a final :30 seconds. If you don’t have the room, transfer to another container and add the milk.

Cover and chill overnight (at least 8 hours), the longer you let it sit, the more integrated and creamier the flavors will become.

Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain mixture into a pitcher in batches, leaving all of the grittiness behind, which may require you to strain twice. We found using a nut milk bag works best.

Serve over ice and garnish with extra cinnamon within 3-5 days.

Alternatives + Serving Suggestions

Don’t have a blender or the time to wait? Make a cheater version by mixing together 6 cups of unsweetened rice milk, 1 cup of whole milk or dairy alternative, 1 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1 tsp vanilla until sugar is fully dissolved.

Looking for a dairy-free, Vegan-friendly version? Replace the whole milk with a creamy alternative like almond, cashew, or canned coconut milk.

Need a nut-free AND dairy-free version? Skip the almonds and replace the whole milk with canned coconut milk.

Want to cut down on the sugar? We think it’s best to at least use the 1/2 cup recommended in the recipe but you can sweeten things up to your liking by using agave, maple syrup, or stevia.

Make it boozy. For the 21+ crowd, mix with dark rum or Kaluha.

Add it to your morning Joe. Use in place of creamer in your coffee. As the base of a latte. Or mix with equal parts of cold brew coffee for a delicious, pick-me-up.