Get Baked: Horchata

According to my bank the check I deposited today will be available in June, which as far as I’m concerned means it’s officially summer. Which is a shortened term for “double-fisting refreshing beverages.” Usually I’m good with one glass of iced coffee and one glass of iced tea, but sometimes you want to mix it up a little bit. Enter horchata, a delicious creamy beverage that can be made with almonds, rice, barley, sesame seeds, or more! The version I made uses rice, because rice costs like $0.89 at Meijer.

It’s a little bit time-consuming to make at home, but also really neat, and the perfect sweet thing for hot afternoons when you’d rather sip on something than spoon a bowl of ice cream into your face. (Although if ice cream is your thing, the recipe I used is from David Lebovitz, who is also something of a big deal in terms of ice cream recipes.)


originally via David Lebovitz


2/3 cup white rice
3 cups warm water
One 2-inch (5cm) cinnamon stick
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (note: this makes it pretty sweet! use less if you want!)
2 cups rice, almond or regular milk

1. Using a blender or coffee grinder or like a mortar and pestle I guess, grind up your (dry, uncooked) rice as finely as you can get it. (I used a coffee grinder.)

2. Put the ground-up rice into a bowl, and pour the warm water over it. Throw in the cinnamon stick. Cover the bowl, and leave it in your fridge for 8 hours or overnight. (I may have left mine in for like 36 hours. It was fine.)

3. Once it’s done steeping/sitting/marinating, take out the cinnamon stick and strain the mixture to get the rice out and leave the rice-y liquid. Cheesecloth is recommended for this; I don’t have cheesecloth, so I used reusable mesh tea bags. Coffee filters are not really recommended; they might be a little too fine.

4. After straining your rice milk, by hook or by crook, you can add in your sugar and Other Milk of Choice. I don’t particularly like drinking sweet things, so if I made this again, I might dial back the sugar some. It’s up to you!

5. Congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a super refreshing beverage. Pour it over ice and enjoy! You don’t have to put in a cinnamon stick like I did; I just did that because my life is more fun when I pretend everything I drink is a cocktail. Happy summer!

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. OMG, Meijer! You know what Meijer is!
    Often times in Jersey, I’ll think to myself, “I need a tennis racket and mangos but it’s 1:30am. God I miss Meijer”. Since it was formally called “Meijer Thrifty Acres” my grandma called it “Thrifty’s” til the day she died.
    Oh, and Horchata is the shit. Glad I finally know how to spell it.

  2. God I luv Horchata so much. So much that I honestly feel the empty hole in my heart when it’s all gone.


    Horchata, or orxata (as it’s originally known), is traditionally made from tigernuts (chufas), sugar & water. Dairy free! Originated in Valencia, Spain. Of course, like most international foods, the recipe was adapted to other variations as it traveled throughout South & Latin America. I’m probs coming off sounding all matter-of-fact (sorry don’t mean to!), but I’m just so excited to see it on here! I had the privilege to live in Valencia for a year & enjoyed this amazing drink in its traditional form. If you get to Spain, def. look for it! In a cafe, not a box. Your version sounds like the Mexican one we know mostly in the states. Still delicious, like cinnamon rice milk. Nom. Te echo de menos, Valencia!

    • I should also add, for the sake of being historically accurate, that the tigernut was brought there by the Moors (el moros), the North African Arabs that invaded early Spain. They actually have huge contributions to Spain in general…but that’s for another post.

  4. I think I love Horchata more than I love most people…

    And I haven’t had it in YEARS.

    The woe.

  5. i’m currently living in spain and have tried the “original” version of this with chufas, and let’s just say mexico perfected.

    the original has an aquired taste i’ve yet to aquire.

    • I agree! Definitely an acquired taste! Not everyone loves it. Very nutty & a different nutty cuz it’s actually a low-fat nut. I tried it a few times myself, but I live to expand my palate. Such a foodie. Also developed a taste for olives, rabbit, sepia, morcilla & sobrasada there. Wouldn’t say one is better than the other. Essentially, they’re completely diff drinks. You can always love cinnamon, sugar & rice. If you’re up for getting “acquired”, maybe try it as granizado w/ a farton if you haven’t already. That’s how I fell in love. Being in VLC helped. Freshness. Hope you enjoy Spain!

  6. OMG HORCHATA!! I went to Honduras and they had the BEST HORCHATA EVAR!!!! *drools and dies*

    • I am so glad I wasn’t the only one who thought of the song the minute they saw this post.

  7. I’ve never had it, but I’ve always wanted to try it.

    I also always think of the Vampire Weekend song whenever anyone brings up horchata.

  8. I’ve never had it, either, which is why I promptly made some as soon as I read this! It sounds AMAZING.

  9. YESSS! I’m not a huge horchata fan (I’ll drink like one cup every two months), but my brother absolutely loves it, and I’ve been dying to make it, so I fully intend to finally do that with this recipe. :D

  10. I LOVE horchata. I used to get it at this little Mexican restaurant in the itty bitty town I lived in in my twenties. My two best friends (who lived next door to me while I was growing up) introduced me to it, and they would always call it “whore-chaw-taw” which was really, really funny (they didn’t do it on purpose, that was just the way they talked).

    Memories. Now I want supernachos and horchata.

  11. You have made this not-by-choice-dairy-free-girl ever so joyous.
    The happiness…

  12. So growing up in my family, my grandma would occasionally make this for me but most of the time she took me to the raspa place to get some or to this cool restaurant in Houston that I adore because I truly believe they have the best horchata and licuados! They have good food too but I’m a dork and love ordering quesadillas and French fries lol Anyways, I’m definitely gonna have to make this because spending anywhere from $2 – $5 for a cup of horchata adds up when there’s no free refills! Haha

  13. I’ve never had horchata and based on the comments, I probably need to correct this.
    Totally making this sometime soon.

  14. I’ve never had it before and want to try it – I’m just curious: would it work with cinnamon powder too? Because I don’t have sticks at home atm..

    • I actually made some as soon as I read this article, and I used just a pinch of powdered cinnamon. I don’t think it makes a difference, really. Still tastes delicious!

  15. It seems the Autostraddle mods are going to hold every comment I write for moderation, which is frankly absurd. With me being a user of this website for years and someone who donated to Autostraddle during it’s fundraising drive and this being a website that prides itself on being inclusive, you’d think they’d have more tolerance for people with, at times, unpopular opinions. If they want to hold every comment I write for moderation, maybe I should start commenting on every single article and forcing them to read every boring thing I have to say? As for my comment on this article:

    Never heard of horchata. Would love to try it.

    • Hi!

      Your comments aren’t being held for moderation, they were stuck in our spam folder. Apologies for the delay in posting. This has happened with a few comments today so we’re looking into it. We only edit or remove comments that violate our comment policy.

      -Carrie (Autostraddle Managerette)

  16. Rachel, you should write Propo ads for the government because I TRY EVERYTHING YOU EVER WRITE ABOUT.

    • Oh God, I just used a Hunger Games reference without even realizing it. #euthanizemenow

  17. Did anyone try using a sugar replacement such as stevia or agave nectar? Because this looks delicious, but a whole cup of sugar is ALL the sugar.

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