The perfect refreshing summertime beverage, horchata is a classic served throughout Latin America and Spain! If you love ordering it at your favorite taco restaurant, you might be surprised to learn it’s quite simple to make at home. 

We’ll show you how to make this plant-based drink using Carolina® Rice and other delicious pantry staple ingredients you probably already have at home. We’ve also got a few ideas for switching things up and trying new varieties like ice cream and adding in a bit of coffee. So, get your chef heat ready and let’s dig in. 

But first, let’s start with the basics — what is horchata?

What is Horchata?

Horchata is a sweet drink, typically made with rice, cinnamon, sugar and water. Milky in appearance, horchata is normally served with ice cubes making it a great refreshing drink to enjoy on a sunny day! Although popular throughout Mexico and Latin America, Horchata actually originates from Spain where it was traditionally made with soaked, ground and sweetened tiger nuts. Today we will be focusing on the Mexican version which is typically made with rice.

This sweet, refreshing drink makes a great compliment to pretty much any meal or even as a stand-alone snack. It can also be used in a variety of other recipes, both sweet and savory. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the versatility of this drink and some different ways we can implement it into our recipes.

But firstly, let’s learn how to make a traditional Horchata.   

How to Make Traditional Mexican Horchata

Believe it or not, it’s not difficult to make a great tasting Horchata with Carolina® Rice. There are many different ways to make a Homemade Horchata, though for this simple recipe we just need:

  • 1 cup Carolina® White Rice
  • 1 Stick cinnamon
  • 8 cups of Water
  • 1 cup Sugar

Step 1 – Blend together the rice, cinnamon stick and 4 cups of water until the rice is coarsely ground.

Step 2 –  Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it sit for around 4 hours.

Step 3 –  Puree the rice mixture until it is smooth, you can either strain it through a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer. 

Step 4 – Add the remaining cups of water along with the sugar.

Step 5 – Stir the sugar into the mixture until it dissolves and chill.

Step 6 – Before serving, stir the horchata once more.

Glass of horchata with cinnamon


For a richer, creamier drink, try replacing 4 cups of water with milk instead. If you want to use milk in your recipe, check out this Mexican Horchata With Cinnamon


Although you can serve your horchata right away with ice cubes, for best results chill it in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours beforehand.

Using a cheesecloth will make your mixture smoother, though if all you have is a fine-mesh strainer, be sure to strain the rice twice.

Finally, If you have a sweet tooth, you can try adding in some vanilla to really add to the flavor.

Now we know how to make a simple Horchata recipe, let’s take a look at how versatile this drink really is by looking at some other ways we can prepare it.

Other Applications of Horchata

Although horchata is typically enjoyed as a sweet drink, there are no shortage of interesting ways we can implement it into different recipes. As these recipes are rice based, it’s essential to use high quality rice which is why it is best to use Carolina® products when making horchata.

Horchata Coffee

Made with Carolina® Jasmine Rice instead of white rice, this fluffy and foamy Horchata Whipped Ice Coffee is a delicious yet energizing way to start your day. If you are entertaining friends you can also turn this iced coffee into a cocktail by adding in a dash of spirit like rum or a liqueur such as amaretto.  


Coffee Fans will also love this Cafe Horchata, an irresistible iced coffee drink which combines horchata with espresso. 

Horchata Desserts

Horchata’s sweet flavor and creamy texture, means that it is very easy to adapt it into desserts. For example, this Horchata Ice Cream which tastes great when served on its own but, if you really want to indulge yourself, you can serve it with cinnamon, hot fudge or dulce de leche. This recipe calls for an ice cream maker, however if you don’t have one in your kitchen, don’t worry! You can actually use Ziploc bags in the freezer to get the job done.

Horchata Ice Cream Scoops with cinnamon

Horchata Smoothies

Horchata can also be incorporated into a nice fruity smoothie, for example this delicious Banana Horchata Smoothie. This speedy recipe works well as a breakfast, a snack or even a tasty dessert! 

horchata smoothie with banana and rice

Serve Horchata With Tasty Meals

For another Mexican inspired recipe with more of a savory flavor, why not check out these Tacos Dorados With Rice and Beans or these Enchiladas with Salsa Verde. Alternatively for something with more of a Mediterranean flavor, why not try a Traditional Paella Recipe


For more recipe ideas from all over the world, stay tuned to Carolina® rice.

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