Agua de Horchata, also known as rice water, is an incredibly delicious and creamy summer drink well known all over Latin America and Spain. This recipe is an easy version of Mexican Agua de Horchata that is served in any Mexican restaurant together with Agua de Jamaica.
What is Horchata?
Agua de Horchata (pronounced or-CHAA-tuh) is just one of many refreshing drinks known as “aguas frescas“, which are traditional beverages that are very popular in Mexico and Central America.
This milky-looking drink usually starts with a base of rice, sometimes ground oatmeal, nuts and even seeds are used. The ingredients are mixed with water, spices (usually cinnamon), and a sweetener, then steeped and served over ice.
Every country adds its own special twist to this recipe so no horchata tastes exactly like the other. I’m taking it even one step further and adding maple syrup as a sweetener which is not at all traditional but SO yummy and way healthier!
Ingredients And Substitutions
- Rice — any type of white rice will work. Jasmine, Basmati, short grain, long grain. My personal favorite is Jasmine rice.
- Cinnamon — whole sticks are great but ground cinnamon works perfectly fine as well.
- Sweetener — traditionally white sugar or piloncillo is added to Agua de Horchata, but I personally love maple syrup the best for this. You can also use brown sugar. I do not recommend honey as it will cover the flavor of the cinnamon too much.
- Vanilla — vanilla is optional but so so delicious in this rice water!
- Other Milk — you can use any type of nut or seed milk, coconut milk, or regular dairy milk.
- Water — use filtered water so the Agua de Horchata stays fresh longer.
How To Make Agua de Horchata
- Rice & Cinnamon — add 1 cup of rice and 2 sticks of cinnamon to a blender. A high-speed blender works best but you can also make it in a regular blender. You’ll simply have to blend a little longer.
- Add water — add 4 cups of water to the rice and cinnamon.
- Blend — blend for at least 2 minutes with a high-speed blender or 4-5 minutes with a regular blender until the cinnamon sticks are completely crushed and the rice and water well combined. Then place the jug in the refrigerator and let steep for 2-12 hours.
- Add Milk — add the blender’s jug back on the motor and add 2 cups of any type of other milk to it.
- Sweeten — add 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of sweetener of your choice. Traditional Mexican Agua de Horchata often has up to 1 cup of white sugar in it which makes it incredibly sweet. I prefer the subtle sweetness of 1/3 cup maple syrup. Remember, you can always add more later if you like.
- Add Vanilla — add vanilla if you like.
- Blend and Strain — give everything a quick blend again to make sure the sweetener is well distributed then pour the rice water over a strainer into a jug to remove most of the rice pulp.
- Nut milk bag – use a nut milk bag to make the Agua de Horchata pulp-free if you like.
- Serve — serve over ice, add a cinnamon stick to the glass for decoration and/or sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon.
You can keep Agua de Horchata at room temperature with ice cubes in it for a couple of hours but then it should be refrigerated, preferably in an air-tight container.
It will keep well in the fridge for about a week. If you notice any separation, you can simply stir or blend the ingredients again to recombine them.
You can also freeze this rice water. To defrost simply place it in the refrigerator overnight and give a quick whisk before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answer to this question is most likely, but, it all depends on the sweetener you use. My recipe calls for maple syrup as the sweetener and quite a bit less than traditional Aguas which is a healthier option. You can use any type of sweetener you like, though.
It only takes a few minutes of processing the ingredients in a blender. After that, the rice needs to release its starch into the water, which can take several hours but requires cero work from your side.
Agua de Horchata
- 1 cup uncooked white rice
- 4 cups water
- 2 cup milk of choice - (cow’s, almond, even coconut but coconut will change the flavor much more)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ice cubes
- Add rice, cinnamon sticks, and water to a blender and blend for several minutes until no more whole grain of rice can be spotted.
- Let steep in the refrigerator for 2-12 hours. The longer the creamier your horchata will end up being.
- Add second milk, vanilla, and maple syrup and give it a quick blend to mix well.
- Strain the milk through a sieve and/or nut-milk bag to remove most or all of the pulp.
- Serve over ice and sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon if you like.
Hi, I love your videos and recipes! Thanks and keep up the great work! Now a question: would it make sense to soak the rice for a few hours before blending it? It would be softer and easier for the blender to handle, right? Or is there a reason not to do that? Thanks!
In my home in Puerto Rico our afternoon refreshments at my grandmother’s included Orchatas. They were made with various grains but my favorite was oatmeal. Recipe about the same as the one posted here except oats were soaked in water overnight, then more water added, stirred vigorously with a wooden spoon, strained, sweetened, poured over ice. Later my modernized the kitchen, adding blenders and mixers and all the modern appliances. There’s another seed we used that I loved “ajonjolí”= sesame. My mother also added fresh crushed mint to many orchatas.
What a wonderful story Digna. I can imagine the sesame seeds giving it a divine taste :)
Charlotte Lopez says
At the least this is more instructive than one of these reality
Television stars, kim this? Joey what?
is it ok for digestive reasons to drink uncooked rice?
Hi Mara, you are not ingesting the uncooked rice per se because you filter it all out with a cheese cloth that is finely woven. I don’t know if there are any scientific studies suggesting agua de horchata could be anyway harmful or had on the stomach. I can only tell you from my own and millions of Mexican’s experience that it doesn’t cause any issues at all even after years of drinking it on a regular basis :)
Horchata is wonderful, isn’t it? And a Vitamix is at the top of my wishlist!
Yes, I absolutely love it and a Vitamix SHOULD be on the very top of the wishlist because it’s seriously awesome :D
Love horchata! Thanks for sharing:)
You are very welcome Juventa :)
Vicky @ Avocado Pesto says
I”ve only had horchata a couple times and never tried making it so I am intrigued!! And that’s awesome that your kids got to help! Not a mom yet but also imagine when I am I won’t want my kids to move out until they’re 58! Thanks again for organizing this fabulous giveaway! You’re the best! Pinning, tweeting, yumming : ))
Thank you Vicky!!! You should be enjoying Pisco Sours right now!! No kids & Peru screeeeem for Pisco Sour ;) Then when you have kids, there will be enough time (58 years) to make non-alcoholic beverages like Agua de Horchata :P
You’re kids are so cute!
Thank you Beth :D
Love everything about this!! Your beautiful new Vitamix, your beautiful children, and this delicious rice drink!! My kids would love to try it and can’t wait for them help me in the kitchen (and fight over pushing buttons, hahaha!!)
Thank you Amy :D
Erin @ Platings and Pairings says
This sounds amazing Lorena! I’m so excited for you about the Vitamix – I absolutely love mine. I think my favorite way to use it is to chop onions. Seriously, it takes under 5 seconds!
Ahhh, I haven’t even thought about that!! I’ll have try it right now!! Thanks for the tip Erin!
My Vitamix was a game changer, I’m so glad you got one! What beautiful children you have, total dolls!
Thank you Jasmine, I’m a proud mama :D
This is such a wonderful post, Lorena! A loving tribute to motherhood and your kids (they are gorgeous!) I am so happy do be doing this giveaway with you :)
Thank you Regina, I’m so happy to be doing this with YOU!
Raquel @ My California Roots says
Congrats on getting a Vitamix, Lorena!!! That’s so awesome! You totally deserve it!
Thank you Raquel!! :D
Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners says
PS – Wow! Your kids are simply adorable!!
Thank you, thank you, they’ve inherited that from their mother :P hahahaha
Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners says
Love your Vitamix blender, Lorena! And your recipe rocks, too! These blenders are really fantastic and sought after. When I told friends and family I was doing a Vitamix Giveaway, they all wanted one, lol.
Thanks so much for coordinating this fun event :)
Isn’t it beautiful? One of the two kitchen gadgets that stay on my kitchen counter for display for they are so pretty to looks at :D