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Horchata (Sweetened Rice Water)

December 13, 2009 | 8 Comments

Horchata (or-cha-tah) is a Mexican drink that is made from rice water (or the starch of rice) and has things like cinnamon and vanilla added. Being a fan of most Mexican food (not Taco-Bell only, I mean authentic Mexican restaurants) I usually get this as my drink instead of soda.

The decision to make Horchata recipe came on a whim. No idea why! I just thought, why not, plus as part of my effort to include more beverages on the blog, I thought, aw hell, I better just do it! It’s really easy to make, no fuss involved.

This is a basic Horchata recipe. While doing my research, I saw that some recipes included milk in them, but I chose not to.

To make Horchata, here’s what you’ll need:

1.5 cups long grain white rice
10-12 cups room temperature water
4 tbsps ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Turbinado raw sugar

1. Rinse rice, put in large bowl. Add water. Add 3 tbsps ground cinnamon, mix everything together.

2. Let sit at room temperature uncovered for 3-24 hours (I left mine overnight). When time is up, rice should be relatively soft yet firm. At this point, get your blender ready. In batches, blend mixture (both rice and water) till smooth.

3. Using a sieve (preferably with smaller holes) pour mixture in batches through sieve into a pitcher to separate chaff from the drink.

4. Stir mixture in sieve to get as much liquid as you can. Repeat for rest of mixture.

5. Now, using a smaller sieve, repeat steps again to remove more chaff (the mixture should be relatively smooth at this point, but you want to get rid of some more chaff that slipped through).

6. Repeat for rest of mixture till done. At this point, the chaff should look similar to this:

Simply discard chaff, you won’t be needing it.

7. Add 1 tbsp ground cinnamon to horchata, mix. Add 1/2 cup Turbinado raw sugar to horchata, stir everything together thoroughly.

8. Refrigerate horchata till cold. Serve with ice.


This is a refreshing drink that goes really well with spicy foods. I also found that after refrigerating it, some of it settled to the bottom of the pitcher, but instead of sieving again, I just mixed it up. You can choose to sieve it again, totally up to you or you can just gently pour the top part of the mixture into another pitcher and discard whatever is left at the bottom.

I don’t eat white sugar anymore, so I used Turbinado raw sugar which is a healthier alternative. You could also use honey or agave nectar. You can vary the thickness of the drink by how much water you add, for a thinner mix, use more water, but also remember that you’ll be serving it with ice which will melt and thin it out further.

Whilst making this, it reminded me a lot of Kunu (a Nigerian drink that’s thicker and a tad spicier). I have no idea how to make Kunu but I’m still hunting down a good recipe for it and once I get one, I’ll be trying my hands at it. If you want to use Horchata as a substitute for Kunu, I imagine you’d have to make it much thicker and to do that, use less water.

Also, you can use a cheesecloth if you don’t have a sieve.


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Horchata (Sweetened Rice Water), 5.8 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

8 Responses to "Horchata (Sweetened Rice Water)"

  1. onyinye osigwe says:

    sounds okay, will try it this weekend. maybe I can send you the kunu recipe I know someday

    • Yetunde says:

      Oooh, I’d love that! Let me know how the recipe goes!

  2. peggy says:

    wow, every recipe here seems to be keeping me on my toes.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hi Peggy!

      Lol, well, that’s a good thing, right?! ;)

  3. sussy says:

    Pretty simple. I plan to try this out tonight, but in place of cinnamon, what can i use? I dont have access to it. Don’t think I’ve seen it before.

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Sussy!

      I think nutmeg would make a good substitute for cinnamon, they both have the same warm, earthy overtones.

  4. chinyere says:

    great recipe but does it not need to be cooked? I mean the blended rice water

    • Yetunde says:

      Hey Chinyere!

      I don’t find boiling to be a necessary step, however, if it concerns you, there is no harm in boiling for 15-30 minutes.

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