Healthier Horchata Recipe

Traditional Mexican horchata is incredibly tasty but usually loaded with sweetened condensed milk and refined sugar. We cut out processed sugars in this recipe and used coconut sugar instead — a natural sweetener low on the glycemic index. Coconut sugar also contains a variety of minerals — 17 amino acids, vitamin C and nearly all B vitamins. Its slightly nutty flavor gives horchata a richer flavor, so you won’t guzzle down the whole batch.

Horchata Drink
Photo by Perry Santanachote

Serves 4

Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 8.5 hours



2/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
3 cups warm water
One cinnamon stick
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetened rice milk
Ice cubes
More cinnamon for serving


  1. In a blender, grind the rice into fine pieces, roughly the consistency of coarse polenta.
  2. Transfer the rice to a medium bowl then pour warm water over it and add the cinnamon stick. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the rice and water until smooth. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, squeezing to extract as much of the rice flavor as possible.
  4. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and milk, mixing until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve over ice with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon on top.

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