Brown Rice Horchata

Brown Rice Horchata Follow Me on Pinterest

I realize this recipe is a day late for the Cinco de Mayo festivities, but let’s just extend the celebration, okay?

Brown Rice & Cinnamon Follow Me on Pinterest

I actually only tried horchata for the first time a few years ago, when I was living in San Francisco and surrounded by delicious taquerias. There was one burrito place a short walk away from me in Pacific Heights, which is also where I discovered and subsequently became addicted to aguas frescas. So much better than a coffee habit, in my opinion.

Horchata Follow Me on Pinterest

I haven’t found nearly as many places around Boston that offer horchata, and the ones that do use cow’s milk, so those are out for me. However, I finally purchased my very own, super cool nut milk bag* and decided to take things into my own hands using brown rice and almond milk as the base,  medjool dates as the sweetener, and extra cinnamon. I also added a little vanilla bean paste, which is optional, but adds a nice depth of flavor. Most things benefit from a little vanilla, after all.

Vegan Horchata Follow Me on Pinterest Vegan Horchata 2 Follow Me on Pinterest

This is one of those recipes that is so easy and cost-effective, you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried a homemade horchata sooner.

Vegan Horchata 3 Follow Me on Pinterest

Brown Rice Horchata
Prep time
Total time
A non-dairy take on the classic rice-based drink, naturally and lightly sweetened with medjool dates.
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: approximately 4
  • 1 C. Brown Rice, rinsed
  • 2½ C. Warm Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 C. Unsweetened Almond Milk (or Rice Milk)
  • 4 Medjool Dates, soaked for an hour & drained
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract (optional)
  • 1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon, plus more for garnish
  • Pinch of Fine Sea Salt
  1. Add the rice and warm water to a high speed blender and process on high until the rice is finely ground.
  2. Transfer the rice and water mixture to a container and add the cinnamon stick. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the rice and water to your blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Using a nut milk bag or fine sieve, strain the mixture, making sure to extract as much liquid as possible.
  5. Transfer the liquid back to the blender and add the almond milk, pitted dates, vanilla (if using), ground cinnamon, and sea salt. Process until smooth.
  6. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.
  7. Serve over ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick and a light dusting of ground cinnamon if you like!
I used medium grain brown rice, but short and long grain should work too. You can also use white rice instead if you like. Horchata will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge. Give it a quick stir before serving, since it has a tendency to separate.


*I initially squirmed a little when I would say nut milk bag, but now it’s starting to get fun. Especially when the person you’re talking to isn’t vegan or raw food-inclined. Try it and relish in the awkwardness.

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  1. says

    This looks delicious! I’ve never tried horchata, but it has always appealed to me. Brown rice is one of those foods high on my ‘can’t live without it’ list. 😀

  2. says

    My brother’s best friend introduces him to horchata, and now he orders it whenever we go out to a Mexican restaurant. I still haven’t tried it because it sounded too exotic to me, but I actually recognize each of your ingredients. Maybe that’s not a good enough excuse after all!

  3. says

    Wow, this looks awesome! When we were in Valencia, they kept referring to Horchata but I had never tried it before. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try any before we left but I look forward to giving it a try some time. In Spain they make it with tiger nuts? I wasn’t familiar with them since I think it’s a regional thing, but I was intrigued. Thanks for the recipe!!

    • says

      Yeah, I was reading about how horchata is traditionally made with tigernuts. I’m not familiar with them either. I wonder if you can even find them around here…

      • says

        I saw a little horchata kit in the airport with a bag of tiger nuts that I thought about buying but I didn’t, I’m kicking myself now, I’m curious what they’re like. Maybe I can talk my friends into mailing me some :)

  4. says

    I used to always love getting arroz con leche for dessert in Mexican restaurants—and horchata (to me) is basically the lovely liquid goodness leftover when you finish the rice. Was best day when I realized I could have it all on its own if I wanted! 😉


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