I don't own a regular blender, so I use my stick blender for making horchata. For that reason, I use a large pitcher for my soaking bowl so I can soak and blend the rice and almond mixture in the same bowl, and then just pour it from there into the strainer. If you have a regular blender, you may find that soaking the rice and almonds in the blender's bowl is equally convenient.
How to Make Creamy Mexican Horchata
What You Need
1 cup long grain white rice
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1" to 3" piece of cinnamon stick
5 cups water, divided
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Ice for serving
Ground cinnamon for garnish
Bowl or jar for soaking
Blender (or stick blender)
Fine mesh strainer
Spatula or spoon
- Soak the rice, almonds and cinnamon. Place the rice and almonds into a bowl. Break up the cinnamon stick into several pieces and add to the rice and almonds. Cover with 4 cups of hot (but not boiling) water. Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
- Blend the mixture. Using a stick or regular blender, blend the mixture until it is as smooth as possible. This can take as long as 2 to 3 minutes. (The cinnamon will soften as it sits and does not need to be removed before blending.)
- Strain the mixture. Pour the mixture into a strainer set over a pitcher. Strain out as much liquid as possible, pushing on the solids with a spatula or spoon.
- Add condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in the remaining cup of water, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Taste and add more sweetener or water as needed.
- Serve. Add ice to the pitcher, stir again, and serve in glasses, garnished with the ground cinnamon. Enjoy!
- Vegan Horchata: Eliminate the sweetened condensed milk and use 1/4 cup of vegan sugar or 3 tablespoons of agave instead. A little rice or almond milk can be added for more creaminess.
- Alternative Sweeteners: Use 1/4 cup of honey, 3 tablespoons of agave, or 1/4 cup dates (add the dates to the soaking mixture.)
- Creamier Horchata: Substitute 1 cup of milk for the final 1 cup of water for added creaminess.
- Nut-Free or Non-Almond Horchata: This can be made without the almonds. You can also substitute another nut, like cashews.
- If you don't have a fine mesh strainer, line your regular strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth.
- If you can find it, try using Mexican cinnamon or canela.
- If you own a Vitamix, you may not have to strain the mixture.
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(Images: Dana Velden)