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As kids get older they become aware of lots of things you probably wish they wouldn't. For example, I’m sure we can all remember the first time our little ones took note of the inviting cartoon faces on the sides of sugar cereal boxes at the supermarket. The more tuned in kids become, the more they will start to ask you for things you want them to stay way clear of.

Recently, to my dismay, my kids have become transfixed by the delicious fruit based juices at our local Farmers’ Market. Every weekend, lined up on the tables of the prepared food stands sit enormous glass jars filled with a rainbow of flavored lemonades, watermelon fruit juice and a creamy, milky drink called Horchata. Kenya has started regularly begging for a horchata to accompany his weekly Farmers’ Market pupusa. I was fine with it the first couple of times, but he’s now addicted to them and there’s just way too much refined sugar in all of these juice drinks for me to let it become a regular thing. But not wanting to deprive Kenya of something he loves, I decided to come up with my own recipe.

There are different varieties of horchatas from Spain to Latin America, but the inspiration for this one comes from Mexico, where rice is used as the base for the drink. Even though this drink looks just like a cup of milk, it's not made using any milk at all. The whitish tan color comes from the starch of the rice that gets ground, strained and mixed with the other ingredients. My recipe is a bit different because it contains a lot less sugar then most pre-made horchatas, but it's still unbelievably delicious. Instead of white sugar I let the kids squeeze in some honey or agave until we think the flavor is just right. They also have fun getting to toss the cinnamon stick in the blender.

Even though it’s still tough dissuading Kenya from wanting to have a big cup of horchata at the market, the excitement of waiting to get home and make our own ultimately wins out and is certainly worth it's weight in fun!

Horchata  (Serves 4-6)

  • Prep Time: 2 mins,
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As kids get older they become aware of lots of things you probably wish they wouldn't. For example, I’m sure we can all remember the first time our little ones took note of the inviting cartoon faces on the sides of sugar cereal boxes at the...


  • 1 cup white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • zest of 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup agave, honey (or 1/3 cup sugar)


  1. 1. Place the rice, cinnamon stick and water in a large bowl and let the mixture sit covered for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  2. 2. Place the rice and water mixture in a blender with the remaining and blend on high for 2 minutes.
  3. 3. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a pitcher.
  4. 4. Chill, stir and serve over ice.
  5. *As the horchata chills in the fridge, all the sediments will sink to the bottom, therefore you will need to stir the horchata each time you serve it.

Nutrition Information

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  2. Altruist

    February 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    what 18th scale rc do you think would be or is the best my budget is 350 after taxes or close to it. also how long can I store a li-po on a full chrage. I broke the speed control for my savage flux after a bad landing on the lid need to get a new one and a mini and try to keep it under 350 wife is really mad wants to kill me

  3. Sara Lewis

    May 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Just found this site today and love it because of recipes like these! Taking such elaborate foods and turning them into something I can make in my kitchen!

  4. Marília

    November 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    It’s a delicious version of the rice milk. Love it!

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  6. SamanthaS

    April 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for a beverage idea! My kids get tired of the norm so one think I started doing is putting frozen cherries or berries in their water bottles. It keeps it cold and gives it flavor without processed sugar.

  7. Betsy

    April 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    we’ve just discovered Horchata and my little guy is always asking for it. Now we can make it! :)

  8. Nicole

    April 14, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    This makes me start humming the Horchata song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUQ-OBazbc) – now I can drink one and dance around! Thanks!

  9. Samantha

    April 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Hi. I have been reading your website for a few weeks and so excited to see someone so passionate about their food and what goes in their children’s bodies! I take a lot of time each week thinking about dinners and packing lunches that my children will eat. Thank God I don’t have picky eaters so it makes my job a lot easier.

    I noticed that you use agave in this recipe. I have recently read some distressing info re: agave and wondered how you feel about it. I am still researching it but have stopped using it for now. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

    Thanks in advance and thanks for sharing your recipes!

  10. Anju

    April 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    So I decided to make this today as I’ve never had horchata but my husband loves it. I soaked the rice in the morning and decided to make this after lunch. I put it in the blender and it was a very liquefied and I pour it through a mesh into my jug. The drink wasn’t clear still and so I must have poured it back and forth through the mesh about 5 times (cleaning it every time I used it) Finally when the mesh was clear, I poured into the jug and in the fridge. Now, I get it and the drink has separated. It’s pretty muddy type texture at the bottom and clear drink at the top. Is that how it’s supposed to be?

    • Anju

      April 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Never mind, I just saw the last bit about sediments. Well, My husband tasted it and loved it. So did my 14 month old. I prefer it with out the sediments mainly because it coats my mouth.

  11. Julia's Child

    April 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Interesting! Our farmers’ market is a little less interesting, it seems, but there is a lemonade made only with honey. Bless the honey lady!

  12. Naomi

    April 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I can’t wait to try this. We’re allowing the odd juice box, but mostly diluted juice if any. If our daughter likes this it could be a great addition! I’m hoping I’ll like it too! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Renee

    April 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Cool recipe. I’m going to try it. By the way, what happened to your weekly menu plan? It will often jog my memory and give me some ideas for a few of my meals during the week. Please bring it back!

  14. Celeste

    April 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I LOVE Horchata and my kids LOVE Horchata. I’m from Guatemala and drank it as a little kid. You’re right about how much sugar is in there but we have it as a treat. We usually get Horchata when we got to my favorite Mexican restaurant.

    For those asking about the cinnamon stick, I believe you grind it up with it. You will be straining the mixture so any big chunks leftover will not go into the drink. You can also add a touch of almond extract and that gives it a good flavor too.

  15. Abigail

    April 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Still not clear. Do I remove the cinnamon stick before blending or leave it in? And I’m now almost to 24 hours of soaking the rice, and it doesn’t seem like it has expanded or soaked up any water at all. The rice is still hard and unchanged. Is that normal?

    • Celeste

      April 14, 2011 at 10:17 am

      The rice is still pretty hard. It’s best to soak overnight though.

  16. Jen

    April 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Good advice Catherine to stay away from the “Shite rice” 😛
    <3 weelicious!

  17. Amy

    April 13, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Yay! One of my fave drinks & my son drinks it all up when I get it at our local taqueria. Thank you!! Will try this recipe this week!!

  18. Lori

    April 13, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    OMG! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this, my litle one is always wanting this, so I’ve been making him my own version. Which is just milk I sprinkle cinnamon and a little agave in and tell him it’s horchata! I bet he will love this so much :)

  19. Joanna

    April 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I also wanted to know if you remove the cinnamon stick before you place in blender?

  20. Merrilyn

    April 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Do you think it would be easier/better to use simple syrup if you are going to use regular sugar instead of honey or agave? I will definitely be experimenting with all of the above.

  21. Christine

    April 13, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Easy to do: vanilla rice milk and add honey and cinnamon!

  22. Maria

    April 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

    You are so right Catherine about the sugar on these packages I am from Mexico and my family always makes these juices (agua fresca) from scratch, when one time I try these packages and they were too sweet from that moment I always prepare juices my self it’s easy and healthier.

    • Adrian

      February 5, 2014 at 1:27 am

      Twilight,Jicama tastes like a cross beetwen an apple and a potato. I just bought some last week to try – my 4 youngest kids loved it, I didn’t care for it. The 2 big guys in the house haven’t tried it yet. It’s crunchy, has a texture similar to a pithy apple, and has a slight appley taste. They ate it along with organic baby carrots, cucumber spears, and their favorite veggie dip (non-vegan: peanut butter & plain yogurt mixed together).

  23. Abigail

    April 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Can you use regular cinnamon or do you have to use a cinnamon stick, and do you remove the cinnamon stick before pureeing the mixture?

    • catherine

      April 13, 2011 at 11:06 am

      You could try using regular cinnamon, but the stick gives it an amazing fresh cinnamon flavor.

  24. ecologicalbabies

    April 13, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Would basmati white rice work just as well? What about jasmine?

    • catherine

      April 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

      I think basmati and jasmine would work fine (although I haven’t tried either)

  25. Rachel

    April 13, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I love Horchata! Thanks so much for posting this! How fun!

  26. Carrie N.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:40 am

    *Cue hallelujah chorus*. Horchata is amazing. You’re right about buckets of sugar, but should also be very proud your kid begs for horchata and papusas instead of lunchables. He is developing a fine little international palate!

  27. Rachelle

    April 13, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Is the rice cooked or raw?

    • Samantha F.

      April 13, 2011 at 7:24 am

      The rice is raw-it expands as it sits in the water and releases it’s starch

  28. Amanda

    April 13, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I bought a package of Tang (omg & I srsly admitting that) horchata, but couldn’t even drink any because it was soooo sweet! What do you think about using brown rice, that’s all we have on hand right now.

    • catherine

      April 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

      You need to use white rice for this recipe because of the added starch in the shite rice that makes the drink so creamy.

      • catherine

        April 13, 2011 at 11:05 am

        white rice :)

        • Eden

          April 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

          What you wrote the first time almost seems correct…