Dairy-Free Mexican Horchata that’s Cool, Creamy, and Easy


Did you know that traditional Mexican horchata is naturally dairy free? Made with just rice, vanilla, and cinnamon, you might even consider it the original rice milk beverage. But in some countries, and commonly in the U.S., dairy is added to store-bought horchata.

There are a few dairy-free brands that go in and out of season (like Califia), but it’s pretty easy to make your own dairy-free horchata. This recipe is also vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and made straight from your pantry!

Dairy-Free Mexican Horchata Recipe that's naturally Cool and Creamy (vegan, plant-based, soy-free, gluten-free)

Dairy-Free Mexican Horchata that’s Cool, Creamy, and Easy

This horchata recipe is one that I adapted from Gale Gand. Traditional Mexican horchata is often made with just rice, but in some Central American countries almonds or other nuts are added for a richer, creamier finish. So this is more of a Latin fusion version.

The lime wedges let sippers twist in a little zest, as desired. Lime adds a flavor pop that compliments Mexican horchata quite nicely.

Dairy-Free Mexican Horchata Recipe with a Cool and Creamy Twist (vegan, plant-based, soy-free, gluten-free)

Special Diet Notes: Mexican Horchata

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.

Dairy-Free Mexican Horchata
Prep time
Total time
This recipe was adapted slightly from Gale Gand. Please note that the Prep time does not include soaking. This is a great make ahead recipe.
Recipe type: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: about 4½ cups
  1. Place the rice in your spice grinder or food processor and grind it as finely as possible.
  2. Add the ground rice, almonds, and cinnamon to a large bowl. Heat 2 cups water until hot and pour over the rice mixture. Cover and let soak for several hours or overnight (room temperature is fine).
  3. Place the soaked rice mixture with liquid in your blender, and blend on high until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the remaining 2 cups water, sweetener, and vanilla. Blend for about 1 minute.
  4. Strain the horchata through a nut milk bag or a fine mesh strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Squeeze to extract as much of the liquid as possible. If the horchata is too thick for your taste, stir or blend in a bit more water.
  5. Serve the horchata over ice and garnish each glass with a lime wedge.
  6. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. The horchata will settle as it sits, so stir or blend it before serving.
Almond Note: If you only have whole almonds with the skins on, you can peel them after they soak, before you blend the rice mixture. The skins come off fairly easily, but there are a lot of them.

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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