Easy Vegan Horchata

This vegan horchata recipe is a creamy, rice and almond drink naturally sweetened with dates, as well as a hint of cinnamon and vanilla flavor.

It’s the perfect refreshing drink to have on a hot day, as a complement to spicy food, or as a dessert drink after a hearty meal.

vegan horchata and my two hands haha

❓What is Horchata?

Horchata is a refreshing beverage commonly made with rice and milk, sweeteners, and a hint of cinnamon and vanilla extract— or at least, it’s the version that has been most popularized.

Horchata is believed to have originated in Valencia, Spain, where it was traditionally made from tiger nuts, also known as chufa, which are small tubers that grow underground. The nuts are soaked in water, ground into a paste, and then mixed with sugar and cinnamon to create a sweet and creamy beverage.

The version that is prevalent in Latin America, which is made with rice, it’s likely to come from the Spanish version of the drink that was brought to the Americas during colonial times, as well as other parts of the world.

Each country, however, has its own way of making horchata, using different ingredients and spices, and the name may also differ between countries. 

To give you a few examples:

  • In Mexico, horchata is made with rice;
  • In El Salvador, it’s known as “horchata de morro”, since they make it with a seed from a fruit called morro or jícaro;
  • In Puerto Rico, it’s called “horchata de ajonjolí ” and it’s made using sesame seeds.

The vegan horchata recipe I’m sharing with you today is based on the Mexican version, which is the only version I’ve tried but it’s incredibly delicious.

Akin to the Mexicans, I use rice as the base as well as the cinnamon and vanilla flavor, but I’ve slightly altered the traditional recipe to include non-dairy milk, unsalted almonds, and dates.

Nowadays, it’s very common for Mexicans to use dairy milk, as well as evaporated and condensed milk.

Personally, I don’t like my drinks too sweet, so I only use non-dairy milk, but you’re totally free to add vegan evaporated and condensed milk— you should be able to find substitutes made from coconut milk in a supermarket near you.

🌿 Is Horchata Vegan?

The old-school horchata recipe is vegan as it’s solely made from ground rice mixed with water and sweeteners, cinnamon, and vanilla.

However, commercial brands, as well as local bars and cafés often use dairy milk, and sometimes evaporated and condensed milk to further sweeten their recipes.

As such, it’s more likely for horchata to be vegetarian than vegan-friendly.

An important reminder is that the recipe may change depending on the country or region where you find it, so while it may not be vegan in some places, you may find it to be vegan somewhere else.

🗒️ Ingredients For Vegan Horchata

the ingredients for the vegan horchata

White rice. I’m personally using jasmine rice as that’s the cheapest rice I’ve been able to find here in Thailand, but you’re free to use any other quality.

Water. There’s no horchata without water! That’s what the original recipe uses, and this is what I’ve also used.

Cinnamon Stick. I prefer to use a cinnamon stick because it’s more practical to soak it along with rice. However, if you don’t have any available, you can also use ground cinnamon.

Seedless Dates. I love to use dates as a sweetener, but if you can’t find them or you feel like they’re a bit too expensive, you can certainly go for other options like brown sugar. If you decide to use dates, I would opt for Medjool dates, as they’re a lot sweeter than other dates. They’re what bakers use to sweeten their pastries.

Unsalted Almonds. Many horchata recipes just stick to rice, but I like to add in the nutty flavor of the almonds— I think they make the horchata way richer.

Vanilla Flavor. To finalize the recipe, I add a hint of vanilla flavor. It’s an extra special layer of flavor.

👨🏻‍🍳 How To Make Vegan Horchata

It’s pretty easy to make vegan horchata, in fact, it only takes a few steps!

vegan horchata

1st step: Rinse or wash the rice for cleanliness. Doing so removes the dirt, dust, debris, chemicals, bugs, or anything that you certainly don’t want in your food. Although I don’t cook the rice for this recipe, rinsing it helps remove excess starch, resulting in grains that are looser when cooked.

2nd step: In a bowl, add the rice, as well as 1.5 cups of water and a cinnamon stick. You can leave it to soak overnight, or if you want the recipe sooner than that, 4 hours should be enough.

3rd step:  In a blender add the rice (including the water and cinnamon stick), almonds, dates, and the remaining water. Blend everything together. Don’t forget to remove the seeds from the dates.

4th step: Strain everything into a pan as you don’t want tiny bits of rice, almonds, and dates to float about in the drink.

5th step: Add the vanilla flavor and stir it well.

6th step: Serve the vegan horchata with ice and sprinkle a little bit of ground cinnamon on top.

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easy vegan horchata

Easy Vegan Horchata

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  • Author: Alexandre Valente
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


If you’ve been missing horchata after going vegan, don’t worry, I got you! This vegan horchata is a beautiful blend of rice, cinnamon, and sweet Mejdool dates.


Units Scale
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/3 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 seedless Medjool dates
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon (a sprinkle)


  1. Rinse or wash the rice for cleanliness
  2. In a bowl, add rice, 1.5 cups of water and a cinnamon stick to soak overnight.
  3. Add the rice (including the water and cinamon stick), almonds, dates, and the remaining water to a blender. Blend everything. Don’t forget to remove the seeds from the dates.
  4. Strain everything into a pan to prevent any hard bits of rice, almonds, and dates from getting in the drink.
  5. Add the vanilla flavor and stir the drink.
  6. Serve the vegan horchata with ice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


  • I’m using jasmine rice for this recipe (as it’s the cheapest one we can find here in Thailand), but you’re free to use any other type of rice.
  • Leave the rice to soak overnight or for about 4 hours.
  • If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, you can also use ground cinnamon. You can replace 1 cinnamon stick with ½ tsp of ground cinnamon. 
  • Although I prefer natural sweeteners like dates, you’re free to use other types of sweeteners such as brown sugar, agave, or maple syrup. Some homemade Mexican recipes also use both evaporated and condensed milk, so you can certainly use the respective vegan substitutes. I don’t like my drinks too sweet, so I stick to natural sweeteners.
  • Naturally, if you feel like it’s not sweet enough, you can double the number of dates, or add other sweeteners to the horchata.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Resting time: 4 hours
  • Category: Drinks
  • Cuisine: Latin American

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below detailing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

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