Cardamom Horchata ~ Savory Simple

Every Christmas (with the exception of last year) Jeff and I travel to Tucson, Arizona for the holidays. Most of his immediate family lives there and over the past 6 1/2 years I have really grown to love Tucson like it’s my second home. Spending time there in December means I can slip back into my Spring/Fall wardrobe and enjoy used bookstores, funky coffee shops, family time and copious amounts of authentic Mexican food.

It was in Tucson that I first tried horchata.

Cardamom Horchata ~ Savory Simple

Horchata is a Mexican drink made from white rice. If you’ve never tried it before I’m guessing that sounds questionable, right? I certainly wasn’t convinced. The first time I tried it I thought it was just ok. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste because over the years it has really grown on me. And since it’s very easy to make at home I can tweak the flavors to my liking. Sweetened condensed milk gives horchata a creamy consistency and enhances the earthy qualities of the rice. Sometimes I like to add a splash of vanilla. Cinnamon is a must.

I’m not sure where I came up with the idea for cardamom horchata but it kind of rules. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices and I’m always trying to find new ways to use it. Here it adds just the right amount of spiciness. Would people in Tucson enjoy this version? I have no idea but I bet you will.


Cardamom Horchata
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2 servings
  • ½ cup white long grain basmati rice
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 3-5 cardamom pods (see note)
  • ½ cup full fat sweetened condensed milk
  • cinnamon
  1. In a blender, puree the rice, water and cardamom pods for a minute on full power. Allow the mixture to steep for at least 2 hours.
  2. Strain the liquid into a measuring cup or bowl through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Discard the rice and cardamom.
  3. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk into the liquid and pour into two glasses. Top each with a dash of cinnamon.
If your cardamom pods are older, you will probably want to use 5 of them to get the best flavor. If the pods are very fresh, use 3-4 of them.


More Drink Recipes

Savory Simple – Vietnamese Iced Coffee (cà phê sữa đá)
Savory Simple – Pistachio Cardamom Hot Chocolate
Savory Simple – Strawberries and Cream Cocktail Smoothie
A Brown Table – Cinnamon Raspberry Buttermilk Shake
Reclaiming Provincial – Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Soda
Aggie’s Kitchen – Red Wine Berry Spritzer

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I have a homemade horchata recipe and it’s one of my most popular (random!) recipes. Yours looks amazingly good, creamy, rich, and perfect. Gorgeous photos! Pinning!

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    I had my first horchata just last week! It’s amazing! Not sure why it took me so long to make it. Yours sounds so delightful with cardamom. Gorgeous photo! Love the white :) Pinning!

  • Debra

    This is really amazing. I love horchata, and never considered making my own. And with cardamom? Excellent!

  • Jess

    Jen – the photos make me what to try this out stat, although I’ve been hesitant before. Such a hard thing to imagine the flavor of until you try it, I’m imagine. Love the addition of condensed milk and cardamom – I’m sold!

  • Marie @ Little Kitchie

    I love horchata! Never made it at home, but my husband’s family goes to Santa Fe every Christmas and we always drink it there! Would love to try your recipe!

  • Tieghan

    I need to try Horchata! I have never had it or made it, but everyone keeps making is sound and look delicious!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Such a yummy looking Mexican drink! I would love to have this warm over the holidays!

  • dixya| Food, Pleasure, and Health

    i have never ever had traditional horchata but saw on two different blogs and made it last week – it was one of the best drink ever..although for healthier version – I used dates instead of condensed milk and spiked it up with some baileys. I m totally liking this cardamom version!

  • Jennifer

    I love horchata. I discovered it in Mexico and now every chance I get I order it. Never thought to make it at home. But I think I may have to try.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I’ve never tried horchata but I love your use of cardamom!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Love these white shots! And dude, Jason LOVES horchata.

  • christie

    Sounds yummy :). Two questions: what do you think of a vegan version that uses coconut cream/creamer instead of milk? And, I understand that cardamom seeds and pods are edible – could one use the leftover rice to make a rice pudding (without removing cardamom pods)?

    • Jennifer Farley

      You can certainly try! I’ve never made it this way so I cannot guarantee the results. Same with the rice pudding but I say go for it!

  • Laura Dembowski

    These photos are absolutely gorgeous! I have always wanted to try horchata and baking with cardamom.

  • Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    I lived in Finland and love cardamom in baked goods, so I bet this tastes delicious even though I’ve never tried horchata.
    I mean, you can’t go wrong with sweetened condensed milk.
    The rice is raw, right?

    • Jennifer Farley

      yes, it’s raw

  • Jenny @ BAKE

    I love horchata the addition of cardamon sounds delicious!

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I love horchata. There’s a Mexican place here in Boston that serves iced coffee horchata – so good!

  • rebeccaSubbiah RD (@chowandchatter)

    love this drink and great idea to add cardamon

  • Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

    I am drooling just thinking about these flavors together. Incredible, and I can’t wait to try it!

  • Nutmeg Nanny

    This recipe is great :) I really love horchata!

  • Anna

    Hi! Horchata it’s also a Valencian recipe, which is made with “chufa”, a bulb like a potatoe, but much smaller… and it’s delicious!
    This is horchata valenciana!
    Valencia is an area of Spain, near Catalonia. ;)

    Thanks ^^

  • Paula

    I tried your recipe and my first thought was “I have to do it again tomorrow”, for real, I love it!
    But then I was thinking of using th mixture (with less condense milk) a a general milk substitute.
    While looking for rice-milk recipes I saw that most of them include the cooking of the rice, so I asked myself if you cooked it before? I didn’t and the taste was great, beside I think its less work without cooking.

    • Jennifer Farley

      Hey Paula! I actually tried cooking the rice and what I found was that it was much harder to strain after blending. It turned into a puree. So this version works for me. I think it will still be good with your dairy changes. Sometimes it’s refreshing to cut back on the sweetness a bit.

  • Melissa

    Can you use ground cardamom instead? That’s all I have!! I’m in LOVE with cardamom. I use it in my pancakes ;) Thanks for the fabulous idea!

    • Jennifer Farley

      You can but since I’ve never made it that way I’m not sure exactly how much you should use. I would follow the instructions for the recipe, omitting the cardamom pods, and then stir in ground cardamom at the end, a little bit at a time until you like the flavor.

  • Samantha @FerraroKitchen

    This is so pretty! Had to comment because I LOVE cardamom! I put it in so many things…sweet, savory, etc!