Agua Fresca de Avena – Homemade Oat Milk with Dates, Vanilla, and Cinnamon

Agua Fresca de Avena – Homemade Oat Milk with Dates, Vanilla, and Cinnamon

While oat milk is beginning to pick up steam in the American market, its counterpart, agua de avena has been enjoyed in Mexico for generations. There are many variations of this recipe, but I wanted to keep it dairy-free and free of processed sugars (although I’ve tasted it with evaporated and condensed milk and it’s delicious!). Here’s my version – it’s simple, tasty, and only took me about four tries to perfect.

Hope you enjoy it as I do!


A few months ago, I took a poll on Instagram and asked what the difference was between “agua de avena” and “oat milk” and the responses varied. A few people suggested that there’s a difference in the oats used for each drink, others said that oat milk requires that you soak the oats, and some responded that there is no difference. I’ve tasted both, and quite frankly, the only difference is in the way it’s served. Here in the U.S. oat milk is more of a milk substitute, while in Mexico, it’s a refreshing drink served over ice – similar to horchata or any other agua fresca. Ah and the not-so-obvious difference is that agua de avena doesn’t contain any preservatives or unnecessary ingredients that you find in most store-bought oat milk. Asi que, ¡adelante y provecho!

Simple ingredients work best for this recipe: oats, cinnamon sticks, dates, a pinch of salt, and vanilla extract. 

4 cups water
6 dates, pitted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3-inch cinnamon stick (or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashion oats

Add water, dates, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla in a blender and blend for about one minute until dates and cinnamon are completely dissolved.

Next, add oats and blend for an additional 30 seconds. Avoid blending too long – overblending the oats can cause the mixture to become slimy.

Pour it through a cheesecloth, nut bag, or linen towel and carefully press until no liquid is left.

Pour in a glass bottle and store for up to 3 days in your fridge.

Photography: Cacey McReavy // Filter: me

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