Agua de Avena

Agua de avena is a traditional Mexican drink made with oats, water, cinnamon, and sugar. It’s a refreshing beverage known for its many health benefits and is perfect for hot weather. My recipe is free of processed sugars and dairy-free!

Agua de Avena | Homemade Oat Milk

While oat milk picked 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. It’s similar to horchata, but made with oats instead of rice.


Easy to make: This refreshing oatmeal drink is very easy to make at home, and requires just a few simple ingredients and a blender, which means you can enjoy a refreshing and healthy beverage in no time.

Nutritious: A dairy-free alternative to traditional milk, “oat water” is naturally high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals like calcium, and can help improve digestion, lower cholesterol, and boost your overall health.
No fake ingredients: Made with real ingredients that you can pronounce, including oats, cinnamon, dates, and water, homemade oat milk contains no artificial preservatives.

Agua de Avena Receta


Also known as agua fresca de avena, oat water, Mexican oat water, oatchata, or oat milk, this non-dairy milk alternative is made from oats and water. It has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet taste, making it a popular substitute for cow’s milk in vegan and lactose-free diets. 

In Mexico, agua de avena is typically served chilled, especially during hot weather. It’s a popular beverage sold in street food stalls, markets, and restaurants. It’s often served from large glass dispensers known as vitrolero with plenty of ice. Here, it’s a stand-alone beverage, which differs from its American counterpart known as oat milk.

Oat milk is becoming increasingly popular in the US as a non-dairy milk alternative. It can be used in a variety of ways, including as a dairy milk substitute in recipes, in coffee and tea, in cereal, and in cooking.

Agua Fresca de Avena


Both made from oats, but there are some differences between the two:

Ingredients: Both drinks are made with oats and water, while oat milk typically includes additional ingredients such as salt, oil, and a thickener like xanthan gum.

Texture: Agua de avena has a thinner, more watery texture than oat milk, which is typically thicker and creamier.

Taste: Agua de avena has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, reminiscent of horchata, while oat milk has a neutral, creamy taste.

Uses: Agua de avena is typically served as a refreshing beverage, while oat milk is a popular milk substitute used in recipes, coffee, and other beverages.

Health benefits: Both beverages offer health benefits, such as being low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber and other nutrients. However, the exact nutritional profile may vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used and most store-bought oat milks contain artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Agua Fresca de Avena |


  • Water
  • Dates (or sweetener of choice)
  • Cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Salt



Blend: 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.

Strain: Pour it through a nut bag, cheese cloth or linen towel and carefully press until no liquid is left.

Chill and enjoy. Pour in a glass bottle and chill or serve over ice.


Oats: Rolled oats are the best choice for making oat milk, but you can also use quick oats or steel-cut oats. Just keep in mind that the texture, flavor, and thickness of the milk may vary depending on the type of oats used.

Water: You can use tap water or filtered water to make oat milk. If you prefer a creamier milk, you can use less water when blending. For a non-dairy free version of this recipe, you can use half water and half evaporated milk.

Sweeteners: Natural sweeteners including dates, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, or pure cane sugar are all great options for this recipe. Condensed milk also adds creamy sweetness. However, if you prefer an unsweetened milk, you can omit the sweetener altogether.

Salt: The pinch of salt required in this recipe enhances the flavor. However, this is optional and can be omitted if you prefer.


This refreshing and slightly sweet beverage that pairs well with a variety of foods:

Tacos Dorados

Breakfast Tostadas

Classic Molletes

French Toast


Fresh Fruit

Tacos de Huevos a la Mexicana


Homemade agua fresca de avena can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Here are some tips for storing agua de avena:

Use a clean and airtight container: A clean, airtight container will help to keep the agua fresca fresh for longer.

Label the container: Label the container with the date you made the agua fresca so that you can keep track of how long it has been stored in the fridge.

Shake before using: Homemade agua de avena can separate in the refrigerator, so be sure to shake the container well before using.

Discard if it smells or tastes off: If you notice any off smells or flavors, discard the agua de avena as it may have gone bad.


Is agua fresca de avena healthy?

This traditional Mexican beverage is low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It can help to lower cholesterol, improve digestion, and provide other health benefits.

Is agua de avena vegan?

Yes, it is vegan as it is made with oats and water and does not contain any animal products.

How is agua de avena different from horchata?

Both Mexican beverages are made from grains and flavored with cinnamon and sugar, but they are made with different ingredients. Agua de avena is made with oats and water, while horchata is made with rice, almonds, or other nuts.

Is agua de avena gluten-free?

While oats are naturally gluten-free, they can be contaminated with gluten during processing. Therefore, if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, it’s important to choose certified gluten-free oats when making this recipe.

Can agua de avena be made ahead of time?

Yes, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. However, it’s best to shake or stir the mixture well before serving as it may separate in the fridge.


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Agua de Avena

by Lola Dweck
Agua de avena is a traditional Mexican drink made with oats, water, cinnamon, and sugar (this recipe opts for dates). It's a refreshing beverage known for its many health benefits and is perfect for hot weather.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 726 kcal



  • 4 cups water
  • 6 dates pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup old-fashion oats


  • Blend: First, 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.
  • Strain: Pour mixture through a nut bag, cheesecloth or linen towel and carefully press until no liquid is left.
  • Chill and enjoy: Pour in a glass bottle and chill or serve over ice.

A Note from Lola

It’s worth noting that the sugar in this recipe comes from the natural sugars in the dates, rather than from added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Six pitted dates contain about 96 grams of sugar (16 grams per date), however most of the sugars in this recipe are left behind when strained, therefore assuming that about 75 % of the sugar is left behind in the nut bag, each 8-ounce serving would contain approximately 6 grams of sugar (96 total grams / 4 8-ounce servings x 0.25).
Other nutritional values may also be skewed due to the straining.


Serving: 8ouncesCalories: 726kcalCarbohydrates: 166gProtein: 13gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 345mgPotassium: 1317mgFiber: 20gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 225IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 198mgIron: 5mg
LOVE THIS RECIPE?Leave a comment below or tag me on social media @lolascoina

Originally published April 24, 2020 / Photography: Cacey McReavy

Lola Wiarco Dweck

Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.

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