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Mexican Atole (Warm Cornmeal Drink)

 A warming drink perfect for winter, this Mexican Atole recipe is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon.

A warming drink perfect for winter, this Mexican Atole recipe is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.comWarming Mexican Atole

Atole (pronounced ah-TOH-leh) is a traditional beverage in Mexican cuisine made from masa harina, the type of corn flour that is traditionally used to make corn tortillas. (For atole made from rice, try the Guatemalan version, atolillo.)

It is a popular breakfast dish that dates back to the time of the Aztecs and Mayans.

Atole is traditionally drunk at celebrations of Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a celebration that happens on November 1 and 2 to celebrate and remember those who have passed away.

The drink is often served for breakfast or as an after dinner snack. Its consistency reminds us of a thin cream of wheat, so it makes sense that it is often served for breakfast like cream of wheat or oatmeal.

Our Atole Recipe

Atole de Vainilla, the version we are sharing today, is flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. The warm, spicy fragrance of this Atole de Vainilla makes this beverage incredibly inviting and comforting, even before it is poured into the mugs.

It is a simple recipe, made with masa harina, liquid, and sweetener that is simmered with cinnamon and vanilla. 

A warming drink perfect for winter, this Mexican Atole recipe is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.com

How To Make Atole de Vainilla

The process to make atole is incredibly simple and very similar to making cream of wheat. 

  • Mix masa harina, water, milk, piloncillo and cinnamon in a saucepan
  • Simmer until fragrant and your desired thickness
  • Add vanilla off of the heat
  • Serve warm

The consistency of atole can vary from thick and porridge-like to thin and pour-able, depending on how much liquid you add.

Our recipe makes an atole that is thick, but still drinkable. However, if you prefer yours on the thinner side, just add a little more milk.

What Is Piloncillo?

Atole is traditionally sweetened with piloncillo (pronounced PIL-on-SE-yo). Piloncillo is unrefined cane sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It has a flavor is similar to brown sugar, with a deep molasses punch.

You can typically find piloncillo at any Mexican grocery store and online.

If you have a hard time finding piloncillo or don’t live near a Mexican grocery, don’t worry. You can mimic the flavor of piloncillo in atole by using brown sugar.

Other Mexican Dia De Los Muertos Recipes

If you’re interested in trying more traditional Dia de los Muertos recipes, you’ll want to have a look at our Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread) and Mexican Candied Pumpkin recipes!

Yield: 4 cups

Mexican Atole

A warming drink perfect for winter, this Mexican Atole recipe is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. | www.CuriousCuisiniere.com

A warming drink perfect for winter, Mexican Atole is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ c masa harina, (not cornmeal)
  • 3 c water
  • 1 c milk, 2% or whole
  • 1/4 c grated piloncillo, or brown sugar (more if desired)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine masa harina, water, milk, piloncillo (or brown sugar), and cinnamon. Whisk the mixture to combine. Bring it to a simmer over medium high heat, whisking often.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture for 5-10 minutes, whisking often, until your desired consistency is reached.
  3. Remove the atole from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Serve hot or warm with a pinch of cinnamon to garnish.

Notes

This recipe from 2015 was updated in Feb 2017. We made the atole even better! Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

8 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram. Don't forget to tag @curiouscuisiniere!


This is one of the recipes from the early days of Curious Cuisiniere. We’ve updated our pictures since we first made it, but we’ve left the original images here as a fun throwback and shout out to how far we’ve come. Enjoy! 

A warming drink perfect for winter, Mexican Atole is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. | www.curiouscuisiniere.com  A warming drink perfect for winter, Mexican Atole is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. | www.curiouscuisiniere.com A warming drink perfect for winter, Mexican Atole is full of the comforting flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. | www.curiouscuisiniere.com

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Andy

Thursday 31st of December 2020

I'm not sure why it says "warm cornmeal drink" when in the recipe, it says, do not use cornmeal.

Elvin

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually know what you are talking about! Bookmarked.

Sarah Ozimek

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Hope you enjoy it!

Miguel Juarez

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

I cannot wait to make this recipe. My mother would make this for me and my brother when we were children and it was such a treat. The last time I had this was when I was 10 years old, I am 52 now.

You brought back some very fond memories. Thank you

Sarah Ozimek

Thursday 4th of June 2020

So glad our recipe brought back good memories. We hope you enjoy the atole!

Crevel Europe

Sunday 19th of April 2020

oh! It looks fabulous! I’ve never tried it but I will surely love it.

Sarah Ozimek

Tuesday 21st of April 2020

Thanks. Enjoy!

Beverly

Saturday 21st of March 2020

Hello! I tried out this recipe and I got a very grainy consistency like it wasn't smooth is that because I didn't mix well enough? I also added a tablespoon of cinnamon when it was a teaspoon, so that's my mistake. This is the second time I try doing atole (first was a different recipe) and its always grainy :(.

Sarah Ozimek

Tuesday 24th of March 2020

Hi Beverly. The first thing to check is that you are using masa harina and not cornmeal. After that, it may just be the nature of the drink. Atole isn’t smooth like hot chocolate, the texture is more like a thin, drinkable cream of wheat or porridge.

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