Champurrado is a sweet Mexican chocolate drink that’s thick, creamy and hot. Make this recipe for a cold weather warm-up!
When the weather turns colder, a mug full of your favorite hot beverage is sure to warm you up. If you’re not a fan of tea, coffee, or warm apple cider, something creamy and chocolaty is the perfect go-to.
For a switch from Mexican hot chocolate, make yourself a hot chocolate atole instead!
This hot drink is classified as an atole, or atolli, which is a warm cornmeal drink. There are several popular flavors, including vanilla and strawberry. Today’s recipe is for a chocolate atole.
This Mexican chocolate drink is popular for holidays like El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and in December, during Las Posadas.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Milk or water: This atole can be made using all water (the authentic, pre-Columbian era way) instead of milk. If using milk, whole milk is best. Almond milk or another nut milk will also work.
- Mexican chocolate: Two popular brands of Mexican chocolate are Abuelita and Ibarra, typically found in the Latin section of most grocery stores, or at your local mercado. They are sold in 3 ounce discs. If using Hernan Mexican chocolate, use 2 tablets.
- Piloncillo: This unrefined cane sugar is also known as panela, chancaca, and rapadura. It comes in a solid form, typically cone-shaped. If you can’t find piloncillo, you can substitute it with 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar.
- Cinnamon stick: You can substitute 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon for a cinnamon stick.
Champurrado recipe video
Making the Mexican chocolate drink isn’t difficult. Other than learning how to make the base atole de elote (cornmeal drink), it’s pretty similar to making a traditional Mexican hot chocolate.
To see the process from start to finish, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Dissolve sugar and chocolate.
Add the ingredients to a saucepan and keep it over relatively low heat until the chocolate and sugar dissolve. If the heat is too high, the chocolate could burn.
- Combine cornmeal and water/milk.
When you whisk the cornmeal into the liquid, it’ll be clumpy. Be sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl to break up any clumps of cornmeal.
- Whisk the cornmeal mixture into the warm chocolate mixture.
This mixture is where the thick creaminess of champurrado comes from!
- Strain and serve!
You don’t have to strain the chocolate drink, but it ensures that any clumps will be removed.
Serving and storing suggestions
Like most other hot chocolate drinks, this atole is great with Mexican pastries like conchas or marranitos. It’s also fantastic with cinnamon apple fritters, apple empanadas, and churros.
If you’d like to garnish the drink up a bit, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on the top or for pure indulgence, add whipped cream!
This champurrado recipe is obviously best served on the day it’s made, but if you do have any leftover, store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Yes, chocolate atole can be reheated over medium heat, or at 50 percent power in a microwave for a couple of minutes. Keep in mind that under refrigeration, champurrado becomes quite thick, so you may want to thin it with some milk or water before reheating.
The calories in atole will vary depending on the ingredients used. Chocolate atole made with whole milk has approximately 340 calories per 8-ounce serving.
Champurrado (Chocolate Atole) + Video
- 4 cups whole milk (See Note 1)
- 6 oz Mexican chocolate two 3-ounce discs (See Note 2)
- 2 oz piloncillo (See Note 3)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cinnamon stick (See Note 4)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup masa harina
- Add the milk, Mexican chocolate, piloncillo, vanilla, salt and cinnamon stick to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the chocolate and sugar are dissolved. Stir frequently, about 3-5 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- In a 4 cup measure, whisk together the warm water and masa harina until smooth. Carefully pour into hot choclate milk mixture, whisking to avoid lumps forming.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook for 25 minutes until thick, stirring frequently. Test – should coat back of spoon. Cook longer if you like it thicker, or thin with milk if you prefer it thinner.
- Serve with Mexican pastries like Conchas or Marranitos.
- This atole can be made using all water (authentic, pre-Columbian era way) instead of milk. If using milk, whole milk is best. Almond milk or other nut milk will also work.
- Two brands of Mexican chocolate are Abuelita and Ibarra chocolate, found in the Latin section of your grocery store or at your local Mercado. They are sold in 3 ounce discs. If using Hernan Mexican Chocolate, use 2 tablets.
- If you can’t find piloncillo, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar.
- You can substitute 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon for one cinnamon stick.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.