This Champurrado recipe is the perfect way to get familiar with atoles. Wait, what?
Atoles are a class of hearty Mexican drinks that use corn as the flavor base. Yes, corn!
There are loads of atole recipes that you can add to your kitchen arsenal, but today we're focusing on the chocolate atole (Champurrado). It's the official Atole Ambassador and the one you'll come across most often outside of Mexico -- it's also the quickest way to get familiar with these delicious concoctions.
How To Make A Champurrado
Generations ago you would use fresh masa for your atole, but today it's more common to use Masa Harina. (What is Masa Harina?)
That fits well with this Express recipe as it lets you make this drink in a matter of minutes. There's a longer option that relies on some extended steeping and I'll put up a recipe for that version in the future.
For the Masa Harina I've been using Bob's lately, but Maseca is an equally good option for this recipe. (See here for a Masa Harina comparison.)
You can usually find Masa Harina in the Latin goods section of major supermarkets. You can also get Bob's on Amazon but it's usually cheaper if you buy it in a grocery store.
The other way to accelerate the Champurrado process is to use one of these:
These chocolate discs are wildly popular in Mexico and you can find them quite easily in the States these days.
Abuelita and Ibarra are the two most common brands you'll come across -- we're using Abuelita today.
These are flavored chocolate discs that are loaded with plenty of sugar -- you'll get six 3 oz. disks in a box like the one above. The exact ingredient list is a bit of a mystery, but dark chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon would be a good starting point if you want to mimic them.
And speaking of sugar, it's also worth mentioning that you'll frequently see Piloncillo associated with atoles.
Piloncillo is raw sugar cane that's frequently sold in cones like the one above.
Yes, maybe it has a more concentrated flavor than refined sugars, but don't worry about seeking out Piloncillo for this Champurrado recipe. Brown sugar is a worthy substitute and will work equally well here.
Okay, enough chatting, let's make something!
Add 1/3 cup Masa Harina to a saucepan along with 1 cup warm water and a pinch of salt.
Give it a good whisk to prevent any lumps from forming.
Now we'll add:
2.5 cups milk
1 Mexican chocolate disc (3 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Bring this to a simmer and whisk frequently to keep it smooth.
Once it's simmering you can lower the heat to medium-low and let it reduce until you're happy with the consistency.
I like atoles best when they are thick and hearty, so feel free to let it simmer a little longer if you want a thicker consistency.
And be sure to take a final taste for sweetness. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons but I know some of you will want them even sweeter.
Once you have a consistency you like you can serve it up!
Ideally you've got a warm, hearty drink with a surprisingly harmonious blend of corn, chocolate, and cinnamon.
The flavor combo will send you back in time a few hundred years and you might not want to come back to the present.
It's a great way to find out if you want more of these atoles in your life so consider giving them a try.
Don't forget that you have control over the consistency of these Champurrados. Simply let them simmer a bit longer if you want a thicker version. And if you forget about it for a few minutes and it gets too thick you can always add a splash of water to thin it out.
Champurrado Recipe (Express Version)
- 1/3 cup Masa Harina
- 1 disc Mexican chocolate (3 oz.)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2.5 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- Add 1/3 cup Masa Harina to a saucepan along with 1 cup warm water and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously to prevent lumps from forming.
- Over medium heat, add 2.5 cups of milk, 1 disc Mexican chocolate, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. I usually chop up the chocolate into smaller pieces so it melts faster.
- Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain a quiet simmer, whisking frequently. Once the chocolate has melted take a final taste for seasoning, adding more sugar if you want.
- Keep simmering until you are happy with the consistency. Serve immediately.
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Looking forward to a non-express recipe for Atole! I just found an amazing source of masa fresca from All Souls Tortelleria just up the road from me in Vt and looking for a good, home recipe for atole!
Okay will keep this in mind Hannah. Ha what a great name for a tortilleria 🙂 Cheers.
This recipe is the best and closest to the ones I used to buy at the authentic Mexican stores. Now, I use this recipe to make my own.
Thanks Lorraine! Now officially craving Champurrado 🙂 Cheers.
Have you put up your longer version yet I’ve heard you toast the corn mass and use cinnamon sticks. Thanks
Hey Liz!! I still haven't put up the longer version but it's on my list, will try to bump it up a little higher 🙂 Cheers.
Oh. My. Goodness! After that mug of steaming champurrado I feel ready to face a Nordic winter. It's super easy to make and is so much more satisfying than ordinary hot chocolate. Thank you for this great recipe. I'll be looking for excuses to reward myself with champurrado. Wait, do I need an excuse?? Nah.
Hah that sums it up quite well, so hearty and satisfying. Thanks much for your note Diane, so glad you tried this one out! Cheers.
My sister in law is here for new years. She is from Guadalajara. I’m going to make this tonight for a after-dinner drink.
Very delicious hot drink, I'm making it again today b/c it has risen to "craving" status. I halved the recipe but used 3/4 disc of chocolate...it was more like a dessert, and would be good to finish off a Mexican meal (fm yr website, of course).
Thanks for yr recipes, I'm looking forward to trying more. Horchata next.
Hey thanks much, so glad you found this recipe. Cheers.
I saw this made in Bogata, Columbia on Andrew Zimerran. It was served with dense bread and ceamy Columbian cheese. The cheese was put in the Champurrado to melt it.
Wow awesome never heard of that combo before!
I made champurrado tonight, using your recipe. Excellent!
To make this even faster, I grated the chocolate instead of chopping. I also used my mom's molinillo to make the champurrado frontier. Yummy!
Ahh great news thanks Esther.