Atole, or Warm Cornmeal Breakfast Drink

Happy 2015 Cyberpeeps!

I hope your NYE was full of whatever amount of magic you so wished for it.   Mine was full of Chinese food and red wine, had Perfect Pitch, a 100 Foot Journey and ended with some Harry Potter, all in the comfort of cozy slippers and sweatpants. May not sound all that exciting to you, but it was exactly what I wanted, except that I forgot to add the coupon code for free egg rolls with my Chinese food, even though I ordered extra just to meet the minimum for said free egg rolls! Foiled!

With the new year has come plummeting temps here in Chicago, evidenced by the crackled frozen lake outside my window today.


Both pretty and ominous and such weather mandates warm and cozy foods, even if your resolutions have you crunching the leafy greens.

What better way to start than with breakfast? I’ve mentioned once or twice that I grew up eating a hot, freshly prepared breakfast every weekday morning. #Spoiled. Once in a while we had cereal, but more often than not we had pancakes, french toast, quiche, cheesy toast, cream of wheat, crepes, wheatena…the list goes on. It’s a wonder that after living with that for 18 years that my morning routine IS so boring. Anyway, today’s breakfast, Atole, from Central Mexico would have fit seamlessly in my childhood morning rotation and is perfect for this time of year when nothing beats a bowl of warmth to arm oneself against the cold and get the day started on the right foot.


Atole is a warm cornmeal drink with Central American and Mexican origins. Especially popular for breakfast, it is also consumed for special occasions, namely on el dia de los meuetos (Day of the Dead) or at Christmas time with chocolate (called champurrado). Because it’s made in the same manner as oatmeal or cream of wheat, it can be as thin or as thick as you like, making it either more drink-like or porridge-like.

I opted for the latter, and I boiled my atole to medium thickness. However, for a gluten-free breakfast on the go, opt for a thinner, more coffee-cup-portable version.

To make the champurrado (chocolate atole), add 2 ounces of chopped Mexican chocolate into the recipe below.

Hope your 2015 is off to a smashing start, and may it continue with all things magical and delicious!



Serves 2
Warm, gluten-free cornmeal breakfast beverage
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1 ¼ cup almond milk (or other dairy variety)
  2. 1 ¼ cup water
  3. ¼ cup masa harina
  4. 2 TB brown sugar
  5. ½ tsp vanilla
  6. ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  7. Almonds, to garnish and add crunch (optional)
  1. Whisk the milk, water, masa, sugar and cinnamon in a medium saucepan until smooth.
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir until it reaches desired thickness, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and serve in mugs or bowls.
  1. To make the champurrado (chocolate atole), add 2 ounces of chopped Mexican chocolate into the recipe above.
Adapted from What's 4 Eats
Adapted from What's 4 Eats
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World

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1 thought on “Atole, or Warm Cornmeal Breakfast Drink”

  • Hello, Chrissy! Happy New Year!
    I’ve never heard of this dish before, so it’s really interesting to read about it and see how it’s made.
    Your Christmas sounds nice and relaxing. There was lots of Harry Potter in mine, too!

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