Atole (Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl atolli) is
a traditional masa-based Mexican and Central American (where it is known as
atol) hot drink. Chocolate atole is known as
champurrado. It is typically accompanied with
and very popular during the Christmas holiday season.
The drink typically includes masa (corn hominy flour), water, piloncillo
(unrefined cane sugar), cinnamon, vanilla and optional chocolate or fruit. The
mixture is blended and heated before serving. Atole is made by toasting masa in
a comal (griddle), then adding water which was boiled with cinnamon sticks. The
resulting blends vary in texture, ranging from a porridge to a very thin liquid
Atole can also be prepared with rice flour or oatmeal in place of
masa. In northern Mexico, there is also a variation using pinole (sweetened
toasted corn meal). Although atole is one of the traditional drinks of the
Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, it is very common during breakfast and
dinnertime at any time of year. It is usually sold as street food.
In Northern Mexico and South Texas, Atole is a
traditional comfort food. It is usually served at breakfast like cream
of wheat or oatmeal. It is said that elders would drink Atole because it
gave them energy and if a mother is nursing it gives them more milk.
Left: Hot bowl of
champurrado, a chocolate-based atole.