Enjoy this champurrado Mexicano, a sweet and warm drink with a thick texture and a chocolatey taste. It’s the perfect hot drink for your mornings, evenings or just to warm you up on a cold day.
What Is Champurrado?
Champurrado is a Mexican traditional drink made of corn masa, chocolate, cinnamon, and piloncillo. It has a sweet and slightly bitter taste with hints of hearty spices.
Back in the Aztec Empire, there was a corn preparation called atole that was used during rituals such as marriages and trades, it was made only with ground corn and cocoa beans.
When this drink was offered to the European colonizers they didn’t appreciate the simple flavor and asked to add other ingredients, such as spices and sugarcane.
To this day, this corn drink has become one of the most popular beverages in Mexico and is an important part of the culture.
While we can say that this beverage is a staple in Mexican cuisine and is served all year long, it is important to know that it takes a special meaning during Day of The Dead celebration, when it becomes the traditional drink for the living and the dead.
The Ingredients Needed
- MASA: You will need nixtamalized corn masa easily made with masa harina and water. This is the ingredient that will give the drink its unique flavor and thick consistency.
- CHOCOLATE: Use Mexican dark chocolate, there are many brands sold on the internet. Ibarra and Abuelita are the most famous. Or you can substitute it with your favorite dark chocolate.
- PILONCILLO: This ingredient gives a particularly smoky taste to the drink. You can achieve a similar taste with molasses or jaggery.
- CINNAMON: Use cinnamon sticks, or you can also use cinnamon powder.
- WATER: Our recipe is dairy-free, but if you want you can replace water for milk.
About masa: The masa harina is made from corn but unlike the polenta (yellow cornmeal) the white maize flour is preserved with an alkaline solution.
It is available in many parts of the world through online stores with various brands such as Maseca, Naturello, Minsa, Maza Real, etc.
How To Make Champurrado Mexicano
Place the piloncillo, cinnamon stick, and chocolate in a medium pot. Add 4 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Allow simmering for about 5-7 minutes while stirring constantly to help dissolve piloncillo and chocolate.
Add masa harina to the remaining 2 cups of water and whisk to dissolve well. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.
Now, slowly and while stirring, pour the masa harina mixture into the pot with the infused water.
Keep cooking for 10 minutes while mixing with a wooden spoon. You will need to achieve a slightly thick drink at the end.
Adjust sugar to taste if needed, then serve in cups and carefully enjoy while is still hot.
- Never leave the pot unattended. When boiling, the mixture can easily overflow and spill all over your stove (see photo below).
- Do not use milk chocolate because it contains sugar already and can change the taste of this recipe.
- If you can’t find piloncillo where you live, use dark brown sugar or molasses. Molasses have the closest taste to piloncillo and is the perfect substitute.
- If you want to add milk, I suggest you, first infuse about 1 cup of water with cinnamon, piloncillo, and chocolate, then use the milk to dissolve the flour and add it to the pot as per the recipe.
- Be careful when drinking it, especially if you serve it right after making it. Use a spoon to slightly cool it down first.
How To Drink It
As a breakfast beverage, there is nothing like bolillos to eat with this delicious recipe.
Take a good chunk of the bread and dip it into the cup. The salty Mexican rolls complement too nice with the sweetness of the hot drink.
In Mexico, this drink and tamales are usually sold in the same street stalls and are one of the best combos to start your day. Here are our favorite recipes for tamales:
- Pork Tamales. With chile rojo and shredded pork.
- Tamales de rajas. Fluffy tamales stuffed with poblano peppers and melty cheese.
- Sweet elote tamales. Made with sweet corn.
- Ground beef tamales. Filled with a hearty picadillo stew.
How To Store And Reheat
Place leftovers in a glass container, cover them, and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I do not recommend freezing, as it will become too watery after defrosting.
When ready to drink, place the mixture in a pot and place over medium heat. Stir often until warmed through. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.
You can also serve the leftovers in mugs and reheat them in the microwave in 30 seconds intervals mixing with a spoon in between.
What’s the difference between champurrado and hot chocolate?
Champurrado uses corn flour as a thickening agent and is also made with cinnamon and piloncillo that add a particular flavor on their own. Mexican hot chocolate is always made with milk and it has a liquid consistency. If we talk about Spanish hot chocolate, there are even more differences as hot chocolate uses flour or cornstarch to make it thicker.
Is Atole and Champurrado the same thing?
While both preparations are made with corn masa, atole can include many other flavors and ingredients like fruits, seeds, and spices. Atole de chocolate might be the closest version to champurrado, still, it has some differences as being made sometimes with cornstarch or using white sugar instead of piloncillo.
More Mexican Hot Drinks
- 1 Mexican dark chocolate tablet (about 3 oz)
- ½ cup masa harina
- 4 oz piloncillo (or ½ cup brown sugar)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 ½ cups water
- In a pot place piloncillo or brown sugar, chocolate, and cinnamon stick.
- Add 4 ½ cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-low heat.
- Simmer for about 7 minutes while stirring constantly to dissolve chocolate and piloncillo.
- Add masa harina to the remaining water in a cup and mix to combine.
- Slowly and while stirring, pour the masa harina mixture into the pot.
- Allow simmering for 10 minutes while mixing with a wooden spoon. Do not leave the pot unattended.
- Once the mixture has thickened, taste for sweetness and add more sugar/piloncillo if you want.
- Remove from heat and serve.
- Never leave the pot unattended. When boiling, the mixture can easily overflow and spill over your stove.
- Use dark chocolate, sweetened chocolate can change the taste of this recipe.
- If you can’t find piloncillo where you live, use packed brown sugar or molasses. Molasses have the closest taste to piloncillo and is the perfect substitute.
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