This Pinole has a sweet, sweet, nutty, and slightly roasted flavor due to the roasted corn flour. It makes the perfect addition to smoothies, baking goods, or just as a simple snack to nourish your body.

Mexican pinole in a clay bowl.

What is Pinole?

Pinole is a Mexican preparation made of corn, chia seeds, piloncillo, and cinnamon. It has a powder texture and a slightly sweet, and smoky taste with hints of cinnamon.

Its name comes from the Nahuatl pinolli, which means toasted ground corn. It has a pre-Hispanic origin when Aztec people used to make a similar preparation to help them endure long journeys on foot, thanks to its high nutritional value.

Pinolli is still traditionally made in Mexico using blue corn since it has a softer texture and can be ground easily in a metate (a ground stone tool).

Because of the high vitamin and protein content of this preparation, pinole is actually a superfood. It is very popular among the Rarámuri runners as it provides them with enough energy for their long-distance travels.

Among the effects is the satiation of hunger and the elimination of thirst, which makes energy drinks or bars unnecessary. Mixed with milk and fruit, it can become sometimes a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • MASA HARINA: I am using nixtamalized masa harina to substitute dried corn, this type of flour is the same used to make tortillas, look for it at Mexican grocery stores or on Amazon. There are many brands available, such as Maseca, Maza Real, Minsa, etc.
  • CHIA SEEDS: You can also make this recipe without chia seeds, but I think they add a particular taste and texture to the preparation, without mentioning they are packed with fiber and other amazing health benefits.
  • PILONCILLO: I prefer using ground piloncillo for this recipe as it’s easier to combine with the other ingredients. This type of piloncillo is sold at Mexican grocery stores or on Amazon. If you can’t find it, use the regular one that comes in cones.
  • CINNAMON: Ground cinnamon to combine it easily.
Pinole ingredients in bowls placed in a marble surface and tagged with names.

How To Make Pinole

Heat a large skillet or comal over medium heat. Add masa harina nicely distributing all over the skillet.

Masa harina in a pan.

Use a spatula and toast the flour for 10 minutes or until it changes color to a slightly golden hue.

The toasted masa harina in a pan.

Remove the flour from the heat and allow it to reach room temperature.

Place the toasted masa harina in a food processor and add the grated piloncillo, chia seeds, and ground cinnamon.

Ingredients for pinole preparation in a food processor.

Blend at high speed until the chia seeds have broken into tiny pieces and everything is nicely combined.

Pinole freshly made in a food processor.

You can now adjust the taste of the mixture by adding more piloncillo or more cinnamon and mixing to combine.

Transfer to a jar or container with a tight lid and use it as suggested below.

Recipe Notes

  • Use a large pan. So the flour will be easier to toast.
  • Allow to cool down. Make sure the flour is nicely cooled down before combining it with piloncillo, as the heat will melt it and become a sticky mess.
  • Grate piloncillo. If you use regular piloncillo and is too hard, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it then grate it and let it cool down before combining it with masa harina.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature. If the heat is too high it will burn the flour quickly, so make sure you keep the temperature low, even if it takes longer to toast the masa harina.
  • Add other flavors. You can add some dried orange peel, ground anise, or ground ginger to make it flavorful.

How To Eat & Use

The powder can be eaten as a snack. Just place it in a small bowl and use a spoon. In Mexico is sold in small paper cones called cucuruchos so kids will enjoy it on the go.

The preparation is also used to make many other recipes, here are a few ideas on how to use it:

  • Atole de pinole. Thick and sweet beverage, perfect to enjoy in the morning as breakfast.
  • In cookies. Use the preparation to make delicious cookies.
  • Agua fresca. Mixing it with water and milk to make a refreshing beverage.
  • Smoothies. Add a couple of spoonfuls to this banana smoothie or to your favorite smoothie recipe.

Regional Variations

  • State of Mexico: Made with toasted corn, cinnamon, dried orange peel, anise, and chocolate.
  • Oaxaca: Mazatec people make pinolli in a simple way with toasted corn, sugar, and cinnamon, they will utilize the preparation to make agua fresca.
  • Guanajuato: Is made using chickpeas instead of corn.
  • Zacatecas: In this state, pinolli is made with fava beans, rice, or pumpkin seeds.
  • Colima: Is prepared mostly as a candy for kids and is very popular during the Novenario de la Virgen (Lady of Guadalupe Novena) and sold in small cones outside churches and public squares in any town or city.
  • Northern Mexico: Yaqui and Yoreme people make pinolli with boiled and toasted corn, ginger, orange, and anise. The Tarahumara people make also a particular version using mesquite pods.

How To Store

This recipe stores wonderfully for up to 1 month at room temperature or up to 4 months in the fridge! Actually, is a good idea to double it so you have plenty to enjoy alone or to make other recipes.

You definitely want to make sure your pinolli stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. Storing it in a good airtight container is very important. 

Mexican pinole in a jar.

FAQ

Is this recipe Mexican?

Yes. Pinole is one of the preferred preparations for various indigenous groups in Mexico like Tarahumara, Tepehuán, Nahua, and Lacandon people, among others.
They will include it as an element that cannot be missing from their diets thanks to its flavor and various dishes, drinks, and desserts that can be made with it.

Traditional recipes like atole, esquiate (a savory thick soup), watónali (a drink), and tejuino may use this preparation as an ingredient. Modern recipes may use pinolli to prepare cookies, candies, and refreshing beverages.

More Sweet Recipes

Video

Mexican pinole recipe in a clay bowl.

Pinole Recipe With Masa Harina

3 cups
Pinole recipe is a traditional Mexican preparation with a sweet and slightly smoky taste. It makes the perfect addition to smoothies, baking goods, or just as a simple snack. 
prep 5 minutes
cook 10 minutes
total 15 minutes

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients 

  • 2 ½ cups masa harina
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • cup ground piloncillo (read notes)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large skillet or comal over medium heat.
  • Add masa harina distributing all over the skillet.
  • Use a spatula and toast the flour for 10-15 minutes or until it changes to a light brown color.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and allow the flour to reach room temperature.
  • Place the toasted masa harina in a food processor and add the piloncillo, chia seeds, and ground cinnamon.
  • Blend at high speed until the chia seeds have broken into tiny pieces and everything is nicely combined.
  • Adjust sweet and cinnamon to taste by adding more of those ingredients and mixing to combine.
  • You pinole is ready, transfer to a container or a jar with a tight lid to store until used.

Notes

  • Allow to cool down. Make sure the flour is nicely cooled down before combining it with piloncillo, as the heat will melt it and become a sticky mess.
  • Piloncillo. You can also use regular piloncillo and grate it, to make it easier just microwave it for 30 seconds.
  • Keep an eye on the temperature. If the heat is too high it will burn the flour quickly, so make sure you keep the temperature low, even if it takes longer to toast the masa harina.
  • Add other flavors. You can add some dried orange peel, ground anise, or ground ginger to add flavor.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 99g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 8mg
rate this recipeScroll down and leave a comment with stars!

Did you like this recipe? Then please don’t forget to rate it and leave us a comment below. Also…

  • Tag us on INSTAGRAM if you make this recipe.
  • Follow us on FACEBOOK for blog updates.
  • Don’t miss our pins in PINTEREST.
  • Check up and follow our YOUTUBE channel.

Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

Join now my email list  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Definitely a superfood! I incorporated Pinole with my protein shake and it gives me so much energy. I can complete all my reps better than before, I highly suggest doing this recipe if you’re a gymshark like me. So healthy!

  2. 5 stars
    I have gluten intolerance and this recipe is perfect for me! I incorporated this recipe to my diet and it was so tasty and satisfying, perfect alternative to traditional Pinole!