Atole de Calabaza Recipe (pumpkin atole)

This Atole de Calabaza (pumpkin atole) features all the favorite fall flavors and aromas we love. It has a slightly sweet taste with pumpkin notes and hints of earthy spices.

Atole de Calabaza, aka pumpkin atole, served in cups.

If you like Mexican drinks such as Champurrado, try this pumpkin atole. It is like having pumpkin pie in a cup!

About

Atole de Calabaza is a traditional drink from Mexico made of pumpkin, piloncillo, and masa harina. It has a slightly sweet and earthy flavor and a thick texture.

Atole is a drink that has pre-Hispanic origins. In Mexico is still popular and served for breakfast or afternoon meals along with tamales or pastries.

This hot beverage is usually made with a base of water or milk and thickened with nixtamalized corn dough or cornstarch. Many other ingredients can be added, such as fruits, seeds, and spices.

Learn everything you need to know about Mexican atole.

Atole de Calabaza is called Ayojatoli which comes from the Nahuatl words ayotli (calabaza/pumpkin) and atolli (atole).

Atole de Calabaza, aka pumpkin atole, served in cups with pumpkin and falla decorations around.

The traditional recipe has some variations that depend on the state or region where it is prepared.

Regional Recipe Variations

  • Chiapas: It is Made with dried pumpkin pulp and flavored with orange peel.
  • Hidalgo: Prepared with Calabaza de Castilla, nixtamalized corn dough and piloncillo.
  • Veracruz: Popular among the Nahuas people is made with calabaza, cinnamon, panela (piloncillo), and milk.
  • Quintana Roo: Made with calabacitas (zucchini) boiled in water until melted and thick, and sweetened with honey.
  • Sonora: The Yaqui people prepare it with pumpkin, nixtamal, water, and piloncillo.

Now, as you can see, pumpkin atole is made with simple ingredients yet deliver a cozy, perfect warm drink packed with fall flavors.

And because it’s so easy to throw together, it is also one of my favorite morning drinks, along with Atole de Avena, because it is fulfilling and perfect to start your mornings with a sweet and nutritious meal.

Ingredients

  • Calabaza (pumpkin): You can use a can of plain pumpkin puree or make a homemade puree with any type of winter pumpkin available to you.
  • Masa harina: You can find this flour in local (or online) Mexican grocery stores or on Amazon. Is the same flour used to make tortillas. If you can’t find masa harina, you can use cornstarch instead.
  • Sweetener: Use piloncillo for a unique taste, this ingredient can be found also online in many countries, if you can’t find it, use brown sugar instead.
  • Cinnamon: You will need 1 stick of cinnamon stick, if you can find Mexican canela go with it, otherwise use whatever type is available to you.
  • Pumpkin spice: This is an optional ingredient and is not used in the traditional recipe, however, if you’re a fan of this particular flavor, add about 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Water: The traditional recipe is made with water, however, you can also swap it for milk for a creamy flavor and texture.
Pumpkin Atole de Calabaza ingredients with names on a kitchen countertop.

How To Make Atole de Calabaza

Place 1 cup of water in a bowl and add the masa harina. Whisk to combine until there are no lumps. Set aside.

Mixed masa harina and water in a cup.

Pour the remaining water into a pot along with a cinnamon stick and piloncillo or brown sugar.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.

Water infused with cinnamon and piloncillo sugar in a pot.

Add the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin spice. Mix well to combine and cook for 1 minute.

Collage with two photos of Atole de Calabaza preparation.

Now, while stirring constantly, add the masa harina mixture to the pot.

Adding masa harina mixture to the pot.

Keep cooking over low heat for 10 minutes while stirring, at the end, atole de calabaza should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Fully cooked atole de calabaza in a pot.

Serve in mugs immediately and enjoy on its own or with tamales. Or you can also store it and drink it later.

Notes & Tips

  • If you used homemade puree there will be some small bits of pumpkin, I love those in my atole but if you don’t, just use an immersion blender to make it smoother.
  • Never leave the pot with atole unattended because the mixture will burn on the bottom or spill out while cooking.
  • The longer you cook it, the thicker will become and the color will change as well.
  • If pumpkin atole becomes too thicker, thin it out with a bit more water or milk.
  • Make sure the drink has slightly cooled down before drinking ad it can be very hot!
  • You can omit the pumpkin spice from the recipe and just serve it aside so people can sprinkle a bit on top before drinking the atol.
  • To prevent skin from forming on top when the atole is cooling down, stir the mixture from time to time.

How To Serve

Atole de Calabaza can be served along with tamales, pastries, or simply on its own. Here are a few ideas to pair this comforting and sweet drink:

How To Store

Allow the mixture to reach room temperature, then transfer leftovers to a glass airtight container or a large jar and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

You can reheat over medium heat in a saucepan with a splash of water or milk, or in the microwave in 1-minute intervals.

If you want to serve pumpkin atole at a party, we recommend transferring to a CrockPot to keep it warm.

More Atole Recipes

Watch How To Make It

Two clay cups with Mexican Atole de Calabaza, aka pumpkin atole.

Atole de Calabaza (pumpkin atole)

author Maricruz
4
This flavorful and aromatic Atole de Calabaza, aka pumpkin atole, is the perfect cozy drink for the fall and winter seasons. Enjoy with tamales or your favorite pastries.
prep 5 minutes
cook 15 minutes
total 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 5 Tbsp masa harina
  • 5 cups water (or milk)
  • 7 oz piloncillo (or brown sugar)
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin spice (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Place 1 cup of water in a bowl and add the masa harina.
  • Whisk to combine until there are no lumps. Set aside.
  • Pour the remaining water into a pot along with a cinnamon stick and piloncillo or brown sugar.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  • Add the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin spice.
  • Mix well to combine and cook for 1 minute.
  • While stirring constantly, add the masa harina mixture to the pot.
  • Keep cooking over low heat for 10 minutes while stirring, at the end, atole de calabaza should be thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Serve in mugs immediately and enjoy on its own or with tamales. Or you can also store it and drink it later.

Notes

  • This atole can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Never leave the pot with atole unattended because the mixture will burn on the bottom or spill out while cooking.
  • The longer you cook it, the thicker atole will become and the color will change as well.
  • If pumpkin atole becomes too thicker, thin it out with a bit more water or milk.
  • You can omit the pumpkin spice from the recipe and just serve it aside so people can sprinkle a bit on top before drinking.
  • To prevent skin from forming on top when atole de calabaza is cooling down, stir the mixture from time to time.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 163mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 9562IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg
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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Loved it! I went with your suggestion about serving with whipped cream, as dessert, and it was a hit! I am going to serve this pumpkin atole for Thanksgiving dinner!