Warmly spiced, this easy Mexican atole de chocolate is ready in just 30 minutes. Thick, chocolatey, and with hints of cinnamon, it’ll be the only drink you’ll want to sip on all winter.
What Is Atole de Chocolate?
Atole de chocolate is a warm, masa-based drink that’s flavored with cocoa powder, Mexican hot chocolate disks, or both. You can spice it with cloves, cinnamon, or ground nutmeg. Traditional versions are made with masa-harina (corn tortilla dough) and water, but a cornstarch slurry and milk will make it richer.
This drink is very popular in December and early January, accompanying a variety of seasonal sweet and savory treats like buñuelos, tamales, and Rosca de Reyes. Other atole flavors include strawberry, vanilla, and oats, but chocolate is by far the most common.
You only need 6 ingredients to fill your kitchen (and mugs) with warm, chocolatey goodness from this Mexican atole. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- Whole milk – Low-fat milk works too. No plant-based milk, please.
- Evaporated milk – This adds a nice richness, but you can substitute it for whole milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half.
- Mexican hot chocolate – Abuelita hot chocolate is very spiced so you don’t need to add anything to it. If you use Ibarra, add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- Dark brown sugar – Light brown sugar and granulated piloncillo are excellent alternatives.
- Ground cinnamon – Ground nutmeg works too.
Variation Ideas and Tips
Follow these tips and variations for authentic atole, just like you’d find in Mexico:
- Use masa-harina. Substitute the cornstarch slurry for 1/2 cup of masa-harina, which you can get at any Mexican grocery store that makes its own corn tortillas. Dilute it into the milk and continue with the recipe as usual.
- Add a cinnamon stick. Serve your atole with a cinnamon stick and use it as a straw.
- Make strawberry atole. Swap the Mexican hot chocolate disks for 1/4 cup (or more to taste) of strawberry milk powder to make strawberry atole.
- Make it spicy. Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of ground chipotle powder to your atole for a subtle kick of heat.
- Avoid stainless steel. If possible, use a non-stick pot for this recipe to keep the atole from sticking to the bottom and sides of the pot.
What Goes with Atole de Chocolate?
It’s best to serve Mexican atole de chocolate with warmly-spiced sweet treats or a very particular savory one.
For sweet treats, you can enjoy it with Mexican sweet bread or desserts with cinnamon, peanut butter, nutmeg, or fall flavors. For example, my Cemitas, Mexican Buñuelos, Mantecadas, Roscón de Reyes, Eggnog Pound Cake, Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls, or Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.
If you’d like to enjoy it like the locals, try it with your favorite Mexican tamales for something sweet and savory.
Can This Be Prepared In Advance?
Yes! Once fully cooled, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 4 days. It will thicken slightly so you’ll have to add 2-5 tablespoons of milk to get it to the right consistency again.
You can reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir it, and then heat it for another 30 seconds or up to a minute until warm. You can also do it in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and let it heat for 6-8 minutes.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes
- Colorado Green Chili (Chili Verde)
- Chile Rellenos in Cream Sauce (Rajas Con Crema)
- Easy Authentic Mexican Rice
- Carne Asada Tacos
- Churros with Salted Caramel
- Chilaquiles Verdes
- Achiote Chicken
- Café de Olla
- 7 ½ cups whole milk
- 15 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 cups evaporated milk
- 1 disk/tablet Mexican hot chocolate
- Dark brown sugar, to taste
- Ground cinnamon, for garnish – Ground nutmeg works too.
- Whisk 1/2 cup whole milk with the cornstarch until you get a smooth mixture. Set it aside.
- Add the evaporated milk, hot chocolate, remaining milk, and cornstarch slurry to a large pot over medium-low heat. Whisk to combine.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to low. Let the atole simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thickened to taste. Stir constantly. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot so that nothing sticks.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Taste test the atole and add dark brown sugar to taste if needed. Stir well. Pour it into a mug and sprinkle with ground cinnamon to taste.
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