Atole (uh-tol-ay) is a traditional breakfast drink which may also be thickened into a porridge. Variations in the preparation of this dish are found in different  regions throughout the Americas. The flavors range from sweet to savory. Growing up in New Mexico, I have noticed that it is served predominantly during the coldest months of the winter, which is why I always think of the holidays when I make it. Traditionally, in New Mexico we use Blue-Corn but in my travels down south I have seen it made with every possible color of corn. Here is a very basic recipe followed by a list of flavorings that I have seen used:
Basic Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cups Chimayo Chile Brothers Blue-Corn Flour
  • 2 cups milk (less for porridge style)
  • Salt or Sugar to taste, depending on savory or sweet version (I will usually put just a pinch in my sweet version also).

  1. Sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup and agave syrup.
  2. Cinnamon. I use canela as opposed to korjinte to taste authentic.
  3. Chocolate. The oldest recipes with chocolate do not have much sweetener and are quite bitter. Pureed nibs work great and are not as bitter as cocoa powder.
  4. Pureed fruits. My favorite is guava.
  5. Roasted and chopped nuts, Hazelnut is very popular in Mexico.
  6. Vanilla.
  7. Butter or cream to make it extra rich.

  1. Butter or cream.
  2. Onions, shallots, and garlic. Sautee and puree before adding.
  3. Chile. I have used CCBs red or green powder but have tried fresh roasted anahiem or poblano puree also. This is known in Mexico as chilatole.
  4. Whole kernel fresh corn. It does change the consistency but is one of my favorites.
  5. Roasted and crushed nuts.

  1. Bring your water to a boil in a sauce-pan. Slowly whisk the Atole in, avoiding clumping. 
  2. As the mixture comes to a boil add your flavorings; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  3. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in hot milk as desired (no more than ½ cup for porridge style Atole). 
Makes 4 hearty servings of porridge!

Atole is usually the consistency of heavy cream when served. For the holidays I use brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla for flavorings. Try a faux version of eggnog, using sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and brandy topped with whipped cream!

Buen Provecho!

Chef Jason Blum