A mug of champurrado on a colored towel and a tamal beside it

These cold winter nights call for a nice hot mug of champurrado. Champurrado is a pre-Colombian drink made with fresh masa, water, piloncillo, and Mexican chocolate. It is especially good with perfectly tender tamales.

Sauce pot filled with water, cinnamon, and piloncillo

Champurrado History

Champurrrado ingredients are quite simple but the combination is irresistible. Before the Spanish arrived in Mexico with their cows and their milk, champurrado was made with water.

Glass bowl with fresh masa

It is said that the great Aztec emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin enjoyed this beverage which he drank in ceremonial vessels made of gold, sweetened with agave honey, and spiced with a bit of chile.

Glass bowl filled with masa and water

Fray Bernardino de Sahagún documented the consumption of atoll or atolli which was drunk by the indigenous warm or cold, for breakfast or sometimes as a meal in itself. It was also used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

Glass bowl with masa and water and a hand mixing it together.

Atole vs Champurrado

So what is the difference between atole and champurrado?? Atole is also a drink from pre-Columbian times that can be sweet or savory depending on the region in Mexico where you are. Traditionally, it is made by dissolving ground dried corn in milk or water and adding fruits or different flavorings to it. Champurrado is simply atole with chocolate added to it, in other words, chocolate atole.

Bronze colored colander filled with the remnants of the strained masa

How to Make Champurrado

Making champurrado is quite easy, the piloncillo and cinnamon are simmered in water until completely dissolved, then a Mexican chocolate tablet is added. Once the chocolate has melted into the piloncillo mixture the fresh masa is added. The masa thickens the chocolate creating a thick, sweet, and chocolatey drink. Then everything is frothed with a molinillo and served hot.

Masa liquid being poured into a saucepot

The Recipe: How to Make Champurrado

This authentic Mexican champurrado is made with water instead of milk, just like in pre-Columbian times.

  • If you want to use milk I recommend you use almond-coconut milk.
  • The recipe calls for fresh masa, but if you can’t find it you can use masa harina.
  • I’ve used Ibarra chocolate, but you can use your favorite Mexican hot chocolate.
  • Enjoy!!

Chapurrado in a sauce pot being frothed with a molinillo

A mug of champurrado on a colored towel and a tamal beside it

A mug of champurrado on a colored towel and a tamal beside it
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Champurrado

These cold winter nights call for a nice hot mug of champurrado. Champurrado is a pre-Colombian drink made with fresh masa, water, piloncillo, and Mexican chocolate. It is especially good with perfectly tender tamales.

Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword champurrado, chocolate, vegan mexican
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 cups
96 kcal
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 Ceylon cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup Chopped piloncillo (2-4 oz.)
  • 1 Mexican Chocolate disk (I used Ibarra, chopped into 4 pieces)
  • ½ cup Fresh masa for tortillas (nixtamal)

Preparation

  1. Place 3 cups of water, chopped piloncillo, and cinnamon stick in a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until the piloncillo has completely dissolved.
  2. Add the Mexican chocolate and continue to simmer and stir until chocolate has completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  3. In the meantime place the fresh masa in a large bowl and pour 1 cup of water over the masa. Use your hand to dissolve the masa into the water.
  4. Strain the masa liquid, and pour it into the simmering hot chocolate. Stir and froth with a molinillo or whisk.
  5. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the champurrado has thickened. Serve hot!!

Chef's Notes

If you like your champurrado on the thick side use ¾ cup of fresh masa, but remember, the champurrado will continue to thicken as it cools. I used Ibarra chocolate but you can use your favorite Mexican hot chocolate. If you can’t find fresh masa you can use 3/4 cup of masa harina.

Nutrition Facts
Champurrado
Amount Per Serving
Calories 96 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 14mg1%
Potassium 87mg2%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 30IU1%
Calcium 41mg4%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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