Ask any Mexican what they feel or think of when they hear the word “atole”. They’ll surely tell you that it reminds them of the holiday season and cool and cold weather. This is because for Mexicans, atole is the quintessential drink of Christmas and as soon as there’s a chill in the air we go reaching for a warming cup of atole — though many people throughout Mexico also like to enjoy atole for breakfast or whenever they eat tamales.
Atole is a Pre-Hispanic drink of the Mesoamerican region which was traditionally made with a mixture of corn dough or masa (the same that’s used for making tortillas and tamales and many other foods important to the local diets), water, chiles and sweetened with honey. The Native people would drink it as an energizing drink to keep them full during their long laborious days.
There are many variations to this hearty drink and some are more traditional and others have more of a modern touch to the recipes. But typically an atole recipe consists of the masa being combined with water and any type of flavouring such as vanilla, cinnamon, fruits, nuts and seeds, edible flowers and tamarind pods. Atole is most commonly sweetened with either piloncillo or sugar or honey, and the amounts are always according to desired personal sweetness.
Chocolate is another delicious flavouring for atole, but in this case it becomes known as champurrado.
Some other variations to atole recipe are using corn starch, rice or even oats in place of the corn masa. All of which are used to give this filling drink it’s thick consistency that, depending on which starch and how much of it is used, determine if the atole will be thick like a thick hot chocolate or have more of a porridge consistency.
Yet another starch that can be used in making atole is pinole, which is a toasted and sweetened corn meal, but we’ll discuss pinole more in depth another time.
Atole may also have milk added to it or it can be just water based or a mixture of both. All variations are delicious and it’s up to your personal taste. Do keep in mind too that the milk will also make for a thicker, creamier, richer atole.
As you can see today I’m sharing a recipe for making strawberry atole or atole de fresa. I know strawberries aren’t really in season but I was really craving this flavour the night I made my atole. In fact this was a very late night, last minute kind of craving that I decided to photograph and share the recipe with you.
This will be the first of other atole recipes I’ll be sharing so make sure you’re subscribed to the newsletter or follow me on any of my social media profiles so you don’t miss out on the coming videos and recipes.
Ok amigos check out the recipe below and enjoy! Don’t forget to tag me on social media if you make the recipe.
Have a beautiful day, I’ll be back soon with another recipe. Hasta luego!
Table of Contents
Strawberry Atole Recipe | Atole de Fresas
- 1 pint of fresh strawberries halved
- 5 Tablespoons brown sugar (can substitute with piloncillo if desired)
- 3 cups water
- pinch baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used white vanilla but doesn't really matter)
- 1 cup whole fat milk (or almond or soy milk may also be used)
- 2 Tablespoons corn flour (Maizena) (the fine white powder, not masa harina)
- half cup water
- extra strawberries for decorating optional
- 1. Place the strawberries and about half a cup of water into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Put a fine sieve over a medium pot and strain the strawberry mixture into the pot. Pour in the sugar and the remaining water (2.5 cups) and mix until well combined. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes over low heat to help cook the strawberries and allow the sugar to completely dissolved. Add a pinch of baking soda and stir quickly until all of the bubbles have subsided. 2. Mix in the vanilla extract and cook for 1 minute. Then pour/stir in the milk and mix until well combined. At this time taste your atole and if desired add more sugar, this recipe isn't too sweet. 3. In a small bowl combine the cornflour and water until you have a smooth mixture with no lumps. Stir it into the atole and mix until well combined. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat (while you stir) until the atole has thickened up similarly to gravy consistency.
4. Serve straight away and decorate with strawberry slices if desired. Enjoy!
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…