Champurrado is a thick chocolate drink from Mexico. It’s a hearty drink made with chocolate, canela, piloncillo and thickened with masa.
This Champurrado recipe is going to become your favorite cold weather drink!
What is Champurrado
Champurrado is a warm chocolate drink. This traditional Mexican drink has a very long history. The peoples of what is modern day Mexico were enjoying it way before the arrival of the Spanish.
The most traditional recipes only use water. But after the introduction of dairy by the Spanish, milk was added to the drink.
Mexican Chocolate Drink: Atole vs Champurrado
If you’re familiar with Mexican atole drinks, you may be thinking well this chocolate drink is actually an atole!
No amigo, this is champurrado. Chocolate atole is slightly different.
What sets the two apart is simply the use of the thickeners used. Champurrado uses masa and chocolate atole uses corn starch. It’s that simple.
Ok there may be slight differences in people’s recipes using additional different flavorings. But the thickers are what sets them apart.
Here’s a great chocolate atole recipe for you to try.
The ingredients in champurrado are actually quite basic ones you may already have in your pantry at all times.
- Chocolate: Mexican chocolate tablets are what you need. Any brand you like is fine. The most popular brands are Ibarra and Abuelita.
- Canela: The best cinnamon to use is ceylon and you want sticks.
- Piloncillo: This is unrefined brown sugar with a touch of molasses taste. You can get it in cones or granulated. In a pinch dark brown sugar may be used instead.
- Water and or Milk: The traditional recipe only uses water but many people now add a mix of both. You can use dairy or plant milks.
- Masa or Masa harina: If you live by a tortilleria you can use fresh masa. If not masa harina will do.
It’s very important that you use masa harina for tortillas, not for tamales. The tamales flour has a coarser texture and your champurrado will turn out grainy. It’ll still taste good but the texture will be off.
Those five or six ingredients are the most basic ones to use. But you can add additional seasonings to give an extra touch of flavor.
I also like to add a splash of good quality vanilla extract. This is a great pairing for chocolate.
A pinch of salt is also a great addition. Salt helps bring out the chocolate and intensify overall flavors.
How to Make Champurrado
Making champurrado is incredibly easy and deliciously rewarding!
I know many people don’t have access to fresh masa, so we’ll be using masa harina for my recipe.
First we mix the masa harina with water to rehydrate it. Then set it aside.
Next we place the chocolate tablets and cinnamon stick in a pot with water. Over medium-low heat we allow the pot to simmer. Making sure to stir and help break up the chocolate tablets.
Once the chocolate is completely broken down, cover the pot and allow to simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.
Next the cinnamon sticks are removed and discarded. Then we add the granulated piloncillo. (or if you want to use a cone for a sweeter taste, go ahead.) Add the vanilla extract if using and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the piloncillo to melt.
The milk is mixed in next. Then give the masa mixture a good stir before pouring it into the the pot. Mix until well combined.
Now we allow the champurrado to simmer for low heat 20 minutes. Stirring frequently.
We want to allow the masa to not only thicken the champurrado, but to also cook. We don’t want the masa raw and our drink to taste like raw masa.
You’ll know the champurrado is ready when it thickens to the consistency of thick gravy or pancake batter. Some people like to cook longer and into a much thicker consistency. This is your choice. Do remember that it will thicken even more as it cools.
Champurrado is naturally a gluten free and vegan recipe. But when people add milk, it of course isn’t.
So to simply make champurrado 100% vegan use either soy or almond milk. The only difference will be that the color may be darker than what you see in my images. But it’ll still taste delicious!
Below is my printable champurrado recipe. Do give it a try, I think you’ll love it!
Do remember to give a star rating, it’ really helps me out. And if you post an image to social media be sure to tag me @MexicanMadeMeatless
- 2/3 cups masa harina
- 1.5 cups water
- 5 cups of water
- two 6.35oz Mexican chocolate tablets disks, I used Ibarra
- 1 whole ceylon cinnamon stick
- pinch of sea salt optional but adds flavor
- ¼ cup grated piloncillo use more for sweeter taste
- ½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole milk or plant milk
- Mix the masa harina with the 1.5 cups of water until well combined, and there aren’t any lumps. Set aside.
- In a large heavy pot add the chocolate, cinnamon, salt and water. Simmer under low heat until the chocolate breaks down. Stir now and then to help it break up. Place the lid on the pot and simmer for 15 mutes over low heat.
- Next, remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Then pour in the piloncillo and vanilla. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour in the milk, give the masa mixture as stir then pour into the pot. Stir until well combined.
- Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until the champurrado is as thick as you like it. Taste to make sure the masa has cooked, and there’s no raw masa taste.
- Serve along side some pan dulce, tamales or as a morning drink or dessert. Enjoy!
- For the masa harina make sure to use the kind for tortillas, NOT the tamales kind. The tortillas masa is finer and tamales grainer. You want the finer.
- I don’t use a lot of piloncillo because I don’t like my champurrado too sweet. You can use more if you’d like.
- Instead of whole cow milk you can use either almond or soy milk instead.
Storing Champurrado Leftovers
You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To enjoy simple reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.
Do notice that it may settle a bit, so give it a stir before pouring into mug or pot to reheat. Also as the champurrado sits longer it may thicken up more. If you’d like you can add another splash of milk or water to thin down.
What Does Champurrado Taste Like
Amigos, I truly hope you give this champurrado a try sometime. As you can see it’s so easy to make.
The taste of champurrado is sweet, chocolatey heaven with burst of cinnamon and a touch of vanilla. The thickness is just right!
Warm Mexican Drinks
Amigos, here are some more warm Mexican drinks you can try today.