Champurrado: Thick Mexican Hot Chocolate

In case you are wondering, champurrado is basically Mexican hot chocolate married with an atole, a traditional masa-based Mexican hot drink. Masa harina is the flour used for making corn tortillas, and is also used to thicken this rich, chocolate drink.

Traditionally, champurrado (chom-poo-rah-doe) is sweetened with piloncillo, a Mexican unrefined brown sugar, and often flavored with anise seed, and/or vanilla bean. It’s served most often at Christmas time with tamales, or as a breakfast drink served alongside churros.

I’ve professed my love for Mexican food before, and I’ve also told you about this marvelous magazine I found, BHG’s Ultimate Mexican. I recently made the Spicy Grilled Chicken with Baja Black Beans and Rice and it was marvelous. Among the other ear marked pages, was this enticing recipe for champurrado.

I’ve read elsewhere that this deliciously thick and creamy drink is widely available from Mexican food vendors, and honestly I’ve never noticed it. I decided to try this because of the Mexican chocolate I had sitting in my pantry after making the amazingly satisfying Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream a couple of months ago.

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I took it one step further and decided to try it cold as well. I thoroughly enjoyed it warm, especially on this chilly, rainy day, but I realize I’m a bit out of season with this post, so I wanted to give you a more seasonal option as well.

While it was still good cold, it seemed a bit heavy as is. So I added a splash of milk to lighten it up. Much better, though it does dilute the sweetness a little. This would be amazing in a mixed drink or a martini!

Amanda’s Notes:

1) The recipe below makes 4 servings. I cut it in half without any problems. I also did not have any anise seeds, but I did have some star anise, so I ground some of that up instead.

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2) If you want a bit more bite, add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper!

printable recipe

1/4 cup masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
2 cups warm water
2 cups whole milk
1 disk (3.25 oz)Mexican chocolate, chopped
3 oz piloncillo cons, chopped or 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground anise seeds (I used star anise)

In a large saucepan, slowly add masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. Add milk, chocolate, piloncillo, and ground anise seeds.

Heat over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

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  1. Marie says

    That loooks very good Amanda! I never used to like Hot Chocolate, but am learning to enjoy it later in life!

  2. Von says

    this sounds so interesting! I love hot chocolate so I have no doubt that I would love this….
    first I've gotta find out where I can get masa harina……=]

  3. Amanda says

    Von – it should be available at pretty much any grocery store, even WalMart carries it. Look in the Mexican food aisle, not the baking aisle :)

  4. Felicia says

    I'm so glad you posted this. I was just talking to a friend of mine about wanting to try to make my own hot chocolate.. Yay!!

  5. Amanda says

    Hi Bob – not at all. it does get thicker the more it cools. As it thickens it gets more of a porridge type consistency. However, once I chilled it in the fridge it thinned out again. I stored it in a covered container and gave it a good shake before drinking. :)

  6. triolus says

    Being an avid chocolate milk and cocoa fan, I'm gonna have to try this very soon. I think the corn flour would really bring a new flavor to the cocoa, and I'm considering adding a slight bit of hot pepper powder.

  7. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says

    This looks sinfully good!! Yum. I'm going to have to look for a substitue for masa harina, I'm sure I won't find it here!

  8. OK Chick says

    I love Mexican Hot Chocolate! There's a place in Portland, OR that serves the best, Moonstruck.

  9. John Snediker says

    Great posting, the difference between Champurrado and Atole is the type of corn used, campurrado uses maseca like you mentioned and atole uses more like corn starch. Great recipe you nailed it, I have a cup of Champurrado right now and even still my mouth waters looking at your pictures!

  10. Cindy Lou Who says

    I'll give this a try, as I can no longer find the (Nestle brand) instant Champurrado mix in a canister in the stores where we currently live, not even the Mexican markets carry it anymore, and my husband who is from Guatemala loves this drink. I too, found it to be tummy warming and more filling than regular hot chocolate.
    However, I recall reading the ingredients on the canister, of which it included cinnamon & I didn't see said ingredient in this recipe.

  11. Amanda says

    Hi Cindy! This recipe uses Mexican chocolate, which actually has cinnamon in it, so there's no need to add additional cinnamon :) Enjoy!

    • Amanda Formaro says

      Masa harina is your best bet. I’m sure cornstarch would work, but I’m not sure that the ratio would be the same, nor the flavor.

  12. Beth says

    Delicious! I had this at a close friends house and I tried making it at home. I used regular Cornmeal instead of masa because I didn’t have any, but don’t be scared to try it! It comes out great (:

  13. Jessica says

    For an awsome twist you should add cinnamon sticks! That’s the only way I can drink champurrado and I’m mexican!

  14. Bethany says

    I LOVE CHAMPURRADO! Fall’s around the corner here and I’m all excited! Here’s to bonfires and this stuff! :) The pouches of hot chocolate mix DO NOT COMPARE to champurrado, or even simply dissolving a tablet of Abuelita in milk. What I like about Abuelita is that when the chocolate is dissolved, the drink doesn’t need any sugar….its sweet on its own! Major plus especially for my mom who is diabetic and not too much sugar added for my 2 girls (can we say sugar high?) :)

  15. Nola says

    sounds great!! I’m going to try adding a bit of chocolate tequila for “girls night” just for a little added fun. Any other spiked suggestions would be welcome.


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