Sick Day Food: Atole de Pinole

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Being at home sick means freedom from two things. The wearing of real clothes, and the chewing of food. I simply cannot chew food with a head full of sickness. So I turn to atole de pinole.

Pinole consists of lightly toasted dry corn kernels, and ground to a fine powder. Most of the time, this flour will be lightly sweetened with piloncillo, raw brown sugar, and spiced with cinnamon. In some cases vanilla and other seeds and spices are added. It is one of the foods that blends the ancient pre-Columbian culinary traditions with post-Columbian ingredients.

Cooked into milk, it becomes a silky and filling atole without so much of the overpowering corn flavor present in atoles made with nixtamalized corn. My favorite is the Pinole Azul from Rancho Gordo, though the Pima corn pinole from Ramona Farms is a close second.


Atole de pinole. Toasted blue corn atole. 


Atole de Pinole

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup blue corn pinole
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Small piece Mexican cinnamon
  • Pinch kosher salt

Whisk the pinole into 1/2 cup of milk until completely dissolved. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pinole and milk mixture. Continue to simmer until the beverage has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Check for sweetness and adjust as needed. Serve hot, cinnamon stick and all.


5 Replies to “Sick Day Food: Atole de Pinole”

  1. Thank you for this quick and easy recipe. I read the one on Rancho Gordo website and was turned off by 40 minutes simmer time. It took longer for milk to start simmering than for the whole thing to thicken. Served it to my sick husband and he’s as happy as a clam.


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