Atole de Coco

Hot Coconut Masa Drink


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    8 cups

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico


By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

Oaxaca transforms into a festive oasis during the holidays. The streets are decked with bright, multicolored lights. The zocalo, an open public space in the center of town, becomes the place to be and people-watch. During this season, you’ll also find many street vendors offering freshly piped churros, sizzling hotcakes, tamales, and, of course, atole. Nothing beats slowly sipping on a warm cup of this silky corn drink while strolling down the zocalo with your loved ones. On cold nights in Oaxaca when I would walk around the zocalo with my mother, I remember how much I looked forward to walking up to the atole stand. The women always had a huge tub of plain white atole and a flavored surprise atole that rotated every night. If I was lucky, it would be atole de coco. Since then, the nutty, sweet aromas of both the coconut and the corn will forever have a special place in my heart. As with every other recipe in this book, make sure you opt for quality field corn and coconut flakes you trust.


  • ounces (250 g) dried corn kernels
  • 2 cups (170 g) sweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk


In a large pan of any kind over medium heat, toast the dried corn until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Put the toasted corn in a large heavy-bottomed pot with enough water to completely submerge the corn by 2 inches (5 cm). Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and then cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until the corn kernels are al dente.

Remove the corn from the heat and allow the corn to continue to soak and cool for a couple of hours, or overnight. Once the liquid is back to room temperature, pour the corn into a colander and discard the water.

Put the corn kernels and 3 cups (720 ml) of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture through a double-mesh strainer into a bowl. Return the corn grits in the strainer to the blender with 2 cups (480 ml) of water. Blend again until smooth.

Pour this masa water one more time into a large pot over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, so the atole does not stick to the bottom of the pan. The stirring is very important because if the atole sticks to the bottom, it will be burnt.

Once the atole has thickened to the texture of heavy cream, add 5 cups (1.2 L) of water, the coconut flakes, sugar, and evaporated milk. Continue to stir and simmer the atole for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.