Drink Review: Champurrado (Mexican Hot Chocolate)

Rating: 5/5 stars

Champurrado is traditionally made with “masa” or corn flour and sometimes chili peppers. However, for this drink to appeal to a more general audience, I omitted the masa and chili peppers. The result was still thick and good, but not enough to cause third-degree burns like traditional champurrado in case of spillage. This recipe serves about three people.


6 cups of whole milk

2 cups of water

3 sticks of cinnamon

1 1/2 tablet of Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita brand)

2 piloncillos (or 6 oz of brown sugar)

First, cut the piloncillos in two to make them easier to dissolve. Be careful as they can slip from your grasp. To make it easier, warm the piloncillo first. Inside a pot add the milk, water, cinnamon, and piloncillos and let it simmer until the piloncillos dissolve completely, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir throughout the whole process. Once they are completely dissolved add in the chocolate tablets and keep stirring until those are completely dissolved as well. Serve hot, but be careful!

I made this when it snowed in February and although it was 2 a.m., the recipe is easy enough to follow, even while half asleep. Piloncillos and Mexican chocolate tablets are found in most grocery stores in the Hispanic aisle (if there is one). If not, they can sometimes be found in the baking section or where hot chocolate packets are. 

Substituting in the brown sugar is not recommended since piloncillos have a range of flavors. They are made of unrefined whole cane sugar, which gives them their sweet flavor that stands up to the boiling water and milk. Furthermore, Mexican chocolate tablets are designed to dissolve slowly and provide lots of chocolate for flavor so it is recommended to use them baking chocolate as well. Overall, champurrado is a great comfort beverage in the cold. While it doesn’t look like there will be more snow in the forecast, a cup of hot chocolate is almost always a great treat. The simplicity of this recipe makes it ideal for those craving something sweet. It only takes a little longer than making hot chocolate from a packet and is filled with a range of flavors.

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