Orange Atole (Hot Mexican Corn Drink With Orange Zest) Recipe

If you love hot chocolate, or if you love cereal, or even if you love pudding, then you will love this drink. Vicky Wasik

Mexican atole, a hot drink made from corn, comes in a staggering variety of flavors, from sweet to savory, each one more delicious than the next. In this sweet one, the corn-flavored base, made from masa harina, is infused with orange zest for a warming, aromatic beverage that's perfect for winter.

Note: Exactly how much water and sugar you add will determine the final consistency and sweetness of the drink. This recipe produces a fairly thick, rich drink that is mildly sweet. You can add more water and sugar if you want a thinner, sweeter version.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1/2 cup masa harina para tortillas
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed, divided (see note)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 (1-inch) strips orange zest from 1 large orange
  • 2 star anise pods (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (see note)
  • Kosher salt
  • Finely grated orange zest, for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan, add masa and set over medium heat. Immediately add water in a slow, thin stream while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer and whisk in milk, orange zest strips, star anise (if using), brown sugar, and a generous pinch of salt.

  2. Return to a simmer and lower heat to low. Continue to simmer gently, whisking constantly, until drink is infused with the orange aroma, about 5 minutes. Discard orange zest strips and star anise pods. Thin with additional water, as needed, to create a thick-yet-drinkable hot beverage (the exact consistency is a matter of personal taste, see note), reheating as necessary. Taste, adding more sugar or salt if desired. Froth with a whisk or immersion blender, then ladle into mugs, garnish with grated orange zest and serve.

This Recipe Appears In