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Almond Milk Atole

Photograph by Alejandra Graf

Atole is a thick, hot beverage that's very common in Mexico. Its consistency is as thick as crème Anglaise or a thin porridge. It's basically milk thickened with masa (corn meal), sweetened with cane sugar, brown sugar or piloncillo, and then flavored with vanilla, chocolate, fruits or nuts.

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It is meant to be a breakfast drink, but we drink it all the time. You can even find on the street in Mexico, where people with huge steaming pots are selling it with tamales, It is also very popular for festivities such as Day of the Dead, Christmas and Día de Los Reyes.

Atole has its roots in the pre-Columbian times, where originally it was made from dried corn kernels soaked before grinding and cooking. Now most recipes call for masa, masa harina or corn starch. Although corn starch is the most modern way to make this traditional beverage, it's not necessarily the healthiest way. For this recipe, I'm using almond milk rather than dairy, and oats as the thickening agent. I chose to flavor it with the seeds of a Mexican vanilla bean, but think of this recipe as a blank canvas to start from. Flavor it with orange peel, chocolate or even strawberries. Cinnamon stick, star anise or other spices are also great in this recipe. If adding fruit, use roughly a cup of puree.

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This recipe is dairy-free and vegan-friendly. It can also be gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats.

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RECIPE: Almond Milk Atole

Yields 4 servings

Prep time:10 minutes
Cook time:10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes


  • 4 cups almond milk or other non-dairy milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup of cane sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of oats
  • Seed of one vanilla bean, scraped from the pod


  1. Heat three cups of almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat with the sugar, stirring until completely dissolved.

  2. Meanwhile, add five tablespoons of oats and the other cup of almond milk to a blender. Blend on high until completely smooth.

  3. Cut the vanilla bean in half and with the tip of a knife, scrape out all the seeds and add them to the saucepan.

  4. When the milk and sugar are hot, whisk in the oat and almond milk mixture. Continue to whisk until the almond milk is thickened and there are no lumps left. Blend again if necessary.

  5. Taste for sweetness and flavor. If needed, add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract to supplement the vanilla bean.

  6. Serve immediately and enjoy. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat to serve.

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Photograph by Alejandra Graf
Photograph by Alejandra Graf

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Love this? Follow us on Pinterest!

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