How to make pozol

My mom is from southern Mexico, so I grew up knowing what pozol is. My family from Tabasco always had it. I remember that they had once offered me pozol, I tried it but I didn’t really like it. Now that I’m far away from Tabasco, I try to think about the taste. I remember it being a bit mushy and a bit sour, but don’t trust my word on that because it was quite a long time ago! As an adult, I haven’t tried it, but next time I’m in the South I’m going to try it again.

Pozol is a mixture of cocoa and corn mixed together and fermented. It is from the Mesoamerican era and both corn and cocoa are found in this area of Mexico. In fact, I remember that my grandfather had crops and the grandchildren ate the cocoa fruit. Do you know what it is? It’s a little slimy, actually, but sweet and tasty. The seeds are big, almost the size of a date. Once they’ve got rid of the pulp, the seed starts to dry. That seed is the one that ferments to make the chocolate.

But pozol is not just a refreshing drink, since pre-Hispanic times, it has had medicinal and ritual use. For example, in the case of the Mayans, it was used as an ointment to prevent or treat infections in wounds. The inhabitants of the Lacandon Jungle had it and combined it with honey to reduce fever and control diarrhea.

The pozol has been part of the usual offerings in ceremonies to ask for health, rain, and a good harvest. Among the Chontales of Tabasco, it is given as an offering to the owners of nature as part of their belief system – lakes and rivers, forests, land, and cornfields, among others. In the state of Tabasco, there are five varieties of pozol: pozol with cocoa, pozol without cocoa, pozol with sweet potato and pozol agrio.

There are two ways to prepare your pozol, the traditional way and then, the more modern way. First I will tell you the easy way:


  • 120 grams of cocoa
  • 500 grams of corn dough
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 1/2 liters of water

Instructions for preparing pozol:

  1. Brown or roast the cocoa beans and remove the shell.
  2. Grind the cocoa in a blender or processor until it is a fine powder
  3. Stir the cocoa with the dough until it is perfectly mixed
  4. Beat the cocoa well in the water, with your hands or in the blender
  5. Add sugar
  6. Add ice
  7. Enjoy!

Traditionally, you cook the grains of the corn in lime water (this process is called nixtamalization). After letting it boil for a few minutes, you remove it from the heat and rinse it several times with your hands until the grains are completely clean. Then add water to the corn again and put it back on the heat until the grains are soft.

You roast, peel, and grind the cocoa. Then you mix the cocoa with cooked corn until it has a uniform color. Then you let the mass ferment into banana leaves for a time that can be from 3 days to a month, depending on how acidic or alcoholic you prefer it. Some people add sugar or pestle. Once this fermentation is done, you liquefy it with water and enjoy it very cold.

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