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Colada de avena con naranjilla or Ecuadorian oatmeal drink

Colada de avena is a traditional Ecuadorian fruity oatmeal drink, it is made with oats, naranjilla fruit (also known as lulo), panela or brown sugar, water and cinnamon. Colada can be served cold on warm days or warm during cold winter days. Colada de avena con naranjilla is also known as refresco de avena, chicha de avena or sometimes just quaker (after the brand).

Fruity oatmeal drink with naranjilla and cinnamon

En Español

Colada is typically served with breakfast, lunch or as an after school drink for both kids and adults in Ecuador. The most basic version is made with oats, water, cinnamon, panela or hard brown sugar, and a very tart fruit called naranjilla, also known lulo in Colombia.There are other different variations of colada or refresco de avena. Some add milk. Some are made with different types of fruit such as pineapple, maracuya or passion fruit, babaco or mountain papaya. Some add additional spices and aromatic herbs.

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Ecuadorian oatmeal drink or colada de avena

There is also a very special version called colada morada or purple colada, which is made using purple corn flour along with purple or dark blue fruits, and a lot of unique spices; the colada morada is prepared especially for Dia de los Difuntos or Day of the Deceased on November 1st.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog or are pretty familiar with Latin American food you are probably familiar with panela or piloncillo. But for those who are wondering what it is, it is basically hard brown sugar and comes in a brick shape (though I’ve also seen it in cone shape). Panela is made directly from sugar cane juice.

Panela, piloncillo, papelón, chancaca or raspadura

In Ecuador it is made in trapiches, which is a very rustic processing area, we had a few close to our farm and we had a small field of sugar cane and when they were ready to harvest the canes are cut with machetes (the bases are left and grow back), then the sugar cane is loaded unto donkeys (which are wearing these special wood devices to carry the sugar cane),next the sugar cane is taken to the nearest trapiche, where it first goes through a press that squeezes the juice out.

The juice, which is called guarapo and is delicious mixed with bitter orange juice, is then cooked in these large rectangular metal devices (that have fires going underneath) and stirred with these huge wooden spoons (that almost look like kayaking paddles), it goes through several different of these cooking stages until at the end you have a very thick syrup, which is then poured into small brick shape wood molds, once the panela dries it hardens and the molds are removed.It is a very interesting process and just the trapiche part takes about an entire day, and of course as a kid you get to drink some guarapo and taste the cane juice syrup.

In Ecuador we use panela as most people would use sugar: to sweeten coffee, tea, juice, to bake and to make marmalades or fruit preserves; the panelas are kept in their hard brick form until ready to use and then they are melted down with water to make a syrup called miel de panela (panela honey) which is used to sweeten things, or it is also grated when used in certain dishes or for baking.Panela can be found in most Latin grocery stores or even in certain mainstream grocery stores.

Naranjillas or lulos are another essential ingredient for this oat drink, it is hard to describe the taste of this great fruit, but most of time when I meet someone who has been to Ecuador and we talk about the food I always hear how much they loved the fresh fruit juices, especially the naranjilla juice.Even this basic version of colada gets complicated when you live far away from fresh naranjillas, luckily though it is possible to find the naranjillas either frozen or the frozen pulp at many Latin grocery stores, which is not the same as using the fresh ingredient, but it is still very close. I even remember making colada with orange juice when I first moved to the US and could not find naranjillas anywhere.

Naranjilla or lulo fruits

This colada or fresco can be served ice cold or warm, most of time when we had it with breakfast it was just made and we would drink it warm, while in the afternoon when we got back from school we would have it cold, it also depends on what part of Ecuador you grew up in, if you lived in the Coast region you probably always had it ice cold, but if you lived in the Sierra or highlands you’ve probably had it both ways.Here in Seattle we like to drink it warm during the cold months and cold on those occasional hot days.You can also adjust the amount of water based on how thick or thin you would like the consistency of the drink, same thing applies to the amount of panela and how sweet you want the colada.

Ecuadorian oatmeal drink or colada de avena

Ecuadorian fruity oatmeal drink – Colada de avena con naranjilla

Colada de avena is a traditional Ecuadorian fruity oatmeal drink, it is made with oats, naranjilla fruit, panela or brown sugar, water and cinnamon. Colada can be served cold on warm days or warm during cold winter days.
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Course: Breakfast, Drinks, Snack
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin American
Keyword: Colada de avena, Lulo, Naranjilla, Oatmeal drink, Oats
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8


  • ¾ cup raw oats + 1 cup water
  • About 6 cups water more or less based on how thick you want it
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 5-6 fresh or frozen whole naranjillas also known as lulo, or 14 oz frozen naranjilla pulp
  • ½ lb to ¾ lb panela or piloncillo grated or in chunks – if you can’t find panela replace with brown sugar


  • Soak the oats in 1 cup of water
  • If using whole naranjillas, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh, then blend the flesh until a smooth pure is obtained.
  • In a saucepan combine the 6 cups of water and half of the naranjilla puree or pulp, the cinnamon sticks and the panela, bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove and let cool down until safe to handle, at this point strain the warm naranjilla and cinnamon mixture.
  • Blend about 2 cups of this mixture with the soaked oats and the remaining naranjilla puree or pulp.
  • Strain the blended oat mixture and combine it with the strained naranjilla mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally, let it boil until it thickens and loses the raw oat flavor, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and strain again if desired.
  • Serve warm for breakfast or on cold days and cold with ice on warm days.

Step by step preparation photos for Ecuadorian colada de avena con naranjilla or fruity oatmeal drink

Colada de avena con naranjilla
Ecuadorian fruity oatmeal drink recipe

Other drinks you might like:

Chicha de piña or spiced pineapple drink

Limonada or lemonade

Come y bebe or Ecuadorian drinkable fruit salad

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  1. hi, thanks for a great page and recipe. I have recently learned of panela and was wondering what to do with it except drink tea. I was also looking for ways to eat oats except for breakfast as I am hyperglycemic and need to eat whole foods, which this recipe is great for.

  2. Hola Laylita, Yo soy de Ecuador pero vivo en Sydney algunos anos y es dificil encontrar comida ecuatoriana aca. Tus recetas me han ayudado mucho a cocinar la comida de ecuador que extrano mucho. Your website is the best! Yo estoy coleccionando tus recetas espero no te moleste!


  4. I made this last night! i used orange juice with pulp and brown sugar, it brought back so many memories of my childhood in Ecuador and especially my grandma who used to make it for me after school. This came out Exactly how i remembered it was perfect.
    Thank you so much for this recipe, i will make this for generations.

  5. dear laylita… thank you for all your recepies..! thank for let us enjoy the ecuadorian flavor. by the way… there is a drink very popular in the mountains its call rosero quiteno …. i was wondering if you could posted in your page… its really amazing… im from guayaquil… and the only place i can get it is in a restaurant called la canoa del grand hotel guayaquil… and its been years since the last time i had it.. thank you …..thank you…. and thank you….

  6. Laylita: I have yet to cook a completely satisfying meal for my Ecuadorian husband since he moved to the US. Thanks for giving the step-by-step for all of us who are culinarily challenged!!

  7. Laylita:

    I see that you said we can substitute the naranjilla with any other juice, but is the quantity? For example if I wanted to use pineapple. Thank you for your time in sharing all the delicious recipes from our beautiful country. Your recipes bring back so many memories of my childhood that I now plan on passing to my girls, thanks to you.


    Hi Margarita – You can use about the same amount of any other juice, so between 1 1/2 to 2 cups of juice, I recommend tasting it as you make it. Also, it depends if you use freshly made juice or store bought (usually has less of that intense fruit flavor).

  8. Thanks, I’m ecuadorian but actually I live in Italy, and I’ve been searching for this drink for too long.
    Today, I’m going to enjoy the Colada de naranjilla. My wife will be surprised.
    Thanks again.

  9. Thank you Laylita, I love your website; the pictures are awesome! I feel like cooking ecuadorian food everyday. I am from Ecuador but I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t find the ingredients that I needed to cook, but now I am opened to try different ways to cook Ecuadorian food again thanks to you.

  10. Question when I was in Ecuador I had “Quaker crudo” and in asking it did not have naranjilla but it did have vanilla and pineapple ….do you have that recipe?
    This sounds great and I’m going to try it but would like to make the other.

    I love your website and it is very helpful and I earn brownie points with my Ecuadorian husband when his Mexican wife makes the best Ecuadorian dishes. Thanks, your my best kept secret!

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