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Ecuadorian Colada Morada: a spiced berry and purple corn drink

This is my easy and proven recipe for Ecuadorian colada morada. In Ecuador, this spiced purple corn and berry drink is prepared for the Day of the Deceased celebrations. This traditional recipe is made with a mix of fruits, spices, herbs, and purple corn flour.

Traditional Ecuadorian colada morada drink

En español

Colada morada can be translated as a spiced berry and purple corn drink. It is prepared for the Day of the Deceased celebrations in Ecuador. Ecuadorians celebrate el Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Deceased, on November 2nd. This celebration is similar to and different than the better-known Mexican Day of the Dead (November 1). It’s similar in that it is a day to honor and remember all the loved ones who have passed away. People go to the cemeteries to visit the tombs of their deceased family members. They take flowers and clean the gravesites.

As with most Latin holidays and events, any special day has a food aspect. In this case, one of those food components is this delicious thick purple drink called colada morada. This drink is made with fruits like pineapple, a mix of berries, spices, aromatic herbs, and purple/black corn flour. It is typically served with bread shaped in the form of dolls called guaguas de pan – literally bread babies. It is common to see stalls in most cities selling these bread figures and purple drinks in the center of cities and towns up to a few weeks before November 2nd.

Colada morada drink with guaguas de pan

The traditional preparation of colada morada uses local fruits, spices, and herbs. Some of which are difficult to find outside of Ecuador. As with many of my other recipes, I have adapted this recipe over the years based on the ingredients that can be found in the US or Europe. Just in case you are in Ecuador, some of the additional ingredients that have been left out include a delicious fruit called babaco, spices called ishpingo, and arrayan. Some variations also add passion fruit and other fruits, just as most other typical Ecuadorian dishes, the recipe will vary from one family to another – with each one claiming that theirs is the best version.

Colada morada or Ecuadorian spiced purple corn drink

Colada morada is usually served warm, though it is also just as good served cold. Like any concoction – be it drink, soup, or stew – made with a variety of ingrediets and spices, it tastes even better the next day. Colada morada always tastes better if made with fresh fruit. However, frozen berries work perfectly fine.

My kids love this drink and would like to have it more often than a few times during October/November. As a result of this request, I also have an easy version of the colada morada recipe that uses easier-to-find ingredients and can prepared faster so it can be made more frequently.

Ecuadorian colada morada ingredients
Colada morada or Ecuadorian spiced purple corn drink

Ecuadorian Colada Morada: a spiced berry and purple corn drink

This Ecuadorian colada morada is a traditional thick drink made with fruits, spices, and purple corn flour. Colada morada is prepared for the Day of the Deceased celebrations in Ecuador.
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin
Keyword: Colada Morada, Ecuadorian purple corn drink
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 cup purple or black corn flour can use corn starch –aka maicena – as a replacement
  • 14 oz naranjilla or lulo pulp thawed if frozen – use passion fruit or pineapple juice if you can’t find naranjilla juice
  • 2 cups blackberries frozen or fresh
  • 2 cups blueberries frozen or fresh
  • 2 cups strawberries sliced
  • 1 pineapple peels and core + 2 cups finely diced
  • 1 ishpingo Cinnamon flower – omit if you can’t find any
  • 5-6 cinnamon sticks
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 4-5 all spice berries
  • 1 star anise
  • 12-14 oz panela or brown sugar adjust to your taste
  • A few lemon verbena leaves fresh or dry
  • A few lemongrass leaves fresh or dry
  • 2 pieces orange peel
  • Additional aromatic herbs: arrayan ataco (purple amaranth), orange leaves
  • 12 cups water (8 cups for the pineapple skins + spices part, and the remaining 4 cups for the berry mix)
  • Additional fruits that can be added: babaco, peaches, apples, pears, ciruelas


  • Place the pineapple skins and core, cinnamon, spices and panela or brown sugar in a large pot with 8 cups of water. Boil for about 20-25 minutes.
  • Add the lemon verbena, lemongrass, and orange peel.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and strain.
  • In a separate pot, add 4 cups of water with the blueberries and blackberries, boil for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool down until safe to handle, blend and strain.
  • Mix the cup of the purple corn flour with 1 cup of the spice pineapple liquid until well diluted.
  • Add the strained berry mix, the naranjilla juice, the spiced pineapple liquid and the diluted purple flour mix to a large pot.
  • Cook over medium heat, stir constantly to keep it from sticking, bring to a boil.
  • Add the pineapple chunks and reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, add the strawberry slices (and any additional fruits). Serve warm or cold.


Step by step preparation photos for Ecuadorian colada mora or spiced berry and purple corn drink

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  1. Thank you for your lovely website. I love it! It has beautiful pictures and it brightens my mind and heart. Thank you for the recipe for “Colada Morada”. When I was a child I lived in Ecuador for a few months here and there with my mother and I remember this drink to be very tasty. And what can I say about the bread? Yummy! It brings me back to many good memories that make me want to move back. Maybe someday I will for good. Until then, your website has given me hope to be able to prepare some Ecuadorian foods that my kids have been begging me to cook. I always thought it would be impossible for there are so many ingredients not available here in the US; however, your followers are giving me ideas where to get them. So thank you again for your website. Chao!

  2. Hi Laylita,
    Soy una Ecuatoriana viviendo en California. Estoy tan contenta que esté de vuelta!!!
    Hace unos días abrí la página buscando la receta de la colada morada y allí estaba la fantástica receta, me encanta esta energía!.
    Adoro sus recetas y me inspiran, gracias!; seguiré pendiente de su página Web.

  3. I am so happy to see your posts again…I just took my 93 y. o. mother in law and my husband to the airport. They are on their way to Ecuador to visit family. When I saw the post on ceviche I nearly ran and bought a ticket to join them. One of my happiest memories was the day my husband and I went on a mission in Quito to eat as many different varieties of ceviche as we could find. We ate from noon to dusk and we still talk about our favorite. Unfortunately we were never able to find it again, but the picture of it and the taste of the ceviche is forever embedded in my mind!

  4. My family uses tart apples (like granny smith) in place of naranjillas, since we can’t get them where we live.
    I am excited to try a recipe that uses purple cornflour… my usual recipe uses cornstarch.

  5. I am putting this recipe aside for one of my future posts. I will be doing A-Z countries and Ecuador is “E”. Will let you now when I do it and of course if you don’t mind I will mention you and your blog as reference.

    Lovely post.


  6. Hola!
    Soy Ecuatoriana, pero vivo en Texas, recien me movi aca desde California, y la verdad no se si vendan naranjilla, en California la vendia en los markets Mexicanos, congelada, y le llaman Lulo. Si no puedo encontrar naranjilla en los markets de aca en Texas, con que la puedo reemplazar? o solomanente no le pongo?
    Otra pregunta, allspice berries, lei en wikipedia que es lo mismo que Jamaica allspice?, es facil de encontrar? estaba pensando ordenarlo en Amazon junto con la harina morada. Lo mismo con el lemongrass y lemon verbena, donde lo puede encontrar?
    Muchisimas gracias por sus recetas Laylita! eh usado mucho su pagina para aprender a cosinar comidas ecuatorianas, el estar lejos de mi pais me a obligado a aprender :)

    1. Hola Adriana -Puedes encontrar naranjilla/lulo congelado en Fiesta. All spice lo puedes encontrar en la mayoria de supermercados, y las hierbas las puedes encontrar en Whole Foods o Central Market (en la seccion de frutos secos/especies).

  7. My grandmother past away last new years day..she used to make me colada morada on sundays when I was a child and got to visit her.. Thank you for posting this recipe…I never got a chance to learn how to make it… It is no wonder food is comforting.. life’s greatest moment usually to happen while sharing foods made with such love!

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