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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. I am so glad I found this! I first tasted this drink when I lived in Quito several years ago, and I have always wanted to recreate the recipe. Everyone here Americanizes it so much I never thought it sounded right, until I got to this one!

    I just made this, along with the guaguas de pan, and it is so good. Thank you so much! This whole website is great – I miss Ecuadorian dishes a lot, and now I have a resource to make them the right way!

  2. I love this – my comadre in Ambato makes it during finados every year, but it takes every pan in the house and all 5 stove burners! The recipe is impossible to duplicate in the US. I cannot find purple or black cornmeal and was wondering if traditional blue New Mexican cornmeal could be substituted for the purple or black meal?

    1. Hi Karen – I haven’t tried with blue cornmeal, but it might be too thick. You can get the purple/black corn flour at most Latin grocery stores in the US, and you can also find it online at Amazon.com, Amigofoods.com, or Latinmerchant.com

  3. I just made my first colada morada following your recipe.
    I am from Ecuador and live in Arizona.
    It was a success! I was not able to find lemon verbena yet it was still great!
    Thanks for your great recipes!! You keep us connected to home.

  4. Hola Laylita! I love your blog (my family is from Ecuador and all the recipes remind me of wonderful times together). I was wondering for the colada morada- is the ingredient corn flour or would corn meal work?? Gracias!

    1. Hi Cristina – Corn meal too coarse and thick, so corn flour or the Mexican masa corn flour would be beter. You could also use corn starch (maicena), but in a smaller quantity than the corn flour amount in the recipe.

  5. Almost ready to start my first colada morada ever! My mom used to make it and how I miss them both! I have a question, I couldn’t find the lemon verbena, but found lemon balm. Any idea if it’s the same? Blessings and Thank u!

    Hi Carito – The lemon balm is different, but it would still work to infuse the taste into the colada.

  6. Hola Laylita,

    I really like your recipes and your website. Happy to see new and recent activity!

    I just returned to the US from Ecuador yesterday. I enjoyed the colada morada while there and now that I have the recipe I will try to make it.

    I have a beautiful baby daughter there and celebrated her first birthday. I hope to be living in Loja soon.

  7. It would be wonderful if you could post a recipe for guaguas de pan.

    Hi Paula – I will post the recipe for guaguas de pan soon.

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