Pinole is considered by many to be one of the original survival energy foods, and it was common among many ancient Latin American and Native American civilizations.  It is very easy to make, and it only takes a small amount to leave people feeling full while producing sustained amounts of energy.  While there are variations that are still being used today, they tend to follow the same basic recipe that has been around for millennia, and you can benefit from it as well.

Base Recipe

The best way to make pinole is to use corn on the cob that has been dried out naturally.  However, you can substitute fresh kernels with frozen or canned corn as long as they have been completely-dehydrated beforehand.  Coat a skillet with some oil, or use a non-stick pan, and place it over medium heat.  Add in the kernels in a single layer, so all of them are touching the pan, and let them cook until they develop a dark brown color and swell.  Give the pan a good shake from time to time to ensure even cooking.

Next, place the kernels in a blender, coffee grinder or food processor, and process until they break down into a coarse flour.  All you need to do now is decide how you want to consume the product.  You can add 1 tablespoon of the powder to 2-3 cups of water and drink, you can make a gruel by mixing some water and powder to a pan and letting it reduce and thicken, or you can just eat it by itself and wash it down with some water as well.

All pinole recipes will expand in the stomach as the corn absorbs moisture, so it’s important to be conservative in terms of how much you consume.  Start with a couple of tablespoons at the most to avoid discomfort associated with eating too much at once.

There are lots of pinole recipes out there that build on this foundation, and it won’t be that difficult to find one that suits your tastes.  Here are two examples that are popular among athletes, hikers and wilderness explorers.


½ cup of ground pinole base

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 tablespoon of agave nectar, honey or brown sugar

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Runner Recipe

2 cups of pinole base

¼ – ½ cup of honey

2 tablespoons of chia or hemp seeds

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

You can prepare the recipes as described above, and you can also stir them in a hot pan until the mixture thickens and turns into a paste.  It can also be cooked down until nearly-dry and cut or shaped into smaller pieces.

No matter how you decide to make pinole, it’s definitely worth trying for yourself.  Few alternatives will give you access to so much energy for so little effort, and it tastes pretty good as well.  Legend has it that ancient hunters and athletes were able to run in excess of 50 miles at a time simply by fueling up on pinole.  Just imagine what this simple food can do for you now, as well as in the midst of a crisis.