Avena Caliente (Oatmeal and Milk Hot Drink)

Dominican Avena Caliente (Spiced warm oatmeal drink). What a great way to start the day!

The best part of keeping this blog, and having it become the de facto digital Dominican kitchen, is that we get to show you recipes that may not longer be as popular in the Dominican home, but that definitely deserve a revival. They deserve to be shown to the world, and adopted for the wonderful ideas that they are.

Whoever came up with the idea of avena caliente (oatmeal and milk hot drink) must have been a culinary genius.

Oatmeal dishes as a part of breakfast are pretty much universal at this point, and researchers nearly trip over each other to reveal an ever-growing list of nutritional benefits. Imagine this in a drink form.

Dominican Avena Caliente (Spiced warm oatmeal drink). What a great way to start the day!Dominican Avena Caliente (Spiced warm oatmeal drink). What a great way to start the day!Props

Imagine how practical: a warm drink, thick, and full of the flavors of our beloved spices. It warms the soul and satisfy the most voracious appetite.  Even those who dislike oatmeal porridge will give oatmeal a second chance.

Avena caliente (oatmeal and milk hot drink) was often found on our breakfast table when I was a kid. Practical, simple, quick to make and inexpensive, this is just perfect to send the kids off to school with a nutritionally solid meal in their stomach.

And grownups will love it too. Pour into your favorite lidded mug and sip on your way to work if you are short on time.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Dominican Avena Caliente Recipe (Oatmeal and Milk Hot Drink)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Avena caliente (oatmeal and milk hot drink) was often found on our breakfast table when I was a kid: Practical, simple, quick to make and inexpensive.
Serves: 6 servings
  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • 4 cups of water
  • ¾ cup of brown sugar
  • 1.5 quart [1.5 lt] milk (see notes)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon of clove powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  1. Mix water and oatmeal and blend (in a blender) until the oatmeal is nearly dissolved. Strain and discard the solids.
  2. In a 2 quart [2 lt] pot mix with the remaining ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stir constantly.
  3. Once it breaks the boil, lower heat and simmer until volume has reduced to ¾ of the original.
  4. Serve warm.
For a thicker, richer drink use evaporated milk. For a lighter drink, skim milk works very well. If you are lactose intolerant, or vegan, I have enjoyed it with almond milk.

To sieve or not to sieve. That is the question. You'll lose some fiber if you sieve this drink, but not as much as you'd think since most will be blended in, it will only remove the large pieces left. Some like it like that. I'll leave it to you to decide.
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{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Christina January 27, 2015, 3:11 PM

    Either the cook time and size of the pot are off, or the amount of milk or water called for is incorrect, because with the amount of liquid in this recipe, I had to change this over to a spaghetti pot and cook for like an hour for it to reduce. It still turned out tasty, but boy was it frustrating to be standing over the stove all morning staring at a recipe that claimed to take 10 minutes :(

    • Aunt Clara January 30, 2015, 11:54 AM

      This is a drink. I am not sure what would come out of it was boiled for an hour, but probably not a drink.

    • Sarah February 22, 2015, 6:19 PM

      Just wanted to add my 2 cents and say I also had to cook this for about an hour. I think part of my problem was that I had the heat too low. After about 15 minutes I ended up bringing it up to high to get it started boiling. I turned the heat down to let it simmer, but after about 30 more minutes I just let it go to a low boil instead to get it to start reducing to 3/4ths. I did end up with film across the top, but it came off with no problem and the rest was delicious! Just wanted to share for anyone who might have the same problem… or a stove like mine that’s not too great. :-)

  • Charly January 16, 2015, 11:14 PM

    A variation I do is to polverize the oatmeal in a blender and sift out the solids. I make the Avena Caliente with the polverized oatmeal following the same recipe. Enjoy!

  • Helena Moskaluk November 8, 2014, 11:53 AM

    This was sooo delicious and turned out just like my abuela used to make! I left it the “rustic ” way because that’s how I used to drink it. I halved the ingredients because I was making it just for me. It’s really not as forgotten as people think. I grew up in Washington Heights in New York City and the restaurants there still make it and offer it for breakfast. I live in New Jersey now so I don’t get to smell the “avena ” walking down The Heights in the morning.

  • Evelyn Jimenez October 21, 2014, 10:46 PM

    I l love avena con leche caliente.I don’t think it is as forgotten as people think. I like the rustic recipe better (where you leave the oats whole), but I do like this one two; it just depends on what I want at the moment. Also to change it a little for my kids I sometimes add a little chocolate or coffee.

  • jessica October 20, 2014, 10:28 PM

    When you say blend, do you mean in a blender, or just stir it? Thank you in advance.

  • Angela October 11, 2014, 11:26 AM

    Aunt Clara not aunt cakes 😉

  • Angela October 11, 2014, 11:07 AM

    Found it ! Thank you aunt Clara. I love telling people I learned it from aunt cakes when I make your delicious recipes .

  • Sheyla September 27, 2014, 2:17 PM

    Can we had regular granulated sugar instead of brown sugar?

    • Aunt Clara September 29, 2014, 5:02 PM

      Color and level of sweetness may not be the same, but yes. You could.

  • Miriam wolkenfeld Cohen August 31, 2014, 10:06 AM

    How can I make 2 portions, is it ok just to halve the ingredients?

    • Aunt Clara August 31, 2014, 12:46 PM

      You’ll need to do some math. I haven’t tested a recipe for two. :)

  • Joanna August 12, 2014, 1:34 PM

    My partner has been wanting me to try making this recipe for so long! This morning, we finally tried it and it was delicious! thank you for a great recipe that made my home smell like Christmas :)

  • Natasha Greig July 15, 2014, 11:56 AM

    If I use the Aveeno oats sold in my Goya aisle, Do I still have to blend?

  • Sugey June 19, 2014, 10:51 AM

    Hi Clara!
    First I double the recipe, but just used one cup of brown sugar rather than making that double,and it was too sweet for my taste. So, next time I’m keeping the original amount and double everything else. Also, I got the grounded cloves from my local Halal Market! Also, I used unsweetened almond milk instead of regular or evaporated, and you cannot even notice a taste…that’s important for my children!. Now I have a recipe where my kids feel they’re having a treat and it’s full of nutritious oatmeal and almond milk. Thanks!

    • Aunt Clara June 21, 2014, 1:16 AM

      That’s why whenever I can I direct to add sugar “to taste”. :)

  • Heidi Leon April 27, 2014, 8:24 AM

    I think is our obligation to rescue those forgotten recipes that are part of our cultural baggage. Well done!. I, definitely will make this (once I have a home with a kitchen), I love these warm beverages that are heart comforting, actually it reminds me mexican atole. Besos Clara!

  • Yamilka April 1, 2014, 6:23 PM

    Thank you for the inspiration, tia Clara! This brings so many good memories of growing up in the DR. My mom’s version was a little more rustic, and we had it with ‘pan de agua’ -still warm from the bakery around the corner- smeared with mantequilla Sosua. After such a delicious breakfast, we were ready to face school fully nourished.
    Looove the darker, moodier photos… and the props, always the props.

  • Tom Forbes April 1, 2014, 4:02 PM

    I love this using the grated chocolate from the balls made in the campo. I have never seen staining the oats and blending them. Maybe I have to spend more time in the kitchen rather than at the table.

  • Judit & Corina |Wine Dine Daily April 1, 2014, 2:28 PM

    Sounds really good, we would love to have a sip of this comforting warm drink!
    Congratulations on being nominated in th blog award, Aunt Clara:)

  • El Oso con Botas April 1, 2014, 1:25 PM

    Beautiful Avena caliente. I remembered drinking it when I was a child. Congratulations for being part of the best blogs nominated in Saveur 😉

  • Kelly April 1, 2014, 1:06 PM

    My husband love it

  • Liliana Cortes January 7, 2014, 10:23 PM

    I really love this website it have all the dominican recipes that i like thank you for all your wounderfull meals and dessert…..

  • john December 14, 2013, 8:18 AM

    Good recipe

  • Estefani November 27, 2013, 5:56 PM

    Love it! My mom used to add a pinch of salt and a little cocoa! Delicious! Especially in a cold morning!!

  • Monique October 22, 2013, 5:58 PM

    Can you use almond milk?

  • Karina August 20, 2013, 9:17 PM

    Can you be a little more specific on how to make it please, thank youu

  • Minnie February 26, 2013, 6:41 PM

    Is it necessary to add milk?

  • Casey September 1, 2012, 3:17 PM

    Do I include the water I soaked the oats in when blending or just the oats?

    • Aunt Clara September 1, 2012, 3:44 PM


      • Jennifer November 10, 2012, 11:14 AM

        Would quick cooking oats work in this recipe?

  • Monique August 16, 2012, 5:07 PM

    Thank you, now I can make it at home instead of going to the local bodega. It will be a nice change from regular oatmeal.

  • Sarah March 7, 2012, 7:25 PM

    Oh, never mind. I figured it out, sorry! And thank you for the delicious recipe!

  • Sarah March 6, 2012, 9:24 AM

    Oh, and also, do you mean to blend the contents by putting then in a blender?

  • Sarah March 6, 2012, 9:21 AM

    Hi, how are you?

    I have a question. What do you mean by strain the contents?