Chicheme Panameño
Chicheme Panameño

Last week was my mom’s birthday. She’s still in panama, but I decided to cook something special to mark the day. I’m sure the word chicheme sounds odd to many of you, but for us Panamanians, this “drink” is our daily bread.

You can buy chicheme everywhere and some says that there is nothing better to fight against the hot days of our country than a glass of cold chicheme.

Only one problem has this recipe, it can take forever if the corn isn’t right. I had to improvise a bit and at first I wasn’t too sure to succeed, but one phone call to my mother and a transfer to a pressure cooker did the trick and a few minutes later my first chicheme was ready.

The ingredients are quite simple, so I’m sure you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious cream wherever you From mouthfuls of small bites are. But the key is the “maíz pilado”, which are kernels of dried corn, crushed in a mortar, but not until they become dust, there have to be small pieces of corn. Here is a picture, so you can see how it is done.

From mouthfuls of small bites

At least this is the traditional way of doing it in Panama, but I used my food processor…and I know that in some places you can buy it already “pilado”.


  • 250 g kernels of corn crushed
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • Nutmeg


Can you see the little pieces of corn?

Wash the corn and soak overnight. Cook the next day with cinnamon, salt and nutmeg, until very soft. This could take a while, so I recommend using the pressure cooker or similar. Add more water if necessary.

Remove from heat and let cool. Add milk, cream and vanilla. Stir well.

Put it in the fridge until cool, or add ice. You may add sugar or more condensed milk if you want it to be sweeter.


31 Replies to “Chicheme”

  1. This looks and reads very interesting, but crushed corn I will never be able to get hold of, so what should I do. Only dried corn I can get over here is the ones we use for popcorn.

    1. Hi Viveka! Actually I used that kind of corn (but not the ones with butter for the microwave) and they worked just fine… Then I crushed them with my food processor. Give it a try and let me know, the only thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but the ingredients are not expensive so is not a big deal… 😉

    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks a lot for your comment. You are not ignorant at all! This is not a very popular recipe, so is totally normal not being able to find dried corn at your place. It isn’t easy here where I live too, so what I did was to buy dried corn kernels for popcorn, but not the one with butter or salt. It was a small plastic bag. I hope this helps to answer your inquiry. And thanks again for stopping by 🙂

        1. Hola!, ¿entonces eres panameña como yo? ¡Qué bien! Si tienes familia en Panamá y puedes esperar un poco puedes pedirle a alguien de tu familia que te mande el maíz. De hecho mi madre me mandó el otro día una bolsita de maíz que ya está listo para hacer chicheme.
          Un saludo

OK, let's talk

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.