Healthy hot chocolate is a delicious, naturally-sweetened drink that taste better than store bought powdered version. All you need is 4 simple ingredients to make it!
Why You’ll Love It
When you make homemade hot chocolate, you can customize the chocolate flavor exactly to your liking. If you prefer a dark chocolate drink, you can add more cacao powder, and if you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add more sweetness.
You can also add a pinch of salt, to help balance out the sweet flavor. Since you can taste this mixture as you go, it’s practically fool-proof!
When you make this hot chocolate recipe with dairy-free milk, it’s gluten-free, vegan & Paleo friendly, too. It’s perfect for anyone following a special diet, or anyone who likes an easy recipe made with simple pantry ingredients. (Which I consider my specialty!)
Ingredients You’ll Need
What’s in a healthy hot chocolate?
- Your favorite milk
- Cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- Maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
That’s it! For a vegan hot chocolate, choose a non-dairy milk, like almond milk or coconut milk. You can also use hemp milk or soy milk for extra protein, or cashew milk, if you’d like.
I don’t recommend using homemade oat milk for this recipe, because it will thicken up when heated. Store-bought oat milk usually has additives that will prevent this, though. (Especially if you buy a “barista” style milk option.)
How to Make Healthy Hot Chocolate
- Mix. Add the ingredients to a small saucepan.
- Simmer. Whisk well over medium high heat, until the mixture is piping hot.
- Serve. Pour it into a mug, and enjoy it with any toppings you love.
You can top this hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, vegan marshmallows or coconut whipped cream, if you like. Or try it with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, for a little spice.
You can store leftover hot chocolate in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will separate when stored, but it will quickly come together again when you whisk it in a saucepan.
Dutch Cocoa vs. Cacao Powder
Wondering what the difference is between cacao powder and cocoa powder?
Raw cacao powder is the least-processed version of cacao beans, which are a rich source of flavonols. This may also be why cacao has been linked to lowering risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Dutch-processed coca powder, on the other hand, is usually heated and alkalized, to help reduce bitterness. As a result is has a lower flavonol content and a slightly different flavor.
You can use either in this hot chocolate recipe, but you may want to adjust the sweetness, to taste, as you go.
Frequently Asked Questions & Variations
Can I make a peppermint hot chocolate? Yes! I’ve tested a Peppermint Hot Chocolate with peppermint extract, if you’d like a minty variation.
Can I use a different sweetener? Yes! You can use honey if you don’t need a vegan hot cocoa recipe, or try agave, coconut sugar, or any other sweetener you love. Zero calorie sweeteners will need a different amount, so be sure to start with less, and add more to taste as you go.
Can I use fruit to sweeten it? I have a date-sweetened hot chocolate recipe, if you’d like to give that a try. (You’ll need a high-speed blender to make it, FYI, to help break down all the fiber in the dates.)
Is chocolate vegan? Cocoa powder is vegan, but if you want to add chocolate chips or shaved chocolate on top, be sure to check the label to make sure it’s dairy-free.
More Warm Drink Ideas
If you love this hot chocolate recipe, you may also love these:
I can’t wait to hear which one you try next!
Healthy Hot Chocolate
- Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and stir, using a whisk to break up any clumps. Keep stirring until smooth and piping hot.
- Pour into a mug right away and serve warm. Top with coconut whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired, or any other toppings you love.
If you try this dairy-free hot chocolate recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!