Vegan Hot Chocolate/Hot Cocoa (Simple & Creamy)

By Jessica Hylton -

This Vegan Hot Chocolate proves you don’t need dairy for a rich, creamy cold weather treat. Plus, I share my secret ingredient for the best hot cocoa!

Overhead view of mug filled with vegan hot chocolate amid festive background

Fact: it’s cold, and we need hot chocolate.

Admittedly, it is not freezing where I am. However, that doesn’t mean my need for hot chocolate is any less, right friends?! If it is freezing where you are, then I suggest you whip this vegan hot chocolate up as soon as you can. Not only will it keep you warm and filled with comfort, it’s perfect for a Netflix night in under a warm, fluffy blanket. Yes to that.

My favourite thing about this recipe is that it mimics the way we made hot cocoa at camp when I was a kid. It was always super chocolatey, but never too sweet, and we’d add a pinch of sea salt for balance. That little bit of salt works some kind of magic and now, all these years later, it’s still my secret ingredient for perfect hot chocolate. 

And now it will be yours too!

Ingredients for vegan hot chocolate

Notes on Ingredients

Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.

  • Raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • Almond milk – You can substitute another non-dairy milk here; oat, cashew, soy, or any other that you have on hand.
  • Coconut milk – This shouldn’t be substituted, though! The coconut milk is what makes this hot cocoa rich and creamy.
  • Maple syrup or sugar
  • Sea salt

Add-In and Topping Ideas

  • Ground turmeric
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Vegan marshmallows
  • Crushed candy cane or peppermint candies
Mug of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, and marshmallows with bottle brush Christmas trees in background

How to Make Vegan Hot Chocolate

Making vegan hot cocoa isn’t really any different than making it with dairy! Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Combine ingredients. Stir together the cocoa powder, milks, sweetener, and salt in a saucepan set over medium heat. (If you’re using any add-ins, they’ll go in now too.)

Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate in saucepan

Simmer. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through and bubbling slightly.

Pouring hot chocolate into mug

Add toppings. Pour the hot chocolate into a mug, add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Tips for Success

Here are some tips for making the perfect cup of plant-based hot chocolate:

  • Don’t skip the salt! It really is the key to getting balanced flavour, rather than hot chocolate that’s cloyingly sweet.
  • Sweeten to taste. If you’re using a milk that’s already sweetened, use less maple syrup or sugar to start; taste and add more if needed.
  • Use cocoa powder. Not hot cocoa mix, which is already pre-sweetened. 
Mug of hot cocoa garnished with whipped cream, cinnamon, and marshmallows

How to Store

If you have leftover hot chocolate, you can store it in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy it cold or warm it up in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat.

Making Hot Cocoa for a Crowd

If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, consider a hot cocoa bar where everyone can fill up a mug with hot chocolate and add their favorite toppings! Simply scale up this recipe so it makes enough to serve all of your guests, then transfer it to a slow cooker and use the Warm setting to keep it warm during your party. (Alternatively, you can make an entire batch of hot cocoa in the slow cooker from start to finish using my Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate recipe.)

Instagram Jessica in the Kitchen

Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan hot chocolate recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Top view of hot cocoa in mug with whipped cream, cinnamon, and marshmallows

Vegan Chocolate Chewy Fudgy Brownies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mug of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, and marshmallows with bottle brush Christmas trees in background

Vegan Hot Chocolate/Hot Cocoa (Simple & Creamy)

This Vegan Hot Chocolate is deliciously simple and so creamy! It reminds me of my favourite hot cocoa from camp days.
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Ingredients

Vegan Hot Chocolate/Hot Cocoa (Simple & Creamy)

  • ¼ cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk like almond milk, oat milk or soy milk
  • ½ cup coconut milk from the can, carton or homemade creamy coconut milk, your choice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or 4 tablespoons of regular sugar
  • Dash salt do not leave out!
  • Top with coconut cream and cinnamon

Delicious add-ins

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions

Instructions

Vegan Hot Chocolate/Hot Cocoa (Simple & Creamy)

  • In a pot over medium heat, stir in the cacao/cocoa powder, the milks, maple syrup (or sugar), and dash of salt. If you're adding the add-in ingredients, stir them in now too. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes until everything is heated through and begins to bubble just slightly.
  • Top with whipped coconut cream, marshmallows and a dash of cinnamon and enjoy! You can even add vegan marshmallows on top for added comfort.
NOTES

Tips for Success

Here are some tips for making the perfect cup of plant-based hot chocolate:
  • Don’t skip the salt! It really is the key to getting balanced flavour, rather than hot chocolate that’s cloyingly sweet.
  • Sweeten to taste. If you’re using a milk that’s already sweetened, use less maple syrup or sugar to start; taste and add more if needed.
  • Use cocoa powder. Not hot cocoa mix, which is already pre-sweetened.

    How to Store

    If you have leftover hot chocolate, you can store it in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy it cold or warm it up in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat.

    Making Hot Cocoa for a Crowd

    If you’re hosting a holiday get-together, consider a hot cocoa bar where everyone can fill up a mug with hot chocolate and add their favorite toppings! Simply scale up this recipe so it makes enough to serve all of your guests, then transfer it to a slow cooker and use the Warm setting to keep it warm during your party. (Alternatively, you can make an entire batch of hot cocoa in the slow cooker from start to finish using my Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate recipe.)
     

Nutrition

Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 373mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 281mg | Iron: 4mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




16 comments

  1. I surely would love one NOW! It looks crazily GOOD!

  2. Debi Waleski says:

    This is the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted! Ever! This is what I always thought hot chocolate should have tasted like but never did!

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Debi,

      Oh I’m SO happy to hear that!! I had hot chocolate at summer camps for years on end and this reminded me perfectly of it too!!

  3. Hayley Thomas says:

    I just made this as an incentive to study…. not sure how effective that will be but this is so so delicious! Thank you 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Aww thanks so much Hayley!! Haha I really do hope that it helps and good luck!!

  4. Court says:

    5 stars
    Second drink recipe of yours that we’ve tried and it’s fantastic as well! I doubled the sweetener for my honey and added a 1/2ish teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Yummy!!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Love the additions Court! We’re happy that you’ve enjoyed another recipe. Thank you for the review!

  5. Jenna says:

    5 stars
    Wow! So delicious! An easy quick treat, well balanced and rich tasting 🙂
    Can’t wait to try again with some marshmallows or peppermint extract!

  6. Maira Ribeiro says:

    5 stars
    This hot chocolate is delicious! It’s super creamy and tasty, and it’s hard to believe there’s no milk in it. I loved it for breakfast or to warm up at the end of the day.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe Maria! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  7. May says:

    5 stars
    So yummy and love how easy it is to make. In the past I’ve attempted to make vegan hot chocolate with just almond milk but it didn’t taste right. Now I finally know that the missing ingredient is coconut milk! Makes it thicker, which is how hot chocolate should be!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Wow so happy that you like it May! Yes we love coconut milk over here haha! Thank you for the nice review.

  8. Tyas says:

    5 stars
    Very easy and wonderful! I added cinnamon and a little cayenne, and have probably made this five times in the last couple of weeks 😄 thanks Jessica!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      We’re so happy that you enjoyed this recipe Tyas! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a nice comment!

  9. Jodi-Ann Johnson says:

    5 stars
    This is my new favourite hot chocolate recipe. The salt really enhanced the cocoa flavour 🥰

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