Healthy + Homemade Hot Chocolate

10.19.2020

Who doesn’t love a mug of homemade hot chocolate on a chilly night? I’ve got a recipe to share that is both delicious and nutritious.

Homemade hot chocolate hits all the cold night cravings using only whole food ingredients. Designed to be mixed right in the blender, then poured into a favorite mug. This recipe from my Simple Green Meals book is a favorite for both my family and our friends all season long.

vegan hot chocolate made with creamy plant milk

How to make homemade hot chocolate dairy free

While the star of any good hot chocolate recipe is the powder, the liquid base is also important, especially if you’re looking for a dairy free option. Dairy milk is creamy and rich, which helps bring out the flavor in the cocoa. Yet did you know that plant based milk can also offer that same creamy richness?

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 68% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. So I created a homemade hot chocolate recipe that eliminates the need for dairy, as well as any gut issues after enjoying a cup or two.

Homemade vegan milk bases

When searching for a good plant milk base for this vegan hot chocolate, I recommend making your own. It’s super easy, simple, and really just better than store bought. In making my own plant milk, I control what ingredients are added, so there are no processed surprises. Here are my fav plant based milks to make:

  • Coconut milk– This light dairy free milk is great for smoothies, cereal, hot chocolate and more!
  • Oat milk– When you just need an ultra creamy base, oat milk is a winner. It’s my preferred base for my homemade hot chocolate.
  • Almond milk– I actually just finished a seasonal 21 day cleanse, and used homemade almond milk throughout the whole cleanse.
  • Other plant milk– There are so many nuts/seeds/etc. that can be turned into milk, so don’t limit yourself to the first three choices! Change it up every time you make this vegan hot chocolate, until you find the perfect blend for you.

Store bought hot chocolate bases

There isn’t always time to make your own plant milk, so my team of rawkstars and I did our own research to discover the very best options for almond and oat milk in stores now. We update this list annually (and no one pays us to do this!), so keep checking back for new brands, or current brands that might be cleaning up their ingredient lists. I recommend using an unsweetened vegan milk for this dairy free hot chocolate recipe, as you’re adding in some pretty epic sweeteners already.

This is our homemade hot chocolate and I can’t wait for you to try it!

overhead shot of a foamy cup of hot cocoa

Why use Cacao over pre-made hot chocolate mixes

Store bought hot chocolate mixes often contain dairy in some form, as well as a host of processed ingredients. For example, a leading brand’s ingredient list is as follows: sugar, corn syrup, modified whey, cocoa, hydrogenated coconut oil, nonfat milk, salt, dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, natural flavor. Cocoa is 4th on the list! Meanwhile, the ingredient list for my homemade mix includes: cacao powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. 4 easy, recognizable, minimally processed ingredients. I dare you to do a test comparison of both versions and let me know which one you like the best.

perfect mug of dairy free hot chocolate

Other chocolate-y, dairy free drinks

This homemade hot chocolate might have you searching for other decadent + healthy chocolate drink recipes. Not to worry, I’ve got you covered:

If cold drinks are hard for you during cold weather, I’ve done a roundup of 6 warms smoothie recipes to keep you warm and energized as the weather changes. Will you leave a comment letting me know your hot chocolate must-have toppings? I’d love to share them!

a photo of several kinds of natural cacao, used in this hot chocolate recipe
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Healthy Hot Chocolate


  • Author: Jen Hansard
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 oz drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Take a spin on the classic hot chocolate recipe and not even miss a beat. This one is even better tasting AND twice as good for you. Let’s cheers to that!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup hot plant-based milk (any variety: almond, oat, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 Tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place the hot “milk” and other ingredients in blender.
  2. Puree until combined.
  3. Serve this frothy chocolatey goodness immediately.

Notes

Use caution when blending hot liquids. Start on lowest speed and don’t use boiling hot liquid. If using a high speed blender, cold milk can be added along with the other ingredients and blended on high (or soup function) to heat the hot chocolate. I also like to put a towel on top of the blender container when blending hot liquids. This recipe can also be made in a pan on the stove. Heat the milk of choice in a small pan over medium heat, then whisk in the other ingredients.

  • Category: Beverage
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan hot chocolate recipe, healthy hot chocolate

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About Jen Hansard

Mom of 2, ran across the Grand Canyon and lover of smoothies, coffee & tacos. I transformed my family's health with a plant-based diet. I also found myself again along the way.

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Recipe rating

  1. Janice jj says:

    Yum, love this chocolate. I like to add cinnamon as well.,

    • Simple Green Smoothies says:

      Cinnamon is a great add-in! It can help the body regulate blood sugar levels, especially when having a sweet treat like this one.

  2. Shaunice says:

    Any smoothies to bust menstrual cramps or give energy?

    • Simple Green Smoothies says:

      Oooh girl, we feel ya! Any of our smoothies def helps to boost energy. Yet to help with the PMS symptoms, we’d recommend ones that contain hormone balancing ingredients like flax seeds, spinach, kale, almonds, matcha or avocado. In addition to that, using probiotics is also helpful for bringing balance during those special times each month. Check out our Clean Skin Diet Smoothie, our Vanilla Matcha Smoothie or the Peach Probiotic Smoothie to start.

  3. Lisa says:

    An absolute a hug in a mug on this cold winter day. Added a scoop of chocolate coconut collagen and oh my gosh! !

    • Simple Green Smoothies says:

      Love that collagen upgrade Lisa! And “hug in a mug” – aw! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Manuela says:

    This seems delicious but the nutritional info lists a very high sodium content – is it possible this is an error? None of the ingredients listed contain that much sodium.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Good catch, Manuela! I think it should be more like ~300mg sodium. We’ll make sure to get that changed!

  5. Kat B. says:

    Love that my daughters enjoy this just as much, if not more, than the store bought mixes with tons of yucky ingredients. So grateful for your clean recipes!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      So glad we can help you make your kids healthier versions of classic favorites!

  6. Kim says:

    This recipe is so good! My family is all about hot chocolate and this is a winner!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Same with my family, Kim! I made this and it was a huge hit.

  7. Sharon Myers says:

    I’ve been trying to make more things from scratch and this is such an easy win right here. I liked the maple syrup, and prob used a little extra. Haha! Thanks for another delicious and healthy recipe.

  8. Erin says:

    I was surprised how sweet and creamy this turned out to be. I did think the almond milk tasted a little burnt, so next time I’m definitely trying the oat milk.

  9. Jessica says:

    I just made some of this awesome hot chocolate for my husband and myself. So delicious! And even though itโ€™s a little indulgent, I feel good knowing itโ€™s made with clean ingredients and no processed junk. Will definitely be making again!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      A great recipe to have in your arsenal as we get into fall and winter! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thank you very much for this space you have created. Recently found the website and I’m very happy I followed the Instagram link, thank you again.

    • SGS Rawkstar Carissa says:

      Hey Dinkeng,

      We are so happy you found us too! Let us know if you give our recipes a try ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Annelize says:

    I am new to your website, but so excited about everything I see. Where can I get maple syrup? In our grocery store is only maple flavoured syrup full of cane sugar, I am sure that is not the ingredient you are referring to his in this and in the Almond spice drink?

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Annelize,

      We’re so excited you found us in this busy digital world! Having trouble tracking down maple syrup? If you have access to Amazon.com or ThriveMarket.com, both have a wide variety of organic pure maple syrup.

  12. Roxy says:

    I’ve been looking for some healthy hot cocoa ideas! This one sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to try it out!

  13. Renee says:

    I made this with Almond Milk (cold from frig) in the VitaMix with the rest of the ingredients. Started on the lowest speed and turned it up slowly until it was hot. Everyone loved it!!! This will be made a lot this winter. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yummy treat when you are really cold.

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      YAY, Renee! We’re so excited to hear everyone enjoyed our Hot Chocolate recipe! We hope you enjoy all winter long!!

  14. Jo says:

    What maple syrup would you recommend?

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Jo,

      I personally love NOW Foods Organic Maple Syrup! But don’t worry about the brand too much. We just love reaching for organic + 100% pure maple syrup.

      Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Jennifer says:

    What is cacao powder and where can I buy it? Is it healthier than cocoa powder?

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      As long as you’re reaching for unsweetened cocoa powder you’re good to go! Cacao powder is very similar to cocoa powder, it just hasn’t been heated to a high temperature and therefore contains more nutrients and antioxidants.

      Hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Barb says:

    Hi – Ummmm don’t put hot anything in a blender. It explodes.

    • SGS Rawkstar says:

      Hi Barb,

      You’re right. My tip for blending hot liquids is to vent the top slightly, I cover the top with a dish towel to prevent any leaks. That way the steam is able to be released while blending and causes no explosions! But definitely check your individual blender to make sure its made for hot liquids.

      Still not comfortable blending hot liquids? Simply heat this recipe on your stove top after blending.

      Cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

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