I've been making this Vegan Hot Cocoa recipe for years, even before I was dairy free. I've made a couple of swaps since then to make it not only dairy free, but refined sugar free as well. This version is just as delicious as the original and I'm happy to share it with you!
Even still when I make one batch of this, my husband always begs me to make double because it's seriously so addicting. You can't get this kind of flavor from a packet. It only takes few ingredients and a few minutes of your time. It's absolutely worth it!
Unsweetened cocoa powder- I like to use cacao powder, it's a little less processed than cocoa powder but either is fine to use.
Unsweetened/ unflavored almond milk- I like to use my homemade almond milk because it has no after taste and is just simply delicious. If you've read any of my blog posts, you know this is what I use for just about all of my baking and cooking. For a good reason, too!
Almond milk- Use your favorite tasting unsweetened/ unflavored plant milk of your choice. Some other good options are oat milk, homemade cashew milk or coconut milk (from the carton, not canned).
Peppermint extract- Try a few drops (or to taste ) of peppermint extract for a peppermint hot chocolate.
Caramel hot cocoa- Add a little bit of vegan caramel in your hot cocoa and maybe a drizzle on top!
Mocha hot cocoa- Add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder to the dry mix of the cocoa mix.
Mexican hot cocoa- Mexican hot cocoa uses spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and cayenne powder. You can add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder, ½ teaspoon of chili powder ( or to taste), a dash of nutmeg and optionally, a pinch of cayenne for a little more heat.
In a pot, mix the dry ingredients.
Add water, mix it together and bring it to a boil while whisking. Then briefly remove from heat so that the mixture does not burn.
Next, add the almond milk and then the pure maple syrup.
Heat the hot cocoa until it is the temperature you like, but do not let it boil. If it boils for a prolonged amount of time it will become thick.
Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, stir and serve.
You can optionally top with vegan marshmallows, or regular if you are not vegan, as well as dairy-free shaved dark chocolate for a beautiful and delicious addition.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container/glass bottle (such as a carafe or large mason jars) for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or slowly in a pot over the stove on medium-low heat.
❓Frequently Asked Questions
Healthy is a relative term. I consider this recipe to be a healthier alternative because it's refined sugar-free as it uses pure maple syrup. Pure maple syrup is a little bit lower on the glycemic index and contains some antioxidants. In comparison to refined sugar, which has no nutritional value, it does appear as a healthier option. However, it's important to still consume it in moderation.
The term vegan refers to being free of all animal products. So, yes. This vegan hot chocolate is dairy free and vegetarian.
One important note for vegans and vegetarians is to make sure you use marshmallows that are vegan. Regular marshmallows are made with either egg whites or gelatin.
Yes. Cocoa powder naturally contains caffeine.
Yes. Just scale up this recipe for the amount you will need and then keep it warm in the crockpot. Stir before serving.
The salt adds a good balance of flavor with the chocolate. It doesn't leave a salty taste. This recipe uses a coarse kosher salt. Coarse kosher salt doesn't typically measure the same as fine salt. So if you are using a fine salt, you may want to add less salt.
SoDelicious and Reddi-whip make a dairy-free whipped cream. I am able to purchase these at my local Walmart. I'm unsure of local stores that sell vegan marshmallows; however, you can find some from Amazon.
Other beverages you may like:
If you try this Vegan Hot Cocoa, please leave a review and let me know if you enjoyed it! Also, snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @thedairyfreemenu. I'd love to hear from you!
Vegan Hot Cocoa
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ⅓ cup water
- 4 cups unsweetened/ unflavored almond milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a saucepan, mix the dry ingredients.
- Add water, mix it together and bring it to a boil while whisking. Then briefly remove from heat so that the mixture does not burn.
- Add the almond milk and the pure maple syrup, then whisk to combine.
- Heat until the hot cocoa is the temperature you like, but do not let it boil. If it boils for a prolonged amount of time it will become thick.
- Remove from heat, add the vanilla, stir and serve.
- You can optionally top with vegan marshmallows, or regular if you aren't vegan, as well as shaved dairy-free dark chocolate for a beautiful and delicious addition.
- If you aren't using a coarse salt, and your salt is fine, consider adding a little bit less. Coarse salt and fine salt do not typically measure the same.
Note: Nutrition label is just an estimate. Amounts may vary.