An easy vegan hot chocolate recipe made from scratch using 6 wholesome ingredients, including cocoa powder and almond milk.
Bonus, this recipe is also gluten-free with sugar-free, low-carb options!
How To Make Vegan Hot Chocolate
It’s super easy to make hot chocolate vegan and dairy-free at home! All you need are 6 simple ingredients, one saucepan, or a microwave.
Let me share below my tips to make the most delicious vegan hot chocolate with cocoa powder.
Ingredients for the best vegan hot chocolate
- Unsweetened cocoa powder or unsweetened cacao powder – this refers to 100% cocoa/cacao powder, with no added sugar and no added dairy milk powder. Cocoa powder and cacao powder are very similar, and both options work well in this recipe. Note that cacao powder has a bitter aftertaste because it is made from fermented beans that have not been roasted. Cacao powder also creates hot chocolate with a lighter color but higher nutritional properties. Choose your favorite powder.
- Coconut sugar – or any crystal sweetener you love, including xylitol or erythritol for vegan keto hot chocolate. Keep in mind that these 2 sugar-free sweeteners have a slightly minty aftertaste and might upset your guts. Other options are unrefined cane sugar or maple syrup. Also, always start with the minimum amount of sugar and increase later regarding taste to avoid an overly sweet drink.
- Vegan chocolate chips, preferably dark chocolate chips, to boost the cocoa flavor of your drink and avoid too sweet hot chocolate. This ingredient is optional, and you can totally skip it to make a vegan hot chocolate with cacao powder only! But your drink won’t be as thick, sweet, and chocolatey. You may have to increase coconut sugar as well if you remove the chocolate chips.
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Soy milk or oat milk, or coconut milk – I highly recommend combining both almond milk and creamier non-dairy milk to create a smooth thick hot chocolate. Of course, you can also make this recipe only with almond milk. A vegan hot chocolate recipe with almond milk is a great option if you are after a lighter hot chocolate with fewer carbs.
- Vanilla extract or scrape vanilla seeds from vanilla beans.
Bring all ingredients to a saucepan
There is nothing easier. Add all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring over medium heat.
Stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes until the hot chocolate starts simmering, and the chocolate chips are melted.
Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Option
A vegan Mexican hot chocolate is a spicy hot chocolate.
You can totally use this simple homemade vegan hot chocolate recipe to make Mexican hot chocolate.
To do so, add the ingredients below to the warm hot chocolate mix, just before serving:
- 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Serving Hot Chocolate Vegan Recipe
There are many plant-based toppings you can add on top of your hot cocoa drink, including:
- Whipped coconut cream
- Frothed milk – soy milk and some almond milk froth very well in a milk frother.
- Vegan marshmallow
- Caramel drizzle or chocolate sauce, or mocha sauce to add a touch of coffee flavor.
- A sprinkle of cacao powder or cocoa powder
How To Make A Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix
You can use the following recipe to prepare your own vegan chocolate mix powder.
For 12 servings of vegan hot chocolate mix, bring all the dry ingredients below into a sealed mason jar, shake the jar to evenly combine the ingredients, and store in the pantry for up to 3 months.
- 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder or unsweetened cacao powder.
- 1/3 cup of vegan dark chocolate chips.
- 1/3 cup of crystal sugar of choice – coconut sugar or unrefined cane sugar.
Using Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix
Place 2 tablespoons of the mix above in a saucepan along with 2 cups of non-dairy milk.
I always recommend 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk and 1 cup of creamier non-dairy milk like soy milk or oat milk.
Warm 2-3 minutes, stirring often, and serve with a touch of vanilla extract, cinnamon, or extra sweetener.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t have time to make this homemade vegan hot chocolate recipe or want to enjoy one on the go, let me answer a few important questions.
Is Hot Chocolate Powder Vegan?
No, not all chocolate powders are vegan. Actually, most cocoa powders, except pure unsweetened coconut powder, contain added milk powder.
Always read the ingredients listed in the cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix you buy to make sure they contain added dairy milk.
Is Starbucks Hot Chocolate Vegan?
Classic hot chocolates from Starbucks are not naturally vegan as they contain dairy milk and whipped cream.
However, you can order vegan hot chocolate from Starbucks by opting for coconut milk or almond milk, or soy milk.
Make sure you don’t order white hot chocolate though, the white chocolate powder contains milk.
More Vegan Hot Drink Recipes
If you want to try some other delicious vegan hot drinks, including my vegan protein powder hot chocolate, follow the recipe links below!
Made this thick vegan hot chocolate yet? Share a comment or review below. I love to hear how you adapted my recipe to your taste buds.
Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe from Scratch
- In a small saucepan, add unsweetened cocoa powder, vegan dark chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and coconut sugar – start with 1 tablespoon and adjust sweetness later.
- Add unsweetened almond milk and another cup of thicker non-dairy milk of your choice, like soy milk or oat milk, or coconut milk.
- Bring the saucepan over medium heat, gently stirring often, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until hot, chocolate chips are melted, and bubbles form on the sides of the saucepan.
- If you want to make a Mexican vegan hot chocolate, stir cinnamon and chili powder now.
- Serve immediately with a dollop of frothed soy milk or whipped coconut cream and a pinch of cocoa powder on top.