For the past month or so, I’ve been CRAVING hot chocolate. That’s really not anything new though. As soon as the winter months roll in, I try to get my hot chocolate fix in any way I can. Pile on the marshmallows plus whipped cream and don’t forget that adorable cute cinnamon stick for stirring.
I’m all about that hot cocoa life. In fact, lately I’ve been making this healthy hot chocolate recipe at LEAST 4x/week. Tony and I love it!
Ingredients in healthy hot chocolate
I started myself on a little quest to make a really, really freaking good HEALTHY hot chocolate that I could sip on while I binge watch all the Christmas movies on Netflix. I say, screw those Swiss Miss packets, my version is something you can feel good about sippin’ down. Here are the 4 (yes, four!) ingredients you’ll need for this healthy hot chocolate:
- Milk: I like to use a combination of unsweetened almond milk and light coconut milk to keep the healthy hot chocolate dairy free and ultra creamy. The coconut milk adds a slight sweetness and amazing flavor. I recommend using light coconut milk from the can.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: a high-quality cocoa powder or cacao powder is essential. I highly recommend using Ghirardelli’s 100% cocoa. I think it has the best flavor for hot chocolate (and trust me, I’ve tried quite a few!)
- Pure maple syrup: I love how delicious the maple syrup tastes in this recipe, plus it’s a natural sweetener. Perfection!
- Vanilla extract: a splash of vanilla brings lovely flavor to the hot cocoa. Not completely necessary, but oh so good!
What makes this hot chocolate healthier?
Traditional hot chocolate is made with full fat milk and/or half and half and lots of white sugar to make it creamy and sweet. While delicious and nostalgic, I wanted to make a healthy hot chocolate recipe with some more wholesome ingredients that you can enjoy even if you’re vegan or dairy free! This 4-ingredient healthy hot chocolate is:
- Made with both almond milk and coconut milk to keep it vegan and dairy free
- Naturally sweetened with only pure maple syrup
It took me a few times to perfect the recipe, but I truly believe that my healthy hot chocolate recipe is the BEST VEGAN & DAIRY FREE HOT CHOCOLATE EVER. It’s creamy, perfectly sweet, with just the right amount of cocoa to keep it intense and rich-tasting.
Tips for making the best healthy hot chocolate
The best part about this dairy free hot chocolate recipe? How easy it is to make! I have a few tips for making it perfectly creamy and delicious:
- Mix on low. Combine all of your ingredients in a small pot just over medium low heat.
- Keep on whisking. Make sure to whisk continuously until smooth to get rid of any lumps from the cocoa powder.
- Don’t let it boil. Be sure not to let the hot chocolate boil as the almond milk might burn and change the flavor — just whisk it until it’s nice and steamy.
- Jazz up your mug. Remember to add your fav toppings! I love whipped cream, marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Want a nightcap?
Try adding 1 shot of amaretto to your hot chocolate for a little extra coziness! Tony LOVES it this way and it’s perfect for the holiday season.
How to make hot chocolate in your slow cooker
This delicious, healthy hot chocolate can be made on the stovetop or right in your slow cooker! To do so:
- Feel free to quadruple the recipe (x all ingredients by 4) so that it serves 8.
- Whisk ingredients together in the slow cooker
- Place your slow cooker on warm setting and allow to warm for 1-2 hours before serving!
More cozy treats to try
- St. Nick’s Naughty & Nice Chocolate Peppermint Smoothie
- Grain Free Snowball Cookies
- 24k Gold Vanilla Turmeric Latte
- Rebecca’s Mulled Wine
- Grain Free Santa Hat Brownie Cookie Cups
Get more of our dessert recipes here, and drink recipes here!
I hope you love this healthy hot chocolate recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Healthy Hot Chocolate
My favorite delicious healthy hot chocolate recipe that's both vegan and dairy free! This healthy hot chocolate recipe is made with a mix of both coconut milk + almond milk and naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup. The perfect nightcap during the chilly winter months!
- 1 cup light coconut milk (from the can)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli’s 100% unsweetened cocoa powder)
- Pinch of sea salt
Add all ingredients to a small pot and place over medium low heat. Whisk vigorously to combine and to get rid of any lumps of cocoa. Do NOT let the hot chocolate boil or you risk burning the almond milk, which can turn the flavor into something you do not want. Simply warm in the pot until steamy, about 3-5 minutes.
Once hot chocolate is hot, remove from heat and pour into 2 mugs. Top with whipped cream, dairy free whipped cream, marshmallows or vegan marshmallows. Chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder on top are fun too! Enjoy!
To make this recipe in the slow cooker: you can feel free to quadruple the recipe (x all ingredients by 4) so that it serves 8. Whisk ingredients together in the slow cooker and place on warm setting and allow to warm for 1-2 hours before serving to guests!
Optional: add a shot of amaretto into your hot cocoa before serving. My husband LOVES it this way and it makes a fun holiday cozy nightcap!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on December 21, 2020, and republished on December 15, 2021.
So delicious!! We’re big fans of the amaretto addition too, as well as peppermint vodka or schnapps, or coconut rum. Yumm!!!
Delicious!! Great ideas.
Another winner! My daughters loved it, and I may or may not have added a little shot of whiskey to mine!
Tested this recipe tonight with my 2 and a half year old, and I’m happy to say not only is it yummy to me, but she loved it too! I will say we had to settle for Hershey’s ‘Special Dark’ Cocoa Powder after going to two different stores looking for Ghirardelli’s and coming up empty. I still want to try it with Ghirardelli’s to compare, but this version was wonderful! Quick and easy to make, delicious to enjoy. Thanks Monique!!
Perfect! So happy to hear that, Anne 🙂 I’m glad the Hershey’s Dark was just as delicious!
I was very excited to try this out in our dairy-free home, and it did not disappoint! I used a full can of regular coconut milk in place of “light,” and doubled the other ingredients to serve the whole family. Very creamy and chocolatey without being overly sweet. Toddler approved, too!
Delicious! So happy to her that!
This was SO delicious….rich and chocolatey! I’m dairy free and always bummed when I can’t participate in the hot chocolate fun as all the packets have milk and whey proteins. This is a game changer, thank you. I added a couple shots of espresso (after first trying it as is) and it was dynamite 😍
So happy you found this one! And great idea with the espresso – YUM.
The texture was perfect & the best dairy free version I’ve made. I used cacao powder & it came out delicious when mixed with my coffee. Perfect Sunday morning treat!
Love that! So delicious 🙂
Amazing recipe!!! I actually used Cacao powder, which made an even chocolate-ier drink =)
Delicious! So glad you enjoyed!
Another amazing recipe 🙂 such a cozy drink to have before bed. thanks monique!
Absolutely! My favorite nightcap 🙂
So darned good! I like to add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon for a little something special. Thanks for the great recipe, as usual!
Love that idea! Glad you loved this one!
My favorite hot chocolate.. by far! Made a pot of this for a little dinner party to sip on while playing games. Even added in some Bailey’s to make it boozy. Everyone loved!
Amazing! Love that!
Omg!!! So good! Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly. I love this as a nightcap because I always crave something sweet at the end of the night and this does the job. Thanks Monique <3
I love a little sweetness at night, too! So glad you loved this one 🙂
So delicious! I am a huge coconut fan, it’s the perfect mix of sweet, with a dash of salt- so good!
Absolutely! Glad you loved it!
I was skeptical of this recipe as I don’t have much experience with non-dairy milks, but it’s become a staple now that the weather is cold! I cut the recipe in half for only 1 serving and it works great. It’s the perfect little sweet, warm treat for the afternoon, or for dessert!
And…after reading the other reviews, going to try adding espresso or Bailey’s!!!! YES!!!
Yes! So delicious!
I’ve been looking and looking for a hot chocolate recipe that’s dairy free and low sugar. This one is pretty good. I had to use full fat canned coconut milk because I didn’t have lite. That probably impacted the flavor. I think this recipe gets the right amount of sweetness, I just wish it was more chocolatey. I used cocoa powder instead of coco. I’m wondering if that impacts the taste at all? I ended up adding a couple stevia chocolate chips to it in the microwave and that added enough chocolate taste for me.
Hmmm this one should be chocolatey with 2 full tablespoons of cocoa powder (that’s what’s in the recipe, so you’re correct!) It might be the brand of cocoa powder you used?
This recipe is SO GOOD. I recently became strictly dairy-free and hot chocolate was one of those bummers where I found out milk is often the ingredient in those much loved powder packs! So you can imagine the excitement when I stumbled across this recipe. So easy and tastes real good. I used Trader Joes Cocoa and it was great. I’m excited to make more and try different additions! Thank you so much!
I’m so glad you found this one! Perfect winter treat 🙂
I’ve made this cocoa every night since I found the recipe. It’s perfectly sweet and chocolatey. I used the Ghirardelli cocoa powder you recommended, but added 1.5 tablespoons instead of two. I’m doing a hot chocolate bar for Christmas Eve dessert and am so excited to be able to have hot cocoa with the grandkids!
So glad you love this one! And what a great idea with the kiddos 🙂
This was amazing, it tasted just like regular hot chocolate! I thought that I would be able to taste the coconut from the coconut milk, but it just made it creamy without sacrificing taste! Thank you! 🙂
Absolutely! So glad you loved it 🙂
WOW, WOW, WOW. Amazing! My 5 yr old pouted when she read that it was a “Healthy” Hot Chocolate but was in heaven (like me) when she had it! We added some gold and red sprinkles to the top and it was just perfection! I didn’t have Lite Coconut Milk so used full fat instead. Tru Whip that was sitting in the freezer got used too. Perfect for a cold wintery night in Chicago! Thank you Monique! I honestly feel like I should pay you because you are my GO-TO for recipes!!! Any thoughts on selling a cookbook one day :D?
Love that! So happy it was a hit 🙂 and yes hoping to write one someday!!
This recipe is definitely a keeper!!! So addictively yummy!
So glad you loved it!
Where are these great mugs from? 😍😍😍
They belong to my photographer so I’m not sure! 🙂
absolutely amazing hot chocolate recipe! Make this all the time even for my picky family members who love refined sugar say this is the best hot chocolate they’ve tasted!
This recipe is so simple and amazing. Best hot cocoa ever.
I did as Jamie suggested above, a can of full fat coconut milk (Trader Joe’s), doubled the other ingredients. I used Guittard Cocoa Rouge Cocoa Powder and my sister’s homemade vanilla extract. It was so good! When it cooled I saved a serving and froze it in a container. Tipped it out when frozen and stored it in ziplock freezer bag. A couple weeks later I wanted a dose and it was just as excellent as the first batch. Making it again today for time with a friend. Thanks so much for this recipe.
Delicious recipe! I was craving hot chocolate and wanted something healthier than your typical powdered hot chocolate or Starbucks! I made it using only almond milk and used Cacao powder! Sooo yummy!
This recipe is soo good during cold days, it’s now become my all time fav!
I’m SO glad you love it!
This is INCREDIBLE! I didn’t have light coconut milk, so I used only 1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk and 2 cups of macadamia milk. Sooo creamy and delicious.
That sounds perfect, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I made this for a boozy hot chocolate holiday party and it is delicious! We also had a more traditional dairy option but this recipe was the better of the two. It is not too sweet with a really good flavor, both as is and also with the addition of alcohol. We topped it with a coconut whipped topping (in a ready-whip can). So yummy. Thanks for this amazing recipe!
How fun!! I’m so glad you loved it 🙂
Exactly what I need for a cozy quarantine night at home! Thank you!
This was not our favorite. I followed the directions exactly. Weak chocolate flavor. We prefer a dairy version.
Sorry you didn’t love it! What kind of cocoa powder did you use? I use Ghirardelli 100% cocoa and mine’s always super chocolatey!
This is such a delicious Hot Chocolate Recipe! No wonder if it’s your favorite, coz now it’s mine too. Thank you for sharing.
Oh yay! So happy you loved it!
This is yummy! I’m not a huge fan (or a fan at all, really) of being able to taste coconut milk, and this recipe hides it cleverly. The coconut milk adds the creaminess while the cocoa and honey and vanilla make the rich chocolate taste. Hard to believe this is dairy-free and so low calorie!
It took a bit longer than the 3-5 mins promised to heat, but I might’ve had my flame too low. I was afraid of burning the drink!
FANTASTIC PUT SOME BAILEYS IRISH IN RECIPE. PAT
I was looking for a healthy vegan hot cocoa that didn’t taste like dirt 😉 this one is AMAZING!!! Halved the recipe to make only one serving…it was perfect. A little cinnamon on top is *chef’s kiss* Thank you so much!! <3