Healthy Hot Chocolate

DF GF V

An upgraded version of a cold weather classic, this healthy hot chocolate is low in sugar, dairy-free and vegan. Made with oat milk, pure maple syrup and cocoa powder. It’s creamy, chocolatey, absolutely delicious and comes together in just 10 minutes.

Winter and hot chocolate go hand in hand for me! As a kid, I vividly remember playing in the snow and then coming in for a cozy cup of hot cocoa. I can’t wait to start that tradition with Liv!

I decided to make an upgraded, EBF-approved version with simple ingredients that is low in sugar and dairy-free. But don’t worry… it’s still as rich, creamy and delicious as traditional hot cocoa!

A mug of healthy hot cocoa. It has been topped with whipped cream and toasted marshmallows.

What Makes This Recipe Healthy?

The hot cocoa you had growing up was likely loaded with dairy, lots of sugar and corn syrup… no thank you! Turns out you don’t need to use heavy cream, milk or loads of sugar to have a tasty cup of hot cocoa!

This healthy hot chocolate recipe is made with oat milk (or another dairy-free milk) making the drink vegan and dairy free and it’s sweetened with just pure maple syrup!

Ingredients measured out in cups and bowls to make healthy hot chocolate: oat milk, vanilla, maple syrup, sea salt, dark chocolate and cocoa powder.

Ingredients Needed

  • oat milk – unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk or any non-dairy milk would also work!
  • unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder – adds a rich chocolate flavor to the hot cocoa. Either option will work, just make sure it’s unsweetened! I recommend using a high-quality cocoa powder as this is the star of the show.
  • chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips – adds a more rich, creamy chocolate flavoring to the hot cocoa! I like using Lily’s chocolate chips since they’re low in sugar and calories but any dark chocolate works.
  • pure maple syrup – the natural sweetener for this drink. Feel free to use liquid sweetener of your choice (like honey or agave) but I think maple syrup compliments the rest of the ingredients well.
  • vanilla extract – the perfect flavor enhancer for this drink.
  • sea salt – trust me on this one! Just a pinch of salt brings this entire drink together!
Side by side photos showing the process to make healthy hot chocolate. The first is of a hand holing a bowl of cocoa powder and dark chocolate about to be poured into a pot of oat milk. The second photo is of the hot chocolate in the pot.

How to Make Homemade Hot Cocoa

This is a one-step recipe! Combine the milk, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on low medium heat until just simmering and chocolate is melted and the clumps of cocoa are gone, about 5-7 minutes.

tip!
Make sure you whisk constantly and don't let the mixture boil or you will burn the chocolate! 
An overhead photo of a mug of healthy hot cocoa. It has been topped with whipped cream and toasted marshmallows.

Flavor Variations

  • Mexican Hot Chocolate – add a shake of chili powder or a pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicy twist.
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate – add ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract to the mixture and garnish with a candy cane!
  • Caramel Hot Chocolate – mix a little of my date caramel sauce to the mixture and drizzle extra on top.
  • Spiked Hot Chocolate – add a shot of Irish cream, whiskey, bourbon, amaretto or any liquor of choice for a boozy hot chocolate!
A mug containing healthy hot cocoa, topped with whipped cream and toasted marshmallows. There are marshmallows scattered around the mug and a spoon resting on a plate next to the mug.

Hot Chocolate Toppings

The best part of hot chocolate is the toppings right?! I loved fishing out the marshmallows from my mug when I was growing up and still love adding fun toppings today. Here are some ideas:

  • Coconut whipped cream
  • Vegan marshmallows (I love these Dandies mini vanilla marshmallows)
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Chocolate chips
  • Dusting of cocoa powder
  • Drizzle of peanut butter
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
A mug of healthy hot cocoa. It has been topped with whipped cream and toasted marshmallows. A spoon rests next to the mug.

More Drink Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out all of my drink recipes here on EBF!

Healthy Hot Chocolate

4 from 13 votes
An upgraded version of a cold weather classic, this healthy hot chocolate is low in sugar, dairy-free and vegan. Made with oat milk, pure maple syrup and cocoa powder it's creamy, chocolatey, absolutely delicious and comes together in just 10 minutes.
A mug of healthy hot cocoa. It has been topped with whipped cream and toasted marshmallows.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat milk, or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Toppings: Coconut whip cream, vegan marshmallows, chocolate shavings, chocolate chips or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Instructions
 

  • In a small saucepan, combine milk, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
    A sauce pan with milk. Cocoa is being added into the sauce pan.
  • Heat on low medium heat until just simmering and chocolate is melted and the clumps of cocoa are gone, about 5-7 minutes. Don’t let your hot chocolate boil or you could burn the chocolate.
    Cocoa mixed into the milk in a sauce pan.
  • Pour into a mug, top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 Calories: 173kcal Carbohydrates: 23g Protein: 4g Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 3mg Sodium: 249mg Potassium: 464mg Fiber: 4g Sugar: 9g
Course: Drink
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy hot chocolate, hot chocolate, hot cocoa

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    5 comments
    1. Bonnie Froehlich
      January 4, 2022 AT 5:52 pm

      5 stars
      I made this last night while watching our first snowfall. It was creamy and chocolatey and now my favorite hot cocoa to make for those chilly nights!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 5, 2022 AT 12:10 pm

        Ah yay!! So pumped this hot chocolate was a hit, Bonnie. Thanks for the review :).

    2. Krystina
      December 2, 2021 AT 9:06 am

      4 stars
      This was really easy to make! Any tips on how to make a big batch (10+ servings) for Christmas?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 10, 2021 AT 1:44 pm

        Hey Krystina- you could just make the recipe x10 🙂

    3. Janet
      December 1, 2021 AT 10:53 am

      Somewhere along the line, I missed the memo about vegan marshmallows. I need to check those out. Thanks for the tip!

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