Healthy Hot Chocolate
Published Dec 01, 2021, Updated Jun 12, 2023
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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!
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!
- 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!
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!
- 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!
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
More Drink Recipes to Try
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Cold Brew Coffee
- Iced Matcha Latte
- Creamy Iced Coffee
- Whipped Coffee (Dalgona Coffee)
- Dairy-Free Eggnog
Be sure to check out all of my drink recipes here on EBF!
Healthy Hot Chocolate
- 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.
- In a small saucepan, combine milk, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
- 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.
- Pour into a mug, top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.