This vegan hot chocolate is rich, creamy, easy to make, and ready in 5 minutes! Enjoy a healthy twist on the classic recipe, made with dairy-free oat milk and naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Add mini marshmallows and whipped cream on top, or choose from several customizable mix-ins and toppings. A cozy mug of this homemade healthy hot cocoa is guaranteed to warm you up this winter season!
Calling all chocolate lovers! This is our time to shine. If you’re a self-confessed chocoholic, like me, one of the best parts of the holiday season is having an excuse to consume copious amounts of hot cocoa. I mean, when else is it socially acceptable to drink literal liquid chocolate topped with marshmallows and even more chocolate?
This hug-in-a-mug is warm and soothing, rich in flavor, and contains the perfect level of sweetness. We’ll start with creamy oat milk, high-quality cocoa powder, and real maple syrup, then add in a dash of vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. If desired, you can also toss in some real chocolate for a deeper chocolate flavor.
This homemade hot chocolate recipe is:
- Vegan, dairy-free, healthy, soy-free, and refined sugar-free
- Made with minimal ingredients
- Quick and easy to make // ready in 5 minutes
- Sweetened with maple syrup // no processed sugar
- Customizable with countless recipe variations, mix-ins, and toppings
- Kid-approved and non-vegan approved!
- Oat milk: I recommend using a high-quality, creamy oat milk for this recipe. However, you can replace it with any type of plant-based milk. The next best options include almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, or hazelnut milk.
- Cocoa: Use a high-quality cocoa powder for the best flavor. You can use cacao powder too. Sometimes, I enjoy opting for half cocoa and half cacao.
- Maple syrup: This healthy hot chocolate is refined sugar-free. Instead, it’s sweetened with real maple syrup. If you don’t have maple syrup, you can replace it with agave nectar, date syrup, or coconut sugar.
- Chocolate: The addition of actual chocolate is optional, but I suggest using it for a truly rich and chocolatey flavor.
- Vanilla: A dash of pure vanilla extract pairs well with the cocoa.
- Cinnamon: Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon brings this healthy hot chocolate to the next level. It adds a subtle warmth and depth of flavor.
- Salt: Just a pinch is needed to balance the sweet ingredients. It may sound strange, but trust me on this one!
How to make vegan hot cocoa
For the full ingredients list and step-by-step instructions, scroll down to view the recipe card below.
When I say this vegan hot cocoa is easy to make, I’m not kidding. It requires two simple steps: combine the ingredients in a saucepan + whisk them together over the stove.
Be careful not to bring the ingredients to a boil, though. Once everything is dissolved and warm, transfer to mugs and add any toppings of your choosing.
Tips and variations
Ways to spice up hot chocolate
Feeling adventurous and looking to spice up your regular hot chocolate? Follow the recipe as written, but add in the following ingredients for each variation:
- Peppermint: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- Mexican: a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Coffee: replace half of the plant-based milk with coffee or add instant espresso
- Peanut Butter: 1-2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- Caramel: 1 tbsp caramel sauce
- Pumpkin Spice: 1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
What are the best toppings for hot cocoa?
I adore this vegan hot cocoa as is, but toppings are always a fun addition! There are various ingredients to choose from:
- Mini marshmallows
- Whipped cream
- Chocolate shavings or chopped chocolate
- Cacao nibs
- Caramel sauce
- A sprinkle of cinnamon
- Crushed candy canes
- Chocolate syrup
- A drizzle of creamy peanut butter
- Chocolate sprinkles or rainbow sprinkles
- Crushed peanuts or crushed pecans
- Crushed Oreos
What’s the best plant-based milk for hot chocolate?
It all comes down to personal preference. I’ve tried this recipe with oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. All three create delicious results, but I personally love using a high-quality, super creamy oat milk.
If you enjoy coconut milk, I recommend using the lite canned variety. If you want to try almond milk, opt for a brand with a higher fat content. Other great options include cashew milk or hazelnut milk.
Where can I find dairy-free whipped cream?
Reddi-wip makes coconut milk whipped cream and So Delicious offers coconut milk Cocowhip. Both options work well as a dairy-free topping for hot cocoa.
Where can I find vegan marshmallows?
If you follow a vegan diet, make sure your marshmallows are gelatin-free. I use (and love!) Dandies vegan mini marshmallows. Additionally, Trader Joe’s sells vegan-friendly marshmallows.
More vegan holiday recipes
- Vegan Hot Chocolate Cookies
- Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles
- No-Bake Pecan Pie Bars (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms
- No Bake Turtle Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Keep warm this winter season with a mug full of cozy, rich and creamy, vegan hot chocolate! This homemade healthy hot cocoa is made with oat milk and sweetened with maple syrup. It’s dairy-free, quick and easy, ready in 5 minutes, and totally customizable. Perfect for any chocolate lover!
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan.
- Bring the saucepan to medium heat, whisking the ingredients together, until fully dissolved and warm. Do not bring it to a boil.
- Once warm, transfer the hot chocolate to mugs. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
- I recommend using a high-quality, creamy oat milk. However, you can use any type of plant-based milk.
- Increase the sweetener, as needed, if you like your hot chocolate extra sweet.
- The nutrition information below reflects the use of oat milk without toppings.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 197
- Sugar: 22g
- Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 29g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 2g
Keywords: vegan hot chocolate, vegan hot cocoa
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