Learn how to make the best 5-minute Vegan Hot Chocolate using just 6 ingredients! It’s rich, chocolatey, and has just the right amount of sweetness.

a woman holding onto a glass mug filled with vegan hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.

Does anything sound better than a steaming hot mug of luscious Vegan Hot Chocolate when the cold weather hits? I don’t think so!

Making hot chocolate from scratch is easy. Real chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, and milk are heated together on the stove, flavored with vanilla and a pinch of salt, then poured into mugs. The hardest part is choosing between coconut whipped cream or aquafaba whipped cream for the topping! 

Why this is the best vegan hot chocolate recipe:

  • It’s made with real chocolate: Real chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate is melted along with the other 5 easy ingredients. You can’t beat the luscious, smooth texture of a mug of hot chocolate made with real melted chocolate!
  • Better than any storebought mix: When you can find it, storebought vegan hot chocolate mix is pretty lackluster. Sure, it’s chocolatey, but is it rich and ultra-soothing? Not really. Making homemade hot chocolate is always the way to go, especially when it’s as easy as this recipe.
  • It’s ready in 5 minutes: The process is as simple as heating all of the ingredients together on the stove and then pouring it into a mug. So quick and easy!
glass mug filled with hot chocolate and whipped cream on marble plate.

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Non-dairy milk – If you want your vegan hot chocolate to taste just like Starbucks, use almond milk or any other non-dairy milk you like or have at home. Soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, and cashew milk are all great options! Unsweetened is best so you can control the sweetness. If you only have sweetened milk, reduce the sugar a bit, to taste.
  • Cocoa powder – Unsweetened natural cocoa powder or dutch processed cocoa powder will work just fine.
  • Granulated sugar – Use organic granulated sugar to ensure it’s vegan-friendly. Pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or another granulated or liquid sweetener can be used instead.
  • Chocolate chips – Chocolate chips or a chopped up dark chocolate bar are melted into the hot chocolate mix. You can also use various flavored vegan chocolate bars, such as peppermint dark chocolate or hazelnut to customize the flavor.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt – Just a tiny pinch will enhance the rich chocolate flavors and sweetness. Try not to skip it!
  • Toppings – Finish each mug of hot cocoa with coconut whipped cream, aquafaba whipped cream, vegan marshmallows, crushed peppermint candies, and/or chocolate shavings on top.
ingredients for making vegan hot chocolate with labels for ingredients.

How to make vegan hot chocolate 

Find the complete recipe with measurements below in the recipe card.

Add the almond milk, cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and chocolate chips to a saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly to help mix all of the ingredients together.

ingredients for vegan hot chocolate mixed together in a white saucepan.

Slowly, the chocolate chips will begin to melt, making the mixture smooth and creamy.

Take the pot off the heat when all of the chocolate has melted. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

At this point, taste the hot chocolate to check its sweetness. You can add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar to make it sweeter or leave it as-is.

Pour into mugs, add the toppings you love, and enjoy!

vegan hot chocolate in a white saucepan.

Customize the flavor

Customize your mug of vegan hot cocoa with any of these flavor variations:

  • Mocha – Make a mocha by adding a few shots of espresso or using half strong hot coffee and half hot chocolate.
  • Mexican hot chocolate – Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a pinch of chili powder and cayenne pepper.
  • Peppermint hot chocolate – Add a few drops of peppermint extract and top with crushed candy canes.
  • Caramel hot chocolate – Stir in a little bit of vegan caramel or salted vegan caramel (reduce sugar called for by half) and then drizzle more on top.
  • Nutella hot chocolate – Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of homemade vegan Nutella.
pouring vegan hot chocolate from a saucepan into a glass mug.

Frequently asked questions

Can vegans have hot chocolate?

Yes, as long as it isn’t made with dairy. This recipe is made with dairy free milk and chocolate, meaning it’s 100% vegan-friendly.

How sweet is this hot chocolate? Can I make it without sugar?

I like the amount of sweetness when the hot chocolate is made with 1 tablespoon of sugar, although my kids prefer it sweeter. I don’t recommend making it without sugar because sweetness is so important for balance. Instead, you can use a natural sweetener, like maple syrup.

How do you serve a large amount of hot chocolate?

Simply double or triple the recipe. A great party trick is to pour the vegan hot chocolate mix into a crockpot and keep it on low heat throughout the evening. Keep a ladle, mugs, and fun toppings on the side for your guests to help themselves!

vegan hot chocolate in a glass mug with whipped cream on top.

Want more comforting vegan drinks?

Get cozy with a glass full of any of these comforting cold-weather drinks:

a woman holding onto a glass mug filled with vegan hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.
5 stars (14 ratings)

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Learn how to make the best 5-minute Vegan Hot Chocolate using just 6 ingredients! It’s rich, chocolatey, and has just the right amount of sweetness.
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 2 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate bar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • coconut whip cream, vegan marshmallows, chocolate shavings (optional, for topping)

Instructions 

  • In a medium pot, add the almond milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon of sugar and chocolate chips. 
  • Turn the heat to medium, and whisk to combine as it warms. The chocolate chips will slowly melt and it will become smooth and creamy. Do NOT bring the mixture to a boil, just heat and whisk until it’s warm and smooth, then remove from heat.
  • Stir in the vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt. Taste for sweetness; add 2 more tablespoons for a sweeter drink (my kids prefer it sweeter, while I like it less sweet). 
  • Pour into mugs and top with coconut whip, aquafaba whip or vegan marshmallows, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. I prefer almond milk for this recipe, but any non-dairy milk will work: soy, coconut or cashew are all good choices. Just use unsweetened and unflavored or it will make your hot chocolate too sweet!
  2. Use organic sugar to ensure vegan. May also use pure maple syrup or another sweetener, if desired.
  3. Chocolate chips or a chopped up dark chocolate bar will work for this recipe. Just read the ingredients to ensure there’s no milk. You can also use various flavored vegan chocolate bars, such as peppermint dark chocolate, hazelnut, etc. for variation. My favorite brand is Theo. To make the hot chocolate less rich, simply add less chocolate.
  4. You can find non-dairy whip cream in all sorts of stores today! My favorite is So Delicious Coco Whip. Or make your own. Trader Joes sometimes has vegan marshmallows.
  5. This recipe is easy to double, or even triple for a crowd. 
  6. Try adding a few drops of peppermint extract for Peppermint Hot Chocolate, then top with coco whip and crushed candy canes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 389mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 17g | Calcium: 338mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*This recipe was originally published December 2018 and has been updated with improved tips and writing. Thank you.

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Comments

  1. Hi Nora. If I were to use maple syrup how much would be equivalent to the granulated sugar in your recipe.

    Thanks.

    Roger

    1. Hi Roger. Use 1 tablespoon of maple syrup at first, then add another 1 to 2 tablespoons if you’d like it to taste sweeter (basically, follow the recipe instructions as normal).

  2. Would rice or Oat milk work okay?  My son is allergic to all nuts along with his dairy allergy. 

    1. Hi Caitlin! Any non-dairy milk will work- just use unsweetened and unflavored or it will make your hot chocolate too sweet! Thanks!

  3. Nora, i read, non Dutch cacao…., why  is that? Out cacao is very good….
    Greetings from the Netherlands

    1. You could use natural or dutch processed, but at least where I am in the United States dutch cocoa powder is alkaline processed and very dark. Which is fine, but it wouldn’t look the same as my cocoa pictured here. I imagine your cocoa in the Netherlands is absolutely amazing!

  4. Thanks for the recipe! Super decadent! Easy to make and a good base for other flavors. I added a candy cane and marshmallows for fun! The proportions here made it super chocolatey!! I like a milkier chocolate, so I will cut back a little on the chocolate chips and cocoa next time. I also used oat milk and it was fine, but might have made it more chocolatey.

  5. Nora-
    I would love to try your recipe, but I heard that I should use dutch processed cocoa because it is better quality. What is the reason I should not?

    1. I’ve never heard that, it just depends on the recipe. Either works here though, so use whichever you like. 🙂

  6. We made this for our Christmas Eve movie marathon and it was DELICIOUS ? We planned to make more last night, but were too stuffed on Christmas dinner (thanks to another delicious recipe of yours!!) so I have a feeling we will be making more hot chocolate today! ?

  7. I loved your recipe, wonderful flavor just in time to use my Christmas mugs. Thank you for sharing! ?☕️

  8. Delicious,! Very rich, felt like I was back in Paris! Quick and easy to make. Both kids and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you!

  9. Nora never ceases to amaze me! I was craving some creamy hot chocolate and this hit the spot perfectly! Another family favorite from you. Thank you!

  10. Drinking this now spiked with Brandy. Sooooo good! Enjoying a relaxing NYE in playing board games. Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Have you tried making this in a Vitamix on the Soup setting? I just got my Vitamix delivered and I really want to try it out.

      1. It worked! It was so smooth and frothy! I haven’t had hot cocoa in years. I’m so excited that whipping up a cup is easy.

  12. Do you have to add salt? I only ask because I can always taste the salt in other hot chocolate which keeps me from drinking it.

  13. This sounds delicious! I can’t wait to make it with my nieces. I’ve made a few of your kid-tested and approved recipes. They’re always great. I especially love the customizable references. Thank you!

  14. Absolutely delicious!!

    Nora
    I love your recipes and make many of them. Thank you for being on the front line of veganism and helping us eat healthy and humanely, while still eating yummy food. I truly appreciate it.

  15. The hot cocoa of my dreams! When I was a kid and watched people in movies drink hot cocoa, this is what I imagined they were drinking! Thank you.

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