This simple hot chocolate only requires 3 ingredients, is sweetened with unrefined sugars, and is ready in less than 5 minutes. The perfect cozy, healthier hot chocolate to warm you up this winter.
Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is inspired by those Nestle Hot Chocolate packets of Hot Cocoa Mix that I loved as a kid. All you had to do was dump the Hot Cocoa mix in your mug, add water or milk and top with your favorite toppings!
So easy, yet so nostalgic and cozy.
As you might have guessed, Nestle’s Hot Chocolate packets are NOT vegan. But the good news is they are very easy to replicate.
I created my own super quick, non dairy hot chocolate with just 3 ingredients! You can make this drink just as quickly as you can make the pre-packaged dairy version.
Even better, this hot chocolate is far healthier than those packets and includes zero preservatives, refined sugars, oils or gums.
What You’ll Need
All you need for this recipe is three simple ingredients: coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, and cacao powder. Using the highest quality ingredients will yield the best tasting hot chocolate. Read my notes below about each ingredient to help you buy the best!
- Coconut palm sugar – This sugar is made from the nectar of coconut palm trees and is becoming more and more common in regular grocery stores. Make sure to buy an unrefined coconut sugar.
- Maple syrup – There are a couple different maple syrups you can buy and I recommend Grade A dark maple syrup. It’s the strongest, most pronounced flavor and compliments the caramel notes in the coconut sugar. I always buy maple syrup at Costco.
- Cacao powder – I prefer using cacao powder over unsweetened cocoa powder as it is less processed. Here is a great, detailed article explaining the difference between the two: What’s the difference between cocoa and cacao? It is a bit more expensive, but cacao is a much higher quality chocolate in my opinion. If you can only find cocoa powder, make sure it is unsweetened and contains no added sugars. I usually buy cacao powder at Costco but here is another popular option: Organic Cacao Powder.
Step by Step Instructions
- Add the cacao powder directly into your mug. Make sure to put this in before the liquid so it doesn’t clump!
- Add in the coconut sugar with the cacao powder.
- Add in the maple syrup.
- Optional: If you like a creamier hot chocolate, add in a few tablespoons of full fat coconut milk. This is a great substitute for the milk fat solids in the original dairy hot cocoa mixes.
- Top off with hot water and give it a really good stir. I like to do this with a mini whisk!
- At this point, taste and add additional maple syrup if desired. You can also top with soy or coconut whipped cream, a candy cane, or The Best Homemade Vegan Marshmallows but it is perfect without!
FAQs and Tips!
Yes. Almost all regular store bought hot chocolates and hot chocolates sold at coffee shops (Starbucks included!) contain dairy milk or milk fat solids.
Super simple! The best substitute for dairy milk in hot chocolate is coconut milk from a can. Like whole milk, it is higher in fat and very creamy. Add a little bit to your mug of hot chocolate to make it extra creamy!
It’s your preference! Hot chocolate made with water allows the rich chocolate flavors to be more prominent, but a hot chocolate made with coconut milk is extra creamy! I usually use just water but you can certainly use milk or a mixture of both.
Yes, but coconut sugar is noticeably less sweet than cane sugar. Coconut sugar also has nice, toasty caramel undertones that you will not get with cane sugar. If you do need to substitute cane sugar, I would start with 1 teaspoon and adjust to your preference.
I have found non dairy whipped cream at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and most large grocers. I prefer using a soy whipped cream over a coconut whipped cream as the coconut flavor in coconut whipped cream is very strong. If you cannot find a store-bought version, try these homemade options: Coconut Whipped Cream or Non-Coconut Vegan Whipped Cream.
Expert Tips for Success
- Always add the cacao powder to the mug before the liquid. If you try adding the cacao after you have already added the liquid, it is difficult to dissolve into the hot chocolate and stays clumpy.
- Occasionally stir your hot chocolate while drinking to prevent the cacao powder and sugar from sinking to the bottom.
- Quickly heat up your water with an electric kettle!
- Start by adding 8 ounces of hot water. If you find it is too rich, add up to an additional 4 ounces of water. Remember, it is easier to water it down than it is to make it richer!
Looking For More Non Dairy Holiday Drinks? Try These
- Vegan White Russian Cocktail
- Vegan Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha
- Healthy Vegan Chai Latte
- Slow Cooker Mulled Wine
Non Dairy Hot Chocolate
- Pick your favorite large mug and add cacao powder, coconut sugar, and maple syrup.
- Optional: Add 3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk for a creamier hot chocolate.
- Add in 8 ounces hot water. Stir to combine. Taste and add an additional 4 ounces of water or additional maple syrup if needed.
- Optional: Top with vegan marshmallows, non dairy whipped cream and a candy cane!
- Enjoy immediately.
- Make sure to add the cacao powder before the water to prevent the cacao from clumping up.
- You can substitute the coconut sugar with cane sugar but cane sugar is much sweeter. So add 1 teaspoon at a time, to taste. Coconut sugar is the recommended sugar though, as it has toasted caramel notes that are very nice.
- I love using an electric kettle to heat the water. Very easy.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
The kitchen tools section contains affiliate links to products I recommend and love.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.