Get cozy with a hot mug of homemade Healthy Hot Chocolate. This creamy and chocolatey drink has a dairy-free option and is the ultimate hot cocoa drink for a cold day. Everyone loves this hot cocoa recipe!

a cup of healthy hot cocoa with coconut whipped cream.

Once the weather gets chilly, a homemade hot chocolate is a welcome treat. With just five simple ingredients, you’re only 10 minutes away from this creamy chocolate drink.

I used oat milk to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate, but you can use whatever type of milk you like, including dairy milk.

Simply simmer all of the ingredients together and then enjoy warm with whipped cream.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • This healthy hot chocolate is not heavy but just as indulgent as versions made with whole milk. It’s also a whole lot healthier than using packaged and processed hot cocoa packets or any hot chocolate mix. There’s nothing like homemade.
  • This version is sweetened with maple syrup as opposed to refined sugar. Even though hot cocoa is a sweet treat doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. While maple syrup still contains plenty of sugar, it’s full of antioxidants and nutrients as well.
  • You can whip it up in 10 minutes. Everyone loves this healthy hot chocolate recipe!

Key Ingredients

ingredients for oat milk hot chocolate.

Plant milk – Any plant-based milk will work in this recipe, but oat milk has a thick and creamy texture. Feel free to use your favorite option including unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, coconut beverage, or even full-fat coconut milk. You can also use regular milk if you don’t need to avoid dairy.

Cocoa powder – If you prefer a milk chocolate flavor use regular unsweetened cocoa powder. If you like a darker and richer chocolate flavor use Dutch-processed cocoa. You can also use raw cacao powder too for the ultimate in dark chocolate flavor.

Maple syrup – If you don’t have pure maple syrup you can also use regular sugar, coconut sugar, or brown sugar. Maple syrup is great because it doesn’t need to dissolve since it’s already a liquid and it’s full of antioxidants. It’s also less refined than cane sugar.

Vanilla – Vanilla extract enhances the flavor of the chocolate. Don’t worry if you don’t have any though. It will still taste delicious without it.

Sea salt – A small amount of salt doesn’t make this drink salty but just makes it taste better! Just add a very small pinch of salt.

Recipe Steps

how to make healthy hot chocolate.

Step One

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, pour in the milk. Again, you can use whatever type of milk you like, including cow’s milk or even goat’s milk. It really just depends on what type of milk you and your family likes the most.

Vegans should stick with dairy-free milk.

As always, please do see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Two

Whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt.

Step Three

Let the hot cocoa come to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Serve the hot chocolate immediately.

Step Four

Top with whipped cream and enjoy. If you want to keep this hot drink dairy-free, just use a dairy-free whipped cream option like rice whipped cream or coconut whipped cream. See my article that answers the question, “are marshmallows dairy-free?”

You can also add vegan marshmallows if you prefer.

mug of healthy hot chocolate with a spoonful of whipped cream.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • If your plant milk is already sweetened, then leave out the maple syrup.
  • You can use either prepared or homemade oat milk for this recipe. You can also use regular dairy milk if you aren’t on a vegan or dairy-free diet.
  • Look for prepared coconut or rice milk whipped cream in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores. Or, if you aren’t dairy-free, you can use regular whipped cream.
  • If you don’t have maple syrup you can also use white or brown sugar in its place. It will need to dissolve as it simmers though. Skip the artificial sweeteners or use one of these best sugar substitutes if you need to keep the sugar content low.
  • Want a peppermint version? Add a few drops of peppermint extract after you’ve heated the other ingredients. Stir and serve.

Recipe FAQs

What toppings can I add?

Toppings are half the fun of a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Whipped cream or marshmallows are always delicious but you can also add sprinkles, crushed peppermints, chocolate syrup or shavings, toffee bits, caramel sauce, sea salt, or crushed up cookies!

Can I make hot chocolate ahead of time?

Yes! Prepare the hot cocoa as directed than refrigerate in a glass jar or container. You can reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Does hot chocolate have caffeine in it?

Yes, cocoa powder does contain caffeine which means so does hot chocolate. Each tablespoon of cocoa powder has about 12 mg of caffeine.

Can I use a melted chocolate bar or chocolate chips to make this recipe?

This recipe uses cocoa powder instead of a chocolate bar which helps reduce the calories and fat content. So, I recommend using cocoa powder or cacao powder instead of a chocolate bar or chocolate chips.

two mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream.

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

And, consider following me on social media so we can stay connected. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
oat milk hot chocolate on a table

Healthy Hot Chocolate (Dairy-Free)

Get cozy with a hot mug of homemade Healthy Hot Chocolate. This creamy and chocolatey drink has a dairy-free option and is the ultimate hot cocoa drink for a cold day. Everyone loves this hot cocoa recipe!

  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups unsweetened oat milk (or your choice of plant milk or dairy milk; see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Coconut whipped cream (optional, for serving)

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, pour in the plant milk.
  2. Whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt.
  3. Let the mixture come to a simmer, then turn off the heat and serve the hot chocolate immediately.
  4. Feel free to top your mug of hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream.

Notes

  1. If your plant milk is already sweetened, then leave out the maple syrup.
  2. You can use either prepared or homemade oat milk for this recipe. You can also use regular dairy milk if you aren’t on a vegan or dairy-free diet.
  3. Look for prepared coconut or rice milk whipped cream in the refrigerator section of most grocery stores. Or, if you aren’t dairy-free, you can use regular whipped cream.
  4. If you don’t have maple syrup you can also use white or brown sugar in it’s place. It will need to dissolve as it simmers though.

Keywords: healthy hot cacao, dairy-free hot cocoa, healthy hot cocoa

Don’t forget to join the Clean Eating Kitchen newsletter. You’ll get my Clean Eating Quick Start Guide, plus links to all the latest recipes.