Healthy Hot Chocolate

This healthy hot chocolate recipe is the perfect cold weather treat! It's totally vegan and dairy-free, but it's still rich, chocolatey, and delicious.

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Lately, Jack and I have been guzzling mugs of this healthy hot chocolate for breakfast. If you’re thinking, “Hot chocolate for breakfast?!”, you have to hear me out. This healthy hot chocolate recipe is a far cry from the Swiss Miss hot cocoa I drank as a kid. It’s naturally sweetened, and nutrient-rich cacao powder takes the place of processed cocoa. Plus, I make it with almond milk, so it’s totally vegan and dairy-free. Fair game for breakfast? 100% yes.

Now, if you think “healthy” is code for “watery” or “bland,” think again. This healthier hot chocolate is rich, creamy, and comforting. For me, it’s an energizing way to start the day, and it’s so delicious that I’m always excited to jump out of bed to make it. Of course, it’s also a great dessert or afternoon treat. Enjoy it on its own, or pair it with a cookie or any baked good you like.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe Ingredients

You only need a few ingredients to make this healthy hot chocolate recipe:

  • Raw cacao powder – The most pure form of chocolate, cacao is packed with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium. It makes this recipe rich and chocolatey, but good for you, too!
  • Maca powder – Its malty flavor adds depth to this homemade hot chocolate. But that’s not all! It has health benefits too. It’s chock-full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and it’s said to improve your memory.*
  • Almond milk – I use almond milk because it’s what I keep on hand, but feel free to substitute any type of milk you like. Cow’s milk, coconut milk, or my homemade oat milk would also work here.
  • Maple syrup – It sweetens this healthy hot chocolate naturally. Plus, I love the maple flavor with the malty maca and rich cacao.
  • Coconut oil – For richness and healthy fats! Don’t worry – this nourishing treat is still far lighter than hot chocolate made with whole milk and/or heavy cream.
  • Cinnamon – It adds warm depth of flavor. If you like your hot chocolate with a spicy kick, add a pinch of cayenne as well.
  • And a little bit of salt – Don’t skip it! It makes all these delicious flavors pop.

Combine these ingredients in a blender, or whisk them together by hand. Then, transfer the chocolate mixture to a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat. Taste and adjust the healthy hot chocolate. You’ll know it’s right when you can’t stop tasting spoonful after spoonful. Pour it into mugs, top it with coconut whipped cream and shaved dark chocolate, and enjoy!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe Ingredients

More Favorite Winter Treats

This healthy hot chocolate is delicious on its own, but it’s also fantastic paired with these other cozy treats:

4.8 from 27 reviews

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Prep time
Total time
This healthy hot chocolate is a delicious winter breakfast or dessert! Vegan and gluten-free.
Recipe type: Beverage, Dessert
Serves: 2
  • 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (I use Nativas Naturals)
  • 1 tablespoon maca powder (I use Essential Living Foods)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Tiny pinch of sea salt
Optional toppings:
  • Coconut whip** (see homemade instructions below)
  • Shaved dark chocolate
  1. In a blender, mix the almond milk, cacao powder, maca, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. (You can also whisk this together by hand). Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Taste and adjust the sweetness if desired. If it's too thick, add a little more almond milk.
  2. Serve with coconut whip and shaved dark chocolate, both optional.
** Homemade Coconut Whip:
solids from 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
⅓ cup powdered sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract

Make the coconut whip by combining the ingredients in a mixer and mix until whipped and fluffy. Note: some cans of coconut milk are duds - meaning that the solids and the water do not separate and the whip cream will not whip. I've had the best luck using Whole Foods 365 brand full-fat canned coconut milk.

*I’m not a nutritionist, but you can google to read about the benefits of cacao and maca. Most sites list these same attributes.

Vegan Hot Chocolate


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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Nancy Paulides

    Can’t wait to make this! What do you recommend as a substitute for Maca powder.
    Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I hope you enjoy!

  2. Jake

    I’ve been drinking this for some years now, try the cacao butter make a much more creamy drink. I believe when cacao is processed into powder the fats of the bean are removed along with some of the benefits.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’ll have to give that a try!

  3. Arwen

    No almond milk on hand so threw everything else in the vitamix with some soaked cashews, extra water and some coconut. Blends up just hot enough to enjoy immediately! A bit rich for my taste, but a great base to fool around with, wonderful consistency and everyone else absolutely loved it!

  4. Brett

    This looks great! Can’t wait to make it later today. Two questions for you: Could I just pop this mixture into a mug and microwave it to save the step of using the saucepan every morning? Additionally, how do you think this would keep if I premixed it, refrigerated it in mason jars, and then took them out in the mornings to heat up? Considering making 2 or 3 days worth at a time.

    Thanks again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Brett, I think the microwave would be fine, just whisk well to make sure there are no lumps from the powders (or sift them first). I think the pre-mixed jars would be fine if you have a tight fitting lids so that you can shake them well before pouring.

  5. Elisa

    I am allergic to coconut, thus coconut oil. Can it be made without or with a substitution?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Elisa, you can leave it out!

  6. David Bowie from

    Great! I just finished it last night and the result was unexpected, my wife and daughter both liked it, which made me happy. Thanks for your recipe

  7. Kathy @ Merriment Design

    Delicious! I made it for my kids – left out the maca and used oat milk and they never knew it wasn’t dairy. Thanks!

  8. Hemma

    Thankyou so much, this hot cacao has been a game changer. So nourishing and yet so comforting and delicious. My new favourite 4pm drink 🙂

  9. Elizabeth

    This was wonderful! Not overly sweet and didn’t leave me feeling sick like hot cocoa usually does. I used coconut milk instead of almond milk and it was very coconut-y which I loved! Cannot recommend this recipe enough 🙂

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.