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. Amna

    This is the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.

  2. Alex

    Could u heat this in microwave? Instead of stovetop?

  3. Scooby

    Lovely recipe however I was once told that cooking Maca strips it of its nutritional value.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I also like to use scoops of maca in my smoothies.

  4. Mary Ann

    If I leave the maca powder out, should I add something in its place?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Mary Ann, you can just skip it!

  5. Gaudy

    This was surprisingly good! Maca has a tendency of making my tummy feel a little sick but I do benefit from consuming it as it gives me more energy. I actually try to stop myself from even smelling the maca and drink it quickly. Anyhow, this really masks the maca taste!! And smooths out the strong cacao taste. Maple syrup makes it sweet enough and you can definitely adjust it. But this was perfect 👌 thanks for putting this recipe together. I was so excited to try it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Gaudy, I’m so glad you loved the hot chocolate!

  6. Marina Mel-Rinaldi Carroll

    Ah!!!! I am going to make it right now! Thanks for the recipe


  7. Brooke

    This cocoa is fantastic!! I love maca and what it does for my health, and I normally put it in my smoothies but it’s just been too cold for that. However, everything else that I’ve tried it in has been terrible! I can stomach it if I need to, but I prefer to enjoy my food when possible lol.

    So, I found this recipe and tried it today with a few adjustments (according to my personal preferences). First, I used less than 2 cups almond milk. I omitted the oil and instead added maybe 1/2 cup of leftover coconut milk that I had in the fridge. I was out of cacao so I used regular cocoa powder, and I added a couple extra tablespoons because I like my cocoa super thick and rich. I also added extra salt to enhance the sweetness a bit more. I’m always trying to reduce added sweeteners, so I tried it with only a tablespoon of maple syrup and it was good, but I added a teaspoon more. The result: a super rich, decadent, and beneficial cup of cocoa. Yum!

    Thanks so much for this recipe!! My new favorite way to include maca in my diet.

  8. Bernadette

    We have used this recipe the last few years and my children and husband LOVE it! It’s rich and delectable! I feel good about making them cocoa.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Bernadette, I’m so happy it’s become a staple in your house!

  9. Jenny

    All the stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  10. Jenny

    This was delicious, thank you for sharing!
    I added a dash of coconut extract, and a dash of almond extract (and a splash of amaretto in my cup.)

  11. Jessica

    I just finished my mug and must let you know this recipe was DELICIOUS! I only used 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk. Keeping this recipe FOR SURE.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jessica, I’m so glad you loved it!

  12. Anna

    This is cool! I love this recipe. I will try this out for my kids and husband. Wil be back with feedback. Thanks a lot!

  13. Leslie

    I forgot the cinnamon but it was still DeLICOUS!!

  14. joanne

    I was searching for a healthy hot chocolate recipe and came across yours. Can I substitute raw cacao butter for the coconut oil? I think it also might have some nutritional benefits as well as making the drink a little richer tasting.. Thanks for the recipe!

  15. yvette from

    Oh my gosh, this looks so wonderful! I just included a reference link to your page and this recipe in my own blog post about chocolate. I hope that’s okay!! Thanks!

  16. Kevin

    Ok, so I may drift away from the health a little, but for a party it may be nice to ‘spike’ a healthy drink. Being that this has maple syrup, it may be the perfect place to substitute with a little maple syrup whiskey?! Any thoughts? Lol.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m for that! 🙂

      • Kevin

        So an update. I was a Christmas party hit! Your recipe with a touch (or more 😉 of organic maple liqueur!!! Awesome! Thanks again!

        • Kevin

          Sorry forgot to rate!!! 👍

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          so happy to hear that!!

  17. Jennifer

    I was wondering why you added coconut oil. Does it give it a different taste or consistency??

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      It makes it richer – you can skip it if you want!

  18. Alexia Rios

    Wow!This is the Best hot cocoa I’ve ever had! The consistency is slightly thicker, I hate watery cocoa. This is perfect, the health boost is an added benefit. Only change I made was using coconut milk (non canned) instead of almond milk and a few drops of vanilla extract.

  19. Jake from

    MMmmmm! Looks so yummy! Love the coconut.

  20. Mintphongphaka

    Wow! The hot chocolate looks amazing and effortless to make. Even though the ingredients are very simple, it fills with nutrients that will benefit my body. I will definitely try out this recipe!
    Thank you for this post 🙂

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.