Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Nicki Sizemore · This post may contain affiliate links

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This quick homemade hot chocolate with cacao powder is made with milk, honey, cacao powder and a touch of vanilla extract.Let me assure you that it’s nearly as easy to make as a powdered mix, but it’s even more delicious and much more nutritious. It’s a wonderful wintertime “treat” that’s really not a treat at all.[New VIDEO below!]

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (1)

Ingredients

This healthy hot chocolate is made with just milk (or coconut milk for a vegan variation, see below), cacao powder, honey or maple syrup, and vanilla.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (2)

How to make hot chocolate with raw cacao powder

The recipe is super simple. First, whisk raw cacao powder into cold milk with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt (which balances the flavors) until smooth. Whisking the cacao into the milk before heating it allows it to dissolve completely (if you add it to hot milk it can clump up). Warm the hot chocolate on the stove, and you’re DONE!

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (3)

Hot chocolate variations

Vegan hot chocolate

For a dairy-free hot chocolate, simply swap out regular milk for coconut milk. I prefer canned coconut milk (either whole-fat or low-fat) as opposed to boxed milks or almond milk because of its neutral flavor and silky texture (I find that nut milks can give the hot chocolate an off flavor, but that's subjective). To make it vegan, use maple syrup instead of honey.

Mexican hot chocolate

To put a Mexican spin on this hot chocolate, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne before heating.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (4)

How to serve hot chocolate with cacao powder

Now for the fun part. You can absolutely serve this healthy hot chocolate on its own (which is how we drink it for breakfast). However, if you want to take it over the top (and who doesn’t?) you can dress it up! The kids beg for marshmallows, but as for me, I’ll take a billowy dollop of whipped cream, or, even better, Cardamom Whipped Cream. Oh YES.

Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (5)

Tips for making homemade hot chocolate:

  • The best hot chocolate is made with cacao powder, which you can find at many grocery stores or online! Raw cacao powder is healthier and richer in chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder. However, you can use a good quality cocoa powder in its place.
  • It’s important to whisk the cacao powder into the milk before heating it up (it will take a bit of whisking to dissolve). If you add the cacao powder to hot milk it can clump up.
  • This hot cocoa is naturally sweetened with honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but you can use regular white or brown sugar instead.
  • I love this small saucepan and mini whisk for making hot chocolate, as well as for oatmeal and sauces.
  • For a vegan version, use canned coconut milk in place of the regular milk (I don’t love the flavor of nut milk in this recipe, but that’s subjective). Swap out the honey for maple syrup.
  • A pinch of salt helps to amplify all of the flavors.
  • Try this hot cacao with Cardamom Whipped Cream!

*This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links to products I use and love (from which I earn income, at no cost to you). Thank you or supporting From Scratch Fast!

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FAQs

What is raw cacao powder?

Raw cacao powdered is a less processed form of cocoa powder. The beans are dried at a low temperature before being ground (which is why they’re considered raw). The powder is therefore higher in minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. Even better, it also has a richer, deeper chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder. I use it in all my baked goods (see below for other ways to use it!).

Can you make cacao powder hot chocolate ahead?

Yes! You can refrigerate the hot chocolate and simply reheat it before serving. The chocolate will settle at the bottom, so just give it a whisk or shake before reheating (I store it in a large jar). If you prefer, you can even serve it as healthy chocolate milk.

Other cacao powder drink recipes:

  • Superfood Berry Smoothies

Baked goods that use cacao powder:

  • Healthy Chocolate Pudding from Scratch
  • No Bake Vegan Chocolate Pudding Tart
  • Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
  • Chocolate Quinoa Cake with Cacao Whipped Cream Frosting
  • Easy Chocolate Almond Cake
  • Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
  • Crepe Cake with Cacao Frosting
  • Individual Flourless Chocolate Cakes

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Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (7)

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Healthy Hot Chocolate with Cacao Powder

This quick homemade hot chocolate with cacao powder is made with milk, honey and a touch of vanilla.It's nearly as easy to make as a powdered mix, but it’s even more delicious and much more nutritious. For a vegan version, swap out the regular milk for canned coconut milk and use maple syrup or coconut sugar.

Prep Time2 minutes mins

Cook Time5 minutes mins

Total Time7 minutes mins

Course: Drinks

Cuisine: American

Keyword: healthy hot chocolate recipe, hot chocolate wtih cacao powder, vegan hot chocolate recipe

Servings: 2 people

Author: Nicki Sizemore

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk (preferably 2% or whole milk)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch sea salt

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine the milk, cacao powder, honey, vanilla and a pinch of salt (sometimes I also add a pinch of cinnamon or even cayenne, if I’m feeling racy). Whisk until smooth.

  • Place the saucepan over medium heat, and bring the milk to a simmer, whisking often. Give the hot chocolate a taste—if you prefer it sweeter whisk in a bit more honey. Serve warm.

Notes

Do Ahead: The hot chocolate can be transferred to a jar and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Shake or stir it before serving (you can drink it cold or reheat it!).

Tips:

  • The best hot chocolate is made with cacao powder, which you can find at many grocery stores or online! Raw cacao powder is healthier and richer in chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder. However, you can use a good quality cocoa powder in its place.
  • It’s important to whisk the cacao powder into the milk before heating it up (it will take a bit of whisking to dissolve). If you add the cacao powder to hot milk it can clump up.
  • This hot cocoa is naturally sweetened with honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar, but you can use regular white or brown sugar instead.
  • I love this small saucepan and mini whisk for making hot chocolate, as well as for oatmeal and sauces.
  • For a vegan version, use canned coconut milk in place of the regular milk (I don’t love the flavor of nut milk in this recipe, but that’s subjective). Swap out the honey for maple syrup.
  • A pinch of salt helps to amplify all of the flavors.
  • Try this hot cacao with Cardamom Whipped Cream!

More Gluten free

  • Easy Sausage Baked Pasta with Ricotta (One Skillet!)
  • Healthy Gluten Free Apple Honey Cake (Paleo!)
  • Gluten Free Pie Recipes (+ New Class!)

Reader Interactions

Comments

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      I’m so happy to hear!!

      Reply

  1. Kathy M says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (13)
    This is very good..... I've made it twice with soy milk. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      I'm so happy to hear!

      Reply

      • Erica says

        Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (14)
        We love this recipie and everything we make using our Oatsome Oat milk, good stuffs!

      • Nicki Sizemore says

        Thank you so much for your comment, Erica, and I'm so happy to hear you love the hot cacao!

  2. Amelia says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (15)
    We enjoyed this recipe! I might add more cocao powder next time for a richer taste. I love the cayenne and cinnamon tip 😍

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      I'm so glad you enjoyed!!

      Reply

  3. Olivia says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (16)
    Hello,
    I love this hot chocolate!
    I just wondered if you knew the calorie amount per cup?

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Hi Olivia, I'm so glad you love the hot chocolate! Unfortunately I don't have a calorie count, which will vary depending on the milk you use. I hope you have a cozy fall!

      Reply

  4. Jean says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (17)
    I love this hot chocolate drink! I use cacao in my coffee in the morning, makes it much richer. But I'm so glad I tried this hot chocolate recipe. I used honey and I used nonfat powdered milk actually and it turned out great.

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      I'm so glad you enjoyed!!

      Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Hi Jeannie, thank you for you comment, and I'm so glad you enjoyed!!

      Reply

  5. Meg says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (19)
    Very good! The cardamon whipped cream was a life changer. Real, unadulterated food is always going to be healthier despite what some commenters may say. Protein, minerals, nutrients in the FULL-FAT MILK (I used local raw milk), antioxidants, and fiber from raw cacao powder - who needs chocolate-flavored collagen peptides when they can sip on this!?

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      I'm with you all the way!! 😊

      Reply

  6. Tanya says

    I tried this recipe twice and the milk split. What am I doing wrong?

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Hi Tanya, I'm sorry to hear you're having issues! What kind of milk were you using? If you're using whole milk it definitely should not split (if it did split it could be an issue with the freshness of the milk). However, almond milk can split, which is why I don't recommend it for this cacao. Let me know!

      Reply

  7. Fi Lindsay says

    Hi. I'm not sure why you call this a healthy drink? Possibly you're not aware of the bad health implications from added sugars and saturated fats? Pretty much all nutritional advice is to keep these to a minimum as they are strongly linked to shorter life expectancy and serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes.
    If you replaced the milk in your cocoa with low fat milk or a low fat substitute ( coconut milk is high in saturated fats which have yet to be proven to be healthy) and took out the added sugars ( honey/maple syrup) then it would be healthy. Oh and the salt? Unless you have a sodium deficiency then adding salt to anything is not healthy. And really not in anyway needed in a cup of cocoa.
    For sure people may wish to sweeten their drink. But it should be with the minimum amount of sugar necessary for them to enjoy it, and with the knowledge that it isn't healthy and to be aware of guidelines for amounts of added sugars considered to be within safe limits.
    As part of a healthy, wholefood diet, then this could be fine so long as there isn't added sugars and much saturated fat in anything else consumed that day.
    But as a stand alone drink, it's pretty unhealthy.

    Reply

    • BA says

      Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (20)
      Using honey or maple syrup is healthy. And gives alternatives for sweeteners. Raw cacao has many heath benefits. Ask any nutritionist, this is a much healthier choice than regular hot chocolate!

      Reply

  8. Lala says

    Can't wait to try I am going to do oat milk I dot do dairy milk. 🙂

    Reply

    • lala says

      *don't lol

      Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Yay! I hope you enjoy!

      Reply

    • H says

      I have tried mine with water and with oat milk using dates to sweeten with pinch cinnamon and pinch chilli. Still not quite happy but tweaking

      Reply

    • Randi says

      Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (21)
      I just made it with oatmilk and added cinnamon and cayenne as I love Mexican chocolate. So yummy

      Reply

      • Nicki Sizemore says

        I love that!!

  9. Terri says

    My son brought me a block of raw cacao from Guatemala at Christmas. He's used it with macadamia butter or tahini and oat milk.This recipe is perfect, thank you.

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Hi Terri, what a wonderful gift! I'm so glad you enjoyed the cacao.

      Reply

  10. Emma says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (22)
    This reminds me of making hot chocolate when I was a kid, using the unsweetened Hershey cocoa but the cacao is much richer. I used to make a paste of a small amount of cold milk with the powder, and used a fork to mix until it was a smooth paste, then added the hot milk. It seems to incorporate the cacao faster than mixing it into the whole cup of milk. I am on a low sodium plan and try to avoid adding salt,, but this is one food that really benefits from just a few grains of sea salt, so I recommend that the salt be added, just alot less than a pinch.

    I also tried mixing the cacao and milk in a blender (for a larger batch) and that worked as well, as long as the powder is added before the milk, to avoid a cacao dust storm 🙂 I think making it ahead and storing in the refrigerator gives it a chance to marry the milk and cacao for a smoother taste. I don't added the salt/honey/vanilla til I'm ready to heat it so it can have sweetness adjusted for each person.

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Thanks so much for your comment! Sometimes I also make a big batch in the blender and heat it as needed. Great tip!

      Reply

  11. Rick Pearce says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (23)
    Best homemade hot cocoa recipe I've ever tried! Very rich, but still healthy. Perfect! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      I'm so glad you enjoyed, Rick!

      Reply

  12. Shey says

    Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (24)
    This recipe is amazing. I do not like the fat from adding dark chocolate and this was perfect for me.

    Reply

    • Nicki Sizemore says

      Hi Shey, thank you for your comment, and I'm so glad you enjoyed!

      Reply

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Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe | From Scratch Fast (2024)

FAQs

How to make chocolate from scratch? ›

Instructions
  1. Roast cocoa beans to 130c for about 25-35 minutes.
  2. Cool your beans for 6 hours.
  3. Crack and winnow.
  4. Place 700 grams of cocoa nibs in grinder and grind 24 hours. ( pre heat grinder or add some hot air)
  5. Add 300 grams of sugar after 24 hours.
  6. Grind for another 24 hours.
  7. Remove from machine, through a sieve.
Sep 1, 2020

What's better hot chocolate with milk or water? ›

Although hot chocolate doesn't necessarily need an even more creamy, decadent taste, using milk certainly enriches the experience. We suspect that milk adds a creamier taste than water alone, and when combined with the notes of chocolate, the smooth undertones of the milk simply add a delicious backdrop.

Is whole milk or 2 better for hot chocolate? ›

Any kind you like. I usually stick with 2% milk to try and make my cocoa healthy… ish, like this Healthy Hot Chocolate, (and milk has protein and calcium after all!). If you prefer whole milk for more creaminess, be my guest!

How to make hot chocolate better? ›

The 15 Best Things To Add To Hot Chocolate
  1. Sprinkle in warm spices. Take inspiration from the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate, and add warm spices like cinnamon, cayenne, and chile powder to your hot chocolate for a delightfully spicy drink. ...
  2. Mix in Nutella. ...
  3. Spike it. ...
  4. Swap regular sugar for maple syrup. ...
  5. Add a rim.
Dec 4, 2023

What is real hot chocolate made of? ›

Hot chocolate, also known as hot cocoa or drinking chocolate, is a heated drink consisting of shaved or melted chocolate or cocoa powder, heated milk or water, and usually a sweetener. It is often garnished with whipped cream or marshmallows.

How to make a chocolate step by step? ›

For ease, I have broken down each step and expanded on what is involved at each stage.
  1. Growing the Cacao.
  2. Harvesting of the Cacao.
  3. Fermentation of the Cacao.
  4. Drying the Cacao.
  5. Roasting the beans.
  6. Winnowing the beans.
  7. Grinding (making the chocolate liquor)
  8. Tempering the Chocolate.
Feb 16, 2023

What are the 4 steps of making chocolate? ›

There are a number of steps to making chocolate: sorting the beans, roasting them, cracking and winnowing them, grinding the beans into a thick liquid and adding sugar, and tempering the final product.

What is difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? ›

Hot Chocolate is made using solid chocolate melted in warm milk or cream. Hot Cocoa, however, is made from a powdered base of cocoa with added sugar and dissolved in hot water or hot milk.

What can I use instead of milk in hot chocolate? ›

Here are some of our personal favourites:
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk. “It's not overpowering so you can taste the hot chocolate”
  • Coconut Milk. “Just that little bit sweeter”
  • Almond Milk. “Tastes delicious…”

Is hot chocolate good for you? ›

Hot chocolate has been associated with improved mood and reduced stress levels due to its high cocoa content. The flavanols in cocoa have been linked to increased levels of serotonin, which helps to regulate mood and reduce anxiety. Additionally, theobromine in cocoa can help to reduce fatigue and improve alertness.

What milk makes the best hot chocolate? ›

Using milk instead of water, makes this hot chocolate extra creamy and flavorful. I prefer whole milk or 2% milk, but you can choose any milk that you choose (I've even used unsweetened almond milk).

What is the best type of hot chocolate? ›

We'd be remiss not to include Swiss Miss in our taste test because when it comes to hot chocolate mix, it's by far the most well-loved. Swiss Miss makes a variety of flavors of powdered hot chocolate mix from seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice to mix made with unicorn-shaped marshmallows.

What's the best milk to make hot chocolate with? ›

The best type of milk for making hot chocolate is whole milk. This is because the higher fat content in whole milk creates a creamier and richer hot chocolate. However, if you are looking for a healthier option, almond milk or oat milk can also work well as they add a subtle nutty or oaty flavor to the hot chocolate.

What is the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? ›

Hot Chocolate is made using solid chocolate melted in warm milk or cream. Hot Cocoa, however, is made from a powdered base of cocoa with added sugar and dissolved in hot water or hot milk.

Is hot chocolate just milk and chocolate? ›

Good-quality milk or dark (or even white!) chocolate is chopped finely or shaved so that it melts quickly when combined with hot water, milk, or even cream. It can also contain flavoring like vanilla, but usually doesn't have added sugar, as there is already sugar in the chocolate.

What makes hot chocolate taste like hot chocolate? ›

Cocoa butter (a key ingredient in chocolate) adds fat and richness to the resulting drink, and the lack of it in cocoa powder is one of the key reasons hot cocoa doesn't have the same level of richness as hot chocolate and has a thinner consistency.

Is hot chocolate just chocolate milk but hot? ›

Essentially, yes. Hot chocolate can be a mix of cane sugar, cocoa powder, and/or melted chocolate. Chocolate milk can also be made up of the same ingredients. Chocolate milk is known to be a little sweeter and hot chocolate is known to be a little richer.

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