How to Make Vegan Hot Chocolate (and Tips for Buying Premade Mixes)

By Ashley Ess in Healthy Feeling

When it comes to cold, winter months, nothing says coziness and warmth like a cup of hot chocolate. But what if you're a vegan with hot chocolate cravings? Can you purchase the premade mixes at the store? Never fear. With the following tips, you'll know what to look for and what to avoid on product labels. You'll also learn how to make vegan hot chocolate right in the comfort of your own home. Curl up by the fire and get your favorite mug ready!

What to Look for (and Avoid) When Purchasing Hot Chocolate Mixes

Is hot chocolate vegan? Making hot cocoa vegan requires more than simply replacing the milk with a non-dairy alternative. Many hot chocolate formulas contain whey, a milk protein, in addition to dry milk. Look for mixes that contain minimal ingredients to avoid cross-contamination of milk products.

Hot chocolates that contain less sugar are not only healthier, but allow you more control over any additional ingredients you may want to add, like vegan marshmallows or sweetened coconut milk.

Chopped chocolate pieces

How to Make Vegan Hot Chocolate

If you're aiming to nix the mix altogether, making your own vegan hot chocolate at home is simpler than you might think. A bonus of homemade recipes is that you'll avoid throwing all those tiny packets in the wastebasket and, ultimately, the landfill.

There is more than one way to make vegan hot chocolate. You can melt vegan chocolate bars or chips for your base. Alternatively, you may purchase vegan cocoa or cacao powder. The beauty of making your own is that you have full control over all the ingredients, so you can make it as healthy or decadent as you like.

For powder-free hot chocolate, here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups dairy-free milk
  • ½ cup dark or other vegan chocolate (chopped or chips)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Heat the milk in a saucepan until warm, then add the chocolate and sugar. Whisk until completely melted, pour it into cups, and enjoy.

If you prefer to use cocoa powder, grab these ingredients:

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 cups dairy-free milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. Bring the heat up to medium, constantly whisking. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Once it's all smooth, pour into cups and enjoy.

Woman pouring hot chocolate from a saucepan into a cup

Milk and Flavor Choices

Choosing your non-dairy milk can be a daunting choice if you don't already have a favorite. If you love creamy hot chocolate, your best bets would be lite culinary coconut milk (which doesn't have the coconut flavor of the full-fat version) or cashew milk. Soy and homemade nut milks also work well.

There are many natural sweetener options for your hot cocoa, such as pure cane sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and stevia drops.

To top off your delicious cup of hot chocolate, add vegan marshmallows or a dollop of vegan whipped cream or sweetened coconut cream. For added flavor, add a bit of orange zest, peppermint extract, cinnamon, or pumpkin spice.

What's your favorite vegan hot chocolate recipe? Share it with us on Twitter!

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Why It's Good

When craving hot chocolate this winter, rest assured that you can quickly whip up a batch of vegan hot chocolate in the flavor of your choice. Using your own homemade recipe grants you complete control over the ingredients and reduces waste.