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Vegan Hot Chocolate (With VIDEO!)

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Looking for Vegan Hot Chocolate? This paleo or vegan hot cocoa is a healthier take on a cozy classic. Naturally sweetened, dairy free, and downright delicious!

Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate topped with coconut whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

The weather is chilly, and I’m craving all kinds of warm, cozy dishes. Soups, stews, and plenty of hot chocolate are all at the top of the list. It can be so hard to find a good dairy free hot chocolate, and I’ve been testing recipes for the last few months to come up with a version I love.

This paleo or vegan hot chocolate recipe is IT. It’s chocolatey and rich without being too heavy, and uses better-for-you ingredients. I love that you can toss everything into the blender to grind it and store it in an airtight container for at least 1 month at room temperature (more like 2 months in the refrigerator).

It’s perfect for gift-giving, or making a quick cup on a chilly day. Let’s make some!

Overhead view of a jar of dry vegan hot chocolate mix with ribbons, marshmallows, and peppermint sticks.
Pouring almond milk over dry vegan hot chocolate mix in a white mug.


DAIRY FREE CHOCOLATE CHIPS. I struck a really tasty balance of hot cocoa vs hot chocolate by combing a bit of each in this recipe. You’ll grind down the chocolate chips so they melt REALLY easily when combined with warm milk. These and these are my two favorite brands of dairy free chocolate chips. (You can also use stevia-sweetened chocolate chips or a lower sugar dark chocolate bar.)

UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER. I love the depth of unsweetened cocoa powder and love that it’s so easy to keep on hand. It keeps this vegan hot chocolate from being *too* decadent.

NATURAL SWEETENER. Other than the sugar in the chocolate chips, the only sweetener I add to this vegan hot cocoa mix is coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is scores lower on the glycemic index, which means it won’t impact your blood sugar as quickly as white sugar. When I’m just making this for myself, I add less sugar since I like it a little darker and richer, but the amount listed below is perfect for the rest of my family and is great for gift giving. (Need a different option? Check out the FAQ below!)

VANILLA POWDER, VANILLA BEAN OR VANILLA EXTRACT. If you can find it, vanilla powder is a great addition to this recipe. I love that it’s a really fresh, concentrated vanilla flavor (made from ground vanilla beans). But, it’s not always easy to find or budget-friendly. In this case, you can scrape out the seeds of a vanilla bean or add a few drops of vanilla extract when you’re mixing the hot cocoa mix with milk.

DAIRY FREE MILK. You definitely want to mix up your vegan hot chocolate with milk not water. The mix distributes better and tastes better with milk. Pinky promise. You can use whatever you drink–almond, oat, cashew, etc. (Not dairy free? You can make it with dairy milk!)

Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate in a white mug on a white doily plate.
Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate topped with coconut whipped cream and shaved chocolate.


The other thing I LOVE is that I can do so much to change up the flavors in this vegan hot chocolate mix to mimic my favorite store-bought varieties. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • ORANGE: add a tiny bit of orange zest to your mix (a little goes a long way, so start small and more as desired).
  • ALMOND/AMARETTO: try adding a 1-2 drops of almond extract per serving
  • PEPPERMING: Add 1 drop of food grade peppermint essential oil to your mix, or a few drops of peppermint extract to your cup.
  • SALTED CARAMEL: Add a drizzle of vegan caramel and a pinch of salt to your cup.
  • DARK CHOCOLATE: Either use less sugar (my preference), or substitute dark chocolate for the semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE: add 1 tsp cinnamon to your dry mix or a pinch to each cup.

I love topping ours with marshmallows (these ones and Trader Joe’s are vegan), a little coconut whipped cream (homemade or store-bought),  crushed candy canes (these ones are dye free!), natural peppermint sticks (I find them at World Market or Sprouts), or a little grated chocolate.

I hope this vegan hot chocolate brings as much chocolatey joy to your family as it has ours!

Close up overhead view of vegan hot chocolate topped with coconut whipped cream and shaved chocolate.


CAN I USE A DIFFERENT KIND OF SUGAR? You can use white sugar or raw turbinado sugar instead of coconut sugar in your vegan hot cocoa, but do know this will taste sweeter if you do. Just something to keep in mind!

HOW LONG WILL THIS VEGAN HOT CHOCOLATE MIX KEEP? In an airtight jar or container, this vegan hot chocolate mix will stay good for about 1 month unrefrigerated and about 2 months refrigerated.

WHAT KIND OF MILK CAN I USE FOR VEGAN HOT CHOCOLATE? You can use any kind you like! I’ve tried it in almond, cashew, and coconut milk. I prefer almond or cashew because the flavor is more neutral, but use what you like. I feel confident that you could add it to soy, rice, oat, or dairy milk without any trouble, depending on your dietary needs.

HOW DO I MAKE 1 SERVING? Simple! Add 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons of the dry mix and combine with 8-10oz of milk. Heat (on the stove or in the microwave) and stir or whisk until completely dissolved and melted. Then, top with your favorite toppings!

PSST! PALEO? TRY THIS! For my non-vegan friends, I love adding a bit of collagen powder for added protein. You can’t taste it and it’s the best tasting “protein drink” I’ve ever had!

IF I’M MAKING THIS FOR MY FAMILY… I’ll make a half batch, add the milk right to the blender and puree it all together. You can easily double, triple, or quadruple this recipe for gift giving, or so you have a batch on hand at all times (basically an essential in the cold months).

Front view of vegan hot chocolate topped with coconut whipped cream and shaved chocolate.



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Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate in a white mug with coconut whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Paleo or Vegan Hot Chocolate

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  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 810 servings 1x


This dairy free hot chocolate makes the coziest cup of cocoa! It’s vegan as is, but for paleo and non-vegan friends, try adding a little bit of collagen for added protein. It’s the best-tasting “protein drink” you’ll ever have!


  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or 3oz chocolate)
  • 1/31/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder, 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract (see instructions below)


  1. Place chocolate chips, coconut sugar, and cocoa powder into a blender or food processor.
  2. If using vanilla powder, add to the blender. (Or, scrape out the seeds of 1 vanilla bean or add 1 tsp. vanilla extract to the blender)
  3. Puree until mixture is a fine powder. Store dry mix in an airtight container or jar up to 1 month at room temperature or 2 months in the refrigerator.

To prepare a serving:

  1. For a single serving, combine 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons dry mix with 8-10oz milk (I prefer cashew or almond). If using vanilla extract, add 2-3 drops per serving.
  2. Heat on the stovetop in a saucepan or in a mug in the microwave until heated through. Stir or whisk until chocolate is completely melted and combined.
  3. Top with marshmallows, coconut whipped cream, or grated chocolate!
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Drinks, Beverages, Dessert
  • Method: Stovetop, Blender
  • Cuisine: American
Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate in a white mug with coconut whipped cream and grated chocolate. Text reads "The Best Vegan Hot Chocolate (Perfect for Gifting!)"
Overhead view of vegan hot chocolate in a white mug with coconut whipped cream and grated chocolate and an overhead view of the dry hot cocoa mix. Text reads "The Best Vegan Hot Chocolate (Perfect for Gifting!)"


    1. Brenda – I don’t have nutrition facts available on my site yet (hopefully soon!), but you’re welcome to plug the ingredients into any free online calculator. MyFitnessPal is one of my favorites (the free app or the site). Happy Holidays!

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