This rich and creamy dairy-free hot chocolate is made with simple ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to make. Mix together your favorite dairy-free milk with cocoa powder, melted chocolate, sweetener, and vanilla, and enjoy a cozy mug all winter long.
I love making my own hot chocolate because I know EXACTLY what goes in it. In fact,
I love making my own hot chocolate because it's such an easy recipe and I know exactly what goes into it. In fact, this recipe is paleo-friendly, making it refined sugar-free, and gluten-free. And I love that this dairy-free hot chocolate recipe only takes only a few minutes to make. You will look forward to making this sweet treat with a dollop of coconut whipped cream at the end of a cold day!
Why You'll Love This Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
- Naturally dairy-free, gluten-free and refined-sugar free.
- Kids love it!
- Comes together in under 10 minutes.
- Gauranteed to make you feel warm and cozy inside.
Does Hot Chocolate Have Dairy?
Hot chocolate, especially hot cocoa mixes, contain dairy because the mixes themselves have milk powder and they're often made with some sort of cow's milk, most commonly whole milk. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy a mug of hot chocolate if you follow a special diet (like paleo), have a dairy allergy, or choose to avoid animal products. We love to make our own with a combination of rich coconut milk and plant-based milk.
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients in this homemade hot chocolate. Most are pantry staples you probably have on hand right now! Skip down to the printable recipe card below for the full recipe and exact measurements.
- Full fat canned coconut milk: this is what gives the hot chocolate such a thick and creamy texture. It's similar in consistency to heavy creamy, but it's dairy free (part of what makes this a great vegan hot chocolate!) I don't like when a recipe calls for only part of the can so I started with the full can and based the rest of the ratios off that.
- Unsweetened milk: some of my favorites are oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk or cashew. All work great in this recipe and help thin out the coconut milk.
- Dark chocolate: You could use a dark chocolate bar or 3 ounces of dark chocolate chips. I like to use Lily's Dark chocolate because it's sweetened with Stevia. This gives the healthy hot chocolate a deep, rich flavor.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: the combo of dark chocolate and cocoa powder is what really makes this so rich and chocolatey.
- Sea salt: this might seem odd, but who doesn't love chocolate and sea salt? Salt's job in any recipe is to bring out the flavors and that's what it does here!
- Pure maple syrup: sweeten it naturally with pure maple syrup. I like 2 tablespoons, but if you want it sweeter you could add one more.
- Pure vanilla extract: what isn't better with vanilla? This adds another dimension of flavor.
- Almond extract: there's just barely enough almond extract in this to make people notice. It isn't overpowering at all but it will make people ask, "what's in this recipe?!"
How to Make Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
This is an overview with a step-by-step video on how to make dairy-free hot chocolate. Full printable instructions are in the recipe card below.
Pour the coconut milk and dairy-free milk into a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk together until combined and the coconut cream is thinned out.
Once it’s warm, add the chopped dark chocolate, cocoa powder, pure maple syrup, and salt and whisk together until melted and no clumps remain. Bring it to a light boil then remove it from the heat and add the vanilla and almond extract.
Carefully taste it and add more maple syrup if you want it sweeter.
Pour yourself a big mug and enjoy with whipped cream or marshmallows. Keep reading for a few more serving suggestions!
- Keto hot chocolate: swap out the maple syrup for 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite low carb sweetener, like stevia or monk fruit and swap out the dark chocolate baking bar for 1 more tablespoon of cocoa powder. Carbs in one serving: 4 g
- Peppermint: Add ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract and serve with crushed peppermint candy.
- Mexican hot chocolate: add ⅛ teaspoon of chili powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Peanut butter hot chocolate: add 1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter or PB2.
- Irish: add a splash of dairy free Bailey's Irish cream before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to store bought, SwissMiss recently released a dairy-free hot chocolate mix you can mix with hot water or add to your favorite dairy-free milk and enjoy quickly. I've seen them at Target! I've also seen a few recipes where you blend equal parts dairy-free chocolate chips and cocoa powder with 1.5x the powdered sugar in a food processor! All you have to do is mix it with hot milk (dairy-free, of course).
Coconut milk is definitely the best for dairy-free hot chocolate thanks to its rich and creamy texture. We like to pair it with other non-dairy milk, like almond, coconut or cashew milk.
This smooth and creamy hot chocolate is so good on it's own, but add some fun toppings to make it even more fun and festive:
- Whipped cream: I like the dairy free almond milk whipped cream or make your own coconut whipped cream.
- Mini marshmallows:marshmallows were made for hot chocolate! If you wan't a vegan version, check out Dandie's vegan marshmallows.
- Shaved chocolate: use a potato peeler to shave the side of a chocolate bar over the top of the mallows.
- Chopped peppermint bark: if it's the holidays (or not!) and you're feeling festive, give it a try!
- Candy cane: the candy cane starts to melt in the healthy hot chocolate and gives this cozy drink the best flavor.
- Holiday sprinkles: add some festive color on top of the whipped cream with your favorite red and green sprinkles.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Dairy-Free Drinks
- Starbucks pink drink
- Pumpkin cream cold brew
- Iced pumpkin spice latte
- Dairy-free eggnog
- Copycat Starbucks dragon drink
- Peanut butter hot chocolate
Easy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can full fat coconut milk shaken
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened dairy free milk
- 3 ounces dark chocolate bar chopped (I like Lily’s chocolate)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (plus more if you want it sweeter)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract optional
- Heat the coconut milk and dairy free milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Once it’s warm, add the chopped dark chocolate, cocoa powder, pure maple syrup and salt and whisk together until melted and combined. Bring to a light boil then remove from the pot the heat and add the vanilla and almond extract.
- Carefully taste it and add more maple syrup if you want it sweeter. Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows. See the recipe post above for more topping ideas.