Vegan Life > Recipes > Beverages > Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

January 5, 2022

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A hand holding one of two mugs of vegan hot chocolate, next to a jar of marshmallows and a dish of chocolate pieces.

Grab a blanket and prepare to get cozy, we're about to make a rich and creamy hot chocolate, totally dairy-free! This easy recipe is also quick to make, with simple ingredients like creamy oat milk (Oatly brand), cacao powder, dark chocolate, maple syrup, and vanilla. Top it off with vegan marshmallows, non-dairy whipped cream, grated chocolate, or a pinch of cinnamon.

What kind of non-dairy milk is best for hot chocolate?

I tested three of the most popular non-dairy milks with this recipe: full-fat coconut milk (I used 365 brand from Whole Foods), unsweetened almond milk (also 365 brand), and oat milk (Oatly original). By far, the best-tasting hot chocolate was the one made with Oatly. It produced a much richer flavor than the others.

If you're looking to use a milk frother to foam your milk, the 365 brand almond milk is hands-down the best one for that. The one in the Tetra-pak (on the shelf in the store) generally produces better foam than the ones you find in the refrigerated section.

The coconut milk was thick, but it also had an oily feel which I didn't really like. And the flavor was a bit bland when it was mixed in with the chocolate.

I haven't had a chance (yet) to try this recipe with homemade cashew milk, but I suspect it would taste amazing in this hot chocolate as well.

a mug of vegan hot chocolate on a wooden slab with a ball of lights in the background

Frequently Asked Questions

Is hot chocolate the same as hot cocoa? That depends on who you ask. Some people use the terms interchangeably. However, hot cocoa is often used to refer to a drink made with cocoa powder (or cacao) without melted chocolate, and hot chocolate is often a richer drink (like this recipe) that uses cocoa powder with melted chunks of chocolate. I do have a hot cacao recipe as well if you want something a little lighter. I like to drink this richer hot chocolate on special occasions like Christmas or after being outside on a cold winter day.

Can I add other flavors to the hot chocolate? Sure, you can use peppermint extract instead of vanilla extract. Or, you could add a pinch of instant espresso powder or ground cinnamon!

Can I substitute the maple syrup for another sweetener? I like the rich flavor of maple syrup in this recipe, but feel free to use agave, vegan brown sugar, coconut sugar, stevia, or whatever sweetener you like. You can also adjust the amount of sweetener to taste.

Where can I get vegan marshmallows? Trader Joe's has their own brand of vegan marshmallows which are quite good. I also like Dandies brand, which is available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores.

A top-down view of two mugs of vegan hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows sitting on top of a wooden slab.

Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Yield4 small cups or 2 large cups

Prep Time5 minutes

Cook Time5 minutes

Total Time10 minutes



  1. Add your oat milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and salt to a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Turn your burner to medium heat, and continue to whisk until the milk begins to steam (but don’t allow it to boil).

  2. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add in your baking chocolate, whisking constantly. When it’s completely smooth, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

  3. Pour your hot chocolate into 4 mugs, then top with your choice of: vegan whipped cream, vegan marshmallows, grated dark chocolate, crushed vegan candy canes, and/or cinnamon.

Notes & Hints

You can use high-quality dark chocolate chips in place of the baking chocolate, if desired. Just check the ingredients to make sure there are no added stabilizers that might prevent the chips from melting.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe; Calories: 231Fat: 12 g.; Saturated Fat: 12 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 110 mg.; Carbohydrates: 27 g.; Fiber: 7 g.; Sugar: 17 g.; Protein: 4 g.; Vitamin A: 80 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 1 mcg.; Vitamin C: 0 mg.; Vitamin D: 2 mcg.; Calcium: 182 mg.; Iron: 2 mg.; Potassium: 315 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Four vegan dishes: Creme Brulee, Detroit-style pizza, General Tso's Tofu, and Lemon Tart

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Two mugs of vegan hot chocolate on a wooden slab with marshmallows and chocolate

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