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Overhead shot of a mug of hot chocolate with cacao powder, topped with whipped cream.
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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
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time7 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy hot chocolate recipe, hot chocolate wtih cacao powder, vegan hot chocolate recipe
Servings: 2 people


  • 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


  • In a small saucepan, combine the milk, cacao powder, honey to taste (a teaspoon or two should do you), 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 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.


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!).
  • 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!