This Healthy Vegan Hot Chocolate combines cacao powder, maca powder, cinnamon, cayenne, almond milk, and a touch of maple syrup. Gluten-free.
Move over cocoa mixes, this winter season calls for a dairy-free hot chocolate recipe with a little extra goodness.
I do love a naturally-flavored mug of vegan hot cocoa like this peanut butter hot cocoa and toasted coconut hot chocolate. But this easy recipe creates a healthy hot chocolate maca drink with ingredients right in your pantry!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Simple ingredients
- No cocoa powders with added sugar
- Uses a natural sweetener (maple syrup!)
- Makes a creamy vegan hot cocoa
Ingredients and substitutions
Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients in this recipe. You can see a complete ingredient list and instructions in the recipe card below.
Unsweetened almond milk - Any non-dairy milk will work here. Soy milk, cashew milk, full fat or lite coconut milk, oat milk, or a combination of almond milk and another plant-based milk.
Cacao powder - Besides the rich dark chocolate flavor, cacao powder provides vitamins, minerals, and other health benefits. Unsweetened cocoa powder can be substituted.
Maca powder - Rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, this adaptogenic powder has a nutty, malty flavor. This can be omitted if needed.
Maple syrup - Adds a rich sweetness without refined sugar. Other natural sweeteners like agave nectar or honey (not vegan), will work well. Alternatively, coconut sugar can be used.
Ground cinnamon - This spice adds warmth, flavor, and antioxidant properties!
Cayenne pepper and sea salt - Antioxidants included, cayenne adds a bit of heat, and sea salt adds depth.
Vanilla extract - You'll want to use pure vanilla extract for the best quality and flavor.
Before you start: Set out all ingredients. This goes together quickly!
Step 1: In a small saucepan over low heat, add your dairy-free milk. After giving the almond milk a few minutes to warm, whisk in cacao powder, maca powder, cinnamon, a good pinch of salt, and cayenne. When large clumps have dissolved, whisk in maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Step 2: Remove from heat and pour into mugs. Top with coconut cream or other toppings if desired.
The are some great additions or variations you can make to this recipe. Some, though, will add sugar.
For that rich mint chocolate flavor, omit the cayenne and ground cinnamon and add a bit of peppermint extract.
Garnish with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add mini vegan marshmallows, cacao nibs, or vegan chocolate chips.
In their natural form, both 100% cacao and unsweetened cocoa powders are gluten-free. It is important to check for the gluten-free label as some brands are processed on the same equipment as ingredients with gluten and can cause cross-contamination.
Maca powder is made from maca root, a cruciferous vegetable found in Peru It can be used in drinks, baked goods, smoothies, and soups. Maca is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, supports energy and stamina, and even works to balance hormones and stress. Maca is considered an adaptogen.
Traditional hot chocolate is made with cow's milk, heavy cream, or half and half. Vegan recipes use nondairy milk and dairy-free cocoa powder or chocolate.
More winter drinks
Love this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating on the recipe card below and let me know what you think in the comments!
Healthy Vegan Hot Chocolate
- 2 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 4 tablespoons cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 1 tablespoon maca powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 pinches sea salt
- 1 pinch cayenne powder
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- coconut cream
- chocolate shavings
- cacao nibs
- In a small saucepan over low heat, add almond milk. After giving the almond milk a few minutes to warm, whisk in cacao powder, maca powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and cayenne.
- When large clumps have dissolved, whisk in maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk periodically until mixture is smooth and desired temperature is achieved. If you find you prefer it sweeter, add more maple syrup as desired.
- Remove from heat and pour into mugs. Top with coconut cream or other toppings if desired.
- mini vegan marshmallows
- vegan chocolate chips
- sprinkle of cinnamon
I made this and replaced the almond milk with water and it was still yummy and less calories.
That's awesome! I'm so glad. Thanks, Alyce!
Very enjoyable site you have here. Let's keep it up. Ho Ho Ho
Tessa, this might be my favorite post you've ever created. From the recipe to the imagery, I'm in love with it all. xx!
You just made my week. I'm so glad! Thank you, sweet friend! xo
Traci | Vanilla And Bean
Hey Tessa.... so glad you reminded me about adaptogens... I guess I didn't really realize maca is one, I''m just taking it in my smoothies because I know it's good stuff! But I need more adaptogens (I started ashwaganda this past year - indeed need all the support for stress and anxiety). I love this hot cocoa... and am in need of it at the moment... it is SO cold out. Sending warmth and calm, love. xo
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Soooo cold here too Tessa! This is perfect!
Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek
Yes so cold! Need a hot bev like this one to get us through! Especially with an adaptogen like maca. I've been meaning to start getting to know this group of compounds and figuring out how to incorporate more into my diet. Thanks for the inspo! xo
Rachel @Clean Eating for the Non-Hippie
Mmm, this is what my day needs!!!
This hot chocolate is so refreshing, thank you for sharing