Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate | Raw + Cacao

Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate | Raw + Cacao

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Vegan hot chocolate title picture

Are you looking for a healthy hot chocolate to drink on those cold winter nights?

I don’t know about you but I’ve been craving hot drinks the last few weeks. And what is the first hot drink anyone reaches for (or at least I do)? A nice cup of hot chocolate.

But instead buying one of those prepackage hot chocolate mixes from the grocery store, why not make it yourself? For one thing, it’s not that much more work to make it yourself and chances are you probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboards. For another, you have complete control so it won’t contain any corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, or even dairy (unless you desire it). Last, it’s creamy, rich, and fantastically flavorful. So not only does it taste better with higher quality ingredients but it’s actually healthier for you too!

Is this possible?

Absolutely! So without further adieu, say hello to my homemade vegan hot chocolate! This easy hot chocolate recipe is very simple using mostly raw ingredients (or in the case of the cacao bean, as raw as possible). All you need is some almonds, cacao powder, coconut milk, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, salt, maca powder (if desired), a blender, and hot water.

hot chocolate photo

Cacao Vs. Cocoa

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?

I’m glad you asked! Cacao and cocoa are both the same bean that is used to make chocolate and both beans undergo the same initial process of fermentation and drying. The big difference between the two is the process used to go from the dry bean (also called cacao) to the powder you find at the grocery store. Cacao is unroasted beans that are cold-pressed to retain as much of the nutrients and enzymes as possible. Whereas cocoa is roasted at high temperatures (between 212F or 100C and 300F or 150C) and in that process some nutrients are lost.

Now to be perfectly honest, there is no real science to back whether eating cacao or cocoa actually makes that much difference and the price of cocoa is cheaper than cacao. Additionally, using cacao in cooking may or may not actually give you that much more benefit since the temperatures in cooking often exceed 215F.

In light of that, I tend to keep both in my cupboard. I use cacao powder in my smoothies and hot drinks for the extra nutrients and save the cocoa powder for most of my baking needs. But if you’d rather use cocoa powder in this cacao hot chocolate recipe, both work equally well. Just make sure the cocoa powder has no sugar or other ingredients.

A Good Blender Makes a Difference

side view of hot chocolate

To start with, you don’t need a high-performance blender to make this hot chocolate recipe but I still strongly recommend using one if possible for a number of reasons.

One, a high-performance blender will liquefy the ingredients much better than a conventional machine so no filtering is necessary if you want a completely smooth drink. Second, a blender like my Vitamix 5200 will also heat up the ingredients while it is blending and ensure that the finished drink is as close to 200 F as possible.

Don’t have one of these types of blenders? There’s no need to worry. Any blender will work for this recipe but you might have to make some adjustments. Instead of using room temperature water for the blender, you might want to use hot water. That will hopefully be enough to keep the drink from getting too cold. Likewise, you might have to run the blender just a little longer to really grind up the almonds without having too many chunks.

Or, you could omit the almonds and use unsweetened almond milk instead of water. Just be careful when warming up almond milk. Heating almond milk is very similar to heating regular cow’s milk. I would suggest either using a double boiler method or in a kettle use a medium low to medium heat until it reaches 200 F.

If you don’t have a high-performance and are interested in getting one, I strongly recommend the Vitamix 5200 blender. It is the one I used in my kitchen for all my smoothies, hot drinks, and more. It is one of the cheaper blenders in this class as well. If you would like to know more, I’ve got a Vitamix review that goes into detail about it here.

top down view of hot chocolate

Recipe Notes

This vegan hot chocolate is very easy to make. You just place all the ingredients in the blender with a little water and blend on high for a few minutes until smooth. Afterward, mix in the hot water and you’re done. However, here are a few tips that I think are helpful in making a perfect cup of hot cocoa every time.

One point worth mentioning is the maca powder. As stated in the recipe, this ingredient is completely optional. So if you don’t have it around, not to worry. However, I love putting maca in my hot chocolate as it’s incredibly good for you and does give a just a bit more complexity to the drink. If you’d like to know more about this superfood, I have a post that goes into detail about it here (don’t let the title fool you, there’s more to maca than just fertility).

If you have an allergy to nuts, replace the almonds with three tablespoons of hemp seeds or, omit the almonds and use hemp milk instead of water.

Also, this recipe calls for raw almonds but dry roasted, unsalted almonds work too.

Lastly, the ideal temperature you want your hot water at is around 200 F but it doesn’t have to be exact. Just don’t let it get to a full boil. The reason for this is you don’t want to risk scorching your almond milk or cacao. This temperature ensures a pleasantly hot drink while retaining much of the nutritional benefits from the raw ingredients.

That about covers it. So let’s get started!

Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Are you looking for a hot chocolate recipe that is actually healthy? This recipe is completely vegan and uses mostly raw foods. All you need is seven ingredients: almonds, cacao powder, coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cacao hot chocolate recipe, healthy hot cocoa recipe, homemade vegan hot chocolate, raw vegan hot chocolate, vegan hot chocolate
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 308 kcal
Author: Tina
Hot Chocolate Mix
  • 2 tbsp. raw almonds
  • 2 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup filtered water room temp.
  • 1 pinch Himalayan salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp. maca powder (optional)
To Make Hot Chocolate
  • 1 Hot Chocolate Mix
  • 1 cup hot filtered water (at 200 F or 93 C)
  1. In a kettle or saucepan bring filtered water to 200 F (or 93 C).

  2. Place all the ingredients for the hot chocolate mix in the blender with water at room temperature.

  3. Blend on high until smooth (about 1-2 minutes).

  4. Add the hot water and mix well.

  5. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

If you have an allergy to nuts, replace the almonds with three tablespoons of hemp seeds or, omit the almonds and use hemp milk instead of water.

Also, this recipe calls for raw almonds but dry roasted, unsalted almonds work too.

You can substitute cacao for cocoa powder at the same equivalent.

If you’d like to lower the calories further, replace the maple syrup with stevia.

I really hope you give this recipe a try. It’s surprisingly creamy, completely vegan, and actually good for you! It’s the perfect drink for a cold night and to share with the family. This vegan hot chocolate is also very flexible so you can easily add other ingredients if you want something just a little different. For example, try adding about 5 mint leaves for a mint hot chocolate or a tablespoon of molasses for a more dark chocolate drink.

So how do you like to drink your hot chocolate?

I would love to hear about your favorite hot chocolate recipes! Likewise, if you have any questions about this recipe, I’m here to help. Just leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Thanks for visiting Late Summer Mama!

Happy Blending!

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10 thoughts on “Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate | Raw + Cacao”

  • I live at my University campus and I mostly make my own food because it costs me less. I have been eating the same thing for the past few days and I really wanted something new to try. I found this website and I learned how to make a Vegan Hot Chocolate. It was so easy for me to make this. It was really easy to understand and so open ended. I really loved the Hot Chocolate I made.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with me.

    • Hi Sujandar! 

      Thanks so much for trying my recipe and giving me your feedback! I’m really happy you liked it!

      When I was in college I did the same thing, making almost all my meals to keep my costs down. It’s a smart move and much better for you. All my friends were eating out constantly and burning through their college savings in the process.

      I hope to see you again! 

      Take care, Tina

  • This recipe sounds delicious! I love cacao and coconut, so the mix is so tempting! I’m doing the keto diet now and this fits perfectly in the menu. 

    Is there any replacement for the almond and nuts? I don’t like them very much….

    And what about a cold chocolate mix? Would this recipe work?

    • Hi Jenny! Thanks for the visit!

      Absolutely! You can keep the water cold and this would taste more like chocolate milk. 

      The best substitute I’ve ever found for almonds is hemp seeds. Replace the almonds with 3 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds (or hearts). If you are curious at all about hemp milk as a substitute for almond milk, I’ve got a post on How to Make Hemp Milk at Home – It Truly Does the Body Good that you might find interesting.

      Another option that I bet would also work is a blend of coconut water and coconut milk (out of a can). Omit the almonds and water. Use 1/2 cup coconut water instead of regular water for the mix. Change the coconut milk from 2 tablespoons to 4 and add the rest as coconut water. However, this suggestion is untested. I will have to try this now and see how it works out.

      I don’t know much about keto diets but I am glad that it works for anyone doing that diet. I really hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Thanks again, Tina

  • Great recipe! I’ve never heard about the possibility to feel the pleasure of a Hot chocolate without putting any milk in it! It seems a very good way to keep healthy habits without keeping away some pleasure (chocolate is very powerful in keeping us positive during the day!). I’m going to give it a try! (sounds like I’m yet happy, just in reading the recipe… I can’t imagine drinking the chocolate!)

    • Hi Miche! Thanks for visiting my post and talking with me about it. 

      I’ve always used milk in my hot chocolate too until I made this. I’m always looking for ways to keep as many of my favorite treats in my diet but make them healthier and, most times, much better.

      I really hope you like the recipe! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. 

      Thanks again, Tina

  • Looks so delicious and hearty! And it’s so healthy too. Thanks for this insightful post to explaining the difference between cocoa en cacao. It’s also packed with magnesium, I personally like blending it with my morning oats with Peanut butter and banana. I’m definitely going to try your hot chocolate recipe out, as it’s vegan too! Now I just have to save up for a Vitamix blender. 

    • Hi Cheriri! Thanks so much for the visit and talking with me.

      I’m really glad you found the post helpful! Sometimes I think I might jam too much information into these sometimes but I think it’s important to know. 

      Your morning breakfast sounds awesome! Chocolate, peanut butter, and banana are always a wonderful combination.

      You won’t regret it if you buy a Vitamix! But you don’t need one to make this drink luckily. I really hope you like it. If you have any questions, please let me know. I’m here to help!

      Thanks again, Tina

  • This is a very interesting article. Lately, I’ve been looking for a healthier option. I ate a little too much at Christmas.

    I am glad I came across your website with the recipe to make a vegan hot chocolate drink. It is extremely cold these days in the UK. Fortunately, I have all the ingredients. I’m so excited to get started. I love the idea of making the hot chocolate drink myself.  

    I have bookmarked this article and I will share with my friends who recently became vegans. I am doing it at my own pace. I have already started removing meat from my diet at a time hoping to be complete vegan one day. So, I will be making more use of your recipes. Thanks so much!

    • Hi! Thank you for visiting my post and taking the time to talk with me.

      Christmas is always a pretty rough time for eating healthy. I completely understand. The weather has been pretty cold in my area too so I’ve been making hot drinks like crazy.

      That’s great you are changing your eating habits toward veganism. You are doing it the right way by slowly transitioning. I was a vegetarian for about 8 years and wasn’t doing it right. I myself am not completely vegan but I really enjoy eating vegan dishes. They are usually so much more healthy and amazingly creative. 

      I really hope you like this recipe! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

      Thanks again, Tina

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