It’s National Hot Chocolate Day! Every year I like to update this dairy-free hot chocolate guide with even more store-bought options and recipes! And this seemed like the most fitting day to share the latest and greatest. This guide started with a question from a reader nearly a decade ago.
Q: Kris – Thanks so much for providing such a great cookbook/guide book. I have been severely lactose intolerant for the last 2 years, and have had a mild case before that for about 8 years. Do you have any ideas for dairy-free hot chocolate? It is something I just love.
A: Alisa – Winter is in full swing, the holidays are upon us, and it is about time for those hot beverage cravings. For an easy homemade version of dairy-free hot chocolate, I recommend that you use the recipe for Hot Drinking Chocolate in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. That recipe includes Spiced, Mocha, and Peppermint options. Plus, there are Classic Hot Cocoa and Toasty Carob Mylk recipes within that book, too! My new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free, also has an Almost Instant Hot Cocoa recipe that uses no refined sweeteners.
But the options for dairy-free hot chocolate and hot cocoa don’t stop there. I’ve got more recipes and several convenient brands to recommend. And the following has been updated for 2018!
Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate / Cocoa Brands
Remember to consult ingredient statements (they can change!) and speak with the manufacturer directly where severe allergies are a concern. May contain warning labels for potential cross-contamination are completely voluntary for the manufacturer and do not tell the full story. The following options were at least dairy-free by ingredients at our last check. If you see any changes to recommend, please kindly comment on this post.
Apotheker’s Organic Hot Cocoa Mixes – These natural mixes are sweetened with maple sugar and available in Classic, Herbal, and Smoke & Spice.
Archer Farms Hot Cocoa Mixes – This popular Target brand has a few dairy-free, kosher parve flavors. We noted the Malted Milk Chocolate (yes, really!), Candy Cane/Peppermint, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Spice. But the Caramel did contain dairy.
Big Tree Farms Organic Raw Drinking Chocolate – I love the simple ingredients in their dairy-free hot chocolate blend and the fact that it’s sweetened with coconut sugar.
Bixby Drinking Chocolate – They make a handful of “European Style” drinking chocolates, but only two are vegan: Mayan Style and Rich Dark.
CAcafe Coconut Cocoa – If you’re craving a creamier instant blend, this brand uses a coconut base and has fun to-go cups of cocoa, too!
Cacoco Drinking Chocolate – Touted as “superfood” drinking chocolate, you can bet that this brand makes a rich and relatively nutritious mug of hot cocoa. They are a vegan company, and they now have five dairy-free dark chocolate varieties of hot chocolate: 55% Rich, 65% Golden, 70% Spicy, 75% Mint, and 80% Extra Dark. We have taste-tested this brand; see our full review here: CaCoCo Superfood Drinking Chocolate.
Cocoa Cravings Drinking Chocolate – I just recently discovered this brand of certified organic, gourmet hot cocoa drinks and drinking chocolates. From Cool Peppermint to Picante, all varieties appear to be both non-dairy and vegan!
Cocoa Felice Hot Cocoa Mix – Boasted as more traditional, this vegan mix uses real European Dutch process cocoa.
Coconut Cloud Vegan Hot Cocoa – This powdered mix is made with coconut cream, sweetened primarily with coconut sugar, and contains powdered MCT oil.
Dear Coco – More of a gift-worthy delight, their hot chocolate spoons are an amazing melted chocolate experience complete with marshmallow inside. Three varieties (including Gingersnap!) and we reviewed them all: Dear Coco Hot Chocolate Spoons.
Eli’s Earth Drinking Chocolate – This line of organic drinking chocolate mixes by Sjaak’s even comes in “Melk,” Dark, Almond, Hazelnut, and Merry-Mint.
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cacao Mix – This functional food company makes Organic Mushroom Hot Cacao with Reishi that’s sweetened with coconut sugar.
Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Mixes – This brand keeps waffling back and forth. They started with an amazing line of canister hot chocolates that were all dairy-free. Those were available for years, until one day they decided to add milk to most of their formulas. But then, as we clamored for dairy-free options to return, they reemerged with some sweet chocolate goodies that are made without milk. At last check, the following were dairy-free by ingredients (in at least one product size; ingredients may vary in product sizes!): Chocolate Caramel Premium, Double Chocolate Premium, Mocha Premium, and Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa.
Golden Goddess Chocolate Elixir – They make a chocolate version of their turmeric elixir, complete with adaptogenic herbs. It’s also sweetened with coconut sugar.
Lakanto Drinking Chocolate – This drinking chocolate is sweetened with a monk fruit sweetener, so it’s low glycemic.
Lake Champlain Hot Cocoa Mixes – Though they are a traditional chocolatier, Lake Champlain never forgets their vegan contingency. In fact, it looks like all of their hot cocoa mixes are vegan, including Mocha, Peppermint, and new Marshmallow!
Mrs. Bryant’s Hot Cocoa – Her Dutch Colony Hot Cocoa has very simple ingredients, all of which are vegan.
Nibmor Organic Drinking Chocolate – Their drinking chocolate is a great option for those who want a lower-glycemic dairy-free hot chocolate, since it is sweetened with coconut sugar. It’s also organic, fair trade, and comes in a few flavors.
Righteously Raw Rawcholatl Cacao Drink – My latest favorite find, this is one of the most nutritious, low sugar hot chocolate brands I’ve discovered, yet it is so full-bodied, spicy and fulfilling. See my full review here: Rawcholatl Ancient Aztec Cacao Spice Drink.
Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocoate – Don’t let the dairy image fool you. These adorable little jars of hot cocoa may well be within limits for you. All of the flavors that we checked (I couldn’t access ingredients for all) are made without any milk ingredients.
Starbucks Hot Cocoa Mix – In their packaged line, Starbucks seems to offer a couple of hot cocoa flavors that are made without milk ingredients. We noted the Classic, Double Chocolate, Marshmallow (not vegan), and Peppermint in particular, but at least one flavor (Caramel) is made with dairy, so read carefully.
St. Claire’s Hot Cocoa Mix – It is available in several nourishing flavors (from Vanilla to Ginger), but the Traditional has just organic molasses granules, organic cocoa powder and organic cocao nib extract. yes, it’s soy-free, and free of top allergens, too!
Sweet Freedom Liquid Chocolate – Their Choc Shot is a squeezable liquid that you add to your milk beverage for lump-free, dairy-free hot chocolate! It’s available in Original, Orange Spice, and Coconut. This is the UK brand, but it can be bought on Amazon in the U.S.
Whittard Hot Chocolate – Several varieties from this UK company appear to be dairy-free by ingredients, including the Salted Caramel and Rocky Road. But check the label carefully and contact the company to confirm – their labels are a bit vague and they do have several flavors that contain dairy.
Please note that I’ve not yet sampled all of the above dairy-free hot chocolate mixes. Visit our dairy-free product reviews for tasting notes of products that we have sampled.
Popular Vegan Hot Cocoa Available on Amazon
Homemade Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate / Cocoa
- Healthier Hot Chocolate – uses brown rice milk powder and includes three flavor variations (pictured below).
- Mama’s Single-Serve Hot Chocolate – a classic that’s topped with marshmallow creme for a twist.
- Nourishing Spiced Hot Chocolate – with prunes, no joke!
- Hot Chocolate Cubes – just too much fun.
- Crockpot Hot Chocolate – low and slow – keep it warm for party hot chocolate on demand.
- Hot Cocoa Mix – keep this quick dairy-free mix on hand to whip up a batch of hot cocoa any time. It includes Spice, Mocha, and Mint variations.
In a pinch, keep this basic ratio in mind: roughly 1 tablespoon cocoa powder per 1 cup of liquid, and sweetener to taste. For a light hot cocoa, some prefer to use just water. For something a little richer, use anything from rice milk on up to cashew milk or coconut milk (the fatty kind!). Or consider melting in some dairy-free chocolate chips for a little cocoa buttery luxury.
If you’re feeling lazy, follow my husband Tony’s lead and just heat up your favorite dairy-free chocolate milk beverage.
For topping, most marshmallows are typically dairy-free, but there are also tasty vegan (gelatin-free) brands like Dandies.