The wind is howling and you realize your most vital appendages–your fingers–have gone numb. The solution? Hot cocoa, of course! But you’ve given up dairy, so how should you make it? Don’t worry, dairy-free hot cocoa is easy and delicious. In fact, I have five variations to tempt your taste buds, and the main recipe is made with water! Yes, it’s not only dairy-free, it’s also vegan and top allergen-free.
Basic Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa made with Water
Have you noticed that many hot cocoa mixes have “just add hot water” instructions? Dairy-free hot cocoa made purely with hot water lets the complex flavors of the chocolate shine through. You might think this sounds like a grown-up method, but many kids actually prefer hot chocolate made with water over dairy – seriously!
This simple preparation also helps to ensure that you get maximum antioxidant benefits. At least one study has shown that flavanols in cocoa, like tea, aren’t absorbed as well when paired with dairy. And the antioxidant concentration in cocoa is almost 2 times stronger than red wine, 2 to 3 times stronger than green tea, and 4 to 5 times stronger than that of black tea.
Are you feeling better about enjoying a mug of dairy-free hot cocoa now? And don’t worry. If you do prefer a creamier finish, I’ve got you covered with some richer options.
Special Diet Notes: Basic Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. You can even make it paleo or keto with approved sweeteners.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, to taste
- 2 tablespoons sugar (can sub your sweetener of choice), or to taste
- Pinch salt
- Boiling water to fill your mug (about 1 to 1½ cups)
- Put the cocoa, sugar, and salt in your favorite mug and stir to combine.
- Add enough of the boiling water to make a paste. Stir until the paste is smooth.
- Stir in more boiling water and stir until the paste is dissolved.
Nutty Variation: Whisk 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter into the dairy-free hot cocoa until dissolved. Optionally add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Gingerbread Variation: Substitute 1 tablespoon molasses and 1 tablespoon brown sugar for the sugar in your cocoa base. Add ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
Creamier Variation: Use just 1 cup boiling water, and add 2 tablespoons or more of dairy-free creamer or coconut milk.
Milky Variation: Use boiling water to make the paste, but then whisk in unsweetened vanilla or plain dairy-free milk beverage (about 1 cup). Warm the milky hot cocoa in the microwave until very warm, but not boiling.
Amazing. Didnt know hot chocolate could be made without milk or milk alternatives. Yum. I used about 3/4 cup water, 2 tbsp Cocoa powder & 1.5 tbsp maple syrup. And then the Aztec variation with cayenne. 😍
Glad you enjoyed it Elizabeth! I love chocolate and maple together, too.
My first hot chocolate in a very long time as I was always too scared in case of GI issues. I tried your recipe today and it is AMAZING!! So delicious!
I’m so glad the recipe added some joy to your life Annie!
This sounds delicious!
Btw, I see you have the same cup they have in Desperate Housewives… Who made it? I can’t find it anywhere.
That’s too funny! It’s really old. I don’t remember at all and don’t have the cups anymore unfortunately!
I just made this with a pinch of cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and rose water. So floral and chocolatey. Yum! Thanks for a simple recipe.
That sounds delicious! Glad my recipe inspired you!
Just made fir the first time.
Thinking no way this us going to taste good.
Well it tastes amazing.
My new go to fir dairy free.
Did add dairy free creamer to try.
Thank you so much,
You know, I tried this with 30 g of peanut butter, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and 2 tsp of sugar, and it really hit the spot, nice creamy, tasty, and just all around perfect!
Thx for the simple instructions <3
Sounds delicious! Happy to provide 🙂
Thank you for this! It was great to see a simple hot chocolate recipe that doesn’t require milk.
Happy to help!
Pretty good. Tastes yum and it’s super easy.
Glad you enjoyed it Lili!