Vegan, Paleo, Low-Sugar, and oh-so-satisfying…
I have to admit, this Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa has become a new addiction for me. When it’s cold and snowy there’s just no better treat than a warm cup of rich hot chocolate, don’t you agree?
The thing is, not all dairy-free hot chocolate is created equal. Some of them are watery, some of them just don’t taste quite right. This one though, oooohhhhh man, it will blow you away.
It’s got the super rich and creamy texture that just makes you melt into your mug, not to mention a whole lot of really rich, dark cacao powder to satisfy that inner chocoholic (that’s me!). My Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa is just lightly sweetened with a touch of honey (or coconut nectar for vegans) and some stevia, so it’s way lower in sugar than a traditional one.
I used two different types of sweeteners to find a better balance in the taste since sometimes stevia can stand out on its own. But if you want zero added sugar, you can omit the honey and just use extra stevia—be careful, though, because a little goes a long way!
Now, there are lots of dairy-free milks out there these days, but I find a combination of two is what really makes this one perfect. Almond + coconut = pure dreamy goodness.
As a nutritionist, I always tell my clients to buy unsweetened nut milks. There is so much sugar hiding in milk alternatives, it’s way better for your health to avoid it. Your taste buds will adjust, I promise! And if necessary, you can add a little of your own wholesome sweetener, like I did in this recipe, which still has way less sugar than the same sized serving of sweetened almond milk!
Another bonus—this Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa is crazy easy to make. Like, you can get that hankering and be sipping on this within 5 minutes. Yes! Victory is yours.
So, let’s talk about cacao powder. This is different than the cocoa powder (notice the difference in spelling) that you normally find in the baking aisle. While you can totally use that for this recipe, cacao powder has more health benefits to offer.
What is it exactly? Well, all chocolate products start as cacao beans. Cacao powder is the result of using a low temperature to remove the fatty cacao butter and then milling the remaining part of the bean into a rich, dark powder. It is minimally processed.
Cocoa powder, on the other hand, comes in two forms: Dutch-processed/alkalized (which is made using a chemical solution to create a less acidic flavor) and natural cocoa powder (more bitter than the Dutch variety, but also cleaner). If you can’t find cacao powder, natural cocoa powder is the next best option.
Why is cacao powder my first pick? It’s incredibly rich in antioxidants, which fight the oxidation of cells that can lead to premature aging and all sorts of opportunities for disease. Some of these antioxidants specifically support heart health through balancing blood platelet activity, increasing the flexibility of arteries, and lowering blood pressure.
Several flavonoids (beneficial plant chemicals) found in cacao have even been found to improve mood and cognition, which is why that bite of dark chocolate midday can make you feel more happy and focused! I know you know what I’m talking about.
Cacao also contains lots of important minerals, like magnesium (calming), zinc (immune support), and iron (blood cell strength). Yay cacao!
Since cacao is less processed and heated than cocoa, it retains more of these compounds and nutrients and that’s why it’s the most optimal choice. Natural cocoa powder definitely still has some of these benefits, but the heating and processing it goes through reduces them.
Even though we are heating the cacao powder in this recipe, it’s still starting with a greater amount of nutrients to begin with, so we end up with more than if we were using the already pre-heated cocoa and heating it again. Make sense?
Okay! Let’s get into this incredibly easy recipe.
Pour your coconut milk and almond milk into a small saucepan and turn on to medium-high heat until it comes to a low boil. Stir frequently, then add your cacao powder and honey (or coconut nectar), then turn to a low simmer, and whisk together until all the lumps disappear. Allow to simmer for another couple minutes.
Remove your saucepan of golden chocolate deliciousness from the stovetop and allow it to sit for a minute or so before adding the vanilla extract and stevia. Whisk these in well, then divide your cocoa between two mugs. If you want your Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa extra frothy like mine, just grab this fun little gadget and you can whip ‘em up real nice.
As a member of Amazon Affiliates, I do get a small commission for each product you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you!
You can also heat a little coconut milk separately and froth that, then add it to the top and run a spoon through to create a pretty little swirl like this.
Done! Hope you can cozy up and enjoy this amazing Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa on a chilly night with a good book or your favorite movie, and of course a furry snuggle buddy like my Ryder (bearded husbands are good for that too ;).
This Extra Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa is what dreams are made of! It’s super rich, smooth, and dark. Paleo, vegan, and low in sugar, plus really easy to make.
- 1 1/3 cups light coconut milk
- 1 1/3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 4 tablespoons cacao powder (or natural cocoa powder)
- 1 teaspoon honey (or coconut nectar)*
- 6 drops liquid stevia*
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat coconut milk and almond milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a light boil for 2 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Add cacao powder and honey, whisk well, and turn down to low heat. Simmer for a couple more minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add stevia and vanilla extract and whisk well.
- Divide between two mugs, froth, and enjoy!*
*You can always add a little more honey or coconut nectar if you prefer it sweeter, but I suggest tasting it before adding the stevia as well.
*Alternately, you can omit the honey and just use stevia, but add one drop at a time to taste because a little goes a long way.
*If you want white swirly foam like the photos, heat 1/4 cup coconut milk separately and froth, then gently drizzle on top and use a spoon to swirl.
- Serving Size: 1 medium mug
- Calories: 169
- Sugar: 4g
- Fat: 12g
- Carbohydrates: 13g
- Protein: 3g