Rich & Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate

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Creamy, dreamy, and totally dairy-free! This vegan hot chocolate is rich, decadent, and guaranteed to warm you up this winter. The best part: it whips up in about five minutes!

I’ve had so many requests for a vegan hot chocolate recipe, and I’m sorry to say that I’ve been holding out on you guys. I’ve had this recipe in my head for years. I’ve made it again and again. I’ve told people how to make it again and again.

It took me forever to get around to sharing it, and I’m sorry about that, because it’s the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. You’d never believe it was dairy-free!

So here it is, at long last.

Want to know the secret to a killer cup of vegan hot cocoa? Chocolate chips. They work so much better than cocoa powder. Seriously, melt those babies up in some non-dairy milk and you’ll end up with something that’s a zillion times richer and creamier than any dairy-based hot chocolate you ever drank.

I’ve got to warn you: this stuff is super easy to make. You can whip it up in about five minutes, and if you’re someone who has all the ingredients on hand most of the time (like me), you’ll be tempted to make it again and again throughout the cooler months.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How It’s Made
  • Variations
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Vegan Chocolate Recipes
  • Rich & Creamy Vegan Hot Chocolate

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Non-dairy milk. Pretty much any variety works, as long as it’s unsweetened. I typically use almond milk, but soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, and cashew milk all work just fine! The only variety I’d avoid is canned coconut milk. Check out my guide to dairy-free milk for more guidance.
  • Vegan chocolate chips. I used Enjoy Life brand. Mini chips work particularly well for this recipe since they melt quickly, but regular chips will do just fine.
  • Maple syrup. You can sub another liquid sweetener like agave, or even organic granulated sugar or coconut sugar to taste. I like a hint of maple flavor in my vegan hot chocolate though!
  • Salt. It’s a flavor enhancer, so adding a pinch of salt to your hot chocolate will make it taste better.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Vegan marshmallows or vegan whipped cream. These are totally optional! Dandies makes great vegan marshmallows (the contain no gelatin!), and Reddi-wip makes a dairy-free whipped topping.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

This stuff is incredibly easy to make. Ready for this?

  • Stick everything except the vanilla and toppings into a saucepan.
  • Heat it all up on the stove until the chips are melted and the liquid is hot. Whisk the mixture as it heats.
  • Take it off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Always add vanilla last in recipes like this one, as it evaporates and loses flavor during cooking.

That’s it!

Tip: Stop cooking your hot chocolate as soon as it’s fully heated (just about when it starts to simmer). It’s easy to burn!

Pour your homemade vegan hot chocolate into cups and top it with marshmallows or whipped topping.


  • Spiced vegan hot chocolate. Add ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon and optionally a pinch of cayenne pepper to the mixture. You also experiment with other warming spices like ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  • Peppermint hot chocolate. Add ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract at the same time as the vanilla extract. It’s also fun to garnish each mug with a candy cane or sprinkle your whipped topping with crushed peppermint candies!
  • Vegan white hot chocolate. Substitute vegan white chocolate chips for dark chocolate. King David brand white chocolate chips are vegan and available on Amazon.
  • Vegan caramel hot chocolate. After topping your hot cocoa with marshmallows or vegan whipped cream, drizzle each mug with a bit of vegan caramel sauce.

Leftovers & Storage

Store any leftover vegan hot chocolate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Reheat it in a saucepan, whisking the entire time, or in the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find vegan chocolate chips?

There are a few brands out there, but I like Enjoy Life. If you’re lucky, your regular supermarket will carry them. If not, try places like Whole Foods or Amazon.

Where can I find vegan whipped topping?

Reddi-wip makes a dairy-free whipped topping. You can also whip coconut cream following the method in this strawberry shortcake recipe.

Where can I find vegan marshmallows?

I buy Trader Joe’s Brand or Dandies, which are available at Whole Foods-type places and Amazon.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

It is, as long as your vegan chocolate chips are gluten-free (Enjoy Life brand are).

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