Skip the store-bought hot cocoa packets and cans of hot cocoa mix and make it yourself! This homemade dairy-free vegan hot chocolate mix recipe is made from just three simple ingredients and without powdered milk. (It's also gluten-free!)
It's great for keeping in the cupboard for cold days and makes a great non-dairy holiday or hostess gift idea.
You know those things you buy at the grocery store but there's a way to make them at home and you're not sure how and you think it's too complicated?
So you continue buying them out of habit even though they cost more than making them yourself?
This recipe for vegan hot chocolate mix is one of those things. It's SO easy to make and all you need is THREE ingredients! Once you make it, you'll wonder why it took you so long.
The best part? It lasts a long time, and it's just as delicious, rich, and comforting as any of the store-bought stuff.
You'll also recognize all the ingredients which is not something you can always say about the kind at the store, and no powdered milk is needed, so there's no pricey soy or coconut milk powder to buy.
If you prefer to make your cocoa from scratch each time a craving calls, try one of the following vegan hot chocolate recipes:
Ingredients You'll Need
Unlike the pre-made hot chocolate mixes you can pick up at the store, this one only contains three basic ingredients and I've listed them below along with substitution info.
Ingredient and Substitution Notes
Cocoa Powder - You'll need unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, the same type of cocoa you use for baking. If you prefer to use cacao powder, you can, just keep in mind that natural cocoa powder tends to be a little bitter when compared to Dutch-process cocoa powder, so you may need to add a little more sugar. Since cacao powder is more acidic than cocoa powder, the taste will be slightly different.
Technically, cocoa powder is vegan, but if you're looking for an ethical brand, read this article: "Is Cocoa Powder Vegan?"
Sugar - I use organic cane sugar but if you don't have this type, you can use coconut sugar or regular white sugar instead. If using white sugar, make sure that it's vegan. See the recipe FAQ section below for some brand recommendations.
Salt - Just a little pinch of salt is needed to balance the flavours, don't skip it!
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions in the recipe card at the end of this post.)
Just two steps are necessary to make this recipe, they're both quick and easy so you'll be on your way to a delicious hot cup of hot cocoa in just a few minutes!
1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl.
2. Whisk the ingredients very well until everything has blended. That's it!
After the ingredients have been whisked together, carefully scoop your non-dairy hot cocoa mix into an airtight jar (like a Ball or Mason jar), cover it tightly, and store it in a cool, dry place.
To Make Hot Chocolate with Your Mix
Complete directions to make hot chocolate using the mix can be found in the recipe card below.
1. Add two tablespoons of the cocoa mix to a mug.
2. Warm your favourite plant-based milk in a small saucepan.
3. Carefully pour the warm milk into a mug.
4. Stir well.
TIP: Use a creamy non-dairy milk such as oat milk, or soy milk. You can also use a mix of canned full-fat or lite coconut milk with thinner plant-based milk like almond milk for extra creamy hot chocolate.
Toppings and Add-Ins for your Prepared Hot Chocolate
Adding any of the following ingredients to your prepared mug of homemade hot chocolate is optional, but if you want to make it more special or make a variation, try one of the following.
- Vegan Marshmallows - To find a list of vegan brands, read this article: "Are Marshmallows Vegan."
- Dairy-Free Whipped Cream - For vegan brand suggestions, read this article: "Is Cool Whip Vegan" or you can make your own coconut whipped cream.
- Mini chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, crushed candy cane, or cocoa powder sprinkled on top of the whipped cream.
- Chocolate syrup or caramel sauce drizzled on top of the whipped cream
- Vegan Chocolate Chips - For an extra rich chocolate flavour, stir in 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips into the milk and whisk continuously until they have melted.
- Cinnamon - Add a pinch of cinnamon for a spiced hot chocolate.
- Vanilla Extract - add ¼ - ½ of a teaspoon of vanilla for a delicious flavour boost.
- Peppermint Extract - Add a ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon of peppermint extract or you can follow my recipe for vegan peppermint hot chocolate instead.
- Cayenne pepper - Just the tiniest pinch is needed to make a spicy hot chocolate.
Store your hot chocolate mix in a cool, dry area in an airtight glass jar or container. Cocoa powder and sugar both have very long shelf lives so you will likely finish the mix before it's no longer good.
Check the expiry dates on the packages of the sugar and cocoa powder and that will let you know how long the mix will last. Once that is determined, add a small label to the bottom of your mix jar so you know how long you have.
Tips for Success
- Since this recipe contains no powdered milk, using hot water instead of milk will not result in good hot chocolate. When using this mix, always use dairy-free milk for the best hot chocolate possible.
- This mix is not overly sweet, it's more like a dark chocolate hot chocolate, so not as sweet as store-bought mixes. To make it sweeter, you can either stir in some pure maple syrup or more sugar to your drink after it has been prepared or you can add more sugar to the mix. See the recipe notes below for info on how to do this. Keep in mind that added toppings like marshmallows, whipped cream, or chocolate sauce will also add sweetness.
- Read through the recipe before getting started and read through this post from top to bottom for lots of tips to make the recipe perfect every single time.
- Follow the recipe exactly as it’s written for the very best results.
If you need some delicious treats to enjoy with the hot chocolate you prepared with this mix, how about vegan gluten-free cookies?
Some brands use animal bone char to process their sugars, making them not vegan, but luckily, some brands don’t use this process, like Wholesome Sweeteners, Trader Joe’s brand, Whole Foods’ 365 brand, and Redpath (Canadian brand). If you can’t find any of these, your best bet is to look for organic sugar, which will always be vegan.
All brands use different ingredients to make their mixes, some may contain gluten-filled ingredients such as malt powder and some may be made in facilities where cross-contamination with gluten products may occur so it's always best to read the label before buying. If you will be making this particular vegan hot chocolate powder, the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt you'll need are all naturally gluten-free but make sure to read the labels before buying them if cross-contamination is a concern for you.
Yes, you can use your vegan cocoa mix to make iced hot chocolate. Simply add 1 cup of ice cubes, 1 cup of vegan milk, and 2 tablespoons of the mix to a blender and blend. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Garnish with chocolate sauce, dairy-free whipped cream, or any other toppings you like.
Give it As a Gift
You'll be happy to know that this easy vegan hot cocoa mix recipe makes the best DIY holiday gift, hostess, or teacher gift, too!
Put it in a nice jar, tie a ribbon around the top, and attach a cute card with instructions on how to make the hot chocolate.
If You Make This Recipe...
Let me know! I'd love to hear how things went and how you are enjoying your hot chocolate mix. Please leave me a comment and star rating below or post a picture on Instagram and tag me, I’m @delightfuladventures on Instagram.
If You Like This Recipe...
You may like these other warm and cozy homemade vegan drinks:
- Vegan Peppermint Mocha
- Vegan Hot Chocolate
- Vegan Gingerbread Latte
- Oat Milk Hot Chocolate
- Vegan Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix
To Make the Hot Chocolate Mix:
- Add all three of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk well until all of the ingredients have been combined.
- Scoop the mix into an airtight jar, cover it, and store it.
To Make Hot Chocolate with the Mix:
- Add two tablespoons (24g) of the mix to a mug.
- Add 1 cup (240ml / 8oz) of your favourite plant milk to a small pot and place the pot over medium-high heat. OPTIONAL: Add 2 tablespoons (23g) of chocolate chips to the pot for an extra-rich drink and whisk until the chocolate is melted as the milk heats.
- Heat until the mix is steaming, don't allow it to boil. When the milk is steaming, remove the pot from the heat.
- Carefully pour the milk into the mug and stir well.
- Add your favourite toppings like vegan marshmallows, dairy-free whipped cream, etc.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above, as well as the notes below before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes 265g (just a little over 1 ¼ cups) of hot chocolate mix. Each mug of hot chocolate calls for 2 tablespoons of the mix, so the recipe will make 11 mugs of hot chocolate. Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe as needed.
- If you don't have organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, regular white sugar can be used instead, just make sure it's vegan (see the "Recipe FAQ" section above).
- For a mix that will make sweeter hot chocolate, add 1 ¼ (250g) cups of sugar to the mix instead of just 1 cup.
- Cacao powder can be used instead of Dutch-process cocoa powder, the taste will be slightly different and you may need to add a little more sugar since it is slightly more bitter and more acidic than cocoa powder.
- Since this recipe is made without powdered milk, using hot water instead of milk will not result in good hot chocolate. When using this mix, always use dairy-free milk for the best hot chocolate possible.
- Cocoa powder and sugar both have very long shelf lives so you will likely finish the hot chocolate before the mix is no longer good. Check the expiry dates on the packages of the sugar and cocoa powder and that will let you know how long the mix will last. Once that is determined, add a small label to the bottom of your mix jar so you know how long you have.
- Nutrition info is for 2 tablespoons (1 serving) of the dry hot chocolate mix prepared exactly as the recipe is written (not the prepared hot chocolate). The data below is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is determined on this website.