Save your money and make your own homemade vegan peppermint mocha! All you need to make this delicious, rich, and creamy holiday drink is five simple ingredients and a few minutes, plus, it’s so EASY to make!
This Starbucks copycat recipe is the perfect way to warm up on a cold day (and it will save you a trip to the coffee shop!). Top it with dairy-free whipped cream, crushed candy canes, and chocolate shavings to make it extra special.
It's always a nice thing to treat ourselves to one of those festive drinks in the red cups that we all love during the holiday season or on a cold winter day, right?
But did you know that it's VERY easy to make those special drinks at home instead of making a trip to the coffee shop and spending the extra money?
And what if your homemade vegan version was just as good as the pricey coffee shop version AND it's made with just a few simple ingredients?
Sound good? Then this vegan peppermint mocha recipe is one you'll love. It's rich, creamy, and features one of the best flavour combinations: chocolate + mint.
If you've never had a peppermint mocha before, you're in for a treat. It's rich hot chocolate mixed with bold coffee combined with peppermint candy cane flavour. It's similar to a latte and it's the perfect drink to enjoy this time of year!
A quick side note: today is the 8th anniversary of this website! At the second-year mark, I shared a chocolate mint recipe and I've kept up that tradition each year since, so this recipe continues that tradition!
If you love the combination of chocolate mint as much as I do, then check out these recipes:
- Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
- Peppermint Bark
- Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- Dark Chocolate Mint Truffles
- Chocolate Mint Doughnuts
- Vegan Peppermint Patties
- Vegan Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies
Ingredients You'll Need
Unlike the coffee shop version, this one only contains a list of five basic ingredients and I've listed them below along with info on what you can and cannot substitute.
Ingredient and Substitution Notes
Dairy-Free Milk - Any type of milk can be used but make sure it's unsweetened and unflavoured since this will allow you to control the sweetness and flavour. (I usually use unsweetened almond milk or oat milk) You can use one that is sweetened if that's all you have, you'll just need to adjust the amount of sweetener you add accordingly.
To make your homemade peppermint mocha extra creamy, you can use a barista blend non-dairy milk (oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc.) which is thicker and creamier than regular plant-based milk because it contains less water. You can also use canned lite coconut milk for a creamier version, I don't recommend using full-fat canned coconut milk or your drink will have a coconut flavour.
Coffee - Usually, espresso is used when making a peppermint mocha, but you can also use strong coffee if you don't keep espresso on hand. You can use instant coffee as well if that is what you have.
Cocoa Powder - For the richest most chocolaty flavour, use Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder. If you don't have this type, make sure to use one without any added sugar. It's best to sift your cocoa powder before adding the milk to avoid any lumps. Cacao powder can also be used. (Read this article to find a list of cocoa powder brands that are vegan AND Fairtrade)
Sweetener - This recipe uses pure maple syrup as its sweetener, however, if you don't have any, you can use brown sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, or regular sugar to taste.
Peppermint Extract - Make sure you are using peppermint extract and NOT mint or spearmint extract, they do not have the same flavour.
How to Make It
(Note: I’ve outlined the step-by-step on how to make this easy recipe here, but find the full recipe, ingredients, and directions in the recipe card at the end of this post.)
Start by brewing your coffee or espresso. Add it to your mug and set it aside.
Next, make the peppermint hot chocolate mixture by adding the rest of the ingredients, except the peppermint extract, to a small saucepan and whisk them together.
Heat over medium heat until the mixture is steaming, don't allow it to boil.
Carefully add the steaming mixture to the coffee, add the peppermint extract and stir the drink. Add more sweetener and extract if needed.
You can serve it as it is, or you can take it up a notch by adding one or more garnishes, see below for suggestions.
(NOTE: You can also make the hot chocolate part of this recipe in the microwave, see the recipe notes for directions on how to do it.)
- coconut whipped cream (or any other type of vegan whipped cream, for some brand recommendations, read this article: "Is Cool Whip Vegan?")
- chocolate shavings or mini vegan chocolate chips
- crushed candy canes (make sure you use vegan candy canes)
- chocolate syrup / sauce
- although a peppermint mocha is not usually topped with marshmallows or sprinkles, if that's what you feel like adding, then go ahead and add some vegan marshmallows or even some holiday vegan sprinkles!
If you don't drink coffee or you are making this for kids, you can leave the coffee out and add more milk in its place or you can follow my vegan peppermint hot chocolate recipe.
If the coffee is left out, you may need to adjust the sweetener to taste.
Tips for Success
- Use unsweetened, unflavoured milk. This will allow you to control both the sweetness and flavour.
- Sift the cocoa powder before adding it to the milk. This will prevent any stubborn lumps when whisking the mixture together.
- Heat the mixture only until it's steaming. Hot chocolate can scorch and boil over quickly, so remove it from the heat before it starts to boil.
- Adjust the amount of sweetener you add to suit your taste. The amount provided in the recipe is adjustable, use less or more depending on how you like it.
- Read through the recipe before getting started and read through this post from top to bottom for lots of tips to make this cozy drink perfectly, every single time.
- Follow the recipe exactly as it’s written for the very best results (but adding more or less sweetener is okay!).
Any type of milk alternative will work, just make sure it's plain, so unsweetened AND unflavoured. This will ensure that you can control the sweetness and that the flavours in your peppermint mocha will shine through as they should and not be masked or overpowered by any flavours coming from the milk you use.
At the time that this is being written, the standard Starbucks peppermint mocha drink is made with dairy products, but this is one of their drinks that can easily be made vegan-friendly by asking them to make your drink with dairy-free milk and not topping it with whipped cream or dark chocolate curls (they contain milk). The mocha sauce and peppermint syrup they use are currently vegan. Be sure to confirm this with the barista in case any of this changes over time.
If You Make This Recipe...
Please let me know! Leave a comment and star rating below or you can post a picture on Instagram and tag me so I can see it. (I’m @delightfuladventures over there!)
Vegan Peppermint Mocha
- ¼ cup (63ml) strong coffee or espresso
- 1 cup (250ml) dairy-free milk
- 4 ½ teaspoons (8g) Dutch-process cocoa powder (sifted)
- 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons (23-30ml) pure maple syrup (see note below)
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (see note below)
- dairy-free whipped cream, cocoa powder, crushed candy canes, shaved chocolate, or chocolate sauce for garnish (optional)
- Brew coffee or espresso, pour it into a mug and set aside.
- Add the dairy-free milk, cocoa powder, and maple syrup to a small pot and whisk until everything is combined.
- Place the pot over medium-high heat and heat for 2 ½ - 3 minutes until the mixture is steaming. Whisk occasionally, don't allow it to boil.
- Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in ⅛ teaspoon of the peppermint extract.
- Pour the hot chocolate into the mug with the coffee, stir, and taste for sweetness and the level of peppermint flavour. If more peppermint flavour is needed, add another ⅛ of a teaspoon and if more sweetener is needed, add more to taste.
- Serve plain or top with the garnishes of your choice.
- Please read all of the information and FAQ info above, as well as the notes below before making this recipe.
- This recipe makes 1 ¼ cups of peppermint mocha. Halve, double, triple, or quadruple as needed. If you need to make a large amount, multiply the recipe by the number of servings required and it can either be made as the recipe is written or warmed slowly in a slow cooker / crockpot.
- For the best results, use unsweetened, unflavoured dairy-free milk to control the flavour and sweetness. If all you have is sweetened milk, you will need to adjust the sweetener you add accordingly.
- If you don't have maple syrup, sugar can be used such as brown, coconut, cane, or white.
- Keep a close eye on the chocolate mixture while it's heating, hot chocolate can scorch and boil over quickly, so only heat until it's steaming and remove it from the heat before it starts to boil.
- To make it in the microwave, do step 1, then mix all the ingredients you would have added to the pot in a mug and microwave in 25-30 second intervals, whisking in between each interval, until it's steaming. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't boil. Proceed with step 4. You can also reheat it using this same method.
- A little peppermint extract goes a long way, so if the one you have is very strong, start by adding just ⅛ of a teaspoon and taste, if it doesn't have enough peppermint flavour, then add another ⅛ of a teaspoon.
- Nutrition info is for the full recipe prepared as written using unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk, and without any toppings and garnishes. The data below is only to be used as a rough guide. Click to learn how nutrition info is determined on this website.