Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

This coconut milk hot chocolate recipe is rich, creamy, delicious, paleo, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, kid-friendly, adult-approved, and as simple to make as it is soothing to sip.

A pot and a mug filled with paleo hot cocoa and a sifter of cocoa powder on the side

This simple coconut milk hot chocolate is rich, creamy, and pretty much divine. And it contains none of the nasty preservatives or refined sweeteners in those packets of instant hot cocoa powder. It calls for just a touch of natural sweetener, whether you prefer honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup, which means it’s not only dairy-free and vegan but paleo. (We can almost hear you paleo folks whoop and holler!) Originally published January 8, 2016.Renee Schettler Rossi

What's The Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa Powder?

This coconut milk hot chocolate recipe lists cacao powder or cocoa powder as ingredients. What’s the difference? Cacao powder is made from raw or very minimally processed cocoa beans whereas cocoa powder is essentially cacao powder that’s been roasted. Anyone looking to justify a hot chocolate fix should be aware that more antioxidants and beneficial enzymes remain intact in cacao powder whereas in cocoa powder the high temperatures in the processing can destroy these to an extent. You can swap cacao powder for natural processed cocoa powder in almost any recipe.

Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 4 H
  • Serves 2
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If using the cashews, place them in a bowl and add enough filtered water to cover for a few hours. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.

Toss all the ingredients in a blender and process until you have a smooth liquid.

Strain the liquid into a saucepan and place over gentle heat until it’s completely warmed through. If using cashews, the hot chocolate will become quite thick as it warms. If desired, add a little water until you reach the desired consistency.)

Remove the pan from the heat, taste, and, if desired, add a smidgen more honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup. Divvy the coconut milk hot chocolate between a couple mugs or cups. You can sprinkle it with a little cacao or cocoa just before serving if you want to be all fancy about things.

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    • How to Fancy Up Your Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate
    • If straight hot chocolate isn’t fancy enough for you, toss any of the following into the blender along with everything else:
      Pinch ground cinnamon
      1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
      1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
      Pinch of chile powder and a pinch of cinnamon

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This is a rich and delicious hot chocolate that has such a creamy and fluffy character to it, you won't even consider adding a marshmallow. It's not low-calorie by any means, but if you're avoiding certain ingredients (dairy!), then this might be the answer to your prayers. To make this vegan, substitute an equal amount of light agave nectar for the honey (I did this). The amount of sweetener in the recipe was perfect, but I'd consider the amount of cacao to be a minimum. If you want a more intense hot chocolate, you'll need to use more. Keep in mind that cashew cream thickens when heated even more than dairy cream does, so don't overdo the cashews—1/4 cup is plenty. The mixture will thicken on the stove. I opted to add a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne. After having a cup like that, I played around a little more by adding a tiny splash of brandy and coffee liqueur. Just sayin', if you want to spike it, it's even better!

    I think this is the new go-to recipe for hot chocolate! The coconut milk gives the hot cocoa a semisweet taste to begin with, so I suspect that the honey could be reduced or eliminated if you don't want a lot of sweetness. I've been wanting to try the soup setting on my Vitamix, and I decided, what the heck, it's all in there anyhow, so go ahead and just let it do its magic. And it did! This is a great method for making hot chocolate. And since I have a lot of it, I will heat it on the cooktop next time to see if there is any difference (I can't imagine that there will be). I used 1/2 cup cashews soaked for 2 hours. It took 5 minutes to get it all into the Vitamix and 5 minutes to blend and heat it. I used black cocoa powder, which is something I've been waiting to use. It has a dark chocolate flavor that isn't bitter and has more dimension than other cocoa powders. I used only 1 tablespoon honey, and that was just enough for me. All in all, this is a definite winner. And the best part is that with it making 2 2/3 cups, I have some to play around with and add in some of the variations each time I warm up a cup.


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