Mexican Hot Chocolate ~ Chocolate Caliente

Mexican hot chocolate, or if you’re feeling spicy…chocolate caliente, is unlike the mild, powdered stuff you might have had in the past. This stuff is GOOD. Made from tablets of true Mexican chocolate, flavored with almonds, chile, or vanilla, and covered with foam, it’s delicioso.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Swoon to the movie “Like Water for Chocolate”? We do. For many reasons, among them the fact that the title draws, word for word, on an ageless and really quite apt Mexican saying. See, when someone is said to be “like water for chocolate,” they’re at the point of boiling over with emotion. Makes perfect sense when you consider that in Mexico, where hot chocolate is made the proper way and not from pathetic little envelopes, water must be sufficiently caliente in order to melt the discs of slowly toasted, hand-ground cacao, sugar, and aromatics into something to sip. This old-fashioned approach results in the “wonderfully frothy hot chocolate from Oaxaca” that Fany Gerson speaks of in her book, My Sweet Mexico, and captures in the recipe below.

Said chocolate discs—or tablets, as Gerson says—exist in a vast array of styles. Plain. Infused with chiles. Spiced. Nutty. With a lilt of vanilla. And, um, other intriguing things.–David Leite

LC Holy Moli-What? Note

Mexican hot chocolate is traditionally energetically beaten with a molinillo and, according to Gerson, poured from up high so the not-too-sweet sipper is foamy. She says it’s okay to use a whisk if you don’t have a wooden tool that’s turned with the palms of your hands to froth the hot chocolate. But for best results, just make sure the chocolate is really frothy and really hot before you drink it.

Mexican Hot Chocolate ~ Chocolate Caliente

Mexican Hot Chocolate
If you want Mexican hot chocolate that's truly made from scratch, consider making your own chocolate tablets. If that’s a little beyond your desired commitment, seek out Mexican chocolate discs at specialty stores, online, or, natch, in Mexico.

Prep 2 mins
Cook 8 mins
Total 10 mins
1 servings
564 kcal
5 / 5 votes
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  • 3/4 cup or so whole milk or water
  • 1 Mexican chocolate disc or tablet broken into pieces (these may be flavored with almonds, spice, chiles, vanilla, or nothing but cacao)


  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Add the chocolate (the quantity depends on how rich you like your hot chocolate), reduce the heat, and stir until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and froth vigorously with a molinillo, a whisk, or a hand mixer until you have a nice, bubbly foam. Immediately pour into a mug.
Print RecipeBuy the My Sweet Mexico cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 564kcal (28%)Carbohydrates: 43g (14%)Protein: 12g (24%)Fat: 38g (58%)Saturated Fat: 22g (138%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 24mg (8%)Sodium: 83mg (4%)Potassium: 813mg (23%)Fiber: 8g (33%)Sugar: 27g (30%)Vitamin A: 317IU (6%)Calcium: 274mg (27%)Iron: 9mg (50%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. How funny you should post this, I just got two of these last week in a gift bag and did a little blog about it. I now have two molinillos, so if anyone wants one, let me know and I’ll send it to you!

  2. 5 stars
    I hate to admit it but I am a hot chocolate envelope gal and my kids and I have never had the pleasure of Mexican hot chocolate. Thanks for the motivation to give it a try. The Mexican chocolate flavored with chiles sounds too good!!

  3. 5 stars
    I was admiring this cookbook last night at the bookstore and now I want to go back and get it. But it’s snowing, so perhaps I’ll just make a cup of Mexican hot chocolate instead. I don’t drink hot chocolate often, but when I do, it has to be Mexican.

    1. Lovely, Mary. And when you’re warmed from the inside out, perhaps you’ll stomp through the snow to the store to pick up that copy of My Sweet Mexico. Well worth the price as well as the chilly walk. I’m over the moon for it. Look for more of it here on site soon.

  4. 5 stars
    My grandmother gave my brother and me our first true hot chocolate. (Not Mexican, though.) Being used to only hot Nestle’s Quik, we thought Grandma was magical to turn Hershey bars into a thick and creamy concoction. Circa 1965. Thank you for this reminder.

    1. You’re quite welcome, Penny. And thank you for the lovely reminder that proper hot chocolate can be as simple as melting any chocolate with milk into a steaming puddle of goodness.

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