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Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipes to Make Your Own

Updated on August 24, 2017

Sample a Cocoa Beverage

Cup of Hot Chocolate
Cup of Hot Chocolate | Source

Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipes

Hot chocolate or Hot cocoa is a drink that warms the body and also the spirit. While the warmth of this chocolaty drink thaws out the hands, the taste of chocolate melts the spirit.

It is not surprising to chocolate lovers that hot cocoa is a favorite comfort beverage in many countries.

We are also discovering that our favorite beverage can be a healthful drink as well, particularly hot cocoa. Making healthy or healthier versions of this cocoa beverage means choosing the healthy and healthiest choices for the ingredients.

The basic recipes here can easily be adapted to meet your own tastes and health desires.

Image: Cocoa beverage by Timbec.

Cocoa Powder vs. Chocolate

Cocoa Powder vs. Chocolate
Cocoa Powder vs. Chocolate | Source

Hot Chocolate or Hot Cocoa - What is the Difference?

In common usage, Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa are used interchangeably, but according to the experts and the connoisseurs they are very different.

Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is made from cacao beans turned into cocoa powder which contains no cocoa butter and naturally low in fat with many health benefits. Cocoa, especially more than 70% cocoa has many health benefits. Hot cocoa can be made healthier by minimizing the milk fat and using healthier sugars.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is a very rich chocolate drinking chocolate made from chocolate bars or ground chocolate with cocoa butter with a lower cocoa content and a much higher fat content. In addition this chocolate beverage is often full of sugar, fat and low in actual health cocoa.

So for the Health Benefits, we should be drinking Hot Cocoa, which has all of the beneficial health properties of cocoa, and not Hot Chocolate, which is mainly other ingredients.

Image: Combination of Cocoa on Spoon by starfish75 and Pieces of Chocolate by Niloco, both Royalty Free Use.

Vote for Your Favorite Beverage - Coffee, Tea or Cocoa

Do you Love Hot Chocolate?

See results

Enjoy a Cup of Healthy Cocoa

Hot Cuppa Cocoa
Hot Cuppa Cocoa | Source

Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 10 min
  • Ready in: 15 min
  • Yields: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons 70 % + dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar granulated sugar or a sugar substitute
Cast your vote for Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipe

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk (you can use (low-fat, skim, soy, almond, hemp or rice milk) in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.
  2. Add cocoa powder and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.
  3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk and sweetener until the chocolate mixture is completely blended.
  4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.
  5. Enjoy.

Recipes Adapted from Healthy Cooking Article

Many of the recipes for this page have been adapted from my article previously published for Suite 101. Dyer KA. 2008. Healthy Hot Chocolate: Make Healthier Hot Cocoa Using Healthy Ingredients.

Customize a Basic Recipe

Use a Gourmet Hot Chocolate Maker

Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker & Milk Frother
Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker & Milk Frother

The Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker & Milk Frother is the ultimate Cocoa Maker, for the true connoisseur. The Bialetti works with different sources of chocolate - chocolate shavings, drinking chocolate, or cocoa powder.

Makes up to 32 ounces of your favorite beverage (Four 8 ounce cups).

 

Customize a Basic Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups milk - low-fat, skim, soy, almond, hemp or rice milk

2 heaping tablespoons 70 % + dark chocolate cocoa powder

2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar, granulated sugar or a sugar substitute

Pick one of each of your favorite ingredients for the milk and sweetener on list to make your own custom healthy chocolaty recipe.

Directions:

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk and sweetener until the chocolate mixture is completely blended.

4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

5. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4 servings.

Alternatively you can put all of the ingredients in a Hot Chocolate Maker and let it do the work for you.


Recipe Version with Cinnamon

Cinnamon Hot Cocoa Recipe

A sprinkle of cinnamon or stirring with a cinnamon stick gives a whole different flavor to the chocolaty beverage.

Ingredients:

2 cups milk - low-fat, skim, soy, or rice milk

2 heaping tablespoons 70 % dark chocolate cocoa powder

2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar, granulated sugar or sugar substitute

½ teaspoon Cinnamon

If desired, extra cinnamon or cinnamon stick for garnish.

Pick one of each of your favorite ingredients for the milk and sweetener on list.

Directions:

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk, cinnamon and sweetener until the chocolate mixture is completely blended.

4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top or add a cinnamon stick if desired.

6. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4 servings.

Recipe Version with Mint

Minty Hot Cocoa Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups milk - low-fat, skim, soy, or rice milk

2 heaping tablespoons 70 % dark chocolate cocoa powder

2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar, granulated sugar or sugar substitute

1/4 teaspoon Peppermint Extract

If desired, mint sprig or peppermint stick for garnish.


Pick one of each of your favorite ingredients for the milk and sweetener on list.

Directions:

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder, peppermint extract and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk, peppermint extract and sweetener until the chocolate mixture is completely blended.

4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

5. Garnish with a sprig of mint or peppermint stick if desired.

6. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4 servings.

Love Hot Chocolaty Drinks

I Heart Chocolate Beverages
I Heart Chocolate Beverages | Source

Recipe Version with Orange

Orange Hot Cocoa Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups milk - low-fat, skim, soy, or rice milk

2 heaping tablespoons 70 % dark chocolate cocoa powder

2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar, granulated sugar or sugar substitute

1/4 teaspoon Orange Extract, finely ground Orange Zest or Orange Peel

If desired, orange zest or orange curl for garnish.


Pick one of each of your favorite ingredients for the milk and sweetener on list.

Directions:

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder, orange extract or orange peel and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk, orange extract or orange peel and sweetener until the chocolate mixture is completely blended.

4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

5. Garnish with a sprinkle of orange zest or an orange curl if desired.

6. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4 servings

Debate - Healthy Hot Chocolate or a Chocolate Drink mit Schlag (Whipped Cream)

With or Without Whipped Cream?
With or Without Whipped Cream? | Source

Images Chocolate Heart by micomoth used under RGBStock.com license and Yummy Coffee by lusi. Royalty Free Use.


How do you like your favorite beverage?

Vote for the way that you like to fix your hot beverage - with healthy sprinkles for the heart benefits or topped with lots of whipped cream and other toppings.

Organic Recipe Version

Organic Cocoa Recipe

To make an Organic version use your favorite organic ingredients for the recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups organic milk

2 heaping tablespoons organic cocoa powder

2 teaspoons organic sweetener

Directions:

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk and sweetener until the mixture is completely blended.

4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

5. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4 servings.

Organic Cocoa Powder

Enjoy a Cup of Vegan Hot Cocoa

Vegan Cocoa
Vegan Cocoa | Source

Vegan Recipe Version

Almond Milk on Amazon

Almond Breeze Dairy Free Almondmilk, Original, 32-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)
Almond Breeze Dairy Free Almondmilk, Original, 32-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

You can order Almond Breeze Milk, Original from Amazon.

 

Vegan Cocoa Recipe

To make Vegan Cocoa use your favorite vegan ingredients for the recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups non-dairy milk (soy, almond, hemp or rice)

2 heaping tablespoons vegan cocoa

2 teaspoons organic vegan sugar

Optional ingredients:

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Whisk the cocoa powder, milk, sweetener and any extra ingredients until the mixture is completely blended.

4. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

5. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

6. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4 servings.

Ibarra Mexican Chocolate

Ibarra Mexican Chocolate
Ibarra Mexican Chocolate | Source

Mexican Hot Cocoa Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups milk or almond milk

2 heaping tablespoons 70 % + dark chocolate cocoa powder

2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar, agave nectar or a sugar substitute

1 medium (3 - 4 inch) cinnamon stick [Use large (6 inch) if doubling the recipe]

1 teaspoons Mexican vanilla extract or 1/2 split vanilla bean with the seeds scraped

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

1. Heat milk, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean (if using) in a saucepan over medium until steaming. Do not allow to boil. Turn down to simmer.

2. Add cocoa powder and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisking the cocoa powder, milk and sweetener until the chocolate mixture is completely blended.

4. Whisk cocoa mixture into milk until well blended. Remove from heat.

6. Stir in vanilla extract to taste if vanilla bean was not used.

7. Add the cayenne to taste.

8. Remove cinnamon stick and strain prior to serving if vanilla bean was used.

9. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

10. Enjoy.

Serves 2. Double for 4.

Use a Molinillo to whisk the milk in a Chocolatera for a truly authentic experience.

Adapted from from Emeril's Healthy Mexican Chocolate Beverage Recipe.

More Ingredients for Mexican Chocolate Drink

Delicious authentic Mexican Chocolaty Beverage can be easily prepared using special chocolate discs according to the directions.

How to Make Authentic Mexican Hot Cocoa

In this video clip from the Food Network's "The Secret Life of...Chocolate" we learn how to make a Mexican version of this chocolaty beverage including how to use a Molinillo.

Note the beginning is a bit silly.

Authentic Mexican Hot Cocoa Recipe - Video

More Specialty Chocolate Beverage Recipes

Depending on the ingredients, some of these specialty recipes for Mexican, Mayan and Aztec versions can be loaded with additional fat and calories, so check the ingredient list carefully.

Spicy Recipe Version

Red Pepper Grinder

Spicy Hot Cocoa Recipe

Remember with spicy hot cocoa drink, you can reduce the amount of chili peppers if the drink is too spicy hot.

Ingredients:

2 cups milk - low-fat, skim, soy, almond, hemp or rice milk

2 heaping tablespoons 70 % + dark chocolate cocoa powder or 1 1/2 oz 70% chocolate

2 teaspoons sweetener - Organic cane sugar, granulated sugar or a sugar substitute

1/2 split vanilla bean with the seeds scraped

1 red chili pepper split with seeds removed

Note on using Chili Peppers: Be sure to use gloves because the oils can irritate the skin and eyes.

1 medium (3 - 4 inch) cinnamon stick

l tablespoon extra finely ground almonds or hazelnuts

Directions:

1. Heat the milk with vanilla bean, chili pepper and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the milk boil.

2. Add cocoa powder or chocolate and sweetener. Whisk to combine ingredients, then add to milk.

3. Keep whisk the cocoa powder, milk, vanilla bean, chili pepper, cinnamon and sweetener until well-blended.

4. Remove from heat. Let ingredients stand for another 10 minutes.

5. Strain to remove the vanilla bean, chili pepper and cinnamon stick.

6. Pour into your favorite mugs or cups.

7. Top with a sprinkling of ground almonds or hazelnuts.

8. Enjoy.

2 servings. Double for 4.

Ingredients for Spicy Chocolate Versions

Vanilla Beans and Chili Powder to add to your Spicy Chocolate beverage.

Amazing Hot Drink with Lots of Extras

An Amazing Cup with Extras
An Amazing Cup with Extras | Source

Don't Forget the Extras

Candy Canes Make Fun Stirrers

The Extras for Toppings and Stirrers

Many times it is the extras that make the chocolate beverage extra special.

There are extras that add extra calories and there are extras that do not, so be sure to check what you are adding as your extras, if calories, sugar or cholesterol are of concern.

Low to No Calorie Extras:

  • Cocoa Powder, Coffee, Cayenne, Cinnamon or Nutmeg Sprinkles
  • Low Fat Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon Stick Stirrer

The healthiest extras toppings include the low fat whipped cream (not substitutes), cocoa powder, coffee, cayenne, cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkles. The healthiest stirrer is the cinnamon stick.

Other Fun Extras:

  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Shavings
  • Marshmallows
  • Peppermint Stick or Candy Cane Stirrer

Realistically, the whipped cream, chocolate shavings, marshmallows and candy cane are not be the healthiest option or the lowest calorie option, but they may be the most festive.

Depending on the type the whipped cream could provide additional fat and cholesterol. Using over 70 % Chocolate (like the 85 % chocolate from Lindt) to create the chocolate shavings increases the heart benefits of using chocolate.

One benefit to using marshmallows or peppermint sticks is that neither provides any additional fat or cholesterol. If these are used to sweeten the hot drink at the end, the amount of sweetener used in the recipe could be decreased.

Did you find a healthier recipe to try?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

© 2009 Kirsti A. Dyer

Comments on Healthy Hot Cocoa

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    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 5 years ago

      I love mine spicy:) yummy lens, thanks!

    • hessa johnson profile image

      hessa johnson 6 years ago

      Perfect lens to bookmark for winter. Thank you for sharing.

    • timelapselove profile image

      timelapselove 6 years ago

      Nothing like a hot cup of Hot Chocolate on a cold day, especially if it's healthy!

    • toriphile81 profile image

      toriphile81 6 years ago

      What a selection of delicious recipes! Definitely will have to try out as fall/winter arrive!

    • PippiDust profile image

      PippiDust 6 years ago

      Can't wait to try it. I love chocolate. Great lens.

    • dani3l lm profile image

      dani3l lm 6 years ago

      Me and my wife love hot chocolate in the winter months.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      I love hot chocolate and cocoa, both are great whilst Squidooing after the kids have gone to bed :)

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      Well thankyou, because I guess we are trying out some of these wonderful hot chocolate recipes tonight!

    • profile image

      WateredGardenCreations 6 years ago

      I didn't realize there was a different between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. Thanks for the wonderful lens.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Looks yummy. All the different flavors for hot chocolate sound enticing.

    • Ecolicious LM profile image

      Penny Pincher G 6 years ago

      I love you! You added my favorite Mexican hot chocolate mixes. They are so good. I love all your healthy recipes....You're awesome! Blessed

    • balancebydesign4u profile image

      Carol 6 years ago from Arkansas

      Very interesting to learn the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. And I'm very happy to learn that it can be a healthy drink-wonderful news for a chocoholic. Very nice lens.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      I wish I had a cup of hot chocolate right now! :)

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      Very nice lens, with some excellent recipes! Being a hot cocoa lover (now I know the difference) it will be interesting to try out some of your varieties here!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm already a big fan of healthy hot cocoa and drink it a good bit in the winter. Thanks for all the recipes for some extra zip to an already yummy treat that keep the health benefits.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Excellent lens. Love all the recipes.

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 6 years ago from SE Kent, England

      I have drunk a comforting hot chocolate before bed most nights for most of my life, but I think that I need to start using more healthy cocoa instead of the drinking chocolate. Great lens!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Yum! It's a cloudy, dreary morning here. Perfect time for hot chocolate!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Excellent lens, Kirsti. Love what I've learned about healthy hot chocolate here, and always am impressed when I visit your lenses. Best to you on Squidoo.

    • VSP profile image

      VSP 6 years ago

      Fortunately its almost time for bed otherwise I'd be getting some hot chocolate and that wouldn't help me w/my 2011 goals.;)

    • profile image

      aishu19 6 years ago

      These certainly look delicious. Wonderful hot chocolate recipes

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Yum, I need some hot chocolate after reading this beautiful lens!

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      Mmmmmm, hot chocolate.

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 6 years ago

      Oh, my! I will never think of cocoa or hot chocolate the same way again. I enjoy both but I've never heard of so many varieties before. I just may try one with my kids in the morning. We do have a hot chocolate (whirlpool-effect) maker but don't often use it as much as we should.

      Thanks for creating this beautiful lens. I truly enjoyed my visit, enough to leave you with an angel belssing. This lens has been featured at https://hubpages.com/community/wings-of-an-angel

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Congratulations on being listed on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase! Thanks for sharing so many fabulous recipes!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens, as always. I'm going to try the Mexican hot chocolate. We keep all those ingredients on hand. Congratulations on being included in the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase. Happy new year (and belated birthday wishes too)!

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 6 years ago

      LOVE hot chocolate!! Especially this time of year :) Congrats on making it on the Giant Squid Showcase! Happy New Year!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just reading this gave me some comfort like a nice cup of Hot Chocolate would. Congratulations on your placement on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase List! Very well deserved!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      As always with you, first class. Congratulations and here's wishing you all the best for 2011.

    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      Thanks for including a vegan recipe. Congrats on the best of 2010 list and happy new year.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Healthy hot chocolate? I'll drink to that! Some delicious ideas here and lovely to see a vegan hot chocolate recipe too. Congratulations on being included in the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase!

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 6 years ago

      I made myself a healthy hot chocolate mix by combining dark chocolate powders, coconut powder milk, powdered coconut creamer and coconut sugar. I hope to make a lens one of these days based on that recipe. It's pretty good tasting. I'll probably tweak it some, but I feel much better drinking it than buying the powder stuff from the grocery store. Great lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'd say that you have hot chocolate perfection here! Congratulations on being on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase Best of List! I would have never though of spicing it up but it makes wonderful sense!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Congratulations on being one of the 45 on the Giant Squid 2010 Showcase. Very cool. :)

    • BrandyT LM profile image

      BrandyT LM 7 years ago

      Love this lens! All this hot chocolate has me wanting the cold weather and a warm fire to drink it by.