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Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipes to Make Your Own

Updated on January 4, 2015

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?

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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.

With healthy sprinkles for the heart benefits

With healthy sprinkles for the heart benefits

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    • Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      @chickie99: I prefer dark chocolate because of the anti-oxidants.

    • chickie99 4 years ago

      i like dark hot chocolate the best. it's actually full of great anti-oxidants

    • Carol 6 years ago from Arkansas

      Now that I know that there is such a thing as healthy hot chocolate, I think I'll drink it this way from now on.

    • BunnyFabulous 6 years ago from Central Florida

      We make hot cocoa for the yumminess and health benefits. It's still delicious made in a healthy way.

    • Christine Hulme 6 years ago from SE Kent, England

      Just the sprinkles is rich enough for me!

    • Paula Morgan 6 years ago from Sydney Australia

      Healthy - all that cream makes my tummy ache

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I'll take it healthy!

    With lots of whipped cream or toppings

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

        @Echo Phoenix: Had to get the translation: with cream please

      • Echo Phoenix 4 years ago

        met slagroom, alstublieft!

      • Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

        the full works, is best for us!

      • LouisaDembul 6 years ago

        Hot chocolate with whipped cream on a cold winterday- that's life!

      • Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

        Guilty...I love the whipped cream with a cherry on top and chocolate sprinkles.

      • Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

        Usually I take mine plain, but I wouldn't pass up a marshmallow if it were offered!

      • ljm63 6 years ago

        Whip cream of course!

      • VSP 6 years ago

        I should say the other, but this is the truth.

      • KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

        I love fresh whipped cream.

      • Spook LM 6 years ago

        I'll go for the whipped cream.

      • ctavias0ffering1 6 years ago

        I'll take it any way it comes :)

      • BrandyT LM 6 years ago

        My favorite is hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows.

      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

      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

      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 4 years ago

          I love mine spicy:) yummy lens, thanks!

        • hessa johnson profile image

          hessa johnson 5 years ago

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

        • timelapselove profile image

          timelapselove 5 years ago

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

        • toriphile81 profile image

          toriphile81 5 years ago

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

        • PippiDust profile image

          PippiDust 5 years ago

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

        • dani3l lm profile image

          dani3l lm 5 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.;)

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