10 Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipes That'll Keep You Cozy & Warm All Winter Long

by Julia Guerra

When you’re living that plant-based life, or you're simply someone who has to deal with a grueling dairy intolerance, milk is a major no-no, and that can get tricky around the holidays. Sipping hot cocoa by the crackling fire on a brisk December evening is is the quintessential, Pinterest-worthy, holiday snapshot, but thankfully, there are a ton of vegan hot chocolate recipes at your disposal if cow’s milk is a can’t-do for your lifestyle.

Personally, hot chocolate has always been hit or miss for me. I've always liked the idea of ladling steaming, creamy hot cocoa into a giant-sized mug and watching snow fall and blanket the world outside my window. It sounds super Hallmark, but real-life Julia would only drink half of an average-sized cup and compensate for the second half with a fistful of marshmallows.

Ironically enough, the second I cut out dairy from my diet, I’ve since been finding myself craving hot chocolate around the clock as the cherry on top of all the holiday celebrations I have a hand in hosting this year. Fortunately, for those of us just tapping into plant-based alternatives, there are a slew of options out there to help vegans sip on some hot cocoa sans dairy, or any other kinds of animal products (in other words: watch the whip). Here are a few vegan hot chocolate recipes to experiment with over the holidays.

Raw Hot Chocolate
Kate Flowers on YouTube

Even if you're not really interested in committing to a fully raw vegan diet, don't knock it 'til you've tried this particularly tasty recipe from Kate Flowers.

The YouTuber/recipe developer's hot cocoa calls for minimal, whole ingredients like dates, cacao powder, vanilla bean, and raw cashews to get you that super creamy texture, with water as your liquid base. Toss everything into a blender, combine, and voila!

Obviously this isn't the traditional "hot" chocolate you'd expect, so if you prefer yours a little steamy, I'd suggest popping it into the microwave for 30-second increments until your chocolate is nice and warm. It's a super healthy alternative for warm winter nights, or even as a snack to curb a sweet tooth.

Sarah's Day Super Healthy Hot Chocolate
Sarahs Day on YouTube

Sarah's Day is the awesome Aussie I aspire to be when I grow up (minus the cool accent, I'll never pull that off), especially in terms of her masterful ways around the kitchen.

Back when Sarah was experimenting with that #plantbasedlife, subscribers weren't surprised to catch the fitness guru sipping on her healthy vegan hot chocolate recipe in multiple videos. Being the loyal Sezzy squad member that I am, I was naturally all about this healthy alternative to artificially sweetened, store-bought packets.

Sarah's vegan hot chocolate is super unique, and the ingredients list can be easily altered depending on what you have in your kitchen. Raw cacao or squares of dark chocolate are obviously essential, but Sarah also uses key ingredients like coconut oil to guarantee that creamy consistency, as well as some healthy fats, Stevia or honey for sweetener, and any plant-based milk of your choice.

Vegan Unicorn Hot Chocolate
Krist Soup on YouTube

Whoever said vegan sweets were bland obviously never tried unicorn hot chocolate sans dairy additives.

Krist Soups's veganized recipe of Creme and Sugar's famous unicorn hot chocolate calls for peeled and soaked hazelnuts, hazelnut milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and raw cacao butter. Combined, these ingredients will create a white hot chocolate base, to which this YouTuber added some pink food coloring to achieve that gorgeously vibrant hue.

Superfood Hot Chocolate
Simply Quinoa on YouTube

"Superfood" is such a new-age term that seems to get thrown around a lot in the world of health and wellness. Whether or not this reels you in to try Simply Quinoa's recipe, the food porn photo is enough in and of itself to make me want to take a sip.

The key to this recipe is a combination of cinnamon, maca, and raw cacao for that sweet wintery taste, along with some full-fat coconut milk for the perfect balance of creamy liquid and topping foam.

Vegan Hot Chocolate On A Stick

TheChocolateCellar Vegan Hot Chocolate Sticks, $2.98, Etsy

Talk about hot chocolate preparations made easy, right? Hot cocoa accessories are definitely having a moment this year, and I'm loving that these offerings are becoming more and more inclusive. Courtesy of TheChocolateCellar, vegan hot chocolate recipes don't have to be so complex, or even prepared by hand in the kitchen.

Each stick comes packaged in a cellophane cone with vegan marshmallows to top off the dairy-free treat, and is made for one-mug indulgences. Simply heat up your plant-based milk of choice in the microwave (or on the stove), dip in your hot chocolate stick, stir, and enjoy.

Three-Ingredient Hot Chocolate
Rebecca Pytell on YouTube

Founder of Strength & Sunshine blog Rebecca Pytell's newest rendition of vegan hot chocolate mix calls for minimal ingredients for maximum taste.

The self-proclaimed gluten-free, allergy-friendly foodie combines unsweetened cocoa powder, natural sugar replacement erythritol, and coconut milk powder into a dry mixture, the aesthetic of which could be compared to that of brownie batter (yum).

The vegan recipe is sugar-, gluten-, allergy-free, and paleo-friendly. Just add hot water or plant-based milk, and sip to your heart's content.

Cashew Milk Cocoa
The Vegan Magazine on Twitter

Cashew milk has become a personal favorite of mine (give Elmhurst's Milked Cashews a try and it'll convert you, too). The consistency of the milk is super creamy and thick, so I can definitely see why Faith VanderMolen of The Conscientious Eater would utilize this nut milk as a base for a delicious hot cocoa recipe.

The foodie makes hers homemade, but you can absolutely sub for store-bought cartons. For a chocolatey mixture, combine cocoa powder and maple syrup for a natural sweetener. If you like your hot chocolate not-so-thick, add hot water to dilute as needed.

Vegan, CBD-Infused Lavender Hot Chocolate
The Blender Girl on Twitter

This soothing vegan hot chocolate recipe courtesy of MindBodyGreen is progressive AF and super tasty.

If by some chance you're unfamiliar with CBD, allow me to clarify. CBD oil is a cannabis compound with medicinal benefits. No, this hot chocolate situation won't get you stoned, but it will (legally) calm your nerves and any other anxieties getting you all jittery.

Whisked into the chocolatey brew with dried culinary lavender and a pinch of salt, MBG claims this indulgence actually doubles as self-care. Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Toasted 'Mallow Hot Chocolate
My Vibrant Kitchen on Twitter

Can we just stop for a sec to recognize that almost every mouth-watering photograph of hot chocolate has either melted marshmallows or an overflow of chocolate goodness oozing off the top and over the edge of an artisan mug? Swoon.

My Vibrant Kitchen's quintessential cold weather drink just had to be hot chocolate, naturally. This recipe is a little more advanced, though, as its pile of vegan marshmallow fluff is 100 percent homemade. Even though it's a lengthier process than wanding hot cocoa on a stick through hot water, the decadence of this sip is worth a little extra prep — trust me.

Lazy Girl's Guide To Vegan Hot Chocolate On-The-Go
Ⓥanilla bean on Twitter

You don't have to be a master chef, single-mug brewer, or even a literal stickler for hot cocoa to get your fix. Thank goodness for Starbucks, right?

This Twitter user has crafted the perfect cheat sheet for all of your vegan orders when it comes to the Starbucks holiday menu. Just keep an eye out for dairy milks and whipped toppings, and you're all set.