A steaming cup of rich hot chocolate is all I want on a chilly afternoon—that warm mug basically doubles as mittens. Considering that many people omit dairy from their diets, however, the average hot chocolate recipe (including most instant options!) needs reevaluating. For a cup of vegan hot chocolate, could you mix whatever dairy-free milk you have in the refrigerator with cocoa powder and a spoonful of sugar? Sure. But for an ultra-rich beverage that tastes just like—if not better than—the original, take a few extra steps. Use super-creamy oat milk as a base and whisk in a big handful of chopped bittersweet chocolate as well as cocoa powder. And definitely top the mugful with big ol’ dollop of vegan whipped cream (or let a handful of vegan marshmallows take a swim!). I find that a full-fat oat milk is the creamiest and best-tasting dairy-free milk for this vegan hot chocolate recipe, followed closely by cashew milk, but you can use your favorite style (or even regular cow’s milk!) here. —Rebecca Firkser
unsweetened oat or cashew milk (or preferred nondairy milk)
ground cinnamon (optional)
vegan bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
½ to 1 teaspoons
granulated or brown sugar
Vegan whipped cream and/or marshmallows, for serving (optional)
In This Recipe
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the oat milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon (if using), and salt until the mixture is barely simmering, about 3 minutes—don’t let it come to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, then whisk in the chocolate until melted. Add ½ teaspoon sugar, taste, and add the remaining ½ teaspoon if needed.
Pour into a mug and serve with vegan whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.
Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. These days, you can keep your eye out for her monthly budget recipe column, Nickel & Dine. Rebecca tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.