Vegan Hot Chocolate

5 from 11 votes

Vegan Hot Chocolate is one of my favorite holiday drinks - it's dairy-free, paleo-friendly, naturally sweetened & easy to make with a blender and 4 ingredients

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This vegan hot chocolate recipe is made with raw cashews for a plant-based variation that is rich and comforting during the cold weather months. Made completely in a blender with only four simple ingredients, this hot cocoa is ready in less than 5 minutes. Serve with whipped coconut cream and crushed peppermint for an indulgent and cozy drink.

Vegan hot chocolate made with cashew milk and topped with crushed peppermint
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There’s nothing that makes chilly days more comforting than a warm cup of cocoa! This creamy, vegan hot chocolate is my favorite hot chocolate recipe, and it’s perfect for the whole family. It’s vegan, paleo-friendly, made without added sugar, easy to make and gives me all the cozy feels when a regular tea just doesn’t cut it. It’s easy to make, too. Just blend, heat, and enjoy!

A dairy-free hot chocolate recipe

This is a great time to be alive and be lactose intolerant/sensitive because the abundance, variety and taste of plant-based milk is just amazing! Not only can you buy almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk and hemp milk, but you can pretty much make most of these at home. And so I use cashews to make this heavenly vegan hot chocolate.

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Blender
Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Vegan, Paleo-Friendly
Key Flavor: Sweet
Skill Level: Easy


  • Rich and Creamy: This vegan hot chocolate uses raw cashews to give you that lush, creamy texture you’d expect from regular hot chocolate, minus the dairy.
  • Easy Prep: No complicated steps. Just soak the cashews overnight, blend up the ingredients, and in less than 5 minutes you’ve got a cup ready to go.
  • Customizable: Although I use cashew milk to make this hot chocolate, there are many other dairy-free milks that you can use to customize it to your own taste.
  • Suitable for Different Dietary Needs: It’s vegan, paleo-friendly, and perfect for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies.

Ingredients to make Vegan Hot Chocolate

  • Raw Cashews: Soak them in water overnight or for at least 2 hours before blending. If you don’t have cashews on hand, try using almonds or macadamia nuts.
  • Water: Warm water will help blend the cashews smoother.
  • Maple Syrup: for natural sweetness. Don’t have maple? Swap in agave nectar or even date syrup.
  • Vanilla Extract: A must to get that classic cocoa taste. You can scrape a vanilla bean instead of the extract.
  • Sea Salt: While optional, a tiny pinch helps enhance the overall flavor.
  • Cocoa Powder: This is what gives us that chocolatey goodness. Go for unsweetened, high-quality cocoa. Want a twist? Try using cacao powder for a slightly different taste and more antioxidants.

How to make vegan hot chocolate

While this is a 5-minute recipe, there is one make-ahead element that’s important. Be sure to soak raw cashews in water for 2 hours or overnight preferably so they soften and blend more easily. Here are the 4 simple steps after you soak the cashews:

  1. Drain the cashews from the liquid they were soaking in, and rinse them thoroughly. Then transfer the cashews without any liquid to the blender.
  2. Add water to the cashews. If the blender has a heating function, you can use lukewarm water. Otherwise I recommend using hot (not boiling) water along with maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt.
  3. Blend everything together until it looks like milk. The time will vary based on your blender.
  4. When it looks like milk, add in the cocoa powder and blend again just until it’s well mixed.
Process shots showing the blender with cashews, water, then cocoa and cinnamon being added

Tips for making the best vegan hot chocolate recipe

  1. Make sure to use raw (not roasted), unsalted, unseasoned cashews. The raw cashews are softer and sweeter, so they will yield a better consistency for the milk; and one that’s not salty or seasoned anyway.
  2. Soak the cashews for 15 minutes in boiling water if you’re pressed for time. While I recommend soaking the cashews overnight for best results, you can also get away with soaking them for less time if you use boiling hot water.
  3. Sieve the cocoa powder. Even though it might seem okay at first glance, cocoa powder can have tiny clumps. Sieving it ensures that your hot chocolate is lump-free and smooth.
  4. Vary the sweetener level to your liking. I like to use natural sweeteners like maple syrup for myself. When I’m making for my kids, I usually double the sweeter and I might even add some granulated sugar for them to dissolve in the hot chocolate.
  5. Enjoy the hot chocolate immediately for best results. This vegan hot chocolate, like regular hot chocolate, may thicken as it stands stills. You can whisk it or thin it out with more water or milk if desired.
  • Make it spicy. For those who like a kick with their cocoa, a pinch of cinnamon and chili powder are the perfect additions.
  • Add toppings. While this cashew milk hot chocolate is amazing on its own, sprinkling some cocoa nibs or a dash of nutmeg on top can add an extra layer of flavor and make your drink look great.
  • Try different types of milk. Cashew milk gives a creamy texture, but you can also experiment with almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oat milk, hemp milk and more!
  • Vary the sweetener level. While I don’t like my hot cocoa too sweet, I usually double the sweeter when I’m making it for my kids. I might even add some granulated sugar for them to dissolve in the hot chocolate.

How to store & reheat vegan hot chocolate

If you end up with any leftover hot chocolate (lucky you!), pour it into an airtight container or mason jar and store it in the fridge.

When you’re ready to enjoy it again, you can either heat it up on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally until it’s warm, or reheat it in the microwave using a microwave-safe mug until it’s warm.

How long will this Vegan Hot Chocolate last in the fridge?

This vegan hot chocolate should stay fresh for about 3-4 days in the fridge. Just remember to give it a good shake or stir before reheating, as some separation might happen due to the cold temperature.

Two mugs full of the plant-based homemade hot chocolate

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this hot chocolate keto-friendly?

Yes, you can! Swap the maple syrup for a keto-friendly sweetener like stevia. Always adjust to taste, as this sweetener can be strong.

My hot chocolate is too watery. How can I fix it?

If your hot chocolate is too thin, you can thicken it up by blending in some extra soaked cashews. Alternatively, you can simmer it on the stovetop for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavors.

Can you use any milk in this vegan hot chocolate recipe?

Yes, you can use a store bought non-diary milk if you prefer, but this will alter the taste of the drink, and the drink maybe slightly thinner. It’s easy and cheap to make your own cashew milk right in the blender with no straining necessary.

For more cozy holiday drinks, check out:

Close up shot of a clear mug of hot chocolate made with homemade cashew milk

There’s nothing that makes winter and 6 inches of snow more “acceptable”  than a warm cup of hot chocolate! This is my favorite hot chocolate recipe, and it’s perfect for the whole family. It’s vegan, paleo-friendly, made without added sugar, easy to make and gives me all the cozy feels during winter.

If you try this healthy-ish feel good Vegan Hot Chocolate recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then please come back to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This Vegan Hot Chocolate recipe was originally published on December 12, 2017. I’ve updated the post to include newer step-by-step photos. Here’s the original photo!

Vegan hot chocolate in two red mugs topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate

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Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate is one of my favorite holiday drinks – it's dairy-free, paleo-friendly, naturally sweetened & easy to make with a blender and 4 ingredients
5 from 11 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Beverages
Calories 397
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes




  • Soak cashews in a mason jar overnight, or for at least 2 hours. When ready to use, drain and rinse.
  • Place cashews, warm water, maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt in a blender and blend until completely smooth to make the cashew milk.
  • Add the cocoa powder and blend again until smooth and the cocoa is fully incorporated.
  • Serve warm with whipped coconut cream and crushed peppermint, if desired.


Results May Vary: This cashew milk hot chocolate thickens when it stands still. The thickness may also vary depending on what milk is used and the exact ingredients used. You can thin it out with some water or splash of cashew milk/almond milk.
Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or on a stovetop when ready to serve.
Make Ahead Tips: The cashews will need to be soaked 2 hours or up to 24 hours in advance in order to use in this recipe.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However if you prefer to use a different nut, this recipe will still work but have a different taste. You can also use different store-bought plant-based milk.
Equipment: I made this vegan hot chocolate in my Vitamix. It has a “soup” button so it does all the work for me until the ingredients are well blended and warmed.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 397kcal, Carbohydrates: 34.7g, Protein: 11.5g, Fat: 27.4g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 17.6mg, Fiber: 4.3g, Sugar: 16.5g

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Beverages

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Recipe Rating


  1. Tasty recipe.. so easy to make and super fun too.. I topped it up with whipped cream and shredded chocolate.. Amazing, will definitely try again 🤩

    1. Thank you! And yes, you can absolutely make this with almonds or hazelnut. I would recommend if you’re making almond milk or hazelnut milk that you strain the milk with a cheesecloth though to make it more smooth like the texture of milk. Hope you enjoy it!