Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate | Raw + Cacao
Are you looking for a healthy vegan hot chocolate to drink on those cold winter nights?
I don’t know about you but I’ve been craving hot drinks the last few weeks. And what is the first hot drink anyone reaches for (or at least I do)? A nice cup of hot chocolate.
But instead buying one of those prepackage hot chocolate mixes from the grocery store, why not make it yourself? For one thing, it’s not that much more work to make it yourself and chances are you probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboards. For another, you have complete control so it won’t contain any corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, or even dairy (unless you desire it). And third, it’s creamy, rich, and fantastically flavorful. Lastly, it is zero waste and made from sustainable hemp milk instead of almond or soy milk. So not only does it taste better with higher quality ingredients but it’s actually healthier for you and the environment too!
Is this possible?
Absolutely! So without further adieu, say hello to my homemade vegan hot chocolate! This easy hot chocolate recipe is very simple using mostly raw ingredients (or in the case of the cacao bean, as raw as possible). All you need is some hemp seeds, cacao powder, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup or dates, salt, maca powder (if desired), a blender, and water.
Cacao Vs. Cocoa Powder
What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?
Cacao and cocoa are both the same bean. Both beans undergo the same initial process of fermentation and drying. The big difference between the two is in the process makers use to convert the dry bean (also called cacao) to the powder you find at the grocery store. Chocolate makers make cacao by cold-pressing unroasted beans. This retains as much of the nutrients and enzymes as possible. Whereas makers make cocoa by roasting the beans at high temperatures (between 212F or 100C and 300F or 150C). In that process some nutrients are lost. Here’s some great info by ConsumerLab if you’d like to know more.
Now to be perfectly honest, there is no real science to back whether eating cacao or cocoa actually makes that much difference. And the price of cocoa is cheaper than cacao and can be found in bulk. Additionally, using cacao in cooking may or may not actually give you that much more benefit since the temperatures in cooking often exceed 215F.
In light of that, I tend to keep both in my cupboard. I use cacao powder in my smoothies and hot drinks for the extra nutrients. And save the cocoa powder for most of my baking needs. But if you’d rather use cocoa powder in this cacao hot chocolate recipe, both work equally well. Just make sure the cocoa powder has no sugar or other ingredients.
A Good Blender Makes a Difference
To start with, you don’t need a high-performance blender to make this vegan hot chocolate recipe. But I still strongly recommend using one if possible for a number of reasons.
One, a high-performance blender will blend the ingredients much better than a conventional machine. So no filtering is necessary if you want a completely smooth drink. Second, a blender like my Vitamix 5200 will also heat up the ingredients while it is blending. This ensures that the finished drink is ready immediately and there’s less steps involved.
Don’t have one of these types of blenders? There’s no need to worry. Any blender will work for this recipe but you might have to make some adjustments.
- First, you might have to run the blender just a little longer to really grind up the hemp seeds without having chunks. Or make hemp milk, filter it, and add 2 cups of the filtered hemp milk to the recipe instead. Naturally, omit the water and hemp seeds in the recipe if you do.
- Second, you will have to use either hot water or heat it up on the stove top. You can accomplish this two ways:
- Instead of pouring the entire amount of water into the blender, just add about half (1 cup) at room temperature. Once everything is blended smoothly, add the other cup of water heated to around 180-200F or 82-93C (hot but not boiling) and stir. You may need to tweek this until you get the finished drink to come out to your preferred temperature which is probably around 140F or 60C.
- Alternatively, you could blend up the drink with the full amount of water and heat it up on the stove top to around 140-160F or 60- 71C.
If you don’t have a high-performance but are interested in getting one, I strongly recommend the Vitamix 5200 blender. I use this blender for all my smoothies, hot drinks, and more. It is one of the cheaper blenders in this class as well. If you would like to know more, I’ve got a Vitamix review that goes into detail about it.
Tips for Making Vegan Hot Chocolate
This vegan hot chocolate is very easy to make. You just place all the ingredients in the blender with a little water and blend on high for a few minutes until smooth. Afterward, mix in the hot water (if using a standard blender) and you’re done. However, here are a few tips that I think are helpful in making a perfect cup of hot cocoa every time.
- One point worth mentioning is the maca powder. As stated in the recipe, this ingredient is completely optional. So if you don’t have it around, not to worry. However, I love putting maca in my hot chocolate as it’s incredibly good for you and does give a just a bit more complexity to the drink. If you’d like to know more about the benefits of maca, I have a post that goes into detail about it (don’t let the title fool you, there’s more to maca than just fertility).
- For the sake of the environment, I highly suggest using hemp milk for this recipe. The hemp plant is much more sustainable crop than almonds or soy. It is very hardy, needs low pesticides and little water, replenishes soil, and is a very nutrient rich food. Plus, it make a rich and creamy milk that tastes better than almond or soy milk (in my opinion). And it’s incredibly easy to make and requires no filtering. However, almond milk works very well for this recipe too.
- If you prefer almond milk, replace the hemp seeds with 2 tablespoons of raw almonds or, omit the hemp seeds and use unsweetened almond milk instead of water.
- Lastly, the ideal temperature you want your hot water at is around 140F or 60C F but it doesn’t have to be exact. Just don’t let it get to a full boil. The reason for this is you don’t want to risk scorching your hemp milk or cacao powder (if using). This temperature ensures a pleasantly hot drink while retaining much of the nutritional benefits from the raw ingredients.
That about covers it. So let’s get started!
Looking for other ways to use hemp? You might want to check out my chai milkshake (v), matcha and pistachio smoothie (v), peanut butter avocado cookies with chocolate chips (v), and basil pesto.
v – vegan
If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to see your awesome creation! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to hashtag a photo on Instagram #sustainablesauceresses!
Or if you have any questions or feedback, you are always welcome to leave me a comment below. I’d really love to hear from you!
Vegan Hot Chocolate
- Measuring Cup and Spoons
- 2 cups filtered water
- 3 tbsp. hemp seeds or hemp hearts, hulled
- 1 tbsp. cocoa or cacao powder
- 2-3 tbsp. maple syrup or to taste
- 1 tsp. coconut oil extra virgin
- 1 tsp. maca powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
- Add everything to the blender.
- Start the blender on the lowest setting and slowly increase to the highest setting.
- For a high-performance blender: Blend for 4-6 minutes until drink is heated to about 140F or 60C (or desired temperature).
- For a standard blender: Blend for 1-3 minutes until smooth. (look in "Recipe Notes" on how to heat.
- Serve immediately.
Where to Buy?
This post contains affiliate links. When you click on one of these links we receive a small commission on any product(s) you buy at no extra cost to you. This helps to support our families and work on Sustainable Sauceresses and is greatly appreciated. For full details please see our affiliate disclosure.
Whenever possible, it is always a good practice to buy from a local store near you. Just please try to buy products packaged in glass instead of plastic. It’s even better to find it in bulk to reduce waste.
However, who you source from is just as important. So if you have to buy online, here are some companies I suggest. These companies have been chosen because they are small businesses but not necessarily focused on sustainability (it is always good to help these guys out) or larger companies that are committed to fair trade, ethical practices, and/or committed to sustainability.
I will also list the State or Country this businesses reside in so that you have the option to locate a shop close to you. Those with affiliated links will be marked by an *
For cocoa or cacao powder:
Did you give this recipe a try?