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Dark Hot Cocoa Recipe


Picture of raw cocoa beans and powder in a bowl and spoons


It’s that time of year — the temps are dipping and sometimes a little piece of dark chocolate or cup of herbal tea after dinner doesn’t quite satisfy the craving for something chocolaty and warm!

While some people complain that the commercial packets of instant hot cocoa aren’t vegan, I love the excuse to make hot cocoa on the stove (just like stove-popped popcorn!). It really isn’t difficult at all and you get to control the ingredients!

Once I started using dark cocoa, I never went back to regular cocoa — the richness of the flavor is amazing and since I am a serious chocolate lover, I am  ALL about it. Note that dark cocoa is different (no added sugar but more processed) than cacao. I personally don’t think cacao tastes like chocolate so I mainly use that in baked goods (I may do half cocoa, half cacao for a chocolaty dessert), chia pudding and smoothies. For hot chocolate, I use (gasp!) Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, which you can find at any major grocer.

I use organic cane sugar in my cocoa but feel free to use whatever sweetener you like… maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar, stevia, etc.

dark hot cocoa in a white mug


I find that light vanilla soy milk is perfect for hot cocoa — I loathe almond milk in hot beverages and coconut milk just tastes like coconuts. Feel free to use whichever milk you prefer. If you’re not using a vanilla-flavored milk, add a drop of vanilla extract to the cocoa and stir well just before serving.

Get creative and jazz up your cocoa with some fun additions like a drop of peppermint extract, some marshmallows or even toss some chocolate chips into the pan to make it extra decadent!

I hope you enjoy this chocolaty treat!

Dark Hot Cocoa

This recipe makes the perfect single cup of hot cocoa!
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Beverage
Servings 1 cup


  • 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk


  • In a small sauce pan over low heat, combine cocoa, sugar and water and whisk together until combined. Heat about 1 minute until hot but not scalding.
  • Pour milk into chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Increase heat to medium and stir often until heated through. Do not boil.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  1. Rosa Laura says

    Hi, so funny that I stumbled upon this, my local coffeeshop makes a great dark hot chocolate (grahams 318 coffeeshop in Geneva, IL.) They offer pacific oat milk and so lactose intolerant so that was perfect. I recreated at home with 1 cup pacific original oat milk, 2 tbsp of hershey special dark cocoa, few drops of vanilla extract and few drops of chocolate extract, pinch of mortons lite salt, 1 -2 tspbof brown sugar or green leaf stevia as alternative. So delish!!! Thank for another option!!!

  2. Anonymous says

    I use the special dark powder too bu;t I jazz mine up with Baileys, creme de mint and creme de coca::…… adult hot coco,

  3. Cindy says

    5 stars
    Oops -(revised) my previous review is missing a full five stars – add a little almond extract for something different.

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