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How to Make the Ultimate Vegan Drinking Chocolate!

hot-chocolate recipe vegan


Ever wonder why Swiss Miss contains milk fat? Or why all the best drinking chocolates use milk?

As Samin Nosrat says in Salt Fat Acid Heat "Fat Carries Flavor". The fat is critical to the rich flavor of a drinking chocolate. In hot chocolate the fat comes from two sources. First is the cocoa butter. Cocoa beans contain cocoa butter and any good dark chocolate bar will have 30-60% of its chocolate content be cocoa butter. So that means in a 70% bar, you'd have around 20%-40% cocoa butter.

Many commercially available mixes like Swiss Miss are actually hot cocoas instead of true hot chocolates. As the name implies, they are made with cocoa powder instead of chocolate, and cocoa powder has an even lower cocoa butter content, generally around 10-12%. Which brings us to the second common fat source: milk.

Whether milk or a vegan alternative, the liquid makes up the bulk of the drink, so fat content is also important here. Whole milk is 3.5% fat. (For super rich non-vegan hot chocolate, you can even use cream). Vegan milks top out around 2% fat content, so how do we get the additional fat content back in a vegan hot chocolate? That's easy, right, we can just add more cocoa butter?...

Well, it's not quite that simple. Cocoa butter is a fat and vegan milks are mostly water. If you just add cocoa butter, they will separate. The cocoa butter would melt and float on the surface, and you'd be drinking globs of cocoa butter before getting to the hot chocolate.

So how do we get the globs of cocoa butter to mix in with the milk when they normally won't? The answer is emulsion! There are several techniques for making an emulsion, but usually it involves very fast stirring. This can be tricky to do by hand, so an easier way is have an immersion blender to do the hard part for you.

Now that we have solved the fat problem, we can address the other crucial elements, Salt (sea salt), Heat (putting the hot in hot chocolate!), and Acid (chocolate is an acid, you can also add ginger or similar to spice things up!). Put it all together and you get:

Ultimate Vegan Drinking Chocolate Recipe!


  • 1 cup vegan milk (you can also use other milk, it just won't be vegan)
  • 3 oz chocolate (1 Dark Matter Dark Chocolate Bar or about 80g)
  • 0.15 oz cocoa butter (5g or about 2 wafers)
  • a pinch of sea salt (about 1/8 tsp or 1/2 gram)
  • (optional) Spices to taste
  • (optional) Additional sugar to taste


Heat the milk over the stove until warm to the touch. Add the chocolate, cocoa butter, and salt, then heat until melted. Use an immersion blender or electric frother to emulsify the cocoa butter, chocolate, and optional spices into the milk. The mixture should form a viscous liquid with no cocoa butter on the surface. This should happen within a few seconds. Add additional sugar or spices to taste. Continue heating until warm enough to serve.

This recipe can also be made in the microwave if you have a cup large enough to fit the head of your immersion blender. Be sure to leave several inches of space above the liquid since the immersion blender will push the hot chocolate against the sides of the cup and may cause it to splash out.

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