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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Healthy Hot Chocolate With Cinnamon

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Healthy Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon is a divinely rich, warm, spiced drink that’s perfect for the cold weather. Thick, creamy, and fragrant, you won’t get enough of the intense chocolate flavor in this tasty treat. It’s healthy, naturally gluten-free, low in added sugars, but so delicious that it’s family (and kid) friendly!

easy healthy hot chocolate with cinnamon recipe in a mug

Hot chocolate is one of my favorite holiday recipes. What I don’t love is that regular hot chocolate is usually loaded with calories and sugar, which makes it a once-in-a-while indulgence instead of an every day drink.

Instant hot chocolates are full of artificial ingredients, and have way too much added sugar. One Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix serving has 28 grams of sugar! Plus, it contains corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut oil, along with dipotassium phosphate, mono-and diglycerides, and natural flavor (which could be made from literally anything!)

But making your own healthy hot chocolate is super easy, and I’m willing to bet you have all the ingredients you need in your pantry! This irresistible mug of hot chocolate whips up quickly too. It has an intensely rich hot chocolate flavor.

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Although this recipe looks like it’s decadent, it’s actually made with all natural, healthy ingredients and is totally guilt-free! It’s a great option when you have a chocolate craving. Its creamy consistency and pure cocoa flavor will make you feel like you’re sipping on one of your favorite chocolate dessert recipes!

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Natural Ingredients
  • Low in Sugar
  • Low Calorie
  • Vegan Option
  • Best cinnamon hot chocolate ever!
  • Simple Ingredients
  • No Artificial Sweeteners
  • Wholesome Ingredients
  • Healthy hot cocoa for the whole family in under 10 minutes!

🥘 Ingredients

See the recipe card below for the full ingredient list and nutritional information!

ingredients for healthy hot chocolate recipe

Milk: Use 1% milk to achieve a creamy texture without the need to use whole milk or cream. The 1% milk has healthy fats and makes this healthy hot cocoa feel decadent. You can use nonfat milk, but I think the 1% works better and doesn’t make this low calorie hot chocolate feel too watered down.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: Use a high-quality cocoa powder or raw cacao powder. Not cocoa mix. Cocoa mix is meant to make instant hot chocolate and is very high in sugar! Unsweetened cocoa powder has a slightly bitter taste, and a rich chocolate feel – kind of like a super dark chocolate bar.

Vanilla Extract and Molasses: Adds sweetness to this easy healthy hot chocolate and also a nice rich spice.

Spices: A combination of ceylon cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom, and cloves give this hot chocolate with cinnamon a warm and wintry flavor.

🍽 Equipment

📖 Variations

Vegan Hot Chocolate: It’s super easy to make this a dairy-free hot chocolate! Simply substitute your favorite non-dairy milk. Any variety of nut milks will work such as unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, or soy milk.

Reduce the sugar content, or change your sweetener: If the flavor of molasses is not your thing, or you don’t have any in your pantry, you can substitute it for an unrefined natural sweetener. My suggestion is pure maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar. You can also make this a sugar-free hot chocolate by using monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate: Instead of the cinnamon, all spice, ginger, cardamom, and cloves, add 2-3 drops of Peppermint Extract, the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Spicy Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe: For chocolate lovers who also like a bit of a kick, add a little bit of cayenne pepper (either while cooking, or as a sprinkle on top!) — a great addition if you to create a more Mexican hot chocolate that has a little bit of a kick!

🔪 Instructions

Make the healthy hot chocolate mix: In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, all of the spices, and a pinch of sea salt (everything on the ingredients list except the milk).

hot cocoa mix in a bowl

Step 2: Heat a large saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop. Pour half the milk into a small saucepan and add in the cocoa powder mixture. Whisk until smooth and all the lumps are removed.

cocoa mix and milk cooking in a large pot

Add the rest of the milk and whisk together until combined. Heat this delicious hot chocolate mixture until very warm (but not boiling).

cocoa mix and milk cooking in a large pot

Serve! Pour the cinnamon hot chocolate into mugs and enjoy!

cinnamon hot chocolate recipe poured into a cup

☕ What Makes This Hot Chocolate With Cinnamon Healthy?

Here are some of the healthy swaps that makes this healthy hot chocolate recipe much better for you!

  • Organic, low fat milk: Some fat is important to make this hot chocolate feel rich — but you don’t need whole milk to accomplish that! I also used organic milk in this recipe, to avoid the presence of antibiotics, hormones, etc. 
  • Ceylon Cinnamon and Ground Cardamom: Both of which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects.
  • Backstrap molasses: Rich in calcium, magnesium and iron, and is a low glycemic sweetener. It won’t make your blood sugar spike, and you’ll get a portion of your daily value of vitamins and minerals!
  • Less added sugar! This whole recipe has only 5 grams of added sugar for a giant, 12oz cup. 

❓Recipe FAQs

Should you make hot chocolate with milk or hot water?

Technically you can make a delicious hot chocolate with either milk or water, but my preference is to use milk for two reasons: 1) Milk gives hot chocolate drinks a richer mouthfeel and 2) It has the benefit of adding protein to your drink. Water will show off the flavors of the cocoa mix more, but won’t be as thick and luscious of a drink.

What is the difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder?

Cacao powder is considered “raw” because the cocoa bean is fermented, and then processed at low temperatures and then milled into powder. It’s got a much more bitter flavor than cocoa powder, but it does have health benefits due to the amount of minerals and nutrients it retains since it is less processed.

Cocoa powder is created when the beans are fermented and then processed at a much higher temperature / roasted. This gives cocoa powder a milder, sweeter flavor (and less acidic in taste). The tradeoff is that it may have less of the natural nutrients of the cacao bean due to the additional heating. But it’s still much much healthier than using whole chocolate to make hot chocolate!

Why is hot chocolate not healthy?

Most hot chocolate isn’t healthy because 1 cup (8oz) of traditional hot chocolate has 250-300 calories and 35 grams of sugar (almost much as 2 full sized Snickers bars!)
The good news is, you can satisfy your sweet tooth totally guilt-free with this easy hot chocolate recipe! Our low cal hot chocolate has only 5 grams of added sugar and under 200 calories per 12 oz cup!

Can you store leftover hot chocolate? 

Absolutely! Just let your mug of hot cocoa cool first to room temperature, and store in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days in the fridge. To reheat, just stir and warm in the microwave. 

What are the best brands of hot chocolate mixes?

Most hot chocolate packets are filled with additives and aren’t made with the highest quality cocoa powder. But you can find really great pre-made hot chocolate mixes! I have found the best hot chocolate powders are organic, naturally sourced, and have minimal added sugar. Whole Foods, Dagoba, and Silly Cow Farms all have great options.

Will the kids enjoy this cinnamon hot chocolate?

Yes!! Hot chocolate is a kid favorite and this one is no exception. If your kids are a little more sensitive to spice, you can always reduce the amount of spice (and even reduce the amount of cocoa powder) to make the flavor less strong for little palates. You can also add some fun toppings like homemade whipped cream, mini marshmallows, or dark chocolate chips for more of a dessert feel.

👪 How To Serve

You can serve this cinnamon hot cocoa all on its own, or add a few fun toppings! You could go the traditional route and add homemade whipped cream, dark chocolate chips, or mini marshmallows as toppings.

Other fun mix-ins include:

  • Toffee bits
  • Crushed mints or candy canes
  • Whole candy canes (use as a stirrer, but also adds a nice peppermint flavor to this cinnamon hot chocolate recipe!)
  • A sprinkle of coarse sea salt
  • Caramel sauce
  • Chocolate sauce
  • A drizzle of peanut butter

💭 Expert Tips

  • When you’re cooking the hot chocolate on the stove, make sure you don’t let it boil (this will scald the milk and change its consistency). The key is to heat it until little bubbles start to form on the side of the pot but it’s not boiling yet.
  • For some more decadence, add homemade whipped cream (just whip heavy cream until peaks form — no need to add sugar to it!)
  • To save time, you can also blend all of the ingredients in a blender first, and then heat on the stove or even in the microwave.
  • If you want to have zero added sugars, just omit the molasses. The hot chocolate will be on the bitter side (like very very dark chocolate) but will still have good flavor from the spices and natural sweetness of the milk!
easy healthy hot chocolate with cinnamon recipe in a mug

🍫 More Healthy Chocolate Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

easy healthy hot chocolate with cinnamon recipe in a mug
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4.93 from 13 votes

Healthy Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon

Healthy Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon is a divinely rich, warm, spiced drink that’s perfect for the cold weather. Thick, creamy, and fragrant, you won’t get enough of the intense chocolate flavor in this recipe. Healthy, low in added sugars, but so delicious that it’s family (and kid) friendly!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 187kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, all of the spices, and salt (everything on the ingredients list except the milk).
  • Pour half the milk into the saucepan and add in the cocoa powder mixture. Whisk until smooth and all the lumps are removed. Add the rest of the milk and whisk together until combined. Heat the hot chocolate mixture until very warm (but not boiling). Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Making Healthy Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon
  • If you need to make this vegan, use unsweetened almond or coconut milk (just make sure it doesn’t have carrageenan added)
  • For some more decadence, add homemade whipped cream (just whip heavy cream until peaks form — no need to add sugar to it!)
  • When you’re cooking the hot chocolate on the stove, make sure you don’t let it boil (this will scald the milk and change its consistency). The key is to heat it until little bubbles start to form on the side of the pot but it’s not boiling yet.
  • To save time, you can also blend all of the ingredients in a blender first, and then heat on the stove or even in the microwave. 
  • If you want to have zero added sugars, just omit the molasses. The hot chocolate will be on the bitter side (like very very dark chocolate) but will still have good flavor from the spices and natural sweetness of the milk!
Note: Only 5g added sugar per 12oz serving, the rest of the sugar is naturally occurring from the milk!

Nutrition

Serving: 12oz | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g

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Dessert ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone.

Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

24 responses to “Healthy Hot Chocolate With Cinnamon”

  1. This was such a fun and unique way to jazz up boring hot chocolate! Love the added cinnamon; hands down delicious!5 stars

  2. This is going to be my substitution for my coffee addiction. I love chocolate too especially with the cinnamon flavor!5 stars

  3. This was so decadent and I love the addition of spices, especially cinnamon! My kids and I loved this and I felt so much better making it from scratch.5 stars

  4. I love all the spices. I’ve never tried making hot chocolate with the addition of spices before, but it’s actually very delicious and feels more grown-up. 🙂5 stars

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