Rich, smooth, and a little bit sweet… No, I’m not describing your dream person – I’m talking about hot chocolate! This dreamy oat milk hot chocolate recipe is the ideal treat for a cozy night in. All you need is a few minutes and some of my secret tips and you’ll have the perfect skilky cup to warm you up!
Why I Love This Recipe
I love dairy, but dairy doesn’t always love me. (Where are my lactose-intolerant friends out there??) When it comes to things like milk and ice cream, anything more than a cup results in some tummy rumbles. That’s why I created this recipe!
Whether you’re limiting dairy for digestive reasons, a personal preference, or following a vegan diet, you can totally enjoy this recipe. No more missing out on the hot chocolate party! This is the perfect warm drink recipe for chilly nights and getting into the holiday spirit.
Most importantly, this recipe is way better than pre-made powdered mix or syrup (sorry, Swiss Miss and Hershey’s, but it’s true. We can do better.)
My (not-so) secret? Make a cocoa paste! In the first step of this recipe, you’ll create a paste from cocoa powder, maple syrup, and oat milk. Whisking in real chocolate in the next step also helps a ton. These little tricks make for a super creamy hot chocolate with minimal lumps.
What’s the Deal With Oat Milk?
Oat milk can be a great fit for people with allergies or intolerances! It is naturally free of soy, dairy, and nuts, and can sometimes be gluten-free (if made from gluten-free oats).
Most oat milk products you purchase in stores are fortified with calcium, vitamin D, potassium and iron. This makes oat milk a nutritious option that is somewhat comparable to dairy milk. (It is lower in protein though.) Oat milk is unique because it contains some soluble fiber that can be helpful for digestion and heart health. Be sure to check the label for added sugar – some brands contain more than others.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I tried oat milk for the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised! It has a delicious flavor and texture.
As an added plus, oat milk may be more environmentally friendly than other milks. This is because oats require significantly less water to produce – about six times less than almonds!
How to Make Rich Vegan Hot Chocolate
- Oat milk – I like oat milk in this recipe because this plant-based option lends a creamy texture without giving the final product a weird mouthfeel. I would recommend chocolate or vanilla flavored oat milk if you can find it.
- Cocoa powder – Nothing fancy here. I used Hershey’s cocoa powder, but you can use any type you prefer. Dark chocolate or Dutch-process would also be okay to use.
- Maple syrup – I tested this recipe with various sweeteners, but maple syrup was the clear winner! It adds a more rich and complex flavor than sugar and it just happens to be a vegan-friendly sweetener. I hate to be an ingredient snob, but please… I beg you… use real maple syrup. The fake stuff just doesn’t compare.
- Chocolate – Adding melty chocolate to this recipe (versus just cocoa powder) adds sweetness, creaminess, and a richer flavor. Use whatever type of chocolate you prefer (dark or milk), but to keep this recipe vegan, use dairy-free chocolate like Enjoy Life. I used a chopped bar of chocolate here, but chips work too.
- Vanilla extract – Adding vanilla rounds out the flavor of the chocolate in this recipe.
- Toppings – Top with vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies), whipped cream, and/or chocolate shavings.
1. Make a cocoa paste
This step is crucial for making a smooth hot chocolate without any clumps. (Because no one wants those… Yuck!) Add 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons of oat milk to a small pot. Heat on low and whisk the mixture until the cocoa is fully dissolved and clump-free.
2. Whisk in milk and chocolate
Add in the remaining 2 1/4 cup oat milk and 2 ounces of chopped chocolate, raise the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture is simmering and the chocolate is fully melted.
3. Add flavor and serve!
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and remove the pot from the heat. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or marshmallows!
- Make it for a crowd – This recipe can be easily multiplied as needed to serve more than two! Just be sure to use a large enough pot.
- Use another type of milk – If you would prefer a different type of milk, go for it! Any chocolate, vanilla, or unflavored milk would work.
- For a single serving – Cut the ingredients in half and use a small pot or prepare in the microwave (see next point).
- Make it in the microwave – For one mug of hot chocolate, warm the ingredients from step 1 (1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, 1.5 tablespoons of oat milk) for 30 seconds, then whisk until a smooth paste forms. Add about 1 cup of oat milk and 1 oz chocolate chips, then microwave for another 1-2 minutes. Stir vigorously to ensure the chocolate is fully melted. Add a small drop of vanilla extract, stir, top, and enjoy!
- Add flavor – For an added flavor boost, add cinnamon or a tiny drop of peppermint extract.
- Make it creamier – Use an extra creamy oat milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk.
- Use a different sweetener – No maple syrup? No problem! The same amount of white sugar, brown sugar, honey (if not vegan), or agave will work. If using sugar substitute like stevia, use about half of the amount.
- Make it lower in sugar – I won’t try to convince you this is a health-food recipe (it’s a treat!) but if you are watching your sugar intake, you can cut down by using a sugar-free chocolate, unsweetened oat milk, and omitting the maple syrup.
- Turn it into a mocha – This recipe is SO good as a mocha! Add a splash or a 50/50 mix of strong coffee and stir for a little caffeine boost.
Rich and Dreamy Oat Milk Hot Chocolate
- small pot
- Add maple syrup, cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons of the oat milk to a small pot. Heat on low and whisk the mixture until the cocoa is fully dissolved and clump-free. It should look like a paste.
- Pour in the remaining oat milk and chopped chocolate and turn the heat to medium. Stir constantly until the mixture is simmering and the chocolate is fully melted.
- Add vanilla extract and remove the pot from the heat. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and top with marshmallows or whipped cream!
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.
Looking for more recipes for chocolate-lovers? Here you go!