This homemade vegan oat milk hot chocolate is creamier and nuttier than a traditional hot cocoa recipe, thanks to a base of delicious oat milk. There is nothing better than a big mug to satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday season!
As someone who is lactose intolerant, I enjoy plant-based alternatives where possible, and I’ve always been a big fan of how creamy oat milk is. I prefer almond milk with cereal, and I love oat milk with my masala chai.
Recently, I developed a variation of my hot chocolate recipe with oat milk, and honestly? It’s SO good! I love the sweet, nutty oat flavors paired with decadent chocolate. It really gives me ski-lodge-hot-cocoa-vibes in the best way possible. You can even amp it up with a shot of amaretto like in my amaretto hot chocolate recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The delicious base of the recipe comes from my go-to decadent homemade hot chocolate recipe.
- Oat milk offers a creamy texture that pairs beautifully with a rich chocolate flavor and caramel-toffee notes of demerara sugar (or brown sugar).
- Best of all? It’s very easy and requires just a few simple ingredients! Make it your own by adding fun toppings, like coconut whipped cream or mini marshmallows.
The Best Non-Dairy Milk for Hot Chocolate
There are a few different plant-based milk options for hot chocolate, but my favorite is definitely oat milk. It's creamy, but not too rich or overpowering, with a slight sweetness. Personally, I think the subtle oat flavor pairs wonderfully with chocolate.
- I found almond milk and soy milk to be less slightly less creamy in texture. Coconut milk tends to overpower the other flavors.
- Cashew milk is a great substitute; it’s a bit richer and tends to be more expensive, but it does have a nice neutral flavor.
- Oat Milk: Go for a full-fat unsweetened version here. I find the best is Oatly’s Barista Edition which is super creamy and smooth.
- Sugar: I call for demerara (or turbinado sugar) here, but light brown sugar or even maple syrup would be a great substitute. I love the toffee, molasses notes with these sugars. You can use as much or as little sugar in this as you'd like.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I recommend using dutch-process cocoa powder to emulate a classic hot cocoa, but natural cocoa will work too.
- Dark Chocolate: My favorite vegan chocolate brands are Taza, Raaka, and Endangered Species. Want something sweeter? Use a vegan milk chocolate.
- Salt: After testing many different drink recipes, I've found that adding just a pinch of salt balances everything together.
- Vanilla: For a classic cocoa, I love a hint of vanilla. For a holiday version, you can add a pinch of peppermint extract!
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
How to Make Oat Milk Hot Chocolate
Step 1: Heat milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
Step 2: Bring everything to a simmer, whisking frequently to dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar.
Step 3: Add the chopped chocolate and whisk everything to combine.
Step 4: Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Top with any desired toppings and serve hot!
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
- You can very easily make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a day or two. Just before serving, reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Make a big batch of this by doubling or tripling the recipe to serve a crowd! You can even make a drink bar, keep the cocoa on low heat, and have your guests add a shot of amaretto, whipped cream, and other toppings to their own drinks.
Leftovers (without toppings or alcohol) should be cooled to room temperature and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Absolutely! I have a delicious Amaretto Hot Chocolate recipe you can substitute with oat milk. Or, try a shot of Bailey’s, Kahlua, or Bourbon in your glass.
I usually got for a whipped coconut cream and a little bit of shaved chocolate and chocolate syrup. You can also add vegan marshmallows, toffee bits, crushed graham crackers or biscotti.
Of course! Cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge until chilled, about 2 to 4 hours. Note that chilled hot chocolate tends to taste less sweet, so you may want to adjust the sugar levels.
To serve, fill a glass with ice and pour in the “iced” hot chocolate.
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Oat Milk Hot Chocolate
For topping (optional):
- Coconut whipped cream, homemade or store-bought
- Chocolate syrup, homemade or store-bought
- Vegan marshmallows, homemade or store-bought
- In a 3-quart saucepan, add 2 cups full-fat oat milk*, 2 tablespoons demerara sugar, 1 ½ tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder, and A pinch of salt.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Whisk frequently to ensure the cocoa powder melts into the milk.Note: Lower the heat as needed to prevent the milk from burning.
- Stir in the 1 ½ tablespoons chopped vegan dark chocolate and whisk until melted. Taste the hot chocolate and adjust flavorings as needed. Not sweet enough? Stir in the additional tablespoon of sugar. Not chocolatey enough? Stir in additional cocoa powder or chopped chocolate.Note: Salt really brings out the chocolate flavors, so if you feel the hot chocolate needs something extra, try adding another pinch.
- Remove from the heat, then stir in ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Divide hot chocolate amongst two mugs and top with optional toppings if desired.
- *This recipe also slaps with Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk.
- You can very easily make this hot chocolate ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a day or two. Just before serving, reheat it on the stovetop, and garnish with any desired toppings.
- Make a big batch of this by doubling or tripling the recipe to serve a crowd! You can even make a hot chocolate bar and have your guests add their own toppings to the drinks.
- Leftover hot chocolate (without toppings or alcohol) should be cooled to room temperature and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.