This vegan hot chocolate is creamier and sweeter than a traditional hot cocoa, thanks to a base of delicious oat milk.
Given the sheer number of dairy based recipes in my collection, it may surprise some of you that I’m actually…*gasp* very lactose intolerant.
Yes, I know — it came as a shock to me too when I found out I was lactose intolerant over a decade ago. But thanks to thousands (seriously, **thousands**) of Lactaid pills, hundreds of gallons of lactose-free milks, cheeses, and ice cream products, I’ve been able to quite successfully consume dairy without many ill effects.
That said, I do enjoy plant-based alternatives where possible, and I’ve always been a big fan of how creamy oat milk is. Plus, sometimes it really is easier to nix the Lactaid pill and consume a non-dairy product instead.
I actually 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, creamy oat milk flavors paired with chocolate. It really gives me ski lodge hot cocoa vibes in the best way possible.
Oat Milk Hot Chocolate is Super Creamy and Chocolatey
Let’s talk about what makes this six-ingredient recipe special:
- The base of the recipe comes from my go-to hot chocolate recipe that is rich, creamy, and delicious.
- The caramelly, toffee notes of demerara sugar (or a brown sugar) pair beautifully with sweet oat milk.
- Best of all? It’s so easy!
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What’s the Best Non-Dairy Milk for Hot Chocolate?
There are a few different non-dairy milk options for hot chocolate, but my favorite is definitely oat milk. Oat milk is creamy, but not too rich or overpowering, with a slight sweetness. Personally, I think the subtle oat flavor pairs wonderfully with chocolate.
- What about almond milk? I found almond milk is slightly less creamy in texture, and it tends to overpower the flavors of the hot chocolate.
- What about cashew milk? Cashew milk is a great substitute if you don’t have oat milk; it’s a bit richer and tends to be more expensive than oat milk, but it does have a nice neutral flavor.
This oat milk hot chocolate is a super easy riff on my classic recipe. Here’s what you need.
- Oat Milk: Go for full-fat oat milk here. I love Oatly’s Barista Edition as I find it’s super creamy and smooth.
- Sugar: I call for demerara (or turbinado sugar) here, but light brown sugar would be a great substitute. I love the toffee, molasses-like notes with these sugars. You can use as much or as little sugar in this as you’d like — feel free to adjust it to your preferences. I do find that if I make a sweeter hot chocolate, I like to add a little salt (more on that below) to balance out the sweetness.
- Cocoa Powder: I love adding dutch-process cocoa powder to emulate a classic hot cocoa. If you only have natural cocoa, that will work too.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate provides a bit of bittersweet richness to the drink. My favorite vegan chocolate brands are Taza, Raaka, and Endangered Species. Want something sweeter? Use a vegan milk chocolate.
- Salt: After testing many different hot chocolate recipes, I’ve found that adding just a pinch of salt balances everything together.
How to Make Vegan Hot Chocolate With Oat Milk
- Add the oat milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt to a pot set over medium heat.
- Bring everything to a simmer, whisking frequently to dissolve the cocoa powder and sugar.
- Add the chopped chocolate and whisk everything to combine.
- 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 hot chocolate 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 hot chocolate bar and have your guests add a shot of amaretto, whipped cream, and other toppings to their own 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.
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 this hot chocolate.
I usually got for a coconut whipped cream and a little bit of shaved chocolate and chocolate syrup. You can also add toffee bits, crushed graham crackers or biscotti.
Of course! Cool hot chocolate 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.
Did you try this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback! Be sure to rate the recipe and leave a comment below.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Oat Milk Hot Chocolate (Vegan) Recipe
For the oat milk hot chocolate:
- 2 cups full-fat oat milk*, such as Oatly Barista Blend
- 2 to 3 tablespoons demerara sugar, or light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder
- A pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped vegan dark chocolate, 65% to 70% cacao
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For topping (optional):
- Coconut whipped cream, homemade or store-bought
- Chocolate syrup, homemade or store-bought
- Vegan marshmallows, homemade or store-bought
Make the Hot Chocolate:
- In a 3-quart saucepan, add oat milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt.2 cups full-fat oat milk*, 2 to 3 tablespoons demerara sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder, 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 chopped 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.1 1/2 tablespoons chopped vegan dark chocolate
- Remove from the heat, then stir in the vanilla extract.1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Divide hot chocolate amongst two mugs and top with optional toppings if desired.Coconut whipped cream, Chocolate syrup, Vegan marshmallows
- 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.