What is plant-based hot chocolate?

So, we may all know what hot chocolate is. That delicious creamy drink, a rich and luxurious liquid form of what is pretty much the best food of all time - chocolate! But, what is plant-based hot chocolate? Well, if you have made hot chocolate at home before, you will know that it is often made from a combination of a ready-made hot chocolate mix or powder and a liquid like milk or water.

The bad news is that this mix is not always vegan! Unfortunately, many hot chocolate powders include milk powder. The good news? Plant-based hot chocolate to the rescue! Plant-based hot chocolate is hot chocolate that is made from mixes or powders which are 100% vegan, no strings attached!

What is hot chocolate made of?

What a hot chocolate mix or hot chocolate powder is made of will depend on the brand, as every brand uses different ingredients. However, most commonly, hot chocolate brands will use cocoa as their base which they blend with other ingredients like sugar, other flavorings, and occasionally that pesky milk powder we mentioned. Some hot chocolate powders will contain artificial flavorings, but, the best hot chocolate mixes are made from organic hot chocolate that contains no artificial anything!

There are variations on hot chocolate powder - for example, drinking chocolate is a form of hot chocolate that is made by purely melting chocolate into milk, so it doesn't contain other powdered ingredients.

With these base ingredients (either hot chocolate powder or pure chocolate) a hot drinkable liquid is added, like vegan milk, or even water, and voila, your plant-based hot chocolate is ready to enjoy!

What is the difference between hot chocolate and cocoa powder?

Hot chocolate and cocoa powder are actually really similar. Why? Because hot chocolate is normally made from cocoa powder as a base. This means that, if you don’t have any cocoa powder in the cupboard, you can actually use hot chocolate powder as a very handy substitute in recipes, including recipes for baked goods. And, on the flip side, cocoa powder also can be a great substitute for hot chocolate powder.

However, hot chocolate and cocoa powder are not identical. The big difference between the two is that hot chocolate powder almost always contains added sugar, so is a lot sweeter than cocoa powder. It is important to keep this in mind if you plan to substitute plant-based hot chocolate into your recipes, because it may mean that you should use less sugar than the recipe suggests.

Is hot chocolate good for you?

We know what you are thinking, hot chocolate - it must be a pretty unhealthy drink - right? Well, actually, it doesn’t have to be. When hot chocolate powders are made with large amounts of sugar as well as other artificial ingredients, you’re right, they’re not great for your body.

However, the best hot chocolates are not so unhealthy. Organic hot chocolates made with less sugar are not so bad for your body, and, in fact, may even have health benefits. Why? Because, if they contain cocoa, then they will contain the health benefits of cocoa. Cocoa is not only a great source of antioxidants but also contains many minerals that are good for your health. Additionally, in larger servings, cocoa powder can be a great source of protein. However, we don’t recommend large servings of hot chocolate, as remember, hot chocolate is not pure cocoa powder.

Top Hot Chocolate Brands to Try…

Looking for the best hot chocolate mix you can try? We’ve got you. Here are our top picks…

For a classic organic hot chocolate that showcases simple flavors in a healthy way, try the Big Country Foods Organic Cocoa Powder. It is sugar-free, but tastes delicious and makes an amazing velvety hot chocolate drink.

The Navitas Cocoa Powder and the NuNaturals Inc Organic Cocoa Powder are also great options for classic cocoa powders that make healthy but delicious organic hot chocolates.

If you want even more health benefits in your plant-based hot chocolate mix, why not try the Navitas Cacao & Antioxidant Blend. Enriched with goji and acai, with no added sugars or preservatives, this is the best hot chocolate mix for nutritious drinks.

Hot chocolate recipe…

Recipes for plant-based hot chocolate are more often than not, very simple. Usually, it just involves combining warm vegan milk with hot chocolate powder and bob's your uncle, your plant-based hot chocolate is ready to drink.

However, there are ways to make your hot chocolate even more exciting than it already is… Take this recipe for a Superfood Hot Chocolate for example. Using the Laird Superfood Creamer Cacao, this recipe combines the impact of superfoods with classic hot chocolate flavors. And, with the added flair of cinnamon and vanilla extract, this plant-based hot chocolate recipe truly is mouth-watering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does hot chocolate have caffeine?

When craving a caffeine buzz you may jump to teas and coffees, and hot chocolate may be the last thing on your list. However, in actual fact, hot chocolate does contain caffeine, just a very small amount. This caffeine content comes from the pure cacao nibs used in hot chocolate, which means hot chocolates made with dark chocolate may contain slightly more caffeine than other alternatives.

However, don’t worry, this small amount of caffeine means that having a hot chocolate still won't keep you up at night - hot chocolate is still the best bedtime drink. If you want more of a caffeine buzz - why not try a mocha? This combination of hot chocolate and coffee ticks all of the right boxes.

Does hot chocolate have sugar?

The amount of sugar in a hot chocolate will vary a lot depending on the brand and type of hot chocolate that you are drinking. For example, if you buy a regular hot chocolate powder from the supermarket, you may find that it is super sweet and packed with a really high content of sugar. However, in contrast, some of the hot chocolate powders available on PlantX have been specially chosen for their low sugar content. In fact, the Big Country Foods Organic Cocoa Powder is completely sugar-free. There are also hot chocolate powders that contain a small amount of sugar. So, if you are worried about your sugar intake - check the packet - there will be a plant-based hot chocolate out there for you!

Should I mix hot chocolate with water or milk?

No matter which hot chocolate powder you decide to go for, you will still have to cheese whether you want to enjoy it mixed with water or milk. So which makes the best hot chocolate?

Well, neither milk nor water is ‘better’, but the results are different. A hot chocolate made with milk will be creamier and thicker, and the taste will be a little different depending on which plant-based milk you decide to go for. In contrast, a hot chocolate made with water will be slightly thinner and may be less sweet because the water dilutes the hot chocolate powder.

If you are not sure which to go for, why not try them both? Both water and milk make great plant-based hot chocolates, so see which one makes the best hot chocolate for you.