Vegan Hot Cacao

It truly isn't winter without curling up to a cozy fire with a cup of hot cocoa. Since this is my first Christmas being plant-based (3rd being vegetarian), I knew I had to figure out a way to get some of dat hot chocolate-y goodness. Almost all of the recipes I found online were using cocoa powder, but I opted to try to figure out a way to use cacao powder. For those of you wondering if there is even difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder.. there certainly is! 

Cocoa Powder

  • More processed than cacao
  • Commonly contains added sugars and dairy products
  • Has been heat processed, therefore some nutrients have been lost
  • Often less expensive than cacao powder
  • Still has many antioxidants like cacao, but likely not as many due to processing
  • If you are looking for a good brand of cocoa powder, here is one without added sugars or dairy products and is strictly organic cocoa powder: Anthony's Organic Cocoa Powder

Cacao Powder

  • Cacao is the purest, least processed form of chocolate you can consume
  • Less processed than cocoa powder
  • Highest source of antioxidants and magnesium for weight
  • More protein and fiber per tablespoon
  • Cholesterol-free & vegan
  • Good source of monounsaturated fats
  • Excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and stress
  • May be a tad more bitter than cocoa powder
  • My favorite brand: Navitas Naturals Organic Cacao Powder


  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp organic cacao powder
  • 1.5 tbsp sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut palm sugar, or raw sugar)- I used maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Other tasty ideas to add: dash of cardamom, nutmeg, or add in peppermint extract for an extra holiday minty treat


  1. Pour two cups of almond milk into a medium sized sauce pan and heat on medium-low until warm
  2. Once warm, add cacao powder, maple syrup, and cinnamon and stir until dissolved (you may still see little specks of cacao- this is totally normal)
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for ~2 minutes
  4. If you'd like to top it with some whipped cream, my favorite recipe is Minimalist Baker's Coconut Whipped Cream and top it with a pinch of nutmeg!
  5. Enjoy!! 

 S/O to Jack for being my forever model 

S/O to Jack for being my forever model 

Nutrient Facts

Serving size: 1 cup | Makes ~2 servings

Calories: 105 | Protein: 2 g | Fiber: 4 g | Carbs: 16 g | Fat: 4 g | Sugar: 9 g | Calcium: 50% DV 


In comparison to an 8 oz hot chocolate from starbucks... Calories: 230 | Protein: 7 g | Fiber: 2 g | Carbs: 28 g | Fat: 10 g | Sugar: 24 g |