Mexican Hot Chocolate

Want to learn how to make authentic Mexican hot chocolate? Then this easy recipe is just for you! Make this cozy drink that is just perfect to warm up on cold winter days.

Two mugs of hot chocolate with cinnamon and whipped cream.
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Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

Hot beverages during the cold winter months is just the coziest thing! Around Thanksgiving, you can find me cozied up with a blanket and a cup of spiced apple cider.

But once December hits, I just have to have a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. It's a must to make at the end of my favorite Mexican Christmas dinner.

There are some powdered brands that you can buy at the grocery store to make this hot chocolate drink. But I've found that I much prefer to make homemade Mexican hot chocolate.

Using real chocolate just gives this drink a stronger chocolate flavor and I can make any adjustments really easily. It's the most rich and warming drink for this time of year!

Just be warned — you're likely going to need to triple or quadruple this recipe because friends and family will down the whole batch in no time. The bold flavor and creamy texture is too good to resist!

Why You'll Love this Recipe

A big mug of Mexican hot chocolate is like a hug from a warm beverage! So warming and cozy:

  • It only takes about 20 minutes to make this recipe from scratch. And it's worlds better than a packet of powdered stuff.
  • You can easily adapt this recipe to fit your flavor preferences or dietary restrictions. That's the best thing about homemade!
  • There's nothing better than the smell of Mexican hot chocolate filling your home. That cozy aroma is one of my favorite things about this recipe.
Two glasses of Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks and whipped cream.

Ingredients

This may look like a lengthy ingredient list, but a lot of it is basics that you likely already have. And it'll make the best cup of hot chocolate ever! So here's what you need to have:

  • whole milk
  • milk chocolate chips
  • granulated sugar
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ground cinnamon
  • vanilla extract
  • ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • optional: whipped cream

Substitutions and Variations

I personally prefer the rich chocolate flavor that milk chocolate provides. However, you can use bittersweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate if you prefer!

Use non-dairy milk and dairy free chocolate chips to make a dairy free homemade hot chocolate. Oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk would likely give the creamiest results. Top the finished hot cocoa with coconut whipped cream!

This recipe calls for just a pinch of cayenne pepper, but you can adjust it according to your spice preference. You can even omit it if you're not a fan!

You can make an adult version of this drink! Use some tequila or brandy to add an extra fun element to this creamy hot chocolate.

Two mugs of Mexican hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks.

How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate

Follow these super easy steps to make the best Mexican hot chocolate:

A small pot filled with milk.

Pour whole milk into a medium sauce pan and slowly heat it over medium-low heat until begins to steam. Don't let it boil!

A pan with milk and chocolate chips in it.

Add the chocolate chips to the hot milk and whisk continuously until the chocolate has melted completely.

Once the chocolate chips have melted, stir in the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.

Cocoa powder in a pan with milk and chocolate chips

Continue heating the Mexican hot chocolate mixture over medium low heat, whisking occasionally, until the beverage is thoroughly hot and steaming.

Taste the hot chocolate and adjust the sweetness and spices to your liking.

Cocoa powder, milk, and chocolate chips mixed together in a pan.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cayenne pepper. Always start with a small amount and add more later if you want.

Pour the completed hot cocoa into mugs and garnish with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of warm cinnamon. You can add cinnamon sticks if you want too!

Serve immediately!

Mexican hot chocolate topped with cinnamon whipped cream.

How to Store Leftover Mexican Hot Chocolate

It is best to enjoy Mexican hot chocolate is best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, you can still keep them! Transfer to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor of the drink will likely change a bit after reheating.

For best results, reheat leftovers on the stovetop in a small saucepan.

Tips for Success

While making this recipe is really easy, I wanted to share a few tips that I've learned while creating this cozy drink:

  • If you are serving this to a large group at a party, keep it warm in a slow cooker on the warming setting. Just make sure that you don't let it get too hot or the milk could scald.
  • For the best flavor, whip heavy cream to make your own homemade whipped cream. It doesn't take long and it's so delicious on top of the Mexican hot chocolate.
  • Don't have whipped cream? Add a frothy texture to the top of your mug of hot chocolate by using a hand frother.

This drink can kind of pass as dessert, but don't be afraid to also serve a slice of Tres Leches Cake, too!

A cup of Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon and whipped cream.

FAQ

Can I use just cocoa powder instead of chocolate in Mexican hot chocolate?

The combination of both real chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder gives this hot chocolate a much more rich flavor and creamy texture. However, if you don't have chocolate on hand, you can use just cocoa powder! It will still be delicious.

What makes Mexican hot chocolate different?

This delicious drink is known for its warming spices and slight heat made by a pinch of cayenne pepper. It's a bit less sweet than your average hot chocolate, but has a very rich flavor and super creamy texture.

More Drink Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

Two mugs of Mexican hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon sticks.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Creamy Mexican hot chocolate will warm you up from the inside out on a chilly day! The rich chocolate and warming spices are the coziest combination.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Madison Wetherill

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper adjust according to your spice preference
  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until it starts to steam. Do not let it boil.
  • Add the chocolate chips to the saucepan and whisk continuously until the chocolate has completely melted and incorporated into the milk.
  • Once the chocolate is melted, add the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, ground nutmeg, and a pinch of salt to the saucepan. Whisk everything together until well combined.
  • Continue to heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot and steamy. Be careful not to let it boil.
  • Taste the hot chocolate and adjust the sweetness or spices according to your preference. Add more sugar if you like it sweeter or more cinnamon and nutmeg for a stronger flavor.
  • Once the hot chocolate reaches your desired temperature and flavor, remove it from the heat.
  • Add the cayenne pepper to the saucepan. Start with ⅛ teaspoon, and if you want it spicier, you can add a pinch more. Whisk well to incorporate the spice.
  • Taste the hot chocolate again and adjust the sweetness or spices if needed. You can add more sugar or cinnamon if desired.
  • Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon if desired.
  • Serve the Mexican hot chocolate immediately while it's still warm and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 188mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g

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