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Want the best hot cocoa recipe ever? I thought you might! This spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate is my all-time favorite. It's made with real chocolate, spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, and has a little kick from a chili pepper. It's the best!
Cozy up, friends! I've brought us mugs of steaming hot cocoa.
This isn't your ordinary hot chocolate recipe. This is hot chocolate for grownups.
It's thick and rich and gives your tongue a deliciously spicy kick with each sip. Hot cocoa should always be Spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate.
This delicious drink/ cocktail/ dessert (you choose!) is made by melting real dark chocolate into milk – or in my case, almond milk. Using chocolate instead of cocoa powder means the hot chocolate turns out nice and thick and has a rich flavor that you just can't get with the powdered stuff.
Once the chocolate melts, it's infused with vanilla, cinnamon, and spicy chili pepper. The longer you let the chili pepper sit in the pot, the spicier your Aztec hot chocolate will be. I like to let it sit for at least 10 minutes to maximize the spiciness.
You can keep it on the mellow side if that suits your taste.
I need to let you in on a little secret. This is all about making faux homemade marshmallows. ← Yes, that is a thing.
Did you see those little marshmallow squares up there? They're not real. Or they're not real homemade marshmallows, anyway.
They were a happy accident born out of wanting to have homemade marshmallows in the pictures and being too lazy to make them. Truth!
You can make your own lazy marshmallows by melting some storebought ones then pouring the caramel flecked batter into a parchment paper-lined tray. Once they cool, you can cut them into pieces and pop them in your spicy Aztec hot chocolate.
Even though they swap their fluffiness for chewiness, they are still delicious.
Or try topping your spicy hot chocolate with some dairy-free marshmallows!
From your love life to hot chocolate, a little spiciness makes everything better. The Aztecs knew this; they were the inventors of a spicy chocolate drink called xocoatl. Rather than sweeten their chocolate with sugar, they added fiery chilies for a spicy and bitter drink.
They were onto something.
Warm, thick and super chocolaty, this hot chocolate is a lot like dessert. The dark chocolate mellows the chili's spiciness while the cinnamon adds warmth without the heat. I prefer mine on the bitter side; adjust the sugar to your taste.
I can imagine serving this in tiny ornate glasses after a dinner party. It would be equally welcomed sipped from a thermos while snowshoeing. What I'm wishing for now is a fireplace to curl up in front of with a mug of this spicy hot chocolate and a good book. My imagination will have to fill in for the fireplace.
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- ½ cup chopped dark chocolate
- 2 cups milk (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: cinnamon and vanilla
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 chili pepper (split in half and seeds removed)
- 1-4 tablespoons coconut sugar (depending on taste)
- Optional: 2 shots of brandy or Grand Marnier
- Melt the chocolate with a little of the milk in a small pot over medium heat. Once it has melted, whisk in the remaining milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Add the chili pepper to the pot and bring the pot almost to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the chili pepper.½ cup chopped dark chocolate, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon EACH: cinnamon and vanilla, 1 chili pepper, 1 pinch sea salt
- Whisk in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and taste until it is a sweetness you like. If you are using the brandy or Grand Marnier, add it to the pot1-4 tablespoons coconut sugar, Optional: 2 shots of brandy or Grand Marnier
- Pour the spicy hot chocolate into mugs and serve!
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.