Mexican Hot Chocolate

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Cozy and warming Mexican Hot Chocolate is lightly spiced with cinnamon and contains a little kick of cayenne pepper for extra heat. This special take on hot chocolate uses real chocolate and whole milk plus lots of fluffy whipped cream to top it off.

A glass of Mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.

Easy Mexican Hot Chocolate

This comforting and cozy Mexican hot chocolate recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare hot chocolate! Semisweet chocolate chips are melted into heated milk that’s touched with a bit of vanilla extract for a deeper flavor. Ground spices including cinnamon and cayenne pepper are whisked into the mix, adding warmth and a bit of heat. You’ll finish each mug of chocolate with a generous dollop of whipped cream!

Cuisine Inspiration: Mexican
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Gluten-free, Nut-free
Skill Level: Easy

Why You’ll Love This Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

Hot chocolate is a classic drink for a reason – wrapping your hands around a steaming mug will make even the coldest winter day more bearable. Mexican hot chocolate is a flavorful twist on traditional hot chocolate, infusing it with spices for a memorable drink. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Soothing. A hot cup of Mexican hot chocolate will warm you from the inside out! It’s rich, creamy, and super satisfying.
  • Flavorful. The hint of cinnamon and cayenne elevates your basic hot chocolate into something truly special.
  • Melted chocolate. Need I say more? You’ll use real melted chocolate chips in this drink to make it more decadent and rich than a hot chocolate made with cocoa powder.
  • Not too sweet. I use semisweet chocolate to make this version of Mexican hot chocolate, so you can really taste the dark chocolate flavor. You’ll also be able to taste the added spices because they’re not overshadowed by a lot of added sugar.
A glass of hot chocolate topped with cocoa powder.

What You’ll Need

Here’s an overview of the ingredients needed to make this Mexican hot chocolate recipe. Don’t forget to check the recipe card at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts.

  • Milk: Use whole milk for a richer-tasting hot chocolate. You can also use 2% milk or non-dairy milk.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Cinnamon: Ground cinnamon is essential in Mexican hot chocolate for a hint of warming spice. You can also swap the cinnamon and cayenne for an equal amount of my Mexican Chocolate Spice Mix, which also adds a hint of ginger.
  • Cayenne Pepper: If you don’t love spice, you can omit the cayenne pepper, or you can reduce the amount.
  • Salt
  • Whipped Cream: You can use store-bought or homemade whipped cream to top the hot chocolate.
  • Cinnamon Sticks: Optional, for garnish. 
Ingredients for Mexican hot chocolate are shown: milk, chocolate chips, vanilla, whipped cream, cinnamon.

Variation Ideas

Here are some easy variation ideas to try when you make this Mexican hot chocolate recipe:

  • Try different milk. You can easily swap whole milk for another milk, such as 2% milk or any dairy-free milk option.
  • Substitute different chocolate. If you wish, you can substitute the semi-sweet chocolate for milk, dark, or white chocolate.
  • Make it mocha. Stir in some instant espresso powder or replace half of the milk with coffee.
  • Use chili powder. You can swap cayenne powder for chili powder. Or, as mentioned, if this is too hot for you, you can just use a pinch of cayenne or chili powder or omit it altogether.
  • Make a different topping. Try a sprinkling of mini marshmallows on top of the mugs of hot chocolate rather than whipped cream, or just add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate

Below you’ll find my easy method for making Mexican hot chocolate. Make sure you thoroughly whisk the melted chocolate into the hot milk so that it’s very smooth. For detailed instructions, be sure to scroll down to the recipe card.

  • Combine. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a pan set over low heat.
  • Cook. Reduce heat to low and heat the hot chocolate slowly, stirring often.
  • Serve. Serve the hot chocolate in mugs topped with whipped cream.

Can I Make This In The Microwave?

Yes, you can make Mexican hot chocolate in the microwave. To do so, place all of the ingredients except the whipped cream and cinnamon sticks in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, place the bowl in the microwave and heat it until it’s warm and the chocolate is melted. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is well combined.

Glasses of Mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips for success to help you make the best Mexican hot chocolate:

  • Whisk the hot chocolate thoroughly. I love whisking this hot chocolate recipe because I think it helps the cinnamon incorporate better without lumps. Plus, if you whisk the mixture continuously while it gradually heats, it creates a little foam on the top.

  • Make frozen hot chocolate. See my storage note below about how to freeze hot chocolate. Then, blend the frozen Mexican hot chocolate cubes with milk to make a frozen hot chocolate!

  • Adjust the spice. While the kick of heat is what makes Mexican hot chocolate stand out, we all have different spice tolerances. If you don’t like a lot of spicy heat, you can lower the amount of cayenne pepper you include, or even omit it altogether. You’ll still get a nice flavor from the ground cinnamon.

  • Top with marshmallows. I think whipped cream is the perfect finishing touch, but marshmallows are also a wonderful topping for hot chocolate.

A glass of Mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.

Proper Storage

You can store leftover Mexican hot chocolate in the fridge or freezer. Here’s how to do it:

  • Fridge – Place leftover, cooled hot chocolate in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer – Store peppermint hot chocolate in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the hot chocolate in an ice cube tray.
Glasses of Mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.

What to Serve with Mexican Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is lovely on its own, but I often like to include a sweet treat to go along with it. Here are a few of my favorite things to serve with Mexican hot chocolate:

A glass of Mexican hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick.
5 from 2 votes

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Cozy and warming Mexican Hot Chocolate is lightly spiced with cinnamon and contains a little kick of cayenne pepper for extra heat. This special take on hot chocolate uses real chocolate and whole milk plus lots of fluffy whipped cream to top it off.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (see Note below)
  • teaspoon cayenne powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups whipped cream (see Note below)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)

Instructions

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, begin to heat the milk over medium-low heat. Add the chocolate chips, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt. Stir and allow the chocolate chips to melt. Then whisk until the melted chocolate and cinnamon are well combined with the milk and no lumps remain.
  • Reduce heat to low and allow the hot chocolate to heat gradually, stirring often. Do not allow the hot chocolate to simmer or boil.
  • Once the desired temperature is reached (I prefer it to be between 130-140℉, it’s warm but not scorching hot), pour the hot chocolate into mugs. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag with an open start and pipe whipped cream on top of each hot chocolate. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add cinnamon sticks. Serve immediately.

Notes

You can replace the cinnamon and cayenne with 1/2 teaspoon Mexican Hot Chocolate Spice Mix.
To make homemade whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
     
In a mixing bowl, add the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, whip on a medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (about 2 minutes). Makes 2 cups of whipped cream.
Nutrition Facts
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 486 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 19g95%
Trans Fat 0.04g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Cholesterol 55mg18%
Sodium 100mg4%
Potassium 667mg19%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 624IU12%
Vitamin C 0.01mg0%
Calcium 361mg36%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimers: Please discuss your individual dietary needs (i.e. gluten free) with a physician. Even when not specified, be sure to verify all ingredients are gluten free, if needed, by reading labels on all packaging and/or confirming with the manufacturer this varies by brand and can change at any time. Nutrition information shown is an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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14 Comments
  1. YUM. I may just have to make this next weekend when I’m visiting my parents in NJ where it’s so freaking cold and I have no idea how I’m going to survive. Possibly only by making hot chocolate and countless other steaming hot things…

  2. Becca from It's Yummi!

    Every proper birthday celebration deserves great chocolate, and the thought of a hot chocolate latte makes me all tingly!
    Thanks again for everything, Brianne!

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