Cozy, creamy, and loaded with Christmas spice, this vegan Gingerbread Hot Chocolate is the perfect warming drink for the holidays! Whether you have kids or are just a big kid at heart, you're sure to love this delightful hug in a mug.
This time of year, my family and I are all about holiday traditions. We love to drive around and see the holiday lights, go caroling with our neighbors, ice skate downtown, watch ALL the Christmas movies... heck, I even make and sell Christmas sweaters, because Christmas is the best.
Even though my heart is filled with warmth this time of year, Pennsylvania can be brutally cold. My favorite way to warm up for all of my favorite activities is a big, steaming mug full of hot chocolate - especially one that is laced with all the Christmas-y flavor of gingerbread!
This tasty little concoction comes together in just a few minutes using easy-to-find ingredients. It's equally great for sitting by the fire or packing into a thermos to drink in the wintery wonderland of the snowy outdoors.
As someone who used to be a total sucker for the holiday cups at Starbucks, I know just how expensive a single cup of hot chocolate can be. You can make two servings of this homemade gingerbread hot chocolate for a fraction of the price that you would pay for one of those disposable cups.
And best of all, since it's homemade you can control just how much sugar you're putting in your body. Did you know that a single grande sized spiced hot chocolate from Starbucks has a whopping 54 grams of sugar?!?
It's also ridiculously creamy, deeply chocolate-y, completely vegan AND gluten-free, making it the best beverage for sharing with your loved ones. So whip up a batch of this holiday goodness and get to sipping already!
What's In Gingerbread Hot Cocoa?
This simple recipe for gingerbread hot chocolate uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. Here's everything you'll need:
- Almond Milk - I personally prefer unsweetened almond milk to other plant-based milks, but any variety will work here. You can either choose unflavored options, or grab vanilla or chocolate if you prefer.
- Cacao or Cocoa Powder - Cacao is my preferred chocolate-y powder because it has all kinds of antioxidants, extra fiber and flavonoids that heat processed cocoa powder doesn't. That said, they can be used interchangeably in this recipe.
- Vegan Mini Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life) - Mini chocolate chips are ideal for making hot chocolate because they melt super easily. You can swap in regular chocolate chips or even chop up a chocolate bar into small pieces.
- Vanilla Extract - You can feel free to substitute vanilla paste or vanilla powder instead. If you want more of a "latte" feel without adding caffeine, try using coffee extract instead.
- Cinnamon, Ginger, & Nutmeg Powder - These tasty spices are how I make this hot chocolate taste like gingerbread. If you don't feel like pulling out all three, feel free to swap in equivalent amounts of pumpkin pie spice.
Since it's the holidays, I also like to get a little crafty with my toppings. Here are some of my favorite ways to dress up homemade hot chocolate:
- Vegan Whipped Cream - Lightly sweetened and utterly decadent, this coconut based whipped cream tastes just as good as the stuff you remember, but without all the dairy. There's no shame in swapping in store bought if you are short on time, patience, or holiday cheer.
- Vegan Marshmallows - Making your own vegan marshmallows yields the softest, pillowiest balls of fluff you can imagine. You can obviously feel free to use store-bought vegan marshmallows too.
- Cinnamon - An extra dusting of cinnamon amps up the special coffee shop vibes, not to mention the flavor.
- Dark Chocolate Shavings - Bust out your microplane and grate a little extra chocolate on top for a fancy looking (and tasting) mug of homemade hot cocoa.
Is Homemade Hot Chocolate Healthy?
Making your own hot chocolate at home means you get to control every single ingredient that goes into your body. As such, making a recipe like this one means that it's WAY healthier than the store bought stuff.
This homemade gingerbread hot chocolate is not only lower in fat and sugar than other recipes, it's also loaded with nutritious ingredients.
Have you heard the studies that dark chocolate is good for you? Then it should come as no surprise that cacao powder is an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron, potassium and magnesium.
Warming spices like cinnamon and ginger carry benefits of their own. With powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, they are the perfect addition during cold and flu season.
Both cinnamon and ginger are also loaded with antioxidants, which can help defend your body from various ailments. They both also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Almond milk is vastly lower in calories than dairy milk, and is a good source of both calcium and vitamin E.
How To Make
I'm not sure this recipe could get any easier:
STEP 1: Put all ingredients in a saucepan and mix until combined.
STEP 2: Bring to light boil then pour into cups, add toppings, and serve.
So simple, right?
How To Serve
As I mentioned earlier, this tasty gingerbread hot chocolate is my favorite warming beverage for all my favorite winter activities. I take it along with me as often as I can!
Some other ways to serve this yummy cocoa include:
- Setting up a hot chocolate bar. Quadruple the recipe and keep it warm in a slow cooker. Set out your favorite hot chocolate toppings like whipped cream, marshmallows, a shaker of cinnamon, or anything else you can think of. Let your guests serve themselves the perfect cozy drink for your next holiday party.
- Turning it into a latte. Add a shot or two of espresso to turn this tasty, kid-friendly beverage into a sweet way to wake up.
- Serving it as a sippable dessert. I often crave something sweet after dinnertime, but I'm not always hungry. Offering it as a dessert in a mug means you can crush your cravings without adding too much heft. Bonus points if you drink it while watching your favorite holiday movies.
If you're looking for a richer cuppa cocoa, try adding a tablespoon or two of coconut cream to the mix. You can also opt for creamier non-dairy milks like oat or coconut milk for a richer mouthfeel.
Sure thing! Make a batch of this gingerbread hot chocolate and keep it in the fridge for up to a week. To serve, simply heat on the stove or in the microwave and enjoy.
Absolutely! Feel free to double, triple or quadruple the recipe to your needs. Since we're a two person household, this is the perfect size for Matt and I; simply adjust the serving size on the recipe card and it'll give you new measurements.
If you want your gingerbread hot chocolate to be more of a sipping chocolate, try adding more chocolate chips or reducing the amount of milk that you add. You can also continue to simmer the mixture until it achieves your perfect consistency; just be sure to stir often so nothing scorches to the bottom of the pan.
More Yummy Holiday Recipes
Still craving more tasty vegan goodness? Check out some of my other favorite holiday treats!
If you make this recipe and LOVE IT, please give it 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐!
Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups dairy-free milk I like soy, cashew, hazelnut, almond or oat
- 2 Tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons vegan mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
- Put all ingredients in a saucepan and mix until combined.
- Bring to light boil then pour into cups, add toppings, and serve.
PLEASE NOTE: Nutritional information data is computer generated and only an estimate so it should be used only as a guide.
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Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist who empowers vegans to feel clear and confident about what is uniquely nourishing to them. Mary Ellen's recipes and nutrition information have been featured on Yahoo News, Parade, VegNews, LIVESTRONG, Dr. Axe, Greatist, LIVEKINDLY, Brit+Co, Well+Good, and more.