Mexican-Style Hot Chocolate Recipe

Heather Dessinger

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mexican hot chocolate recipe

Bermuda shorts with boots, the words “fat free” and “sour cream” . . . . some things just don’t go together, you know? While at first glance it may seem that chocolate and chili powder fall into that category, my friend Jenny’s Rustic Mayan Truffles prove otherwise.

I discovered them years ago while rummaging through her site for a soup recipe, and they opened up a new world of flavor for me.

Mexican hot chocolate is by far my favorite way to enjoy this unique combination of flavors. It’s quick, delicious, and can be easily adjusted to be sweeter, spicier, or both – whatever you like!

So, what is Mexican hot chocolate?

The practice of blending chocolate and chili peppers can be traced back to the ancient Maya, Atzec, and Olmec civilizations, which share the same territory as modern day Mexico. Back then, chocolate drinks were often prepared for significant events such as harvests, battles, and celebrations.

Known as chocolhaa (“bitter water”) by the Mayans and Xocolatl by the Aztecs, it usually consisted of ground cacao beans, chili peppers and water.

Over time additional ingredients were introduced – warming cinnamon, vanilla, and of course sugar – to create the delicious blend known as Mexican hot chocolate.

Although traditional Mexican hot chocolate tends to be a little grainy due to the use of ground cacao beans, I prefer to use 70% dark chocolate for a smoother finish. The result is a decadent, lightly sweetened cup of deliciousness. If you’re adding homemade marshmallows or whipped cream the sweetness level is probably just about right, but if not you may want to add a little extra sweetener to taste.

During preparation, Mexican hot chocolate is usually stirred with a molinillo (unique wooden whisk) to combine ingredients and whip in a little air, but I don’t have one so I use an immersion blender or milk frother instead. A regular whisk will work, too.

Whatever method you choose, I hope you love this recipe as much as we do.

mexican hot cocoa recipe
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5 from 3 votes

Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

This rich, creamy Mexican hot chocolate blends cinnamon and vanilla with the spicy warmth of chili powder.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 490kcal
Author Heather Dessinger


  • 1 cup whole milk (Can substitute coconut milk or almond milk if dairy-free)
  • 2 oz. fair trade 70% dark chocolate bar, broken into small pieces (Or 1/4 to 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips if you prefer a bit more sweetness)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract (How to make vanilla extract)
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp chili powder (Or more to taste. Chipotle chili powder can also be used.)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (Optional)
  • pinch of sea salt (Optional)
  • additional sweetener if desired

Optional Toppings


  • Pour the milk in a small pot or saucepan and place over medium heat.
  • Add in the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has fully melted.
  • Next, add the vanilla, cinnamon, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper if using. Taste and add additional sweetener or spices if desired.
  • If you have an immersion blender or a milk frother, give the hot chocolate a quick whir before serving. If not, whisk until it’s a little frothy. Add optional toppings (if using) and serve.


Nutrition estimate does not include optional ingredients. 


Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 779mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 492IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 345mg | Iron: 7mg

Looking for more cold weather deliciousness? Try these recipes . . .

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Masala Chai Mix – This masala chai mix is warming, balanced in flavor, and ready in under five minutes. I stir it into black tea to make an “instant” chai powder that doesn’t require a long steeping time or the need to strain loose tea and spices, bake it into warm cookies, and even add it to home-churned ice cream.

Eggnog Latte Recipe -This latte is based on my homemade eggnog recipe, but I’ve tweaked things a bit to help the flavor blend better with coffee.

Hot Chocolate Mix – If you prefer American-style hot cocoa, this is the recipe for you.

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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