Mexican Hot Chocolate

6 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

This Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe is a comforting drink with rich chocolate flavor, creamy texture, warm cinnamon flavor, and a bit of heat.

From Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix to Peppermint Hot Chocolate to Hot Cocoa Bombs, there are so many ways to make a warm, creamy chocolate Drink! This classic Mexican version has a delicious cinnamon cocoa flavor and a fiery kick!

About Our Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

Warm, comforting, and uniquely spiced, Mexican Hot Chocolate is a delightful drink that’s perfect for a cozy evening at home. There’s something undeniably heartwarming about preparing and savoring this traditional drink. It’s a sweet, creamy elixir that can transport you, one sip at a time, to the vibrant streets of Mexico, regardless of where you might be enjoying it.

If you’ve never made homemade cocoa before, you are going to be wowed by how easy it is to make and how it is so much more flavorful than any store bought hot chocolate mix. There is simply nothing like the depth of chocolate flavor and smooth, creamy consistency from the mixture of cream and milk. This Mexican version of classic hot chocolate combines the richness of cocoa with the complexity of traditional Mexican spices.

This delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe starts with classic ingredients for homemade hot chocolate which are milk, heavy cream, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and chocolate chips. The special flavor comes from a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. The warm spices add an earthy depth to the rich, sweet drink and the cayenne adds a smoky peppery heat that goes perfectly with chocolate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate is perfect for cold winter nights or to serve as a dessert at a Mexican-themed dinner party. You can get really authentic and serve fresh, hot Churros to dip in this spicy rich chocolate drink. Then since you are going all out, skip the canned stuff and make Homemade Whipped Cream to top it all off!

“What is the difference between Mexican Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa?”

Mexican Hot Chocolate is a traditional drink originating from Mexico, characterized by its rich chocolate flavor and distinct spices. It is typically made from Mexican chocolate tablets which are dissolved in hot milk or water. Unlike regular hot chocolate, it has a unique blend of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and sometimes even a pinch of cayenne pepper for heat. This creates a drink that is simultaneously sweet, creamy, rich, and spicy.

“Can Mexican Hot Chocolate be made ahead of time?”

Absolutely! Mexican Hot Chocolate can be made ahead of time, which can be great when entertaining. Simply make the cocoa, let it cool, and then store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. When ready to serve, reheat it gently on the stovetop. You can even serve it chilled over ice for a refreshing twist! It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months, however, it may lose some of its flavor so add a bit more cocoa powder or spices as needed.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk: Whole milk provides a creamy, rich base that enhances the chocolate flavor while also balancing out the heavy cream so the cocoa isn’t too heavy or rich.
  • 1 cup heavy cream: Heavy cream gives the hot chocolate an extra layer of indulgence, balances the bitterness of the cocoa powder, tames the heat of the cayenne, and gives it a velvety smooth texture.
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder has a slight bitterness that counters the sweetness of the chocolate chips, contributing to a more complex, deep chocolate flavor.
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips: The chocolate chips melt into the hot milk and cream, providing a rich chocolate flavor while sweetening the cocoa without needing to add sugar. Semi-sweet chocolate has the perfect amount of sugar without being overly sweet.
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt: While it might seem unusual to add salt to a sweet drink, a pinch of salt can enhance the sweetness of chocolate.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla: The vanilla brings out the natural flavors in the chocolate and balances the spices, plus it has a subtle sweetness.
  • Spices: Cinnamon adds warmth and a distinctive fragrant note to the hot chocolate. Nutmeg contributes an earthy sweetness and a hint of nuttiness to the hot chocolate. Both offer a gentle, sweet spice flavor that pairs really well with chocolate.
  • Cayenne: Cayenne pepper is what gives Mexican Hot Chocolate its signature spicy kick. The heat from the spice contrasts beautifully with the sweetness of the chocolate and the richness of the cream.
Mexican Hot Chocolate ingredients

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Saucepan: Use a large saucepan to heat up your ingredients and melt the chocolate. 
  • Whisk: Combine your ingredients using a whisk to ensure you get all the little lumps and clumps of chocolate mixed into your Hot Cocoa.
  • Thermometer: If you have a candy thermometer that would be really handy to watch the temperature of your Hot Chocolate. Any other type of kitchen thermometer will work as well, just use it by inserting it into the middle of your liquid, rather than touching the hot bottom of the pot.
  • Ladle: A ladle is the easiest to cleanly transfer your Hot Chocolate into mugs. You’ll ladle one or two scoopfuls depending on the size of your mugs.
  • Mugs: Take out your favorite mugs to enjoy your delicious Mexican Hot Cocoa.

How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate

Time needed: 15 minutes.

  1. Milk Mixture

    Combine the milk, cream, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan. Whisk everything until smooth. Mexican Hot Chocolate ingredients in pot

  2. Simmer

    Bring the milk mixture to 180 degrees over medium heat. Do not let it begin to boil. If you don’t have a thermometer, remove the pan from heat as soon as it’s too hot to taste from a spoon.Mexican Hot Chocolate ingredients in pot

  3. Chocolate Chips

    Turn off the heat. If you are using an induction stove top, remove the pan from the burner so it doesn’t continue to cook. Whisk the in chocolate chips into the hot mixture.Mexican Hot Chocolate ingredients in pot

  4. Flavor

    Add salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper into the milk until smooth and fully combined.Mexican Hot Chocolate ingredients in pot

  5. Serve

    Ladle the mixture into large mugs. Garnish each cup with a whole cinnamon stick, whipped cream, and a little dusting of cinnamon.Mexican Hot Chocolate in mug

Nutritional Facts

What to Pair With Mexican Hot Chocolate

There are so many wonderful choices to serve with your Mexican Hot Chocolate, whether as an accompaniment for dessert, or to dip into your Hot Chocolate.

How to Store Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • Store: Leftover Mexican Hot Chocolate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Ensure it is cooled completely before transferring to an airtight container.
  • Reheat: You want to reheat it slowly, over medium heat on the stove top, stirring occasionally, careful not to bring it to a rapid boil. Hot Chocolate can also be reheated in the slow cooker or microwave.

  • Freeze: While it’s best enjoyed fresh, Mexican Hot Chocolate can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Let it cool completely, pour into a freezer-safe container, leaving some room at the top for expansion. To defrost, leave it in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat as instructed above.

Alternative Mexican Hot Chocolate Cooking Techniques

Try making Mexican Hot Chocolate in your slow cooker instead following these easy steps.

  • Milk Mixture: In your slow cooker, whisk the milk, heavy cream, and cocoa powder very well until it’s smooth.
  • Chocolate and Seasonings: Stir in the chocolate chips, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Again, the spices won’t fully absorb, you just want it pretty evenly distributed.
  • Heat: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 1-2 hours. Stir the cocoa every half hour to ensure the chocolate chips melt smoothly.
  • Serve: Once the chocolate is fully melted, and the mixture is hot, whisk well a final time and serve right away.

FAQs for Mexican Hot Chocolate

What does Mexican Hot Chocolate taste like?

Mexican Hot Chocolate has a rich, velvety taste with a blend of deep chocolate flavors, warm fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg, and a subtle but fiery chili pepper finish. The overall flavor profile is indulgent and comforting, with a slightly spicy undertone that leaves a lingering warmth.

What is different about Mexican chocolate?

Mexican chocolate is traditionally grainier than its counterparts due to the raw cane sugar being added in granulated form instead of being fully integrated during the manufacturing process. It is also typically infused with cinnamon and other spices, offering a unique flavor profile that’s rich, subtly sweet, and warmly spiced.

Is Mexican Hot Chocolate the same as Champurrado?

While both are traditional Mexican drinks, Champurrado is a thicker drink made with masa harina (corn flour), piloncillo (raw cane sugar), cinnamon, and chocolate. Mexican Hot Chocolate is more like a traditional hot chocolate but with warm spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and chili powder.

Mexican Hot Chocolate in mug

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Mexican Hot Chocolate

This Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe is a cozy comforting drink with a rich chocolate flavor, creamy texture, warm cinnamon, and a bit of heat.
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

To Serve:

  • cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Add the milk, heavy cream, and cocoa powder to a large pot and whisk well until smooth.
  • Cook to 180 degrees in a saucepan over medium heat measuring with a thermometer.
  • If you don't have a thermometer you need to stop well before it comes to a boil, stir well and stop as soon as it's too hot to sample a spoonful.
  • Turn off the heat and whisk in the chocolate chips, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
  • Serve with cinnamon sticks, a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.


Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 604mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 819IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 222mg | Iron: 4mg

Mexican Hot Chocolate Variations

    • Vegan: Replace the whole milk with plant-based alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk, and use vegan-friendly chocolate. Coconut cream is a good plant based alternative to heavy cream.

    • Mocha: Add this cocoa to your morning coffee instead of creamer or you can add a shot of espresso for a tasty mocha. Serve chilled leftovers over ice with espresso or Cold Brew for a tasty iced latte.

    • Spices: You can add a smoky element with chili powder, or add other warm and slightly sweet spices like allspice, cardamom, mace, cloves, or star anise.

  • Caramel: Serve a hot cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate with a drizzle of Salted Caramel Sauce over the whipped cream. You can also swap ½ cup of caramel baking chips, to add some tasty caramel flavor.
Mexican Hot Chocolate collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. Nothing like home and nothing like a kitchen where great tastes n memories are made
    A song by Muzzy Blum ; this old kitchen sings it all ?????????