Paleo Hot Cocoa


Hot cocoa made with cocoa powder and maple syrup. Mix with coconut milk, almond milk, or any other milk of your choice. Paleo, dairy-free, and vegan.

Photography Credit: Sabrina Modelle

Hot cocoa may be the most comforting beverage of all time. And while I have fond childhood memories of packets of hot cocoa with tiny hard marshmallows, my taste in hot chocolate has become slightly more sophisticated as an adult.

This Paleo hot chocolate is high on the cocoa content, lower on sugar. It’s sweetened with dark amber maple syrup and gets a flavor boost from espresso powder.

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Make a double batch of the cocoa syrup base and store it in the fridge so you can have truly great hot chocolate in the time it takes to heat up some milk!

Paleo Hot CocoaFor the milk component of this hot chocolate, use any type you like. For a rich vegan version, try full fat coconut milk. It’s also excellent with hazelnut, cashew, or almond milk. It also works beautifully with full fat or low fat dairy milk.

Paleo Hot Cocoa

Add as much or as little of the chocolate syrup as you like. I generally add about two tablespoons (one ounce) of syrup for every cup (8 ounces) of milk. With this ratio, you’ll end up with a mug of hot cocoa that’s not cloyingly sweet.

Though there are no tiny marshmallows, you can treat yourself to a dollop of whipped cream and some finely chopped chocolate on top. Drink it on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good book!


Paleo Hot Cocoa Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 cup chocolate syrup, enough for 6 to 8 cups of cocoa


For the chocolate syrup:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)

To serve:

  • 1 cup milk per person (like coconut milk, almond milk, dairy milk, or other favorite milk)
  • Sweetener of your choice, like maple syrup or honey (optional)
  • Coconut whipped cream (optional)
  • Dark chocolate shavings (optional)


1 Bring the water to a boil in the microwave or on the stovetop.

2 Make the cocoa syrup: Place the cocoa powder and salt in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over top. Whisk until combined. Let sit five minutes. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, and espresso powder. Stir to combine.

The syrup is ready to use immediately, or let it cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. This chocolate syrup will last in the fridge for several weeks.

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3 Make the cocoa: Warm the milk (1 cup or so per person) in the microwave or on the stovetop. Transfer to a mug and stir in 2 tablespoons of syrup per cup. Taste and add additional syrup or sweetener if desired.

Paleo Hot Cocoa

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Paleo Hot Cocoa

Sabrina Modelle

Sabrina Modelle started The Tomato Tart in 2010. Since then, recipes and photographs have been featured in media outlets, worldwide. The site features handmade, homemade, food that happens to be gluten free. When she’s not working, Sabrina can be found with her nose in a cookbook and a dog in her lap.

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16 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Phyllis

    I used coconut milk and this just may be the best hot chocolate Ive ever made from scratch!! Thank you


  2. Beth

    Yummy :-) changed the ratio a bit to my taste buds, but, the outcome was fab! Thanks!


  3. LaWanda

    I am low carb, and, as, such, cannot use maple syrup. At least not the real stuff. Bummer, I know, but I am a diabetic and have no choice. Do you think I could use sugar-free maple syrup? Thanks, and please don’t hate me!

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  4. Cats45844

    Is the finished product syrupy? After adding the maple syrup (I used Grade A , amber) it became watery. I added 2 T to 1 cup of whole milk and the color of the drink is nowhere near what you have in the picture. I added an extra 4 T and still not close. Any tips?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. LeAnn Srite

    Thanks for this recipe! I have been looking for a low sugar alternative with lots of flavor!!

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