Healthy Hot Cacao

If you're looking for a warm, chocolaty treat that's also nutritious, try this healthy hot chocolate made with cacao powder. It's made from the same cacao beans as cocoa, but without roasting them before grinding. While proponents say skipping the heat processing preserves more nutrients, cacao and cocoa powders offer similar health benefits, including being rich in antioxidants, which may help improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure. They also contain minerals like iron and magnesium, and give you a bit of fiber, which helps to promote a healthy digestive system. Unlike many hot chocolate recipes, which are high in sugar, this flavorful treat is made with only a little bit of agave syrup for sweetness (you can also sub in honey, maple syrup or regular sugar if you don't have agave on hand). In addition to being wholesome and delicious, this recipe is very easy to make—and whips up in less than 5 minutes!

Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins


  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk or unsweetened nondairy milk (see Tip)

  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Whipped cream or nondairy whipped cream (optional)

  • Shaved dark chocolate (optional)


  1. Combine milk, cacao powder and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat; whisk to break up any clumps. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture is smooth and steaming, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Remove from heat and stir in agave and vanilla. Pour into two mugs. Top with whipped cream and shaved dark chocolate, if desired.

    Healthy Hot Cacao
    Andrea Mathis


Tip: Substitute unsweetened almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk or coconut milk, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

170 Calories
6g Fat
23g Carbs
9g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 170
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 9g 18%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Vitamin A 481IU 10%
Sodium 116mg 5%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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