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Oaxacan Hot Chocolate

4 cups

10 minutes

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This is our adaptation of traditional Oaxacan hot chocolate, which uses freshly roasted cacao beans to provide chocolate flavor and finely ground nuts rather than dairy to add richness. Since cacao beans are hard to find in the U.S., we opted for unsweetened chocolate; like cacao, it has no added sugar or milk solids, so its flavor is pure and potent. Even average supermarket brands yielded excellent results. A small amount of almond butter was an easy way to give the drink a rich creaminess. Contrary to popular belief, traditional Oaxacan hot chocolate is not flavored with chilies, but we did like the gentle tingling heat of a dash of chipotle chili powder; add up to ¼ teaspoon, or leave it out, if you prefer. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat gently in a saucepan over medium-low just until steaming.




Don't use boiling water to soften the chocolate in the blender, as it will cause pressure to build in the jar when the blender is turned on; the water needs to be only about 100°F. (However, boiling water stirred in at the end ensures that the drink is hot for serving.) Don't use raw almond butter. The toasty flavor of almond butter made with roasted nuts is key to a rich, full-flavored drink.

10 minutes


  • 4

    ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 2

    cups hot (about 100°F) water, plus 1 cup boiling water

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Raaya C.
February 13, 2024
Rich and delicious
Very delicious and craving rewarding. I made it exactly including the chipotle. We are looking forward to the leftovers in our coffee tomorrow.
Allison M.
March 14, 2023
Quick & decadent!
Made this with my 2 year old “helping” because I needed a chocolate fix! You know it’s an easy recipe if you can make it with a little one under foot. Used agave instead of brown sugar because it was easier to grab. I also used way less cinnamon, as per other reviews. Maybe 1/2 tsp. Delicious. Looking forward to playing around with the flavors in the future. Hard to beat chipotle & cinnamon, though! I love the mouth feel of the end product. I’ll be refrigerating most of it, curious to see how it reheats tomorrow!
Michele R.

Made twice as written but for subbing New Mexico chili powder for the chipotle powder (we like chipotle but in hot chocolate prefer the chili heat without smokiness chipotle offers). Offer only the notation that once finished and poured from blender into hot chocolate cups / mugs while the hot chocolate has a great body and just enough sort of 'froth' at top this isn't hot enough for our preference. While we seldom use our microwave this is where it comes in handy because putting the mugs in at normal power for about 30 seconds heats them to just right.

Jennie B.

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Yulia D.

This is fabulous! But I used a good tahini since I didn’t have almond butter. And I happened to have Milk Street infused sugars on hand that took it over the top! I used the combination of their Mexican mocha and Turkish cardamom spice sugars! I’m a hot chocolate fanatic and this recipe is great!

Dawney G.

I have a cacao nibs that I need to use up. Would this be a good recipe to adapt?

Lynn C.

Hi Dawney -

I wouldn't use cocoa nibs here. Since they are the actual cocoa bean they will never melt like chocolate and, although they will grind up a bit in the blender, it will still add a grainy quality to the hot chocolate. Instead, I recommend using cocoa nibs as a garnish or in a dessert where the added crunch would be welcome.

The Milk Street Team

Susan L.

I'd like to know how to make roasted almond butter.

Nadine L.

I was impressed by the creaminess of this hot chocolate, all without benefit of dairy. But, to my palate, the cinnamon was extremely overpowering. Perhaps I measured wrong. I think a little vanilla would not hurt. I might try making this again, reducing the amount of cinnamon to just a pinch. I don't anything want to compete with the chocolate. A shot of Kahlua added might not hurt.

Jarrod C.

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