Mexican Hot Chocolate

3 mins read

Smooth and silky, homemade Mexican Hot Chocolate, is flavored with cinnamon, a bit of chili powder and a splash of vanilla. Made with a combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate this homemade drink is rich, lightly sweetened with a hint of spice.


Reasons why we love this mexican hot chocolate…

  • Rich and Creamy: using a combination of cocoa powder and real melted chocolate gives this drink a rich and creamy texture and flavor.
  • Flavor: adding cinnamon, vanilla and a bit of chili powder gives this drink a unique sweet, smooth chocolate heat flavoring.
  • Comforting: there’s nothing better than curling up with a warm mug full of hot chocolate. Topped with a swirl of whipped cream or melted marshmallows. This recipe is a hit with the entire family.


  • Milk: any type of milk or cream can be used for this recipe. For ultra thick and creamy a combination of whole milk and cream. I prefer to use just whole milk. But you can also use 2% or 1% if you prefer. Just know that the hot chocolate will come out thinner. 
  • Cocoa Powder: this recipe calls for unsweetened natural cocoa powder, but you could also use dutch process in this recipe. 
  • Ground Cinnamon: using ground cinnamon helps get a wonderful flavor to the hot chocolate, since we aren’t bringing this liquid to a boil or cooking it for very long, using cinnamon sticks alone don’t give as much flavor. 
  • Chili Powder: no this drink doesn’t come out spicy. You can omit this if you’re concerned. But it just adds a bit more depth and interest to the finished drink. You can use chili powder (my favorite is Gebhardt) cayenne powder, chipotle powder, paprika. Each one has a different amount of heat/flavor that they give, so start with 1/8 teaspoon, taste, and add the rest if desired. 
  • Chocolate: we’re using a combination of the cocoa powder and actual chocolate in this drink. Traditionally this drink is made with bittersweet chocolate, but I prefer using semi-sweet. Adding the real chocolate adds a bit more thickness and a stronger chocolate flavor. I prefer to use chocolate bars, like Ghiradelli, but you can also use chocolate chips like those shown above. Just be sure to heat gently and stir while melting to help make sure the chocolate mixes in well with the milk.

How to Make (step-by-step):

  1. Pour the milk to a small saucepan. Add in the cocoa powder (to help prevent clumps of cocoa powder, you can sift the powder before adding it in), ground cinnamon, chili powder, salt, and sugar.
  2. Whisk all of the ingredients together. The cocoa powder takes some time to incorporate into the milk. Just keep whisking until it’s smooth.
  3. Warm the mixture over medium/low heat. We don’t want to bring the milk to a boil, just to heat it through. Once the milk is warmed, add in the semi-sweet chocolate and stir while the chocolate melts.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully pour into mugs to serve. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon, chopped chocolate, an extra pinch of chili powder, or some flaky sea salt.


  • Abuelitas Chocolate: This is a pre-made Mexican Chocolate tablet in most markets. This chocolate is grainy and almost gritty due to having sugar crystals in them. These chocolate tablets also have cinnamon flavoring. IF you are using Abuelita chocolate you would only need to melt the tablets in the milk and add extra flavorings as desired. This recipe is a replacement for the pre-made tablets.
  • Topping Ideas: top your hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream (or peppermint whipped cream!), marshmallows, extra cinnamon or chili powder, cinnamon sticks, a drizzle of caramel or dulce de leche.

Mexican Hot Chocolate: FAQS

What is different about Mexican Hot Chocolate?

The difference between Mexican Hot Chocolate and the standard American hot chocolate is the addition of spices such as cinnamon and chili powder. Some Mexican Hot Chocolates are made with bittersweet chocolate also. Making the resulting drink much less sweet than the Americanized versions. 

Is Mexican hot chocolate actually Mexican?

Technically speaking, yes. Historically Mexican is the birthplace of cacoa, with both the word and early use of chocolate being native to the country. 

What is the difference between champurrado and Mexican hot chocolate?

Champurrado is another hot drink that is made with masa harina, or corn flour, which is what gives it a thick texture. 


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If you tried this recipe please leave a comment and a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below! Thank you so much!

Recipe first published December 17, 2019. Updated November 25, 2022 with new images and information, recipe is unchanged.

Photography by the talented