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The Mexican Hot Chocolate is creamy, foamy, chocolaty, and just a tiny bit spicy! Perfect for warming up on cold winter days.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
This Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe is a nod to one of my favorite hot chocolates from a little chocolate shop in Spokane, Washing called The Chocolate Apothecary. They had the best spicy hot cocoa, with a delicious kick of cayenne pepper, cinnamon and bittersweet chocolate mixed with creamy milk and sugar. The spicy sweet flavor was so deliciously rich I couldn’t get enough! When we moved away from Spokane, my husband bought me a huge canister of their Mexican chocolate so I could make it at home. I guarded that stuff with my life until I used it all up. I knew I had to find a way to replicate my favorite cold weather beverage in my own kitchen. Here’s what I came up with, and I think it tastes just as rich and spicy as the original. Enjoy!
What is Different About Mexican Chocolate?
Chocolate used in Mexico to make hot cocoa is a ground paste or bar made of cacao nibs or cacao beans and coarse sugar, cinnamon, dried chiles, and other spices. You can find Mexican chocolate at Target, Walmart or most grocery stores, so it’s easy to find for this recipe. If you don’t have any on hand or can’t track it down, you can replace the Mexican chocolate with semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate bars or dark chocolate. If you can find chile-infused chocolate, even better.
What if I Can’t Find Mexican Chocolate or Chocolate Bars?
You can make a simple cocoa mix using cocoa powder and ___ using our hot chocolate mix recipe. Add the spices and other ingredients included in the recipe below. You can also use “Abuelita” or “Ibarra” brand cocoa mixes, which have the same taste as using Mexican chocolate bars.
Tips for the Best Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate
- Once you have found your favorite chocolate, chop it finely so it will melt evenly.
- Add a drop of almond extract for every ounce of chocolate you add for a more authentic and nutty flavor.
- Use whole milk for this recipe, if you like really creamy hot chocolate. We usually have skim or 1% around the house, but for this recipe I splurge on whole milk for an extra creamy treat. Everything in moderation, right?
- Add a cinnamon stick to the simmering milk when making your Mexican hot chocolate instead of ground cinnamon. You can get the essence of cinnamon without adding powdery cinnamon.
- Start with just a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili powder and add more to taste. My husband likes it more mild, so I add extra cayenne to my mug after serving.
- Add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness if you would like.
- Use a hand frother or a molinillo (a traditional wooden whisk used in Mexico) to get a whipped, frothy texture.
- Don’t forget the whipped cream on top! Add extra shavings of semi-sweet or Mexican chocolate on top for garnish if you like.
5-Star Reviews for Mexican Hot Chocolate
“Every year in Phoenix, the Farmer’s Market has a big winter festival at night and there is a booth that does homemade Mayan hot chocolate. I crave it all year long! I tried this recipe and it is spot on! So delicious and brings back memories now that I’m not in Phx.” – Sara
“This is so delicious! I love how a bit of cayenne balances out the sweetness of chocolate!” – Julia
“I loved the spiciness of this hot chocolate! It was sooooo delicious!” –Becky H.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mexican chocolate, milk or cream, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes chiles for a little kick.
“Champurrado” is the authentic name for a hot chocolate drink in Mexico. The Aztecs called it “Xocolatl”. A direct translation from English to Spanish is “el chocolate caliente“.
Yes! In fact hot chocolate originated in Mexico. Though slightly different from today, there are hot chocolate drinks that date way back to ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Learn more about the History of Chocolate from this great article.
More Delicious Hot Chocolate Recipes
If you love this Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe, I hope you’ll try some of our other incredibly rich and delicious hot chocolate drink recipes:
- Unicorn Hot Chocolate Recipe
- Candy Bar Hot Chocolate (Reese’s Twix, Almond Joy)
- Peppermint Hot Chocolate
- Frozen Hot Chocolate
- Hot Cocoa Mix
Mexican Hot Chocolate
- 2 cups milk
- 5 ounces Mexican chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoons sugar or to taste– if you need it sweeter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla is ideal)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or use a cinnamon stick)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste.. you may just want a pinch)
- Whipped cream
- In small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together milk, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer.
- Simmer 2-3 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Avoid getting a rolling boil. This may cause your milk to separate and it won't have as smooth of a texture.
- Whisk vigorously or use a hand frother before serving to make a foamy top layer.
- Serve immediately. (Serves 2)