Creamy and luscious Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate made with canned coconut milk and real chocolate will be your new favorite hot drink this winter. Made with 5 ingredients, it’s also dairy free and vegan.

White mug with coconut milk hot chocolate

You know that moment where something tastes ten times better than you imagined, and it tastes so good that you made it again to share with everyone?

That’s how this Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate recipe made me feel once I took a sip.

I can’t get over how thick and creamy this hot chocolate with coconut milk is (almost like my Thick Hot Chocolate), not to mention the harmony of chocolate and coconut milk together.

Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate is a dairy free hot chocolate made with canned coconut milk. I added a bit of extra coconut oomph with coconut extract and toasted coconut.

As with most of my recipes, this recipe for coconut milk hot chocolate makes two servings. Make a batch for a loved one as you play board games together.

Or easily cut the recipe in half so you have one single cup for yourself while watching tv with the cat.

Overhead view of coconut hot chocolate

What Is canned coconut milk?

Coconut milk is coconut meat (the white part inside a coconut) mixed with water and blended until smooth.

When I say canned coconut milk, I’m referring to what you often find in the Asian, Latin, or even baking aisles.

This is not the thin milk carton kind you find in the dairy section. My recipes have only been tested with canned.

Next, double check the label. It should say coconut milk. Not cream of coconut. Not coconut water. And make sure it’s the normal version and not lite. It won’t have enough fat if it’s lite.

Ingredients For Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

To make your dairy free hot chocolate, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Canned coconut milk: Look for canned coconut milk in your Asian or Latin aisles. This is not the carton of coconut milk you find in the dairy aisle.
  • Brown sugar: Sweetens the hot chocolate
  • Cocoa powder: Use natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Semisweet chocolate: Roughly 56% cacao. Look for dairy free chocolate if making vegan hot chocolate.
  • Coconut extract: Highly recommended to really bring out the coconut flavor. If you don’t have any, you can use vanilla but the coconut will be much more subtle.
  • Sea salt: Optional but it’s amazing what a pinch of salt can do to a recipe
  • Toasted coconut: Optional garnish but adds another layer of flavor plus crunch

How To Measure Canned Coconut Milk

Most of the time when you open canned coconut milk, you’ll see the cream (the solid part) sitting on top. Once you dump the can, you’ll notice the liquid underneath.

You want to make sure these parts are equally distributed before using. You can either shake the can really well or dump everything into a large bowl or measuring cup then stir until it becomes one rich and creamy liquid.

It should now be a smooth pourable liquid you can measure, much like regular milk.

If you’re using leftover coconut milk that was refrigerated, it needs to be at room temperature. It’ll be too thick to measure properly if used cold.

White mug with coconut milk hot chocolate

How To Make Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

Here’s how to make your coconut hot chocolate:

  1. Whisk coconut milk, brown sugar, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and cocoa dissolves.
  2. Stir in chocolate until melted then cook until thickened, roughly 30-60 seconds.
  3. Add coconut extra and salt. At this point if it’s too thick, whisk in more milk. If it’s too thin, bring back to a boil then cook until thickened.

What To Do With Leftover Coconut Milk

You’re going to have leftover canned coconut milk, so what do you make with it? Check out these coconut milk recipes:

How To Garnish Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

Time to serve your hot chocolate!

Garnish it with homemade whipped cream on top.

Or get creative with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream or Chocolate Whipped Cream.

If I don’t have any whipped cream on hand, I have no problem plopping a handful of marshmallows on top.

I also pour my hot chocolate over vanilla bean ice cream. Not only does it cool it down, it helps thin it out as it melts.

Now these options aren’t vegan, so feel free to substitute dairy free versions.

Whichever you choose, sprinkle toasted coconut on top for crunch.

Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate FAQ

Can I store leftover hot chocolate?

This recipe only makes 2 servings but if you do have leftover hot chocolate, refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Can I use coconut milk from a carton instead of canned?

This recipe hasn’t been tested with carton coconut milk. However, it should work roughly the same. Please note your hot chocolate will likely be thinner.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! If you need 4 servings, easily double all of the ingredients.

Can I make hot chocolate ahead of time?

Yes. Cool completely before transferring to the fridge. When ready to serve, reheat on the stove, in the microwave, or even in a small slower cooker.

More Hot Chocolate Recipes

Can’t get enough? Here are more hot chocolate recipes for you to enjoy:

White mug with coconut milk hot chocolate

Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Creamy and luscious Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate made with canned coconut milk and real chocolate will be your new favorite hot drink this winter. Dairy free and vegan.


  • 1 + 1/2 cups canned coconut milk*, room temperature (see Note before measuring)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (use dairy free for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (or substitute vanilla but the coconut flavor will be more subtle)
  • Pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • Toasted coconut, for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, brown sugar, and cocoa powder together. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring until the sugar and cocoa has dissolved.
  2. Once boiling, stir in the chocolate until melted, whisking often. Cook until thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk in the coconut extra and salt. At this point if it's too thick, you can add additional milk to thin it out. Transfer to two mugs then garnish as desired with toasted coconut.


  • Canned coconut milk can be found in your grocery store's Asian or Latin aisles. Shake the can well before opening. If the solid and liquid are still separated, whisk together until it's a pourable liquid (just like dairy milk) then measure.
  • If you're using leftover coconut milk that was refrigerated, it needs to be at room temperature. It'll be too thick if used cold.
  • To toast coconut, preheat oven to 350F. Place coconut on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden brown, checking on it every 5 minutes and stirring the flakes around to ensure even browning. Cool before using. Toasted coconut can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Did you make this recipe?

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Source: Adapted from Food Network

First published December 22, 2013