Craving hot chocolate? This vegan hot chocolate recipe is fun and easy to make in your Instant Pot or another pressure cooker. Because it’s vegan, it’s also guaranteed dairy free hot chocolate, made with non-dairy milk and coconut milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and lots of chocolate, it is rich and creamy for a delightful hot chocolate recipe your loved ones will thank you for.
Craving vegan hot chocolate? Have a new Instant Pot? Wanna make a delicious dairy-free homemade hot chocolate for the fam? Look no further!
Dairy-free hot chocolate, peppermint hot chocolate, and peppermint mocha were all super fun to develop because of the added benefit of taste-testing a lovely pot of hot chocolate on a cold winter morning. Gosh…it’s a hard job but someone has to do it!
Reasons to love this recipe for homemade vegan hot chocolate
- smooth and creamy – vegan creamy beverages using coconut milk are made extra smooth and rich
- absolutely delicious creamy hot chocolate, yum!
- rich and decadent
- gives you a reason to try out the Instant Pot
- Have a dairy allergy? Of course, it’s vegan – made with coconut milk – so you are guaranteed a yummy dairy-free hot chocolate drink!
- a fun treat the whole family will love
- top it with (vegan) mini marshmallows, (dairy free) dark chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, cinnamon, whipped cream (I’ll give links to vegan options here and below.)
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Ingredients needed to make this yummy hot chocolate recipe
- coconut milk – we use the coconut cream from the top of the can only
- dairy free milk – I prefer oat milk but you can use almond milk or cashew milk
- granulated sugar (can sub in coconut sugar)
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- pure vanilla extract
- You’ll also need an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
- Top with non-dairy chocolate chips, shavings from a dark chocolate bar, (vegan) marshmallows, coconut whipped topping, cinnamon, etc…
How to make vegan hot chocolate in the Instant Pot
Step 1: The coconut milk
When I first set out to make a vegan hot chocolate recipe, I knew I would need to replicate the creamy texture and “mouth feel” that whole milk and cream lends.
Using cream from a can of coconut milk is the best way to give vegan hot cocoa that "whole milk" creamy texture in a dairy-free hot chocolate.
Can you use lite coconut milk instead? You can…it just won’t be as creamy. You will save on calories and fat – but lose out on some of the creaminess. Sometimes you have to pick which one is most important to you.
Sooooo…Remove the top cream layer from a can of full-fat coconut milk. Do not shake the can ahead of time or you will mix up the coconut cream layer with the coconut water.
If you have accidentally already mixed the can then refrigerate it. The cream layer will harden and rise to the top. You will get about three-quarters cup of coconut cream from one can of coconut milk. If you are a little over or under, don’t worry about it. Use what you “harvest” from the can.
Step 2: the non-dairy milk
The dairy-free milk I prefer to use for my vegan hot chocolate is oat(see more below). In fact, if you can find extra creamy oat milk, that is really the very best in my opinion.
If your favorite plant milk is cashew milk, almond milk, or other similar plant milk, you can use it. Just make sure to use unsweetened milk as that might make this hot cocoa a little overly sweet.
Also, be aware that some plant milks are highly flavored on their own and that might change the flavor of the finished hot cocoa. Even though almond milk does have a distinct flavor, it goes well with the chocolate and you should enjoy it. The plant milk I do not recommend for it’s flavor is soy milk.
Add the plant milk and coconut cream to the inner liner of the Instant Pot.
Step 3: the sugar and cocoa powder
If you prefer to sub in coconut sugar it will give it a delicious depth of flavor. If you are vegan, and the source of sugar bothers you, either use organic sugar or coconut palm sugar.
Cocoa powder tends to be a little lumpy and hard to mix in recipes. When we are standing over a stove and stirring, the lumps eventually stir out. Since we are making this recipe in the Instant Pot, we won’t be standing and stirring (yea!).
It’s important to get as many lumps of cocoa powder out before we start cooking.
Mix together to sugar and the unsweetened cocoa powder. Then use a sieve and shake it into the pot of non-dairy milk and coconut cream. You can also use a sifter.
You’ll notice that even with careful stirring and whisking you are still going to have some irritating little lumps of cocoa powder left.
Take the back of a spoon (or your fingers) and press the remaining lumps through the sieve.
Step 4: Stir, stir, stir
Guess what? You are still going to need to stir when finished to totally incorporate the cocoa powder and make it nice and perfectly smooth. But also guess what? Having stirred it together with the sugar and then sieving it will make this job a snap.
Go ahead and add the cinnamon and pinch of salt – but do NOT add the vanilla extract yet! We will add this after cooking to best keep that yummy vanilla flavor!
A note about the cinnamon
I learned this trick from a friend of mine who taught me about Mexican Hot Chocolate. Just a little bit of cinnamon compliments and brings out the rich hot cocoa flavor. Will this hot chocolate taste like cinnamon? No, it doesn’t. You won’t even know it’s in there! But you will appreciate it:)
Step 5: Pressure Cook the Hot Chocolate
Close the lid and vent and set your Instant Pot on high pressure for two minutes.
It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then begin counting down.
After the timer on your Instant Pot has counted down the two minutes, allow for a five-minute natural pressure release. After the five minutes is over, turn off the Instant Pot and very carefully do a quick release.
Do you need to pressure cook this recipe? No, you can make it over the stovetop – you’ll just be standing and stirring the whole time to make sure that it doesn’t burn. You can also cook it in a crockpot, but you will be cooking for hours rather than minutes.
Step 6: Finish AND GET READY TO SERVE!
Remove the lid when you can and add in the vanilla extract. Despite all the earlier stirring and sieving, the finished hot cocoa still might be a little lumpy. Just whisk quickly for a few seconds and you will have a rich and creamy lump-free dairy free hot cocoa ready to serve!
Some fun ideas for topping your dairy-free hot chocolate
You can serve hot from the pan the way it is, or add some fun optional toppings. Toppings make for super special homemade hot chocolate drink!
If you are here for the “dairy free” hot chocolate then you can use any brand of marshmallows you’d like. Just make sure to read the label for any possible cross-contamination.
If you are here for the “vegan” hot chocolate then you will need to find vegan marshmallows. I love Dandies marshmallows and buy them on Amazon. I understand some grocery stores are beginning to carry vegan marshmallows. Trader Joe’s has its own brand. Just read your labels.
Use cinnamon sticks or sprinkle a little on the top – or both! Cinnamon sticks make great stirring sticks and kids have all sorts of fun trying (and failing) to drink their hot chocolate with their cinnamon “straw”.
Dairy free Chocolate bits
Be aware that not all dark chocolate is vegan/ diary free chocolate. Read your labels when at the grocery store or order online. If it is labeled as “vegan” it will also be dairy free.
You can either use shaved vegan chocolate or non-dairy chocolate chips. My favorite brand of vegan dark chocolate bar is Hu chocolate and my favorite brand of dairy free (vegan) chocolate chips is Enjoy Life.
If you can find a dairy free whipped topping in your grocery store then you are luckier than I am! If you can’t, then try my coconut milk whipped topping.
For some other fun and super delicious vegan treats you can make in the Instant Pot, try
The recipe for Instant Pot Vegan Hot Chocolate
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Instant Pot Vegan Hot Chocolate
- 14 ounces coconut milk use the coconut cream from the top of the can only
- 3 cups oat milk extra creamy
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Do not stir or mix the can of coconut milk. Remove the top creamy portion to use. Discard the rest.
- Add the coconut cream and oat milk to the inner liner of an Instant Pot.
- Mix together the cocoa powder and sugar. Sift into the milk/cream mixture, making sure all of the little balls of cocoa powder have been broken up. Add the cinnamon and pinch of salt.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and set the vent to closed or sealed.
- Set the Instant Pot to 2 minutes at high pressure. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
- After the pressure cooker has come to pressure and counted down, allow for a 5 minute natural relase.
- Turn of the Intstant pot and continue carefully doing a quick release until the pressure cooker has fully released it's pressure and the pin has dropped.
- Carefully open and stir in the vanilla.
- You may need to whisk a bit to remove any lumps of cocoa. If you have properly sifted and stirred the dry ingredients, you should not have to whisk much.
- Serve with choice of marshmallows, chocolate chips, shaved chocolate, whipped topping cinnamon sticks, or an extra sprinkle of cinnamon. (Links below.)