Looking for a cozy winter treat? Warm up by the fire with a mug of this frothy chili spiked hot chocolate!

Chili and hot chocolate might seem like an odd combination, but it’s actually one that’s been enjoyed for over thousands of years! The precursor to hot chocolate was a drink made in Mexico by the Mayans around 500 BC. They blended cocoa beans with water, cornmeal, and chilies to make a spicy, bitter drink. It was served cold and mixed until frothy. While chilies and chocolate might not sound like they go together, bitter chocolate and the spicy warmth of chilies is delicious!

One thing I love about this recipe is that it’s packed with antioxidants, especially heart-friendly, brain-boosting flavonols from chocolate. Cocoa powder gives you the biggest flavonol bang for your buck – 1 ¾ tablespoons provides the 200 milligrams needed to increase blood flow and provide health benefits. For an equal amount of flavonols, you’d have to eat 10 ½ ounces of milk chocolate.

This recipe for chili spiked hot chocolate is packed with tons of other antioxidant rich ingredients. There’s cinnamon, my favorite warming spice in the winter, which also helps lower blood sugar levels. Cayenne contains the antioxidant capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory benefits. It also calls for maca, the ground root of a South American tuber vegetable, which has long been used to boost energy and for hormonal health, although the scientific evidence is fairly limited.

This drink is lightly sweetened with a little dark chocolate and honey. It gives just enough sweetness to cut the bitterness of the cocoa powder without making it syrupy sweet. If you prefer it sweeter, just drizzle in a bit more honey.

To make the drink frothy, whiz it in a blender with a coconut oil. It also helps replace the dairy fat found in traditional homemade hot chocolate with a more heart-friendly, plant-based fat.

Serves 2

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons maca (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pinches cayenne
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

In a medium pot, whisk together all ingredients except coconut oil and warm on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

When hot, but not boiling, carefully pour hot cocoa into a blender. Add coconut oil. Blend about 1 minute until frothy. Divide between 2 mugs and serve.

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About the Author

Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT

Rachael Hartley is a private practice dietitian and food and wellness blogger at The Joy of Eating. She believes loving every bite of food is central to living a happy and healthy life. Through her practice and blog, Rachael inspires clients and readers to rediscover the joy of eating with nourishment, not deprivation, and to nurture a healthy relationship with food. Follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.