Sipping on a rich, warm cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate is the very best way to beat the cold weather! Creamy, rich homemade hot chocolate is made even more delicious with a sprinkle of bold cayenne powder. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and the most perfect Christmastime treat!

Marshmallows and a cinnamon stick garnish a cup of Mexican hot chocolate.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

I don’t know about the weather where you are… but here in Philadelphia, we’re pretty cold! Now that the weather is officially frosty, it’s time to start warming up with all of the best cozy hot chocolate recipes. You can also go way over the top (because why not) and assemble a hot chocolate charcuterie board when you make this Mexican hot chocolate recipe!

If you’ve never heard of it before, Mexican hot chocolate is essentially spicy hot chocolate. It’s made from scratch with ingredients like cocoa powder, chopped semisweet chocolate, milk, powdered sugar and cayenne powder. I also like to garnish my mug with a cinnamon stick to really warm it up even more! I love a good spicy kick, so this might just be my new favorite hot chocolate recipe.

When you make Mexican hot chocolate at home, you also have the added bonus of controlling the heat level. Make it more or less spicy to best fit your personal tastes. For me, I like to sprinkle a little cayenne powder in there! But when I serve it to friends I keep it limited to just a pinch. You can also swap the cayenne with some dried d’arbol chilis.

A bar of chocolate is placed on a white serving plate.

How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate

Take a quick look at how easy it is to make homemade Mexican hot chocolate! For more specific step-by-step instructions and ingredient measurements, scroll down to the recipe card.

  1. Whisk. Place a pan over medium-high heat. Add the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and the spice of your choice (cayenne powder or dried chilis). Whisk until smooth.
  2. Make it chocolatey. Stir in the chopped chocolate, continuing to whisk over medium heat until smooth. Once the chocolate is melted and the mixture is warmed through, it’s ready to go!

PRO TIP: Do NOT let the mixture come to a boil! You’ll end up scalding the chocolate and milk, and the whole thing will be ruined.

A ladle is pouring hot cocoa into a single mug.

Ingredient Notes

Before you head to the grocery store, take a quick look at these helpful notes:

  • Milk – I use whole milk in my hot chocolate and I always end up with smooth, rich and creamy results. Feel free to experiment with other milks, including plant-based alternatives. If you do choose to go dairy-free, oat milk tends to be the creamiest.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – This really helps to enhance the chocolatey flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar – Don’t swap this with any other type of sugar! You can add more or less depending on how sweet you want your hot cocoa to be.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate – Semisweet is also good. I don’t recommend using milk chocolate. Mexican hot chocolate isn’t supposed to be overly sweet – the spicy cayenne best compliments bittersweet chocolate.
  • Vanilla Extract – If possible, try to use pure vanilla extract. However, imitation works in a pinch.
  • Ground Cayenne – If you can get your hands on some dried d’arbol chilis, feel free to use those instead!
  • Garnishes – Marshmallows are a given. You can’t enjoy hot chocolate without them! A cinnamon stick also adds a nice touch of warmth to compliment the cayenne.

How to Make it Boozy

Why yes, of course you can! To make spiked Mexican hot chocolate, simply stir in as much tequila as you’d like. I recommend starting with just 2oz, then adding more only after you’ve conducted a taste test.

Dried chilis are placed next to two mugs of hot chocolate.

Sip on more of the very best hot cocoa recipes!

For more easy winter drink ideas, follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

Marshmallows and a cinnamon stick garnish a cup of Mexican hot chocolate.

Get the Recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe

Spicy sweet and creamy Mexican Hot Chocolate is made with whole ingredients for a chocolatey treat that's perfect to sip on during the winter months.
No ratings yet


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon confectioners sugar
  • 2 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate or semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne or 2 dried d’arbol Chile
  • Marshmallows, cinnamon sticks


  • 1 saucepan
  • 1 whisk


  • In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add the milk, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, chili or cayenne, if using.
  • Whisk together until smooth and stir in the chocolate.
  • Continue cooking until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is hot. Do not boil.
  • Divide between two mugs and serve.


Mexican Hot Chocolate is best served soon after making it.
For a thicker, richer consistency use whole milk or half and half.
Calories: 359kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 97mg, Potassium: 626mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 461IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 326mg, Iron: 3mg