Just because you’re living a vegan lifestyle now, that doesn’t mean that you have to start saying tearful goodbyes to the taste of delicious, cold night staples like hot cocoa. As a matter of fact, there are a surprising number of vegan hot chocolate brands out there! You can skip the fluff and purchase our favorite here.
If dark chocolate is generally vegan-friendly, why is there controversy surrounding hot cocoa for vegans?
Unfortunately, many hot cocoa mixes contain dairy in the form of powdered milk or milk ingredients and the non-vegan ingredients often don’t stop there. For instance, food products such as animal fats, carmine or carminic acid, sodium caseinate, honey, lactose, milk protein, glycerides, and whey often feature in hot cocoa mix ingredient lists. So in other words, you can’t take it for granted that there aren’t any animal by-products in hot cocoa.
So on that note, we tried nearly every vegan-friendly brand in the store and came up with a shortlist of our top 6 dairy free hot chocolate brands.
The Best Vegan Hot Chocolate Brands
Ah!Laska Non-Dairy Organic Cocoa Mix is the ideal product for people who are concerned with both their health and the planet. This brand is certified organic and non-GMO, plus kosher and vegan, so you can now do good for your body and the environment at the same time! Unlike some cocoa mixes, Ah!Laska is also low in fat. The powder dissolves easily so there is no gross residue at the bottom of your mug and since kids tend to love the cute and colorful packaging, this is a family-friendly cocoa mix option. Sweet and chocolaty without being overpowering, Ah!Laska is so yummy that even non-vegans will enjoy it.
Enjoy the rich taste of gourmet chocolate in liquid form with Ghiradelli hot cocoa mixes. This brand has a few delicious vegan flavors to choose from including mocha, double chocolate, and chocolate caramel, as well as more intense mixes like the Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa Beverage Mix. They taste great mixed into hot water, non-dairy milk, or even coffee.
Just be sure to check the ingredients list before purchasing as this brand has gone back and forth multiple times with whether or not they are vegan. That being said, Ghiradelli hot cocoa is the perfect way to get a taste of decadent chocolate treats without compromising your vegan lifestyle.
3. Silly Cow Farms
Despite the cow on the bottle, most of the hot chocolate mixes from Silly Cow farms are actually vegan! They have a huge selection of flavors to choose from which includes traditional varieties like Chocolate Chocolate and Chocolate Peppermint Twist to creative ones like Chocolate Marshmallow Swirl and Chocolate Pumpkin Spice.
Each mix comes in an adorable glass milk bottle that you'll want to display. All of their hot chocolate mixes are free of nuts, gluten, GMOs, high-fructose corn syrup, growth hormones, artificial flavors or sweeteners, added sodium, and trans fats. You can even get 7 of their hot chocolate flavors made from fair trade ingredients!
In terms of flavor variety and fun factor, Silly Cow Farms is the best vegan hot chocolate mix on this list.
4. Archer Farms
If you are a vegan on a budget, check out Archer Farms, a food brand exclusive to Target stores. Surprisingly, all their hot cocoa mix flavors (except for Sea Salt Caramel) are both dairy-free and vegan.
Choose from Malted Milk Chocolate (it's true!), Peppermint, Pumpkin Spice, or Dark Chocolate mixes. These mixes are affordable enough to try all the flavors if you and your family can't decide!
Archer Farms mixes come in single-serve packets, so no messy, wet spoon or measuring the right amount of mix. Just pick up a box on your next Target trip for a fast and easy winter treat.
5. CAcafe Cocoa
If you like your hot cocoa extra creamy and sweet, try CAcafe's Coconut Cocoa. The coconut oil and coconut milk give this cocoa that decadent, fatty taste found in hot cocoa made with dairy but without harming any animals. Coconut Cocoa is available in a traditional jar or in fun to-go cups! Just pour the included single-serve packet and some hot water into the cup and run out the door. This brand also makes instant mocha, coffee, and tea mixes so you can have all your café favorites while sticking to your vegan diet. This brand is the perfect blend of healthy and delicious!
6. Cocoa Cravings
Treat yourself to a hot cocoa adventure with the gourmet drinking chocolates and hot cocoa mixes of Cocoa Cravings. From fruity cocoas featuring bananas and berries to spicy-sweet cocoas like Curried and Picante, there is a flavor for every person and mood. The best part is, every one of their flavors is dairy-free and vegan. Cocoa Cravings mixes are all certified organic and use all real ingredients rather than artificial flavors and sweeteners. When you drink one of this brand's chocolate beverages, you actually reap the nutritional benefits of the ingredients (like fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals), so you can feel good about indulging with Cocoa Cravings!
Hot Chocolate Brands to Avoid (Not Vegan)
- Swiss Miss
- Nestle and Nestle Carnation
- Land O Lakes
- Trader Joes
- 365 Organic
- Most store brands like Publix, Great Value, Stop & Shop, etc
Many brands, like Godiva and Starbucks, have a few vegan hot chocolate flavors and a few that contain animal products. For this reason, always be sure to check the ingredients list before purchasing a new hot cocoa product.
As you can see, most big-name hot chocolate brands are not vegan-friendly. More and more brands are introducing flavors of hot cocoa that are vegan, though, which is great for those of us living a cruelty-free lifestyle! Cozying up with a sweet, decadent cup of cocoa on a chilly day can be part of your winter ritual again with these 6 yummy vegan hot chocolate brands. Tell us what you thought of these products and share your favorite vegan hot chocolate brands in the comments below!
If you want the perfect complement to your amazing cup of vegan hot chocolate, then you’ll definitely want to check our favorite vegan cookie brands!