This authentic Mexican hot chocolate is sweet, hearty, and the perfect cozy drink to enjoy on chilly days as a treat or breakfast alongside pan dulce or savory tamales.
Mexican hot chocolate is a rich and flavorful hot beverage made of chocolate tablets combined with sugar and spices like cinnamon. The tablets are melted into hot milk to create a distinctive and comforting drink.
The hot beverage is known for its frothy and light texture, achieved through the use of a molinillo, a traditional Mexican wooden whisk.
- Chocolate tablets: There are many brands available, the most popular are Ibarra and Abuelita which are known for their unique flavor that includes a combination of dark chocolate, sugar, and spices like cinnamon. I used Ibarra chocolate —buy online here.
- Milk: Use whole milk.
- Ground cinnamon: For serving.
- Sugar: Optional, if you prefer your drink sweeter.
How to Make Mexican Hot Chocolate
In a deep pot, add milk, the chocolate tablets, and a pinch of ground cinnamon.
Heat the ingredients over medium-low heat or until milk is hot but not boiling. You want it to be just below the simmering point. Use the molinillo to stir the mixture so the chocolate melts nicely.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the hot chocolate and continue to mix until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding more sugar if needed.
Set the heat to the lowest point and then use the molinillo to whisk the mixture vigorously in a circular motion.
Top Tip: The right way to use the molinillo is to place the handle between the palms of your hands, and then roll it back and forth vigorously.
Continue to simmer the hot chocolate mixture while whisking with the molinillo for about 3-5 minutes. This will help to develop the flavors and create a nice froth on top.
Once the drink is well-mixed, frothy, and the chocolate has completely melted, remove it from heat.
Pour into cups or clay mugs and serve it hot. You can garnish it with a pinch of ground cinnamon, a cinnamon stick, or cocoa powder for extra flavor.
- Use dark chocolate: Start with Mexican chocolate tablets which are specifically designed for making this recipe. These chocolates often contain spices like cinnamon (canela), which add a distinct flavor.
- Milk: Whole milk is a popular choice because it adds richness and creaminess to the drink. But you can also use alternatives like almond milk or soy milk if you prefer a dairy-free version.
- Add spices: You can also add a small amount of nutmeg or vanilla extract for extra flavor.
- Simmer gently: Heat the milk and chocolate mixture over low to medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
- Use a molinillo: A molinillo is a traditional Mexican wooden whisk that is used to froth and mix hot chocolate. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular whisk or a handheld frother.
- Serve in jarritos: Serving the hot chocolate in Mexican clay mugs (jarritos) can enhance the authenticity and presentation of the beverage.
What to Serve With Chocolate Caliente
In Mexico, chocolate caliente is served for breakfast or afternoon snack (merienda) and it pairs wonderfully with a variety of sweet and savory treats.
Here are some popular options to serve it:
Mexican chocolate drink is best enjoyed when freshly made due to its unique texture and flavor. However, if you have leftovers, they can be stored for 2-3 days.
- Allow the hot chocolate to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer it to an airtight container.
- Seal the container tightly to prevent any odors from affecting the flavor.
- Place the container in the refrigerator.
Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy it again, gently reheat it in a saucepan over low to medium heat or in the microwave, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. Be cautious not to bring it to a boil to avoid scorching.
While this drink can be stored for a short period, it may experience a slight change in texture and flavor upon reheating. It may not be as frothy as when first prepared, but it should still be flavorful.
What makes Mexican hot chocolate different?
Mexican hot chocolate stands out due to its use of specific chocolate tablets, the inclusion of spices like cinnamon, unique texture, and its cultural significance. It offers a flavorful and aromatic twist on traditional hot chocolate, making it a beloved beverage enjoyed not only in Mexico but also around the world.
What exactly is a molinillo?
A molinillo is a traditional Mexican kitchen utensil used for frothing and mixing hot chocolate and other beverages. It is a handcrafted wooden whisk with a distinctive design that is commonly used in Mexico for the preparation of hot beverages such as chocolate, atole, and champurrado.
Where can I buy a molinillo?
Stores specializing in Mexican or Latin American craft products are likely to carry molinillos. You can also purchase here on Amazon.
More Mexican Hot Drinks
Mexican Hot chocolate
- Mexican molinillo (or a blender)
- 1 ½ tablets Ibarra or Abuelita chocolate (3 oz each)
- 5 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to help the chocolate to dissolve.
- Set the heat to the lowest and use the molinillo to whisk the mixture vigorously in a circular motion.
- Continue to simmer the hot chocolate mixture while whisking with the molinillo for about 3-5 minutes or until it forms a nice froth on top.
- Serve in mugs and enjoy.
- Whole milk is a popular choice because it adds richness and creaminess to the drink. But you can also use alternatives like almond milk or soy milk if you prefer a dairy-free version.
- Heat the milk and chocolate mixture over low to medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
- A molinillo is a traditional Mexican wooden whisk that is used to froth and mix hot chocolate. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular whisk or a handheld frother.
- Alternatively, you can transfer the heated ingredients to a blender and blend until the chocolate is combined and foamy.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.