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.

In Mexico, hot chocolate is called chocolate caliente and is particularly popular during the holiday season for serving along with conchas bread or rosca de reyes.

Dipping sweet bread concha into the hot chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 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.
Ingredients for Mexican hot chocolate displayed on a white kitchen countertop with names overlay.

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.

Adding a bit of sugar to the chocolate mixture.

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.

Showing how to use a molinillo with two hands.

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.

Frothy Mexican hot chocolate ready in a pot.

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.

Expert Tips

  • 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:

  • Pan dulce: Traditional Mexican sweet bread comes in a variety of flavors. From conchas to polvorones, to marranitos, this drink is perfect to enjoy along.
  • Pan de Muerto: Because there’s no other way of eating this seasonal bread.
  • Churros: Churros are a classic and beloved choice. Their slightly crispy exterior and soft, doughy interior make them perfect for dipping into the hot chocolate.
  • Tamales: Serve chicken tamales or pork tamales with this delicious beverage, the contrasting flavors are a match made in heaven!
  • Empanadas: Sweet pumpkin empanadas complement the flavors of Mexican hot chocolate nicely.
  • Marshmallows & whipped cream: While not traditionally Mexican, marshmallows and a dollop of whipped cream can be a fun addition to your hot chocolate, adding sweetness and a creamy texture.
Chocolate caliente, also known as hot Mexican chocolate drink.

Storing Tips

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.

  1. Allow the hot chocolate to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer it to an airtight container.
  3. Seal the container tightly to prevent any odors from affecting the flavor.
  4. 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.

Close-up of Mexican chocolate drink.

FAQ

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

If you enjoyed this Chocolate Caliente recipe, please take a minute and rate it below in the comments. Also, don’t forget to share and follow this blog on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Mexican hot chocolate recipe.

Mexican Hot chocolate

4 servings
This Mexican hot chocolate is made with chocolate tablets, milk, and a pinch of cinnamon. Enjoy this creamy drink with sweet pastries or savory tamales for breakfast or snack.
prep 5 minutes
cook 10 minutes
total 15 minutes

Equipment

  • Mexican molinillo (or a blender)

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ tablets Ibarra or Abuelita chocolate (3 oz each)
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 459mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 495IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 378mg | Iron: 0.02mg
rate this recipeScroll down and leave a comment with stars!

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.

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Recipe Rating




18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Words cannot describe how delicious this was! Thank you so much! It’s going to be made every week now that it’s turning cold.

  2. 5 stars
    Mexican Hot Chocolate, you’ve done it again! The blend of spices was on point, giving that kick we all look for in a true cup of this comforting delight. The texture was just the right amount of creamy, making each sip feel like a warm hug. You nailed it with the balance of flavors, and I love how you always sprinkle in some tips to customize it to our taste. Cheers to more cozy moments with your delicious recipes!

  3. 5 stars
    This delectable drink combines the rich flavors of chocolate and cinnamon. This recipe is easy to follow, requiring only a few ingredients, and the end result is a satisfyingly warm and comforting beverage. Kids love this.

  4. 5 stars
    Your Authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate is a masterpiece of flavor and tradition! The combination of sweetness, richness, and that unique Mexican spice blend creates a drink that’s simply irresistible.

  5. 5 stars
    This was such a quick and easy drink that does not disappoint! Warm, cozy and refreshing; easily, a new favorite drink!

  6. 5 stars
    Mexican hot chocolate is a favorite in my home! Homemade is always the best and now I’m on my way to purchase a Molinillo so I can be truly authentic!

  7. 5 stars
    Love this Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe, grew up with chocolate abuelita, will make it soon for this season. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. 5 stars
    Love this Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe, grew up with chocolate abuelita, will make it soon for this season. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. 5 stars
    Whether you’re enjoying it by a roaring fire or as a special treat, this Mexican Hot Chocolate is a true indulgence that never disappoints. Gracias for sharing this recipe that brings a taste of Mexico to our mugs.

  10. 5 stars
    Tried it this morning and it was so good! It was light and frothy, such a perfect chocolate drink to go along with my bread!