Spicy Hot Chocolate with Cayenne Pepper


by Sil Pancho



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Have you ever had Spicy Hot Chocolate? If not, you’re in for a treat! This homemade hot chocolate has just a pinch of cayenne pepper, which adds a hint of spiciness without being overpowering and complements the chocolate flavor. It’s sweetened with brown sugar rather than white for a more molasses-like flavor. You’ll love this sweet and spicy treat!

Overhead photo of a mug of spicy hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon on top.

This recipe is inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, which is spiced with cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne, and vanilla. This simpler version only adds the cayenne for a bit of a kick without having to raid your entire spice cabinet.

After seeing the movie Chocolat years ago, I was really excited to try spicy hot chocolate made with red pepper. The main character serves it to the grumpy customer (Judi Dench) and it immediately uplifts her spirit. It’s currently mid-winter in New England – I could certainly use something to lift my spirits!

I find adding just a little pinch of cayenne pepper to each serving is enough. It complements the sweetness and richness of the chocolate without overpowering it. Though you can certainly add more if you want to.

So if you’re looking for a warm-me-up on a cold winter’s day, you want a way to (literally) spice things up for a Valentine’s day treat, or you just want to try a new way to enjoy chocolate, try making your hot chocolate spicy with cayenne pepper!

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Brown sugar – white can also be used.
  • Kosher salt – just a little bit, which elevates the sweet flavor!
  • Whole milk – this will yield the most rich result, but you can use any other milk, like plant-based milk for a vegan option.
  • Optional toppings: Whipped cream, marshmallows, and/or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Side view of a clear mug with hot chocolate and steam coming out of the top in front of a window.

How to make spicy hot chocolate with cayenne pepper

It’s so easy! Just add everything to a small pot – milk, cocoa powder, a little cayenne pepper and salt, and brown sugar – and heat it up. You don’t want it to come to a boil. Keep whisking occasionally so everything dissolves and it heats evenly.

If you like, you can top it with whipped cream, marshmallows, and/or a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Can I make it in the microwave?

Sure! Just heat up 1 cup of milk in the microwave. Add 1 serving of the remaining hot chocolate ingredients to a mug. Then, pour the milk into the mug and stir together well.

How can I make spicy hot chocolate vegan?

Just use a plant-based milk. I like extra-creamy oat milk as a whole milk substitute, since the taste and texture is most similar.

Can I make it spicier?

Sure! Just add a little more cayenne pepper.

Overhead photo of two mugs of hot chocolate with cayenne pepper.

I hope you enjoy this cozy winter spicy hot chocolate as much as I do. What a treat!

Other homemade drink recipes

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Square photo of a mug of spicy hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon from above.

Spicy Hot Chocolate with Cayenne Pepper

This homemade hot chocolate has an ever-so-slight kick with the addition of cayenne pepper – just a pinch – which enhances the chocolate flavor and adds just a bit of spice. Sweetened with brown sugar, you’ll love this simple and easy homemade hot chocolate recipe!

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Course: Drinks

Cuisine: Mexican

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2 servings

Calories: 305kcal

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  • Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk together. Heat over medium-low heat and whisk occasionally until the milk is hot but not boiling.

  • Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream, marshmallows, and/or a sprinkling of cinnamon if desired, and enjoy!


  • This recipe makes two servings. You can easily adjust the servings using the slider if you hover over the servings at the top of the recipe card.
  • If you like things extra spicy, feel free to do ⅛ teaspoon of cayenne pepper in one batch, or even more depending on your preference.
  • For a vegan version, be sure to use a plant-based milk. I prefer extra-creamy oat milk because it tastes the most like whole milk, but any kind will do.


Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 850mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 437IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 358mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition Information Disclaimer

The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools:

Very Well Fit Nutrition Information Calculator

This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious on January 5, 2013. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.

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