Nutty Hot Cocoa

by Denielle B

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love hot cocoa. This special hot cocoa is a recipe I got from my dad that’s apparently been part of his family for a while, starring a secret ingredient. Easily halved or doubled, this drink is guaranteed to be a hit in your household!

The secret ingredient

Ever since my dad made this hot cocoa for us, we request him to make it any chance we get. My dad making this in the kitchen has been a holiday staple for us. So what made this hot cocoa extra special? Peanut butter! Yep, adding a bit of peanut butter has made this extra indulgent. However, when my parents started doing paleo, they replaced the peanut butter with almond butter, and it works just as well! Since my husband is allergic to peanuts, I used almond butter for this particular recipe, but you are still welcome to use peanut butter or even sunbutter (really, any nut butter you like)!

cup of nutty hot cocoa

Since you’re adding a nut butter to it, just know that there may be bits of nut butter as you drink the hot cocoa. That’s okay if it doesn’t get all melted or if it looks a little oily–it’s going to be delicious regardless!


If you like to add other types of flavors in this recipe, you can totally do that! Try the following flavors:

  • Cinnamon Nutty Hot Cocoa – add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon with the cocoa powder to the original recipe
  • Cardamom Nutty Hot Cocoa – add 1 teaspoon of cardamom with the cocoa powder to the original recipe
  • Orange Nutty Hot Cocoa – add zest from one whole navel orange to the original recipe

If you want to stay true to the recipe, but want to pair it with something else, that’s fine too! I found that this goes really well with my brown butter chocolate chunk cookies and my chocolate chip shortbread cookies!

Tools you’ll need

cup of hot cocoa

Nutty Hot Cocoa

Serves: 7 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 6 voted )


  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (for best flavor, use Hershey's or Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp almond butter or any nut butter (creamy, without sugar or salt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups milk


  1. Boil the water in a pot. While the pot is boiling, melt the nut butter in the microwave (30 seconds will do).
  2. Once the pot boils, add the cocoa powder and keep stirring until you don't see lumps anymore. Add the melted nut butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Stir everything until the nut butter is well-incorporated. Lower the heat to medium and let the hot cocoa simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve!
Did You Make This Recipe?
How did it go? Tag me on Instagram at @hungrylittleasiangirl.
cut of nutty hot cocoa

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