Aztec Cocoa

$0.34 per cup

I made an impulse buy the other day… one of those little packets of Mexican hot cocoa mix. I constantly crave hot cocoa this time of year and I’ve always wanted to try Mexican hot cocoa. In the back of my mind I knew nothing good could come of this little packet of powder, but something in me wanted to believe that it would be yummy. Anyway, it was less than impressive, much less. As usual, I thought, “I could do this better!”

My version, although unbelievably simple, truly WOW-ed me. Seriously. I know you’re supposed to use really high quality cocoa and high quality spices for this, but I just used my run of the mill pantry basics and got a really rich cocoa with a nice earthy kick. I don’t think I can ever go back to plain cocoa.

The cinnamon adds a depth and earthiness that regular cocoa doesn’t have and the brown sugar makes it just a bit more rich (thank you, molasses). The pinch of cayenne provided just the right amount of burn in the back of my throat to make me giggle with glee. This stuff is awesome.

Just a fair warning – the spices do not totally dissolve in milk because, well, they’re not dissolvable. So, there will be some sediment on the bottom of your mug. If you’re a French press coffee drinker, this will not bother you.

Aztec Cocoa

Aztec CocoaWhy “Aztec” cocoa? I dunno, I just wanted something catchy.

4.7 from 3 reviews
aztec cocoa
Prep time
Total time
Cost Per Serving: $0.34
Serves: 1
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder $0.04
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon $0.02
  • 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper $0.01
  • 8 oz. milk (2% fat or higher) $0.25
  1. Heat the milk until hot, but not boiling. (I microwaved for about 1.5 – 2 minutes).
  2. Once the milk is hot, whisk in the rest of the ingredients (cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper). Drink. Be happy.


Want to make a bunch of the mix to give as a gift? Here are the quantities to make 2 cups of cocoa mix:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Use 2 tablespoons of cocoa mix per 8 ounces of hot milk.

Aztec Cocoa

Step By Step Photos

cocoa, sugar, spicesThis is all that is needed to take cocoa from “yum” to “warm fuzzies all over”: unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. To measure the cayenne pepper, I just filled my 1/8th tsp measuring spoon half way. If you’re sensitive to spices, try just a pinch of cayenne first… a pinch would probably be like 1/32. Of course, that’s just a guess.

aztec cocoa mixYou don’t have to mix the spices and sugar together before adding them to the milk, but I did this so you could see what it would look like if you made a big batch. It will still be a little lumpy because of the moisture in the brown sugar.

aztec cocoaStir the mix (about 2 tablespoons) into 8 ounces of hot milk. The cocoa and sugar will dissolve in, but the spices will kind of sink to the bottom. I swirled my cup as I drank to keep things floating around.

Aztec CocoaCan you say “YUM”? Whipped cream isn’t necessary, but why not?


  1. Elizabeth says:

    This is wonderful. I mix with water for health reasons. My blood pressure has dropped 5 puts. Since this replaced my coffee.

  2. Adnan Reddy says:

    I was too lazy to get measuring spoons, so I just estimated, and the result was a bitter, somewhat sweet drink that leaves a burn in the back of your throat. I’ve been looking for a recipe for a while, and this is by far the best!

  3. Lalita says:

    Hiya! A friend showed me your website a few days ago. I love it. Tonight I made a batch of the mix to keep on hand. Oh my gosh it tastes like mexican hot chocolate. Hubby even tasted it and agreed, just he wants me to use less cayenne next time. Hehehe. Thanks!

  4. Megan says:

    I can’t wait to add this mix to a mug of coffee!

  5. AmandaW says:

    YUMMY!! I made this with unsweetened almond milk. It was great. I’m on Weight Watchers and it made this a 2PP treat!

  6. Terri says:

    I routinely add cinnamon to my cocoa (and chocolate mug cake, and chocolate pudding and…) Never tried adding a pinch of cayenne though… but sure will now. Thanks!

  7. Lynn says:

    Oh, this is lovely. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve had aztec cocoa from chocolatiers before and they were overwhelming for me, but this is just perfect.

  8. Excellent! Just made some and probably the only hot cocoa our house will drink!

  9. I made this tonight with Almond milk and it was AMAZING, and really, not significantly harder or more time consuming than using a packet plus it tasted 100% better. I am sold.

  10. I’m going to try taking this one step further and mix in powdered milk. Sounds like it would make a great gift.

  11. I am SOOOOOOO trying this!

  12. I don’t know what I would do without your blog and all these great new recipes to try. I am totally making a cup of this tonight, it sounds amazing! I have been wanting a way to use up some unsweetened cocoa and this will be perfect. THANK YOU!!!!!

  13. My thought is that it would be AWESOME. :D

  14. Anonymous says:

    i’ve been enjoying this so much! was just looking at the quick pudding recipe, and thinking of sort of using the same spice combo…thoughts?!

  15. Absolutely perfect.

  16. I’m going to try this mix! I’ve been making my own hot chocolate and in order to help reduce the piling up of ingredients on the bottom of the cup, I put the dry ingredients in a saucepan, whisk a drop or two of oil into the cocoa mix, and then add my milk. Everything goes in one pan so it isn’t quite as convenient as microwaving, but it helps all the ingredients stay incorporated. And if you look on those little packets, they all have hydrogenated oils in them, so a drop of oil makes sense (totally undetectable in the hot chocolate too!)

  17. I make this all the time. I never feel even slightly tempted by storebought hot chocolate mix anymore! I like to make mine super strong and rich, more of a sipping chocolate than a drinking chocolate. I use about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to about 3/4 cup of milk. A dash of salt really accentuates the flavours. I always heat the milk *before* adding the cocoa powder, because I find cocoa burns easily. One of those battery-operated milk frothers makes the perfect tool for whisking the cocoa smoothly into the milk. For the silkiest, richest, most indulgent-tasting cup of hot cocoa ever, use coconut milk (the drinking kind, not the cooking kind). It is outrageously delicious.

  18. Definitely going to try this! BTW, the Aztecs introduced cacao to the Europeans and the rest of the Americas (although they drank it in an unsweetened state) so I think your name totally works!

  19. Anonymous says:

    This was so good! I may try upping the cocoa powder by about a teaspoon or so because it wasn’t chocolatey enough for me but I am definitely going to mix up a batch of the mix to have all winter long and to give as holiday gifts for my coworkers and friends!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Super tasty …no weird artificial sugar taste … I used skim milk and whisked it all over low eat on the stovetop :)

  21. Very good! For two servings, I mixed the dry ingredients in a saucepan, added about 2 T hot water, and heated while stirring with a whisk until smooth. Then added the milk and heated. Not as easy as the microwave, but makes a smoother cocoa. I make lots of your recipes and really enjoy your blog! Thanks!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I made this tonight. Hooray for cold weather that lets us drink yummy stuff like this!


  23. Anonymous says:

    One of my favorite add ins is peanut butter, gives it a lil more yumminess if your a PB & chocolate fan

  24. Anonymous says:

    Here is the link to the Jacques Torres video. He also mentions using at least a 2% milk too

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