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Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

The easiest Mexican Hot Cocoa recipe you'll ever make.

Artfully arranged ingredients for Mexican hot chocolate recipe, including bright red chili peppers and cinnamon sticks next to a warm cup of Mexican hot cocoa.

Have you tried the decadent treat that is Mexican Hot Chocolate? Rich and spicy, it's the perfect warm drink for a cold winter day. It's also pretty perfect for sipping under a palm tree on a balmy day, if you happen to live a bit further south.

Learning how to make Mexican Hot Chocolate is easy and fun. You can adjust the spices to get just the right amount of heat for your own personal taste. A traditional Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe combines cinnamon and chili powder (or other dried chili peppers) to give the chocolate heat and flavor. This version uses El Yucateco Black Label Reserve hot sauce in place of the chili powder. It not only provides warmth and flavor, but also adds a subtle smokiness that I love. It reminds me of a crackling wood fire on a snowy day.

Ground cinnamon in a dark wood bowl and cinnamon sticks arranged on a kitchen surface. Ready to be used in a recipe for Mexican hot cocoa.

This version also differs from a traditional Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe because it uses powdered hot cocoa mix. Using authentic Mexican chocolate is delicious, and I fully recommend it when you have some on hand. However, powdered cocoa mix is a staple in my pantry and works really well for mixing up a batch whenever the urge strikes. It makes a slightly lighter version of the drink that is surprisingly refreshing.

Using powdered cocoa mix and El Yucateco Hot Sauce also makes this Mexican Hot Cocoa recipe supremely portable and scalable. It's one of my favorite drinks for tailgating, because you don't have to mix anything up ahead of time or keep milk warming on the grill or camp stove. Just bring along some cocoa packets and your bottle of sauce and all you need is hot water for an instantly warming, spicy drink. Well, some mini-marshmallows are also a plus.

Person pouring steamy mexican spiced hot chocolate from a thermos into a mug at a winter football tailgating party.

I also take it along in my thermos on winter hikes or non-tailgate sporting events. The extra heat from the Black Label Reserve Sauce keeps you warm from the inside out, whether you're perched in the bleachers or enjoying the woods.

This recipe for Mexican Hot Chocolate is so easy I hesitate even to call it a recipe. It feels more like knowing how you take your morning coffee. Once you've tried it, you'll never forget it.

Simply heat a cup of water for a minute or two in the microwave, then pour it over your cocoa mix and cinnamon. I always prefer hot chocolate with cinnamon to plain cocoa. Adding the hot sauce takes everything up a notch. Pour in a dash of cream or milk, then a few drops of El Yucateco Black Label Hot Sauce. I like 6-8 drops for one cup of spicy hot cocoa. It's enough to add the smoky aroma and to leave my tongue tingling a bit after each sip, but there's no real burn to it. The touch of cream mellows things out and helps the flavors blend smoothly. If I'm feeling particularly indulgent, I'll top the whole thing with miniature marshmallows (or whipped cream) and one last sprinkle of cinnamon.

Mmmmmm. Warm and delicious.

Stack of spicy chipotle brownies made with El Yucateco Chipotle Hot Sauce and rich dark chocolate. Perfect tailgating dessert.

For a snack to go with your Mexican Hot Cocoa, you could bake up some traditional conchas or a batch of delicious Chipotle Brownies (made with more hot sauce, naturally) to complement the spiciness!

Spicy Mexican Cinnamon Hot Chocolate


  • 6 oz hot water

  • 2 Tablespoons hot cocoa mix (or whatever amount is recommended for one cup of hot cocoa)

  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)

  • 1 Tablespoon half and half (or any creamer you like)

  • 6 drops El Yucateco Black Label Reserve Habanero Hot Sauce (more or less to taste)


  1. Heat your water.

  2. Pour hot water over ground cinnamon and cocoa powder. If using a cinnamon stick, place it in the water before heating, so the cooking process can help draw out the bark's flavorful oils.

  3. Add cream and hot sauce. Stir.

  4. Top with mini-marshmallows, whipped cream, an extra sprinkle of ground cinnamon, chocolate sprinkles, or anything that suits your fancy.

I hope this Mexican Hot Chocolate drink recipe will keep your winter afternoons as warm and cozy as a holiday hearth. I think it beats the pants off any pumpkin spice latte.

Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments!

For more holiday entertaining tips and recipes, check out these other posts:

Habanero Holidays: The El Yucateco Gifting Guide

Deliciously Smoky Paradise Chili

Take Your Hot Sauce Camping

Double Chocolate Spicy S'mores Cookies

Looking for more spicy holiday recipes and ways to spice up the cool weather? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube for more great ideas, all season long!


#ElYucateco #KingofFlavor #KingofFlavorSince1968 #SauceOn

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