Cardamom Hot Cocoa: A Snuggly Spiced Chocolate Beverage

Cardamom Hot Cocoa
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN
Total Time: 5 min
Prep Time: 2 min
Cook Time: 3 min
Servings: 1

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

180 calories
4g fat
32g carbs
10g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving  
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 112mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 26g  
Includes 13g Added Sugars 26%
Protein 10g  
Vitamin D 3mcg 15%
Calcium 340mg 26%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 576mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Cocoa powder is a low calorie, low fat way to stir a hint of chocolatey flavor into a cozy winter beverage. We kick this not-too-sweet hot cocoa up a notch by adding a pinch of ground cardamom. Cardamom is a strong spice, so you only need to use a small amount to start tasting its sweet yet spicy flavor.

Cardamom is one of the spices used in an Indian chai, and it can be added to baked goods, beverages, and even savory foods. We love using maple syrup because it is a liquid sweetener that incorporates easily into beverages like hot cocoa. Maple syrup also contains a small amount of polyphenols, which are antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation


  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. In saucepan, warm the milk over medium low heat.

  2. Whisk in the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and cardamom.

  3. Pour into a mug and serve.

    Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

    Can't have dairy? This recipe works with any alternative milk, from soy to almond milk, hemp to coconut milk.

    Want an even richer flavor? Whisk in one tablespoon of bittersweet or dark chocolate chips to deepen the flavors and turn your hot cocoa into hot chocolate. One tablespoon of chocolate chips will add about 50 calories and 6 grams of sugar.

    Or, instead of the chocolate chips, simply add a dollop of whipped cream or whipped coconut cream on top of your cocoa. To make whipped coconut cream, place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Scoop out the hardened top part (save the coconut water to add to smoothies!) and beat the coconut cream with a mixer until soft peaks form. Whipped cream or coconut cream both add an additional 60 calories and 3 grams of fat.

    Cooking and Serving Tips

    Smelling spices like cardamom can have a calming effect, which may help you relax and allow you to slow down and savor your drink. Too often we rush through our days eating and drinking on-the-go, in front of the television, or with a number of other distractions. Try to focus in on the moment and practice mindful eating a few times a week (more if you can).

    By slowing down and thinking about what we consume, we can cue into our natural hunger signals instead of eating according to a clock or eating because we feel sad, mad, hungry, bored, lonely, or even happy. Take a deep breath, chew or sip at a leisurely pace, and enjoy your food and drink.

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By Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN
Stephanie Forsythe, MS, RDN, CNSC, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has developed recipes and blog content for Savor Health.