Recipe: “Golden” Spiced Hot Chocolate

A few days ago I felt like having a coffee, but I didn’t want an actual coffee. You know those times when a cup of watery tea won’t cut it? I wanted the sensation of drinking a warm cup of full-fat, steamed milk, but with more flavour. I was a bit bored with the plain hot cacao or hot cinnamon I usually make, and considered making a ‘golden milk’, but didn’t want something particularly turmeric-y. I didn’t really feel like going through the fuss of brewing and straining chai (although sometimes I do find this process quite relaxing).

I sound like a right fussy brat, don’t I!?

So I made this as a bit of an experiment – a hot chocolate with a little heat and spice, and enjoyed it even more than I guessed I would. The cacao mostly masks the turmeric, so it’s not too in your face, but it has more kick and complexity than a regular plain hot cacao. I feel a bit silly writing it up as a recipe, since it is SO simple and the proportions are really to taste, but thought I would as a few people have asked me lately about the ways I incorporate turmeric into my diet.

Turmeric has been having a rather long moment in the ‘super-food’ spotlight, as a spice that is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, especially when consumed with black pepper, which helps the body to absorb the curcumin in the turmeric. You can read more about turmeric here, if you’re interested.

I often start the day with a lemon turmeric ‘tea’, which is really just hot water with a slice of lemon, fresh ginger, and a dash of dried turmeric. It feels like a good way to start the day and seems good for my digestion. I used to suffer from chronic sinus issues, and since moving to a wholefood lifestyle, I’ve observed that these issues have become rare and less severe (apart from when I drink red wine! 😀 ). I’ve often wondered whether this is due to my increased intake of turmeric, and my reduced intake of vegetable oil, which is found in many processed foods and is related to inflammation.

In saying this, please note that I am not a medical or health professional and can only reflect on my personal experience – I really have NO IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

(Sorry, I felt like I using all caps was necessary there to ensure that everyone understands that I really cannot advise on health issues and I strongly recommend that readers seek an expert opinion if they want more information!)

Unsurprisingly, those people who have asked me about how I consume turmeric have not been particularly enthusiastic about my morning turmeric tea, or the idea of ‘golden milk’. Which is fair enough really. It’s an acquired taste! So here’s a different take on golden milk, in the form of a slightly more interesting hot chocolate. You can add additional spices if you like, such as cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom. I thought I’d try to keep this one pretty simple. Below the recipe are some other ideas for incorporating more turmeric into life.

UPDATE 30 April 2016: Some days after posting this recipe, I came across a very similar one posted by Miss Marzipan a couple of months ago. I was, of course, completely mortified that I may have subconsciously taken her idea. And she was, of course, completely unfussed and generous about the whole thing. You can check out her vegan recipe for Golden Milk Hot Chocolate with Ginger here.

Golden Spiced Hot Chocolate

'Golden' Spiced Hot Chocolate

Serves 1 – because this recipe is all about self-care, not looking after other people 😀

Note: Feel free to adjust the proportions of the cacao and spices, to your taste.

  • 80 – 180ml full-fat milk (see step 2 for more information about how much milk to use)
  • 1 tsp raw cacao or plain cocoa
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp dried ground turmeric
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp dried ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • Stevia to sweeten (optional and to taste – I usually don’t use any, or 1/2 tsp if I’m in the mood)

1. Place the cacao/cocoa, turmeric, ginger, pepper and stevia (if using) in a cup or mug. Cover with 2-3 tbsp boiling water and stir to dissolve.

2. Steam or gently heat the milk. How much milk you use really depends on the size of your cup and your heating method. Steaming/frothing the milk stretches it out and increases the volume, so if using this method, start with a smaller amount of milk (around 80-100ml for a cappuccino-sized cup). If you are heating the milk on the stove-top or using a larger mug, you may want to use more milk. If you can’t be bothered with all the extra equipment, just top up your cacao mixture with cold milk, and warm in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time until hot, stirring after each round.

2. Pour the warm milk over the spiced cacao mixture, and dust with extra cacao and/or turmeric, if you like.

I told you it was easy! 😛

Some other ideas to incorporate more turmeric into your life:


  1. BEAUTIFUL and ohhhhhh so delicious. This needs to be in my life. Excellent way to get the turmeric in too. Cant wait to try. Although will have to be on soy or almond milk, full cream would have a red hot go at killing me (not really). 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Thanks Anna! I’m a sucker for full cream milk 😉 I haven’t tried it with soy or almond but I’d be interested to hear how you go! Coconut milk might also be nice (but very rich – too rich for me!).

  2. Martha says:

    I just made myself a cup, and I’m LOVING it! I used full-fat raw milk. Creamy and yummy and so full of flavor. Thank you so much for the recipe!! 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Oh yay, that makes me happy! It’s always a little nerve-wracking when someone makes one of my recipes! Thanks for the kind feedback Martha, I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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