The One Ingredient Swap That Will Make Your Hot Chocolate Keto-Friendly

Hot chocolate is one of the most comforting and delicious drinks you can enjoy during the cold months of fall and winter. The combination of warming liquid and sweet chocolate flavor makes it the perfect treat for adults and kids alike — but for those following the keto diet, the seasonal drink can be a carb-loaded bomb if there is a lot of sugar packed into the cocoa powder mixture (via Eat This Much). In fact, it's sadly not likely that you'll find any hot chocolate that's actually keto-friendly, but some hot cocoa certainly can be if prepared right.

Chances are you've probably heard of the keto diet, but maybe you haven't followed it and are therefore not all that familiar with the rules. Chomps says that, essentially, those who follow the keto diet are encouraged to eat mostly fats, followed by a little protein and very few carbs, allowing the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. By replacing one or two ingredients in hot cocoa — which The Daily Meal says is usually made of cocoa powder, sugar, and milk — you can eliminate many of the carbs that are present in the sweet, drinkable treat.

What to use to make your hot chocolate keto

Delish says the primary culprit in hot chocolate which makes the drink unsuitable for those following a keto diet is sugar. While you definitely won't want to use pre-made packets of hot cocoa mix if you're trying to go keto, you can pretty easily make your own hot cocoa mixture. Making it yourself allows you to control the sweetener that's used in the drink as well as seriously scale down the sugar added by the milk. The first thing you need to do is use your favorite keto-friendly sweetener instead of white sugar. (If you don't already have a favorite, the outlet recommends Swerve.) Since keto requires consuming more fat, you can make the drink richer by swapping the milk for heavy cream. Using heavy cream will also eliminate many of the sugar and carbs found in regular milk, as milk contains lactose (which is a form of sugar) and packs around 12 grams of carbs per cup (via Healthline). Heavy cream only has one gram of carbs per ounce, so you'll easily cut back with the swap. 

To get the proportions right for keto-friendly hot cocoa, use 2 tablespoons of hot cocoa and 2-1/2 teaspoons of your keto-friendly sweetener. Heat up 1-1/4 cups water and 1/4 cup of heavy cream, and combine with the cocoa mixture. You can also add a dash of vanilla to the drink, about a 1/4 teaspoon, to help get the perfect hot chocolate flavor. Don't forget the homemade whipped cream, which can certainly be part of the keto diet.