This lemon white hot chocolate is creamy, zesty, lemon-ey, and has a fluffy toasted meringue topping! It’s warm, sweet, and refreshing - the perfect cozy winter drink for anyone who loves lemons. It has the components of a lemon meringue pie - creamy lemon white hot chocolate and a cloudy meringue topping. An egg yolk gets cooked in the hot chocolate, giving it a beautiful yellow color and adding richness. Takes under 15 minutes to make. Perfect for sipping through the winter, Christmas, and the holidays!
This is a single serve recipe, you can double, triple, or quadruple if you prefer. If you love holiday drinks, check out my gingerbread latte! It’s an easy, one serving recipe made from pantry staples.
🍋 Why you'll LOVE this recipe
- Zesty: There's loads of lemon zest, giving the lemon meringue white hot chocolate this beautiful fresh zesty lemon flavor.
- Creamy: The egg yolk in the hot chocolate gives it extra creaminess and a beautiful yellow color.
- Meringue topping: A whipped egg white topping gives the hot chocolate a fluffy cloud-like topping that is so satisfying to scoop and sip through.
- White hot chocolate: A twist on a classic white hot chocolate - this is for all the lemon lovers!
📝 Key ingredients
Read through for all the tips you will need for success!
Full steps and ingredients in recipe card below.
- Egg: Both the yolk and white get used in this recipe. The yolk gets mixed into the white hot chocolate and cooked, while the white gets whipped up with some sugar for the topping.
- Milk: I prefer using 2% or whole milk for a creamier hot chocolate. If you're using plant based milk, make sure it doesn't come to a boil because plant milk tends to curdle.
- Lemon: You'll only need the lemon zest for this recipe. Do not use lemon juice as it will curdle the hot chocolate!
- White chocolate: I prefer to use a good quality white chocolate bar, but you can use white chocolate chips if you have those on hand. Don't use white crème chips because they don't taste like white chocolate!
👩🍳 How to make lemon white hot chocolate
Step 1: Separate the egg yolk and egg white and set aside.
Step 2: Add the egg yolk into a small bowl or saucepan. Add grated lemon zest and whisk up to break up the yolk.
Step 3: Add the white chocolate and milk into the egg yolk mixture. Heat on medium heat, whisking frequently to prevent burning.
Take it off the heat once very hot and steaming - just before it comes to a boil. If it forms a film on top, you can scoop or strain it out.
Step 4: Beat the egg white in a jar or glass with an electric whisk or mixer. I used a handheld electric mixer with only one attachment. Once foamy and soft, add sugar 1 teaspoon at a time and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.
Step 5: Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Top with the meringue. Torch the top with a kitchen torch to get it browned and toasty. If you put it under the broiler, make sure your mug is oven safe! Enjoy hot with a spoon on the side to help get through the meringue.
✔️ Expert tips
- Don’t add lemon juice: This will curdle the milk in the hot chocolate and make it chunky. Don’t do it!
- Only broil if you have an oven safe mug: This will prevent the cup from breaking under the heat of the broiler. I recommend using a kitchen torch to toast the top of the meringue.
- Use good quality real white chocolate: This gives the hot chocolate the best flavor, since the flavor notes are primarily lemon and white chocolate.
- Use pasteurized eggs: The yolk gets cooked, but if you’re worried about eating raw meringue you can use pasteurized eggs, or cook the meringue well under a broiler.
🥄 Make ahead and storage
You can make lemon white hot chocolate ahead of time and store it in a thermos for up to a few hours until ready to drink. Perfect to bring on all of your winter adventures! I don't recommend making the meringue topping ahead of time because it deflates quickly. Omit it if you plan on making the hot chocolate ahead of time and bringing it with you in a thermos.
🍋 Can I add lemon juice into white hot chocolate?
Do NOT add lemon juice into lemon meringue white hot chocolate. I tried because I wanted a tangy lemon flavor, and the acidity curdled the whole thing!
I recommend only using lemon zest. It adds so much zesty flavor and you can strain it out afterwards if you prefer! Otherwise the zest just settles on the bottom of the cup.
You can also try adding lemon oil extract or other non-acidic lemon flavorings to help enhance the flavor. I preferred just using the freshly grated lemon zest because it added lots of fresh, lemon flavor.
📖 Recipe FAQs
Yes you can, just use the recommended amount on the package and omit the white chocolate in this recipe. Follow the rest of the recipe as written.
Yes, you can substitute the white chocolate with any other chocolate you may prefer. Chocolate and lemon is a classic flavor combination.
Yes, you can experiment making this hot chocolate with other zested fruits! It would be really delicious with orange zest. Just make sure to not add any citrus juice or it will curdle the milk. Zest is ok because it's just oil.
Lemon oil can help enhance the lemon flavor in the hot chocolate. However, if the lemon extract or flavoring is acidic, it will curdle the hot chocolate. So be careful!
I found that just freshly grated lemon zest on its own gave the hot chocolate the best, fresh zesty lemon flavor. Lemon extract isn't necessary for the lemon flavor, but it will help make it even more lemon-ey!
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Lemon Meringue White Hot Chocolate
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 lemon zested
- ¼ cup white chocolate finely chopped (40g)
- 1 tablespoon sugar for meringue
- Separate the egg yolk and egg white. Set aside.1 large egg
- Add the egg yolk into a small saucepan. Add grated lemon zest and whisk up to break up the yolk.1 lemon
- Add the white chocolate and milk into the egg yolk mixture. Heat on medium heat, whisking frequently to prevent burning. Take it off the heat once very hot and steaming - just before it comes to a boil. If it forms a film on top, you can scoop or strain it out.¼ cup white chocolate, 1 cup milk
- Beat the egg white in a jar or glass with an electric whisk or mixer. I used a handheld electric mixer with only one attachment. Once foamy and soft, add sugar 1 teaspoon at a time and beat until it reaches stiff peaks.1 tablespoon sugar
- Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Top with the meringue. Torch the top with a kitchen torch to get it browned and toasty. If you put it under the broiler, make sure your mug is oven safe! Enjoy hot with a spoon on the side to help get through the meringue.
- Don’t add lemon juice, the hot chocolate will curdle.
- Only broil if you have an oven safe mug. Otherwise it's safer to carefully use a torch to toast the meringue topping.
- Use good quality real white chocolate for the best white hot chocolate flavor.
- Use pasteurized eggs if you're worried about eating raw meringue. Or cook the meringue well under a broiler.