Piping hot, lusciously creamy, and best sipped with holiday tunes in the background (or maybe best sipped directly from the slow cooker with a straw?), this decadent Crockpot Hot Chocolate is my cozy drink of choice this winter!
Ever since I was a little girl making hot chocolate with Swiss Miss packets after dinner (while splashing the requisite amount all over the counter—sorry, mom), hot chocolate has been one of my great comforts.
I fell in love in a whole new way in Paris, where I tasted hot chocolate so thick and rich, it’s akin to a melted chocolate bar. My copycat recipe French Hot Chocolate tastes just like it and is an absolute treat for special occasions.
And for those times when one cup of hot chocolate simply will not do? Enter CROCKPOT HOT CHOCOLATE.
The Best Crockpot Hot Chocolate
This recipe is easy, will keep your stovetop free, and the slow cooker makes it ideal for serving at a party, when guests can help themselves.
It also tastes magnificent.
This is some of the best, most decadent but well-balanced hot chocolate I’ve ever made.
It is wonderfully rich, but well-balanced. It’s creamy without being *so* over the top, you can only handle a tiny cup, making it dangerous indeed! I was not kidding about the temptation to drink it right from the crockpot with a straw.
I found that making this creamy crockpot hot chocolate recipe without heavy cream was best—whole milk and a touch of half-and-half are what you need, along with cocoa powder and chopped chocolate.
Ben at one point dared to suggest this was too chocolaty, but what does he know? The rest of my recipe testers thought it was juuuust right. I think you’ll agree with us!
But, if you’d like to dial the chocolate down, you can certainly splash in some additional milk or half-and-half (just make sure I serve my cup first ;-) ).
How to Make This Recipe
This easy crockpot hot chocolate is as simple as stir, set, sip!
As written, I left this as a simple, classic hot chocolate recipe, though it’s certainly open to adding other flavors (including the spirited variety). Don’t miss the variations below for inspiration.
- Chocolate. Once the chopped chocolate melts in the slow cooker, it creates a luxurious texture and rich flavor. The chocolate flavor is important here, so make sure to use a high-quality variety. I recommend making this hot chocolate without chocolate chips (use an actual chopped chocolate bar), as the chips contain stabilizers to hold their shape and do not melt as smoothly.
- Cocoa Powder. The other half of our chocolate flavor duo. It provides intensity.
- Whole Milk + Half-and-Half. In order to achieve the most smooth and creamy hot chocolate texture, it’s important to use whole milk here. I also used half-and-half to keep things a little lighter than heavy cream while still tasting indulgent.
- Sugar. Helps balance out any bitterness in the chocolate.
- Vanilla. A can’t-miss addition that gives this drink an extra layer of coziness.
- Instant Espresso Powder. While optional, I find that it helps intensify the chocolate flavor further (it will not make the hot chocolate taste like coffee).
- Add all of the ingredients (minus the toppings) to a slow cooker.
- Whisk to combine.
- Cook on LOW for 2 to 3 hours or on HIGH for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Whisk occasionally to make sure the chocolate isn’t sticking.
- Serve and ENJOY!
If you will be serving this at a party and leaving the slow cooker on, check periodically to make sure the chocolate isn’t burning or curdling if your slow cooker tends to get fairly hot. This is especially important as the amount of hot chocolate in the crockpot lessens.
Ways to Flavor Hot Chocolate
- Alcohol. Crockpot hot chocolate with alcohol would make a scrumptious treat! I’d recommend either Baileys Irish cream or Frangelico hazelnut liqueur. YUM!
- Coffee. Mix hot chocolate and coffee together to create a drink called café mocha. Add a shot of espresso or a pour of strongly brewed coffee to your cup, then top with as much hot chocolate as you like. We have this every Christmas morning, and it’s divine.
- Nutella. For an out-of-this-world rich and tasty hot chocolate, stir in a spoonful of Nutella.
Hot Chocolate Toppings
Add a flourish to your mug with one of these hot chocolate toppings:
- Marshmallows. Whether you prefer mini, regular, or jumbo-sized marshmallows, you can’t go wrong with this classic and beloved topping.
- Whipped Cream. For a decadent treat, top your hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Chocolate Chips. A handful of chocolate chips will take the chocolate factor up another notch.
- Caramel Sauce. A drizzle of caramel sauce on top would be tasty!
- Crushed Peppermint. For a minty and festive twist, sprinkle some crushed peppermint over top.
Crockpot Hot Chocolate Storage Tips
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm gently in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, whisking to combine.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Slow Cooker. Enjoy crockpot hot chocolate on demand!
- Small Whisk. The smaller size of this whisk helps keep liquids from splashing.
- Measuring Spoons. Easy to store, use, and clean.
Wishing you all warm fuzzies, a cloud of marshmallows, and plenty of refills!
Crockpot Hot Chocolate
- 3 cups whole milk must be whole for the best texture!
- 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream if you want to make this outrageously decadent
- 6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate* coarsely chopped (between 62% and 70%; the darker, the more intense the chocolate flavor will be; I used 66%)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder or Dutch process cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or coffee powder optional for a more intense flavor
- Pinch kosher salt
- Toppings of choice: marshmallows whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel, a handful of extra chocolate chips
- Place all of the ingredients except for the toppings into 3-quart slow cooker (or a 5-quart or larger if you are doubling the recipe): milk, half-and-half, chocolate, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt.
- Briskly whisk to dissolve the cocoa powder as much as possible. Keep whisking until none of it floats to the top; this may take 1 to 2 minutes.
- Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or on high for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending upon your slow cooker; it may finish sooner. Once it's hot and the chocolate is melted smoothly, you can serve it as soon as you like; I prefer to do this on low to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn). Whisk every 45 minutes or so to make sure the chocolate isn’t burning on the bottom of the crock pot. At this point, you can keep it on "low" or switch to "keep warm" if you have that setting. Do not keep it on high, as if the chocolate becomes too hot, it can burn or separate.
- Ladle into serving cups and add your toppings of choice.
- *I do not recommend chocolate chips, as they do not melt as smoothly. Since chocolate is the primary ingredient, be sure to use good quality. Lindt and Ghirardelli are both excellent. I also had good luck testing with the Baker’s brand bittersweet chocolate bar.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm gently in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, whisking to combine.
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