Warm your fingers and lift your spirits with a mug of nice homemade Hot Chocolate.
Made with hot milk and combining the intensity of cocoa powder with the richness of good chocolate, this hot chocolate is the real deal.
Sure, there’s the powdery packet plus microwave.
BUT let’s be honest: it’s not the same.
If you are going to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate, really enjoy it with the good stuff!
Plus, making hot chocolate homemade allows you to customize how chocolatey, sweet, or creamy you want it, to add different flavors, and even to spike it.
Hot Chocolate for Every Occasion
No matter your mood or schedule, there’s a hot chocolate to match.
- For a shortcut version with just 2 ingredients and when you just want a mug or two, try Easy Homemade Hot Chocolate.
- For an over-the-top, sinfully chocolaty rendition, don’t miss French Hot Chocolate.
- Cook for a crowd? This Crockpot Hot Chocolate is nothing short of fabulous.
My apologies for ruining you from the hot cocoa mix packet forever, but I think you’ll thank me after you have a sip of this creamy dreamy chocolate.
How to Make Hot Chocolate
This easy hot chocolate is fuzzy flannel and your favorite slippers feels.
Grab a saucepan and your favorite chocolate, and whisk up warm milk with a few ingredients to treat yourself to a mug of heaven.
- Milk. I used 2%, which gives it richness than skim and makes healthier and less calories and cholesterol than other homemade hot chocolates that call for heavy cream or whole milk. You can use your preferred milk here. I don’t recommend water as water makes hot chocolate thin and not as flavorful. Bonus, milk has protein and calcium.
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Chocolate is the star of this drink after all, so use the good stuff. I recommend chopping a bar of chocolate. If you use bittersweet, add a bit more sugar to the recipe.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. To pack an extra punch of chocolate flavor.
- Sugar. This is optional and the amount can be adjusted based on how sweet versus bitter you prefer your chocolate level.
- Cinnamon. This is my secret ingredient, but I’m sharing with you because I love you. The pinch of cinnamon adds that mysterious, delightful “what is in this delicious drink?!” element.
- Vanilla Extract. Because vanilla makes every sweet taste better.
- Salt. Wait, salt in hot cocoa? Yes! Just a bit to balance the sweet and bring out the chocolate.
- Combine all of ingredients except the vanilla in a saucepan.
Watch your stove heat level! Beware of chocolate sinking to the bottom and burning or milk scalding or boiling over.
- Heat over medium, whisking frequently, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla. Serve immediately, or transfer to a crockpot to keep warm. ENJOY!
Hot Chocolate Recipe Variations
The beauty of homemade hot chocolate is you can make it so many ways!
Nutella Hot Chocolate:
- Whisk in 2 tablespoons of Nutella to base hot chocolate recipe while it’s warming on the stove.
Coffee Hot Chocolate:
- Add a shot of espresso to your cup, then pour in hot chocolate.
Spiked Hot Chocolate:
For a grown up version, add a shot of liquor per 1 cup serving of hot chocolate. A few options that I think would be tasty:
- Baileys Irish Cream
- Chocolate liqueur
- Coffee liqueur
- Peppermint schnapps
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
- Add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the hot chocolate recipe, or a teeny splash to your mug (a little goes a long way!).
- To drive home peppermint point, garnish mug with mini candy cane, and/or drop in a peppermint patty candy.
Entertaining Idea: Hot Chocolate Bar
Hot chocolate can not only be enjoyed solo on a chilly night, but also served with your holiday festivities in the form of a “Hot Chocolate Bar.”
Double (or triple!) your recipe as needed, and arrange a display of fun toppings so guests can fix their own chocolate concoction. Topping options are endless, so get creative!
- Mini candy canes
- Hershey Kisses
- Fresh chocolate shavings
- Peppermint patties
- Whipped cream
- Cinnamon sticks
- Caramel sauce
- To Store. After cooling to room temperature, store in a covered container in fridge. Hot chocolate is best served within a day.
- To Reheat. Warm in microwave or in saucepan on the stove until steaming.
Meal Prep Tip
Hot chocolate can be made a day in advance and rewarmed for serving. A great way to save on time the day of entertaining!
What to Serve with Hot Chocolate
Freshly-baked cookies are the perfect pairing with your steaming mug of hot chocolate!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Whisk. I find I use a small-sized whisk much more frequently than a full sized.
- Measuring Cups. A baking essential!
- Ladle. For serving.
Let’s raise a mug to the season and to the best hot chocolate!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make hot chocolate dairy-free by using your favorite non-dairy milks such as almond milk, oat, soy, or coconut milk, and chocolate without milk-based additives.
You can make hot chocolate vegan by using your favorite vegan milk, such as oat or soy, and vegan dark chocolate.
Just like use a packet mix for a warm chocolate drink, but heating up chocolate milk is not the same or as delicious as this easy homemade hot chocolate recipe. Real melted chocolate and cocoa powder give it flavor and texture.
How to Make Hot Chocolate
- 4 cups 2% milk whole milk, or non-dairy milk of choice (I do not recommend skim, as it will be watery)
- 8 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chopped (50 to 60 percent)
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus additional to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon optional
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee optional
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, chocolate, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder.
- Heat over medium, whisking frequently, until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Do not let the mixture boil and whisk often.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Taste and add additional sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until your desired flavor is reached (if you are using chocolate closer to 60%, you may want one or 2 teaspoons more). Enjoy immediately, or transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm.
- TO STORE: After cooling to room temperature, store in a covered container in fridge. Hot chocolate is best served within a day.
- TO REHEAT: Warm in microwave or in saucepan on the stove until steaming.
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More Hot Drinks to Warm You Up
This looks decadent! Do you have a recipe for powdered hot chocolate?
Hi Kara, no I’m sorry, I do not.
First time making hot chocolate from scratch and I’m nevver going back! Easy and perfect
Isn’t it the best??? Thanks Brenna!