Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe (Hot Cocoa)

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The best homemade hot chocolate recipe. This hot cocoa is smooth, creamy and made with two forms of chocolate for a rich, deep chocolate flavor. It’s easy to make in 5 minutes with 5 ingredients.

front view of a mug of homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream


Say hello to the most delicious hot chocolate recipe – seriously it’s the absolute best. This hot cocoa is rich, creamy and so intensely chocolatey it will make you say, “goodbye” to powdered mixes once and for all. 

This recipe is easy to make in 5 minutes with only 5 ingredients (including two forms of chocolate) on the stovetop, so you can quickly whip up a batch to warm up after a day outside skiing or sledding, to enjoy with a side of cookies of course! 

glass mug of homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe: Ingredients & Substitutions

This hot cocoa recipe is best when made as written. If you’re looking for an allergy-friendly hot chocolate recipe, try this Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate – which can be Paleo and vegan!

overhead view of the labeled ingredients in this hot chocolate recipe
  • Whole milk. Any milk, dairy or non-dairy, should work very well in this recipe. Just remember, the higher the percentage of fat in your milk, the creamier the final product will be. Use whole or 2% milk for the best results. Or you can make it with half whole milk and half heavy cream or half and half. For a dairy-free version I recommend full-fat coconut milk.
  • Cocoa Powder. Use pure, unsweetened cocoa powder. For a dark chocolate cocoa, use dark cocoa powder. 
  • Granulated sugar.  white sugar, organic cane sugar and coconut sugar are all good choices.
  • Chocolate. I recommend using semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. You can  use milk chocolate or white chocolate, just be aware that the end result will be sweeter. For a dairy-free/vegan version, use dairy-free chocolate! You can also use bakers chocolate (100% cocoa) and just increase the amount of sugar to suit your tastes.
  • Vanilla Extract. Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
a glass mug of Homemade Hot Cocoa  topped with whipped cream

How to Make Hot Chocolate

So many people wonder, “How do you make hot chocolate from scratch?” Well, this hot cocoa recipe  is so easy you’ll forget about store-bought mixes once and for all.

It only takes 5 minutes to make, but as always we’ll walk through the process together, and don’t forget to watch the video. 

Begin by measuring the milk, sugar and cocoa powder into a medium saucepan. 

How to Make Hot Chocolate - ingredients in a dutch oven

Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture just begins to bubble but does not boil.

How to Make Hot Chocolate whisking ingredients together in a dutch oven

When the mixture just begins to bubble, turn off the heat and add the chocolate and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

two overhead photos showing how to make hot chocolate

Serve

This homemade hot cocoa recipe makes either 2-4 servings depending on the size of servings you’d prefer. Since this hot chocolate recipe is so rich, I usually pour it into 4 mugs and it’s plenty for us.

Add Toppings

This homemade hot cocoa recipe is perfect on its own. But if you’re looking to jazz it up with some fun toppings, here are some suggestions: 

front view of a glass mug of homemade hot cocoa

Store

If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container (glass jar) for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

overhead view of a mug of hot cocoa with whipped cream on top

Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe FAQs

What are good toppings for hot chocolate? 

Homemade Whipped Cream (obviously)
Marshmallows (any variety, homemade marshmallows are delicious). 
Shaved chocolate
Dusting of cocoa powder
Holiday sprinkles
Crushed candy canes
Chopped peppermint bark

Can I make this dairy free?

Yes, use dairy-free chocolate and coconut milk. Try this dairy-free hot chocolate recipe.

Is hot chocolate better with milk or water?

Milk! I always make hot chocolate with milk.

What other hot chocolate recipes can I make?

I have so many hot cocoa recipes on my site! Try these:
Making hot chocolate for a crowd? Try this crockpot hot chocolate!
This peanut butter hot chocolate recipe is like drinking a warm peanut butter cup – YUM!
As I mentioned before, this dairy-free hot cocoa is paleo and vegan! I also have a recipe for Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa Mix, which you can keep on hand in the pantry and just add water to serve. 
For a fun twist, make this Peppermint Hot Chocolate in your blender! 
This mocha latte is another fun, warm drink that’s healthy but sweet. 

front photo of a glass mug of homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream

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Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe (Hot Cocoa)

Laura
The best homemade hot chocolate recipe. This hot cocoa is smooth, creamy and made with two forms of chocolate for a rich, deep chocolate flavor. It’s easy to make in 5 minutes with 5 ingredients.
5 from 51 votes
Course beverage, Dessert, Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 397
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time7 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Add milk, sugar and cocoa powder to a medium saucepan.
  • Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture just begins to bubble but does not boil.
  • Add chocolate and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour into 4 small mugs and serve with homemade whipped cream.

Video

Notes

*6 oz chocolate is 1 cup. 
Ingredient Substitutions  
  • Whole milk. Any milk, dairy or non-dairy, should work very well in this recipe. Just remember, the higher the percentage of fat in your milk, the creamier the final product will be. Use whole or 2% milk for the best results. Or you can make it with half whole milk and half heavy cream or half and half. For a dairy-free version I recommend full-fat coconut milk.
  • Cocoa Powder. Use pure, unsweetened cocoa powder. For a dark hot chocolate use dark cocoa powder. 
  • Granulated sugar.  white sugar, organic cane sugar and coconut sugar are all good choices.
  • Chocolate. I recommend using semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. You can  use milk chocolate or white chocolate, just be aware that the end result will be sweeter. For a dairy-free/vegan version, use dairy-free chocolate! You can also use bakers chocolate (100% cocoa) and just increase the amount of sugar to suit your tastes.
  • Vanilla Extract. Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. You can also add other extracts like peppermint, etc.
Store
If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container (glass jar) for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 484mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Calcium: 202mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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26 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, I think I have a question for you: Sometime during this Holiday season in December 2024, or maybe sometime in the future, then could you, by any chance, please develop a hardcover Christmas Desserts Recipe Book, especially with the three Christmas recipes, including this Homemade Hot Chocolate recipe, the Homemade Whipped Cream recipe, and The Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe with the frosting that hardens, just like on your website? Thanks! 🙂 From Stephanie Foraci

    1. Hey Stephanie! I would love to write a cookbook one day – and the fact that you are asking for one is truly humbling! I’m so glad you love my recipes! Unfortunately in my phase of life with 6 young kids – a cookbook isn’t something I feel like I can do. However – I will continue sharing all of my favorite recipes here for free on my website for you to enjoy!

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Laura, how are you? And also, I think I have a question for you: Could you, by any chance, please have the Homemade Condensed Cream Of Chicken Soup recipe added into your website? Thanks! 🙂 From Stephanie Foraci

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! It is very rich and delicious. Made it on a cold rainy day and everyone adored it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    I started making from scratch hot chocolate years ago and somehow forgot measurements and such- this steps and everything is the closest to what I used to make. Hands down this works, and my kids love it for these cold winter days. Thanks for sharing!

  4. 5 stars
    This is a solid recipe. We added a little white chocolate syrup before topping with marshmallows and it was delicious! Rich and creamy. Will make this one again. Thanks!