Homemade Hot Chocolate

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Make this luxurious and creamy homemade hot chocolate for the perfect winter drink to keep you warm and cozy. With just 6 ingredients, you can easily make your own mug of hot cocoa in no-time!

A hand holding a glass mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.
Creamy Hot Chocolate

During the winter months, there is nothing my kids enjoy more than having hot cocoa in the evening. A big warm mug, topped with countless marshmallows keeps them cozy and happy all evening long.

Recently the grocery stores were out of their favorite hot cocoa mix so we decided to come up with our own version with ingredients we had in our pantry… unsweetened hot cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips. The added chocolate chips gave the hot chocolate a thick and creamy finish perfect for a winter indulgence!

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Why we love this hot chocolate recipe

What’s not to love about a warm and creamy mug of homemade hot chocolate?? Here are just a few reasons we love making this recipe:

  • Made with wholesome ingredients – This homemade hot chocolate recipe features pantry staple ingredients and no added or questionable ingredients like a hot cocoa packet.
  • Quick and easy – It takes no time at all to whip up this warm, cozy chocolaty treat!
  • Adaptable – You can change out the milk based on dietary needs or swap the cocoa powder for dark cocoa for a more intense chocolate flavor.

A brief history of hot chocolate

The creamy mug of hot chocolate you know today made a massive transformation over the years. The first known chocolate drink recipe originated in Mexico around 500 BC. The Mayans drank a cold, frothy beverage made from ground cocoa seeds, water, cornmeal, and chili peppers.

After being brought to Europe around the 1500s, the drink evolved in Spain to include a sweetener and exclude chili peppers. Later in the 1700s a variation from Jamaica included warm milk which grew increasingly popular in London and closely resembles the warm beverage we enjoy today!

For a little more information, check out this history of hot chocolate.

Hot cocoa vs. hot chocolate

While you have no doubt heard both used interchangeably, hot chocolate and hot cocoa have two distinct differences.

Hot chocolate consists of thick, melted chocolate most often without added sugar. It tends to be thicker and more similar to a warm hot pudding.

Hot cocoa on the other hand uses milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to make a thinner chocolate beverage that is much easier to drink.

By including both cocoa powder, chocolate morsels, and sugar this hot chocolate recipe is more like a hybrid of the two resulting in a thick and creamy hot chocolate that goes down smoothly.

How to make hot chocolate

Ingredients for Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • Milk – I like to use whole milk in this recipe to give the hot chocolate a thick, creamy finish.
  • Sugar – Sweetens the hot chocolate.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – I used Hershey’s 100% Cocoa in this recipe. It’s important to get unsweetened so you can control how much sugar goes in.
  • Chocolate morsels – You can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate in this recipe.
  • Salt – This helps balance out the sweetness and also really highlights the chocolate flavor!
  • Vanilla – Optional but highly encouraged.

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Heat milk in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Once the milk is warm, not boiling, add sugar, cocoa powder, milk chocolate morsels, and salt.
  3. Using a spoon or whisk, stir occasionally. Once the chocolate morsels have completely dissolves, turn off heat.
  4. Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Pour into mugs and serve hot with whipped cream or marshmallows.
Two white mugs of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows on a marble cutting board.
Homemade Hot Cocoa

Recipe notes

Make-ahead – To make this recipe easier you can pre-mix the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and chocolate morsels and store them in a plastic bag or mason jar until the hot chocolate craving kicks in! Simply heat the milk, add in the mix, cook until smooth, and finish with vanilla.

Ingredient swaps and substitutions

Depending on dietary restrictions and flavor preferences here are just a few ingredient swaps you can make to the recipe.

  • Oat Milk – Replace the whole milk for oat milk for a rich, creamy dairy-free alternative.
  • Dark cocoa powder – For a more intense chocolatey flavor, mix the cocoa powder with dark cocoa powder.

How to store

If you find yourself with more hot chocolate than you can possibly consume, simply pour the left-over hot chocolate into an airtight container and store it for up to 3 days in the fridge.

To reheat transfer to a small sauce pan and warm over medium heat until heated through.

Top it Off

You can top your creamy mug of hot chocolate with:

  • Marshmallows – mini or go big and get the large marshmallows!
  • Whipped Cream
  • Shaved chocolate pieces
  • A scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • Crushed peppermint
  • Or a peppermint stick to stir your warm mug of cocoa

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

The homemade hot cocoa mix comes in handy when traveling. All you need is hot water to make a cup!

To make 4 servings of hot cocoa mix, you need 1 cup milk powder, 4 tablespoons of hot cocoa, and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Stir all the three ingredients together till they are well combined. Use ¼ cup of this mix along with 1 cup of hot water to make a serving of hot cocoa.

Frequently asked questions

How do you make hot chocolate from scratch?

Heat milk and stir in a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and chocolate morsels until smooth. Add a splash of vanilla and top with marshmallows for your own homemade hot chocolate.

What can you add to hot chocolate to make it taste better?

Vanilla, sugar, and marshmallows all add sweetness and a hint of flavor to elevate your mug of hot cocoa.

Is hot chocolate better with milk or water?

This is entirely dependent upon your preference. I think hot chocolate is better with milk because it gives the drink a smooth and creamy finish.

Other drink recipes you’ll love

  • Desi Cappuccino – For all you coffee lovers, here’s my recipe for Desi Cappuccino!
  • Traditional Golden Turmeric Milk – This traditional golden turmeric milk recipe comes together quickly for a delicious, health-boosting drink.
  • Chai Latte – Learn how to make your own warm and cozy cup of Chai Latte at home with just a few simple ingredients.
  • Chocolate Banana Smoothie – Learn to make a creamy and nutritious chocolate banana smoothie with just 6 ingredients and 5 minutes!
  • Ginger Tea – With its bold flavor and simmering warmth, ginger tea is an alluring drink any time of the day.
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Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

Cozy up with a warm mug of homemade hot chocolate made with 6 simple ingredients for the perfect winter treat.
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Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 4 cups Whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate morsels
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional


  • Add milk to a saucepan kept over medium heat.
  • Once the milk is warm (not boiling) add sugar, cocoa powder, milk chocolate morsels, and salt.
  • Use a spoon or a whisk to stir occasionally. Once the chocolate morsels have completely dissolved, turn off heat.
  • Add vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Serve hot with whipped cream or marshmallows.


How to store

If you find yourself with more hot chocolate than you can possibly consume, simply pour the left-over hot chocolate into an airtight container and store it for up to 3 days in the fridge.
To reheat transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until heated through.
Read the post…For helpful information on ingredient swaps, storage tips, meal prep ideas, and variations!

Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.


Calories: 266kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 9gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 187mgPotassium: 398mgFiber: 2gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 420IUCalcium: 295mgIron: 1mg
Course: Beverages
Method: Stovetop
Keywords: creamy, homemade, Hot cocoa
Cuisine: American
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