How to Make Hot Chocolate

5 from 56 votes

Learn how to make hot chocolate from scratch at home on the stovetop to enjoy this winter. Perfectly rich and creamy, it's a family favorite!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Learn how to make hot chocolate from scratch. Skip the store-bought hot chocolate mixes with high-fructose corn syrup and other additives and whip up your own, thick delicious custom blend. You probably have the ingredients on hand already. Not to mention, this rich and creamy hot chocolate recipe is simple, delicious, and oh-so-chocolaty!

Glass of hot chocolate topped with mini marshmallows

That’s right, I’m spilling the beans (cocoa beans, that is) on how to create a smooth velvety, hot chocolate mix right at home that’s both flavorful and easy! The focus here is using high-quality ingredients and making a hot chocolate mix that surpasses a typical store-bought mix. Use this recipe when preparing your next Hot Chocolate Bar Party!

Perfect recipe! Will make all winter long ❄️❄️❄️
Jouhaina

Table of Contents

  1. Recipe at a glance
  2. Ingredients to make hot cocoa from scratch
  3. Popular substitutions & additions
  4. How to make hot chocolate
  5. Tips for making the best hot chocolate
  6. What to serve with hot chocolate
  7. How to store and reheat leftover hot chocolate
  8. Frequently asked questions
  9. More warm drinks to try:
  10. How to Make Hot Chocolate Recipe

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Chocolate
Skill Level: Beginner

Summary

  • Quick & Easy: A simple and quick way to enjoy a comforting cup of rich homemade hot chocolate.
  • Customizable: Easily adjust the sweetness, flavors, and toppings to your liking. 
  • Perfect for cozy moments: A warm pick me up after a nightly walk, perfect during a cold winter night when the snow is falling or when snuggling up by the fire.
  • All the toppings: The garnishing options are endless. Offering a variety of toppings make everyones cup of hot chocolate unique.

Ingredients to make hot cocoa from scratch

  • Milk or cream: Cow or plant-based. It is your choice, oatmilk, soy, coconut milk will all work.
  • Sugar: White sugar lets the chocolate flavor shine through, but for caramel notes or complexity try brown sugar, turbinado, or even honey, which pairs well with dark chocolate.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: From old standby Hershey’s to high end Valrhona, pick your favorite! Just make sure it is unsweetened.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla rounds out the flavor of the chocolate, and is so ubiquitously present in chocolate products that the flavors are associated. Of course, you can sub in vanilla paste (stir well!) the scrapings of a vanilla bean, or leave out.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips: This is where you can go wild. Sub in dark chocolate chips or white chocolate. Chop up a similar amount of your favorite chocolate bar instead of using chips.
  • Mini Marshmallows: Optional but scrumptious. Store-bought, homemade, flavored, whatever you want. Larger ones work, too, and can be cut into smaller pieces. Also, a tiny spoonful of Marshmallow Fluff is fun.
  • Chocolate shavings: shave a chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler, use chopped up chocolate chips, M&Ms or another favorite candy, or buy chocolate sprinkles.
  • Dairy Free Options: If you prefer a dairy-free version, you can use almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk instead of regular milk.
  • Spice It Up!: Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or a dash of cayenne pepper for a spicy twist on classic hot chocolate.
  • Sprinkles: Add a colorful array of holiday or themed sprinkles to your toppings. Kids will especially enjoy this festive touch.
  • Flavor Extracts: Enhance the flavor with extracts like peppermint, almond or hazelnut. Just a few drops will make a difference.
Ingredients to make the recipe

How to make hot chocolate

  1. Pour the water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.
  2. Turn the heat down and whisk in the milk. Cook until the milk is heated but not boiling.
  3. Mix in the chocolate chips and continue to whisk until the chocolate chips melt and the mixture smoothes out.
  4. Take off the burner and stir in vanilla extract.
4 image collage to show how to make hot chocolate from scratch

I used regular milk, and it tastes delicious. Thank you for sharing great recipes!
Nita

Tips for making the best hot chocolate

  1. Stir vigorously in the beginning to dissolve the sugar. This allows the cocoa powder to get incorporated well before adding in the milk. Work until there is a smooth, even paste. It is hard to get the lumps out once milk is added.
  2. Watch the pot! Truly! This is a superfast recipe but burning does spoil it. Cocoa really tastes best if the milk is not scorched or boiled.
  3. Use chocolate chips or a chocolate bar cut into small chunks. This helps to speed up the process, so the chocolate dissolves faster.
  4. Use full-fat milk for best flavor. Any milk will work, but the fuller fat versions make the most luscious, dessert-quality cocoas.

What to serve with hot chocolate

How to store and reheat leftover hot chocolate

If you have leftovers or want to make extra for later, store in an airtight jar with a lid in the fridge. This hot chocolate recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days.

Can I freeze stovetop hot chocolate? You can. However, I wouldn’t expect it to maintain the same texture and consistency as fresh hot chocolate. 

For the best results, pour leftover, cooled, hot chocolate into ice cube trays. Use the frozen cubes as an addition to your hot or cold coffee. Alternatively, use them to make a frozen hot chocolate drink.

Reheating hot chocolate: Gradually reheat leftover hot chocolate on the stovetop until heated through. You can heat in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Repeat until heated through and stir before serving.

Frequently asked questions

What type of cocoa powder should I use? Is there a difference between Dutch-process cocoa powder and regular?

Dutch-process cocoa powder, as opposed to “natural” cocoa powder, is processed to lessen chocolate’s acidity. This matters in recipes using baking soda, but will not affect hot cocoa, except for the fact that the Dutch-processed type is usually richer and darker.

Can I start with a hot chocolate mix?

Hot cocoa mix already contains sweeteners and dried milk. If you start with it, you will effectively be zushing up the mix – like adding more garlic and spices to jarred tomato sauce – which is fine. Work with what you have but there is no need to add sugar.

Why does my homemade cocoa come out gritty?

Gritty hot chocolate is the result of not fully dissolving the cocoa-sugar mix. Whisk, whisk, whisk in the beginning to make sure the cocoa powder is fully incorporated and the sugar is dissolved in the hot water, and keep whisking after adding the milk.

Two mugs of hot chocolate, one topped with marshmallows

Hot chocolate is the perfect winter beverage whether you are having a festive start to a cold morning, warming up after ice skating or snowman building, decorating the tree, or cuddling up with a holiday movie.

More warm drinks to try:

If you found this tutorial for How to Make Hot Chocolate helpful or if you try any recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of trying out this tutorial and we would love to hear about your experience. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

How to Make Hot Chocolate

Learn how to make hot chocolate from scratch at home on the stovetop to enjoy this winter. Perfectly rich and creamy, it's a family favorite!
5 from 56 votes
Servings 2 drinks
Course Beverages
Calories 539
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Fill a small pot with the water and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar.
  • Reduce heat to medium and whisk in the milk. Cook over medium heat until the milk is heated but not boiling, about 3 minutes
  • Add chocolate chips and continue to whisk until the chocolate chips melt and the mixture becomes smooth, about 2 more minutes.
  • Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla extract.
  • Serve with mini marshmallows, if desired.

Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be cooled at kept covered in the ridge for 2 to 3 days. Reheat it on the stovetop to warm through to serve.
Tips: You can make this hot chocolate with any kind of milk. Use a plant based milk like almond or oat for a vegan hot drink, or half and half for a creamier and more indulgent sip.

Nutrition

Calories: 539kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 204mg, Potassium: 998mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 50g, Vitamin A: 444IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 539mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Beverages

Photo Credit: Erin Jensen

Rate and comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Delicious. I made it with coconut milk and only had dark chocolate chips instead of semi sweet. And just added whipped cream. Don’t really like marshmallows.Turned out very good. Thanks for sharing. 😎

  2. skip the marshmallows or even whipped cream. A good dollop of frozen vanilla yogurt is THE ONLY WAY TO GO!
    The flavors can’t be matched. We’ve made this (Granny’s) recipe forever but the last 20 years we’ve used frozen vanilla yogurt as a topper. DIVINE❤️❤️