This is my favorite homemade Hot Chocolate recipe! It’s incredibly simple and easily beats any hot chocolate you’ll get in a package. You’ll love that uses ingredients you likely already have on hand so you can make it any time a chilly day rolls around.
Isn’t a good hot chocolate a must in the recipe book? It’s just one of those quintessential fall recipes that makes these chilly days much more enjoyable.
There’s just nothing quite as comforting as sipping hot cocoa on a cold autumn or winter day, and it’s even better when enjoyed next to a flickering warm fire of course.
Growing up it was always a highlight for me when we’d visit pumpkin patches or after a few hours of playing in the snow. And nothing has changed there.
These days though I’m pretty picky about my hot chocolate. I like it chocolatey, creamy, rich, perfectly sweetened, and it needs some sort of topping – preferably a frothy whipped cream but marshmallows come in a close second.
This is my idea of the perfect homemade hot chocolate. You get all of the aforementioned in a mug full of chocolate bliss!
Ingredients for Hot Chocolate
- Dutch process cocoa powder (or regular works too, see notes in recipe)
- Granulated sugar
- Whole Milk
- Heavy cream
- Vanilla extract (which can be omitted, it’s pricey these days!)
How to Make Hot Cocoa
In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch.
Pour in milk then whisk until well blended.
Cook Over the Stovetop
Bring to a light boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer about 10 – 15 seconds stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Stir in cream and vanilla. Let cool a bit before serving.
Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows on top if desired.
The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
I’ve tried several versions of hot chocolate. I’ve made it using regular cocoa powder, chocolate, chocolate chips and dutch cocoa powder. Dutch cocoa takes the cake in my opinion but the others come in a close second.
Then I’ve used different milks (different percentages of fat, dairy and non-dairy). I prefer whole milk with the addition of heavy cream for extra richness.
Do I Have to Use Whole Milk?
If you normally buy a different milk than whole no worries. Skim, 1% or 2% will work too. If doing so I’d use 3 1/4 cups milk then 3/4 cup heavy cream.
Can I Omit the Cream?
If you are looking to make it a bit lighter or if you simply don’t have any cream on hand then yes you can omit the cream it just won’t be quite as rich and creamy. If doing so add in another 1/2 cup milk in it’s place.
How to Make a Peppermint Hot Chocolate
To give this a tasty holiday flare you can stir in 1/2 – 1 tsp peppermint extract to taste, or a few drops food grade peppermint oil to taste.
Can I Use Regular Unsweetened Cocoa Powder?
The dutch cocoa powder adds depth here that regular cocoa powder doesn’t but if the regular unsweetened cocoa powder is what you have on hand it will still yield a delicious hot cocoa. Use 8 Tbsp instead of 6 Tbsp for a similar richness.
Can I Make it Dairy Free?
If you have a milk allergy you can make this with another type of dairy free milk (almond milk or cashew milk are good choices). I might suggest using a nut cream or coconut cream in place of the heavy cream as well.
Can I Reheat this Hot Chocolate?
Yes this can be stored in the fridge for several days then heated over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until warmed through.
I Don’t Have Any Cocoa Powder on Hand What About a Chocolate Version?
If you don’t have the cocoa powder on hand but happen to have bars of semi-sweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips then this is the recipe and method I use:
- Heat 4 cups whole milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until nearly simmering.
- Remove from heat and stir in 6 oz semi-sweet chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp sugar.
- Whisk until melted then stir in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
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- In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch.
- Pour in milk then whisk until well blended.
- Bring to a light boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer about 10 - 15 seconds stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Stir in cream and vanilla. Let cool a bit before serving.
- Serve with whipped cream or marshmallows on top if desired.
- Recipe source: Cooking Classy